Nothing would be easier for British rock legends UFO than to rest on their laurels. The band could easily release the occasional best-of album to earn a few additional royalties and be content with looking back at their exceptionally glorious past. And it certainly wouldn’t be a problem for UFO to sell out tours on the strength of their legendary name. But idleness or indeed a musical standstill have always been out of the question for Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond, Andy Parker, and Vinnie Moore. These in equal measures experienced and ambitious musicians are interested in the present, their love of creativity and the active continuation of their celebrated band history. And now we can look forward to Seven Deadly, the band’s latest studio album which combines present and future with UFO‘s greatest fortes. Mogg, Raymond, Parker and Moore are set to release 10 brand-new songs on SPV/Steamhammer February 28th in North America.
The album will be released as a limited edition digipak (incl. 2 bonus tracks), a Double Gatefold LP with printed innersleeves and coloured vinyl, standard edition and download.
What is this bold thesis based on – in view of the countless classics the band has produced throughout its history? Not only on the fact that UFO have that perfect mix of talent, charisma and experience, but also on each individual band member, who currently all seem to be bursting with a zest for action and a wealth of ideas. Seven Deadly is an atmospherically dense fabric consisting of classy guitars, tight rock grooves and vocals which are unique to UFO. So it’s no wonder that sound engineer Tommy Newton, in whose Area 51 studio in Celle, Germany, the new tracks were recorded, commented: “I’ve never heard a better Phil Mogg!”
The UFO frontman’s thoroughly impressive vocal performance goes hand in hand with the awesome compositions on Seven Deadly. The classic rock of ‘Burn Your House Down’ features all the important UFO strengths, ‘Going Down To Mojotown’ sees the musicians sound tougher than ever, and last but not least ‘Wonderland’ features a pointed reference to UFO‘s early days. ‘Angel Station‘ sees the band prove how classic rock music is complemented perfectly with epic elements, while ‘Fight Night’ is an excellent track to be performed in a live context. There’s no need to draw attention to the technical skills of original UFO members Paul Raymond and Andy Parker, their music sounding inspired and faultless at the same time. Having said that, Vinnie Moore’s exceptional guitar style deserves to be explicitly mentioned as well. The American musician not only lends the songs expression and power with his haunting licks and dynamic riffs, but also contributes solos on Seven Deadly which can only be described as absolute world class.
As already mentioned, UFO continue to be a live force to be reckoned with. Their UK tour has been scheduled for March/April 2012 before the band go on to tour the rest of Europe. A little note in passing: at the time of Seven Deadly‘s release, UFO will be performing at the Monsters Of Rock Cruise – The Voyage: there could hardly be a more fitting setting for this exciting new album!
UFO live 2012
25.-28.02. US-Florida/Bahamas – Monsters Of Rock Cruise – The Voyage
15.03. GB-Cambridge – The Junction
16.03. GB-Edinburgh – MV Picture House
17.03. GB-Newcastle – O2 Academy
18.03. GB-Leeds – O2 Academy
20.03. IRE-Dublin – Academy
21.03. GB-Belfast – Spring & Airbrake
23.03. GB-Milton Keynes – The Stables
24.03. GB-Tavistock – The Wharf
25.03. GB-Bristol – O2 Academy
27.03. GB-Nottingham – Rock City
28.03. GB-Norwich – Waterfront
30.03. GB-Manchester – HMV Ritz
31.03. GB-Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall
01.04. GB-Southampton – The Brook
03.04. GB-Brighton – Concorde 2
04.04. GB-London – Forum
27.04. D-Glauchau – Alte Spinnerei
28.04. D-Malchim – Mecklenburger Motorradtreffen
02.05. D-Metzingen – Festkeller
03.05. D-Siegburg – Kubana
– more dates will be released soon –
Every band that has been around for a long period of time falls into a similar trap. There is too much material to be celebrated. Certain songs rise to the top, other songs sink to the bottom, but then there are those songs that are spectacular, but never get the attention that they deserve.
One of those bands that suffer this problem is AC/DC. They have a vast catalog of material, ripe with hits and potential hits, but all we ever hear on the radio is “Shook Me All Night Long,” or “Highway To Hell.” It’s like the radio DJs forgot that there are several other amazing AC/DC songs. Sometimes the fans forget this too. AC/DC is much deeper than Back In Black. Here now are 10 AC/DC songs that deserve much more exposure than they get.
10. “Baby Please Don’t Go”
I know that it is a cover song. However, if you listen to Angus’ solo on “Baby Please Don’t Go,” you can’t help but wonder why this song never gets played more, either in concert or on the radio. With Bon Scott on lead vocals, AC/DC recorded an unbelievable cover of this Big Joe Williams classic. As one of their earliest hits, “Baby Please Don’t Go” held up over the years. Every time I hear Angus break into the amazing solo and respond to Bon’s cries of “Baby…!” I want to play air guitar like never before.
9. Breaking The Rules
Perhaps the most underrated AC/DC album is For Those About To Rock We Salute You. The album that followed the greatest selling album in AC/DC history was bound to have some problems standing out, but many fans forget how chock full of potential hits this record is. One of the best songs on the album receives no love at all. “Breaking The Rules” is a two fisted, bar stomping, rock and roll of a good time. The song epitomizes the sound of early 80s AC/DC and I would give a lot to hear this song performed in concert. Why the band continually ignores this song in concert is a huge mystery to me.
