Recent Music Reviews
10 Q's with DANNY PEYRONEL (X-UFO)
1. What are you currently up to?
We're anxiously awaiting the first shipment of our first album, the totally live "VOL.1: THE LIVE FILES!".
We put a lot of work and support into producing this totally and entirely on our own, and the result, thanks to some terrific European appearances througout 2011, has been overwhelmingly rewarding.
I think I can speak for us all when I say it's easily one of the best albums we've ever done, and certainly THE best live one.
We're continuing our UK tour in February and into early March.
Final details are also being put together for our first US tour in late April/May.
2. How did the idea for X-UFO come about? Any plans to invite other fellow UFO members on stage in the future?
Oh, yes! Pete should be joining us on-stage at one of our forthcoming UK gigs and we're all excited!
In the US, we have plans to tour with Paul Chapman's Project on the bill with us, and it will be great fun to have Tonka join us on-stage on a regular basis. A real UFO-Fest!
We'll always be open to having our UFO brethren join us for what is fundamentally a fun situation for us all.
The idea of the band came to Clive and I when we started to chat through Facebook. It turned out that he and Laurence had also been thinking along these lines. Clive and I have known each other forever, even if we had never actually played together, which is in itself weird. He came up with Laurence as the perfect candidate on the guitar front, and, of course, I knew him from playing together, albeitly briefly, in TARZEN in the eighties.
Clive also suggested Rocky, who, though not technically a UFO member, was a long-standing of MSG in the 80's and 90's. Since MSG is, of course, a UFO off-shoot, he's very much part of the extended 'family'. He's a tremendously talented bass player and singer, having sung backing vocals on Def Leppard's classics "Pyromania" and "Hysteria", as well as a proven songwriter. He wrote most of the MSG classic hits of the period.
I'd met Rocky in the 80's in Madrid, and he, incredibly, remembered me!
3. How did the recent UK live dates go?
The reaction was great, and the closest we got to London, our gig in Ruislip, was a pretty packed affair. Some of the other gigs up north had been hastily arranged at our stay in Ibiza earlier in the year for our debut appearance at the HARD ROCK HELL ROADTRIP Festival, and not really given sufficient thought. Attendance was not what we would have hoped...as seems to be the case, sadly, with so many good classic rock bands when they try and reach the fans in the UK. Everyone seems ecstatic on the net, on Facebook, etc., and when the moment comes to show up...I'm guessing that a dark, cold evening makes the prospect of sitting in front of the box with a pint to watch the x-factor seem more attractive than venturing out in the wild to feel alive again with X-UFO.
A generational thing? An age thing? Who knows? Still we will keep knocking on the door until we're let in, and keep hammering away in Europe, the US, South America and the Far East in the meantime.
4. Which eras of UFO do the band cover and which songs the band especially look forward to playing live?
We do about 40% of 'our' UFO songs at present, many of which we've had tremendous feedback from fans about. Of course, the present UFO boys simply don't have the time to do many of these, what with a 40+ year catalogue containing so much great stuff.
So we do 'Highway Lady' and 'Can You Roll Her', as well as (very soon!) 'On With The Action' from "No Heavy Petting", and 'Backdoor Man' (one of my favourite songs to sing!), "Love Deadly Love" and "She's The One", from "High Stakes", as well as (again, soon!) 'Borderline', which I think is a killer track.
In fact, I believe that "High Stakes" would have been a major hit album, had it been released in the Chrysalis era, no question. It's chock-a-block with classics, all penned by Laurence of course, with Phil and sometimes Pete and Clive.
Naturally we also do some of the more established songs like 'Let It Roll', 'Love to Love', 'Only You Can Rock Me', 'Rockbottom', 'Lights Out', etc., and we pay hommage to Rocky's time in MSG with 'Armed and Ready'.
I think it would be safe to say we play most of the set at a breakneck speed in relation to what is 'normally expected'...it's way more fun that way!
Absolutely! It was always our intention to establish the band based on our UFO history, and grow and expand it asap. Our first studio album has been taking shape from day one. We'll still be doing some re-workings of some of 'our' UFO songs which we feel deserve a second chance and which fans are asking us for on an increasing basis.
However, a good 50-60% will be new material. Our goal is to include new songs writen in a style which is a logical progression of our own writing for UFO at the time, and hope it will strike a familiar and exciting chord with our fans, as well as helping us conquer new ones.
6. Has the internet helped you get your music out there or has it in some ways hindered it by websites offering free downloads? Do you still rely heavily on CD sales as opposed to downloads?
At least initially, we hope to move a good number of physical cd's, in order to help support our efforts at getting out there to our fans.
The new cd, "VOL.1: THE LIVE FILES!", is coming out in a neat and collectible digi-pack format, which is so much nicer than your regular jewel case presentation, having as it does, the feel of albums.
I'm sure you can well imagine that we didn't go into this as a means to making a financial killing! We just want to have fun doing something we all love doing, in each other's company. This is a band of mates with a very similar place in the World and life, and who actually like being together.
Against the overwhelmingly supportive, (sometimes ecstatic!) comments we've had, there had to be, naturally, some less so. It's bizarre and quite frankly ridiculous to see the odd comment about 'trading on the name'.
