An Interview with
Frontman of The Pete Way Band
& formerly the Bassist of UFO & Waysted that took place at
Coney Grey Showground, Pentrich, Derbyshire, UK on 26th July, 2019.
Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: I'm sat here with the legend, Pete Way of the Pete Way Band, how are you doing Sir?
Pete: I'm fine Glenn. Not too bad. I'll let you know after the show.
Glenn: A nice energetic one and you'll be worn out probably?
Pete: The one thing we actually do is Rock! It's non-stop Rock. We throw a couple of slower songs in – ballady things – but it really is in-your-face rock.
Glenn: Nice. The last time I saw you was quite a few years ago (21st August 2007 in fact) at The Plug in Sheffield. I remember you wave when I waved the current UFO CD (Walk On Water) in the air.
Pete: Really? I have to say that I can't honestly remember that but I remember going to Sheffield quite a lot. I like Sheffield. You get a good audience. We played the City Hall quite a lot. After all these years my memory's not all that great.
Glenn: We've got some good places in Sheffield still to play.
Pete: It's a really good place for rock bands to play. They know their music there. UFO – we always enjoyed playing there.
Glenn: Yeah. Can you see you guys coming back up to Sheffield?
Pete: My band, The Pete Way Band?
Pete: Yeah. Course we would. We always do Sheffield, Nottingham – places like that. Our main aim in a way is going back to America and do Japan, Australia and places like that. But we do want to play England first. It's difficult to say because we've still got to make a reputation of it. Okay, I've played bass with UFO but people haven't seen the band so we've got to get out there and show what we can do.
Glenn: Exactly. You wrote a book (A Fast Ride Out Of Here). What was it like for you to write the book and get other people to jog your memory? How was it putting all that together?
Pete: With Paul Rees it wasn't difficult. The company had done their research. They asked me and it obviously triggered my memory. To an certain extent for better or for worse. I think they just wanted Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll and Sex.
Glenn: You've lived it haven't you. You are the ultimate Rock 'N' Roll apart from, say Lemmy?
Pete: Apparently so, I think I may have outdone Lemmy actually. With Ozzy, he sort of regards me as like 'Too Hot To Handle' as such. But not any more. After my illnesses, I take life as it comes. But I really concentrate on it with the band. I have to. It comes with responsibility.
Glenn: Yeah. We all have that. It's good that you are still here – rocking out!
Pete: Yeah! I am. My Doctor said to me, “Look Pete, you should be dead”. So there you go. (We laugh). He was talking about people that had passed away at a certain age. I said, “Yeah, I can't understand that”. He said, “Well I don't know why – you should be dead”.
Glenn: (I laugh) Well you aren't on the first few pages of Classic Rock yet. It's all good.
Pete: Yeah. I try and keep healthy. I had prostate cancer. I needed a lot of radiotherapy. I've had three minor heart attacks. But other than that... the medication I take now is very different from medication I used to take. It's a bit like, 'Oh god, I've got to remember to take those pills'. I didn't need to be reminded when I was using, that's for sure.
Glenn: How do you manage to remember?
Pete: It's actually quite amazing. You say to yourself, “Oh I've got to take those bloody tablets”. I might be watching football or practising. I think, 'I'll take them later'. With a gram of coke, I wouldn't be worrying about how long I had to wait.
Glenn: (I laugh) How did you get The Pete Way Band together as the nucleus it is now? I know you've got one of the guys from Waysted in the band and also Laurence Archer.
Pete: Really and truly because they are my friends. Clive (Edwards) took a bit of a grip on it. I presented stuff to Clive and I said, “I'd really like to go and work”. Then we've got Tym (Scopes) who plays lead guitar. I have got Jason Poole playing bass which is what I would have done. I found it was a bit too much of a strain trying to do 100% lead vocal and 100% bass.
Every now and again it gets a bit too much. I can either be a really good bass player but if I've written the songs, we do most of the songs I've written, I enjoy singing them the way I wanted them to be sung.
Glenn: Was it strange for you to go from playing Bass and doing some backing vocals to doing front vocals all of a sudden? You always wanted to do that no doubt?
Pete: Well to be honest with you, when I wrote the songs, I was doing vocals anyway for writing. I do write words for music. I write on the six string. Actually, the hardest thing was getting that part of it going great, then think, 'What would I play on bass to this?' Anyway, at the moment, that's solved for me because the band is actually very, very good. I look at them and I think, 'God, I wish I could be as good as that'.
Glenn: When you've been in the studio recording the album, what have been the highlights or the low parts of recording? How has it changed over the years would you say for you personally?
Pete: Well the album hasn't come out yet – 'Walking On The Edge'. It's like getting my friends. Slash plays on a couple of songs. There's a very, very good session drummer (Kenny Aronoff) who has played with everybody – Paul McCartney, John Fogerty – you name it. He was originally in Smashing Pumpkins. He's one of the top session drummers. Various people have played parts. I just do the vocals. I do generally get somebody to play the bass. I do actually play the bass parts to demonstrate what I think would be a good idea. Mike Clink actually says, “Oh, Good ideas – you don't play!”
Glenn: You can always put a ghost track down for the guys to hear so they know where they are going?
Pete: The thing is, because it's taken so long, it's very much like that. As soon as I am ready to do it, I'll send Mike some stuff or Mike comes over. I've had the illness and the heart (problems). Mike's also doing other stuff so he's been juggled around it. Other than that, it sounds really good. I haven't heard the finished part because I'm still patching up some lead vocals at the moment. That doesn't come easy.