8. Hold Me Back
Capturing the more recent style of AC/DC (more jazz and blues, less heavy metal), “Hold Me Back,” is a fantastic song centered around a hard core Angus Young riff. Sure, the basic 1-2-3-4 beat is simple in nature, but the way Brian Johnson sings to that beat is magnificent. “Hold Me Back” is a song that can just get a music fan going. Any time the opening riff is performed, feet will immediately be tapping. “Hold Me Back” is a powerful song that somehow slipped through the cracks. While Stiff Upper Lip is more known for the title cut and “Safe In New York City,” it’s a real shame to forget about the beauty that is “Hold Me Back.”
7. Mistress For Christmas
One of the most innovative songs on one of AC/DC’s best albums is definitely “Mistress For Christmas.” Written about such a simple idea (and many a man’s desire) I’m amazed that the band didn’t think to write this song sooner than they did. Technically a Christmas song, “Mistress For Christmas,” probably won’t be found on any holiday compilations, but you can guarantee that if you come to the Vie household, you will hear this song every year like clockwork. Combining a solid, standard rhythm and playful lyrics, “Mistress For Christmas” is just a fun song.
6. Let Me Put My Love Into You
It’s hard to say that any song on Back In Black is underrated or ignored. Back In Black is the band’s signature album, a perfect album, and an album that every fan knows every lyric to every song. However, when you look at live concerts, radio play, and video collections, “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is nowhere to be found. That is practically criminal as it is one of the strongest songs on the record. Until the most recent Black Ice tour, I’m not sure if AC/DC ever performed this song live. Complete with slow, sex filled lyrics, and humping, rhythmic beat, “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is gold for the ears. A fantastic song that certainly needs to be dusted off and played a lot more often than it is.
5. Love At First Feel
Witty, loose, creative lyrics make “Love At First Feel” one of the greatest AC/DC songs that no one remembers. While “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” And “Big Balls” get all the fame from this album, “Love At First Feel” is one of the best songs on the record. Bon’s voice is at its peak and singing about falling in love with a woman the first time he touched her is a nice change from the basic cliché of love at first sight. The originality in the lyrics is a refreshing change of pace. The playfulness of the words make “Love At First Feel” a memorable song, yet I never hear it anywhere except on my IPOD. That is a true crime to AC/DC fans everywhere.
4. Down Payment Blues
Any hard rock fan who has ever struggled to pay a bill at some point in their life has undoubtedly cranked “Down Payment Blues” up to ten and screamed at the top of their lungs. “I got holes in my shoes…and I’m way overdue…Down Payment Blues!” Bon Scotts wailing cries of poverty struck a chord with me in my younger days when the choice between eating or paying the electric bill was a very real nightmare indeed. Nothing would help me get over the hump of payday poverty more than singing out “can’t even feed my cat…on social security.” Written during the early days of the band, long before a huge payday, “Down Payment Blues” captures the mood of Bon at the time. Being broke sucks. This is an excellent anthem that should be remembered much more often.
3. Love Hungry Man
As is the case with any song from Back In Black, it’s hard to imagine that there is a song from Highway To Hell that doesn’t get recognition. However, that is the case with “Love Hungry Man.” The entire album finds Bon Scott’s voice at its best with the band, however, “Love Hungry Man” stands out for the terrific high notes that Scott hits. I honestly believe this is the reason AC/DC does not perform this song in concert. As great as he is, I am not sure that Brian Johnson would be able to do this song justice. With slick lyrics like “oh baby you’re such a treat, a man’s got to eat.” “Love Hungry Man,” may not be the deepest song in AC/DC’s catalog, but it is one heck of a fun song to rock out to.
One of the best solos that Angus Young has ever performed is stuck on a record that almost no one owns. Flick Of The Switch is an album that suffers from poor timing. Released after For Those About To Rock… in the mid-eighties, Flick Of The Switch received little promotion and even less fan buzz. That is a true shame, because it is a solid album. The best gem from this disc is “Landslide.” The opening riff snaps the senses alive an Angus’ finger picking is second to none. The solos burst the song to life and if AC/DC ever decided to pull this song out in concert, you would hear me screaming from the rooftops. “If you want classic Brian Johnson era AC/DC, you need to listen to “Landslide.” It is one of the best songs the band ever recorded with Johnson at the microphone.
1. Ain’t No Fun Waitin’ Round To Be A Millionaire
The early days of AC/DC being broke and hungry found them at their most creative. Bon Scott penned several songs about needing money, wanting money, and not having money, and most of them were true masterpieces. One of the best of those themes is “Ain’t No Fun Waitin’ Round To Be A Millionare.” With lyrics like “I got patches, on the patches, of my old blue jeans—well they used to be blue, when they used to be new, when they used to be clean,” AC/DC wrote a terrific song about waiting for stardom that was forgotten almost as soon as it was written. That sucks. “Ain’t No Fun…” could be the greatest AC/DC song ever recorded after “Shook Me All Night Long,” and yet, not many fans remember it. Bon sings of being supported by a woman working double shifts while he is trying to make it as a rock star. The doubt of what the future holds, if anything, is painted all over the song. Complete with some great blues rock, “Ain’t No Fun…” is certainly fun if you’re a fan of AC/DC.
These songs deserve more exposure. Perhaps the DJs over at The Boneyard will give them some more attention. Who knows, maybe AC/DC themselves will read this column and dust off some of these beauties for their next world tour. Stranger things have happened.
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