Nobody seems to have much to say about acts like "The Australian Pink Floyd Experience" ("over 3 million tickets sold!"), and so many other straight-out tribute bands! In fact, they enjoy tremendous success!
We've actually been official, writing, recording and touring members of the band and what? we don't have the same rights these guys do to do what we like?
Of course we do. And then some.
For some, it's easy to ignore the fact that only sixteen people in a planet with an estimated population (2011) of 6,928,198,253, have ever been full, recording and touring members of UFO. Of these, only half or less were writer members. Numbers don't lie and that's how hard it was to get the gig in UFO!
7. What have been the live highlights so far and why?
I'd have to say our debut in Ibiza would be number one, due to the overwhelming reaction of the audience, many wearing UFO shirts already, and obviously there to welcome us.
The Bulgaria "Aero Rock Starz Festival" was tremendous too, as were all of the Euro fests we did in 2011, and Milan too.
Every single show has been exciting and a total party atmosphere, and when the crowd is there in full, everything goes crazy!!! but in a good way.
8. Danny - how did you hook-up with Angel Air who reissued your solo album 'Make The Monkey Dance' last year? Is there any unreleased HMK or solo material that could see the light of day on this label at some stage?
I was approached by Peter Purnell, who runs Angel Air, to ask if we would be happy to release a live album of 'the old days', with the original line-up, that is with Micky Waller and I in the band. Nothing seemed to have survived from then, other than the Old Grey Whistle tv appearance. A fan approached Peter with a not-at-all-terrible tape he had made with a decent quality cassette recorder at The Marquee.
I don't know what happenned with that particular project, but I told Peter about our desire to re-release "Hit The Right Button" as a 'Special Collectors Edition' including 4 of the old classic HMK songs recorded with the new band in 2004 or so.
Peter liked the idea and released it, with different art-work, etc.
Meanwhile, he heard my little solo effort, "MAKE THE MONKEY DANCE" and fell in love with it on a trip to the US, so he re-released that too.
I am still putting finishing touches and adding on to a follow-up to the Monkey, and I'm sure I'd be happy for Angel Air to release it, since they've been really serious, pro and all-round excellent with me!
As for unreleased HMK material, as you probably know, I have no connection to Ron or Keith and whoever they're playing with now and no idea whether or not they're still using the name. Marco Barusso, our producer on HTRB, as well as on Make The Monkey Dance, who was also the guitarist in the band and the only reason why the HMK got the chance to make such a powerful album at all, is now a part of CAYNE, a young band that is finding a good measure of success in Europe: www.facebook.com/events/300215796697128/
He was very dissapointed with the way he was treated and, if he has any recorded material, I doubt it will ever see the light of day.
In fact, now that you mention it, I seem to remember my Angel Air friends telling me they had received some thinly-veiled 'scaaary'-threatening letters from some solicitor purporting to represent the guitarist in the band at the time and warning them off releasing any further material.
Understandably, my friends preferred to have nothing to do with the sad and sorry affair.
As for me personally, I've long ago consigned that unhappy moment to the dust-bin of my little life and the 'lessons learnt' section (not that one ever learns, but hey...we try!), and moved on to enjoying myself with X-UFO. A brilliant plan, I'm sure you'll agree!!! :)
9. Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell…
It must have been early 1974...we were doing a great big festival in Dortmund with the HMK. On the bill were Humble Pie, ELO, Black Oak Arkansas, and, ideally, Rory Gallagher, who was huge in Germany then.
Rory was not going to be making the festival and the promoter was too frightened to let the audience know! Chaos broke out when they found out, in spite of the great line-up. We were staying in a hotel which was attached, underground, to the indoor stadium, and safely in our rooms by then.
Gary and I were sharing a room and, since it was his birthday, I gave him a couple of mandrax (veeery bad...but oddly fun drugs of the time) that someone had given me, as a present.
Steve Marriott somehow heard about this, and came charging up to our room, where we found ourselves in deep sleep. After much shouting he thought it a good idea to kick the door in. So in marches Stevie waving a small pistol and demanding the mandys from Gaz.
Gaz only half-wakes and tells him to fuck-off at the same time as grabbing for the said substances from the bedside table and tossing them in the general direction of the screaming cockney lunatic.
Next morning, apparently, Steve went right to the front desk and paid for the door. So he was a conscientious boy, as well as a brilliant singer and song-writer.
This story, by the way, was re-hashed by Phil, according to a Classic Rock piece on UFO from a few years ago, but with the names of the characters changed.
Of course, I had related it to my then new band-mates, and time and much hard-living have a habit of altering the facts. :)
10. What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?
I love writing, and hope to finish my first book before it's all over, and the sun has gone supernova.
I also love the Mediterranean, where I mostly live, and try and spend as much time in or by it as possible.
Anything else to add and a message for your fans...
Thank you all for your long and loyal support over the years...if there's anything that stands out above everything else for me, it's how lucky I've been to have the fans I have.
I've no idea how numerous they are.
But I know they're the absolute best.
Do give our X-UFO a good listen and a good look if you can. It's the happiest musical moment of my life since TARZEN, and I'm sure you will love it!!!
All the best to you all, monkees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!