Glenn: Do you find your voice is getting stronger because you've been used to doing that more? Is it hard first off?
Pete: Well to be honest with you, it seems to come naturally because my heroes on vocals aren't the sort of people that (have high voices)... Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan... those sorts of people... Johnny Cash. Bon Scott obviously – it all goes into a mix and I turn it into Rock!
Glenn: Yeah. What songs would you say from the forthcoming album, mean the most to you that you are most proud of and enjoy performing or will enjoy performing?
Pete: We do one or two songs from what would be the new album. One's called 'Narcotics' which is a bit of a tongue in cheek song that Slash wanted to play on because he said he liked the words, 'Peruvian Cocaine' on it. It's all about going to rehab so it's called 'Narcotics'. You go into a course. All my friends are getting high on narcotics but I actually explain I'm not. That sort of thing.
There's a ballad that we do called 'Heartache'. That's one of the ones that get close to being ballads. The rest of it, I play off the 'Amphetamine' album and the one I did with Michael Schenker which is 'The Plot'. There's a couple of songs from 'The Plot' on it. Off the 'Amphetamine' album- about five songs from that – then I do of course the obvious UFO songs. When everybody sort of goes off, I'll go and put on 'Doctor, Doctor'.
Glenn: No doubt the crowd goes wild?
Pete: Yeah. It makes it easier for me because everyone sings along.
Glenn: How did it come about getting Slash on the album?
Pete: Slash has been a friend of mine for a long time. Mike Clink produced 'Appetite For Destruction' and Slash was always about when Mike was working on my idea in Los Angeles. He was working with Slash at the same time. Slash heard it and he said, “Oh I like that and I like that”. Mike talked to me and said, “Slash wants to play on it”. There's nothing like the best.
Glenn: Sweet. What are you looking forward to about today's gig?
Pete: I am hoping that everybody likes it because they won't see me playing too much bass. We could be under-rehearsed or not under-rehearsed because we very much play it by ear. We've only been playing a few shows so we're out there on our own and I've got to be a frontman. I don't think I'll ever be Freddie Mercury or Mick Jagger...
Glenn: You're going to be Pete Way and that's all the audience can expect of you.
Pete: Yeah. That's why the band get a bit nervous. (We laugh)
Glenn: I think a lot of people are going to be intrigued to heard Pete Way as a vocalist and what he sounds like.
Pete: Well the thing is, I write all my songs and sing them to people as a vocalist. It came naturally. It started out in Chicago. I got asked to do a charity show for kids that were terminally ill. They said to me, “Would you play because UFO are very popular in Chicago?” I said, “Oh yeah, I'll do it”. Then I asked various people like Phil but they weren't really available.
The guy said to me, “Is there any way you could do it? “. I said, “Well I might as well sing them.” So I did and that all went down alright. I couldn't have done it for a better cause and I wasn't going to get booed off – you know what I mean? It raised money. That's me for you actually. I was giving it away than actually keeping it. (Laughs)
Glenn: Are you releasing your new album on your own label?
Pete: The actual 'Walking On The Edge' album – I'm not sure. We've got several people/companies interest. We held it back because obviously they don't buy fair share and we don't want to present it until it's finished. I've been paying for it myself. I haven't really got any money left. (We laugh) No (he exclaims).
Glenn: Just enough to put gas in the tank to get up here and back down again.
Pete: Yeah. That's what I do isn't it? I'm still alive so I try and enjoy it.
Glenn: What vocalists grab your attention these days or even bass players now compared to the past?
Pete: I don't know. I seem to go back really like with Bon Scott. It's nobody that I particularly want to copy. I don't know. I seem a little bit out of touch if I was to say certain singers because I don't really know. I don't really listen to any. That's why people say to me, “Have you just crawled out from under a rock?” Bass players – really and truly, I find with bass playing, I like really solid bass players. People like Cliff Williams when he was in AC/DC. He was rigid and so solid.
There's a few but not off the top of my head, I can't think necessarily, Going back there's John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. That was more in the angle that I would go. I listened to it and I thought, 'Wow'. You don't have to do anything particularly flash. What you do is you compliment the drummer. That's about it really.
Glenn: Yeah! I noticed you are doing some shows with 'Burnt Out Wreck' as well which is cool.
Pete: Oh yeah. I've heard their music and I thought it sounded very good. I've never seen them live but I have to say, credit where credit's due – very good. I mean, that reminds me of AC/DC. Gary's got the right sound and the right attitude. Having said that, I've not seen him on stage but hopefully I can emulate that – we'll see.
Glenn: What do you enjoy outside music?
Pete: Football. Aston Villa.
Glenn: Of course, it says in on your Facebook.
Glenn: You've always been a big football fan then?
Pete: Oddly enough, I've only really got into it after I've been living in America. As a kid I used to support Tottenham with my cousin. That was when I was about nine. I came back from the States, I bought a house in England and I kept bumping into these people at lunchtime in the pub. They said, “Who do you support?” and I said, “I don't really support anybody” because if you live in the 'States you lose track of the leagues. They said, “Well we support 'Villa”. I started off reading the reviews, then I went and that was it.
Glenn: What would you like to say to round off the interview because this has been nice having a good chat with you?
Pete: It's always a pleasure and it's really great that somebody like yourself takes an interest and prepared to talk about it. I'll see if I can make a nitwit of myself at the show or come across like Elvis (we laugh).
Glenn: Well it's been an absolute pleasure having a good chat with you.
Pete: My pleasure.
Big thanks to Claire Moat for setting up the Interview and various members of the RBCS Team for their tremendous help.