Text: Luboš Hnát
Foto: Vinnie Moore archive, Lea Melnikovová
American guitar virtuoso VINNIE MOORE is one of the most influential guitarists, who is currently a member of legendary English hard rock band UFO. During his career, he has worked with many great musicians, Alice Cooper and Vicious Rumors to name a few. I have received opportunity to ask Vinnie a few questions. Our conversation revolved not only around the current UFO release, but also around Vinnie's entire career.
In 1985, you wrote a jingle for Pepsi. Do you take it as a 'take-off platform' to the big music world?
The Pepsi commercial was very good because it created a 'buzz' in the business about me. Suddenly people knew about this kid from Delaware who played on a national television ad. So other musicians were curious to know who this new guy was. That certainly helped to create an awareness but I think that the Mind's Eye record was the thing that really started my career.
About your guest appearances on various albums, I first came across your name when you contributed to the album Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper. What did that experience mean for you?
It was a very cool experience because I was a fan of Alice when I was a kid. Initially it was supposed to be just a guest appearance on his record but then it turned into joining his band and touring with him.
Since 2002, you have been a member of the English hard rock giants UFO. How did you actually get in touch with them?
They were looking for a new guitarist and wanted to find someone from England. They didn't do so well so they expanded the search to all of Europe. But they still didn't have any luck. So they started to try to find someone from anywhere in the world. We had a mutual friend who heard about their search and he suggested me to them. He also told me about it. So our managers talked and I was asked to send some of my music to Phil. And so I sent him a CD of 11 of my songs. My manager called me about 10 days later and said: „Congratulations... they like your CD and would like you to join the band."
Were you a fan of UFO before you joined them?
Yes. I had a few of their records when I was a kid and used to learn their songs and play along with them in my bedroom.
You wrote most of the songs on the new album A Conspiracy Of Stars. Does it mean that you have eventually become a main songwriter in UFO?
I have been a main songwriter from the very beginning. They weren't only looking for a guitarist, they were looking for a songwriter also. All the guitarists who played in the band were main songwriters and this is what they were looking for in me also.
You recorded the new album in Kent as the whole band altogether. Why did you choose this method instead of sending songs over the internet, which is more common today?
Actually, everything was recorded in Kent except for my guitars. I prefer to record in my own studio because I am most comfortable there. I was in Kent for rehearsals, and also the recording of the basic tracks. But soon I then went home.
The statement on the album, however, says that all guitars were recorded in the USA. How is it then?
Because I can be in 2 places at once just like Jesus. (haha) As stated in the previous answer, I left Kent and recorded guitars in my studio.
Do you prefer personal contact with the band or do you like working in the comfort of your home? Which of these methods suits you more?
I like playing with the band during rehearsals and when recording drums and bass. But for my parts I prefer to be alone and in my own environment.
Many musicians deal with a problem whether it is better to record digitally or by 'the old-fashioned way' – analog. How did you record A Conspiracy of Stars? And why did you choose the way you did?
We recorded digitally the same way we have since I joined the band. It's a different world now and not very many artists are recording analog. Most studios don't even have 2 inch tape machines anymore, which is how we all recorded back in the 'old days'. Many of the purists swear that analog sounds better, but I would bet that if you gave them blind tests they would not be able to choose which music was recorded analog and which was recorded digitally.
In addition to playing with UFO, you record your solo albums, too. The latest album To the Core was released in 2009. Are you preparing its successor?
Yes. My new solo record is finished and I will be releasing it very soon. Stay tuned!
You are often on tour in the US, but it seems to me that you 'neglect' Europe a little, or am I wrong?
Actually the people in the USA feel the same way and I think they are correct... we tour Europe more than USA.
You are attending the Extreme Guitar tour. I can think of an analogy with the project G3. Is it really meant like that or not?
This was a fun tour that we did in January and February. There are definitely similarities to G3 but I don't know if the organizers did this intentionally or not.
A great album by the project of Rider Red Zone was released last year, where you met the multi-instrumentalist Kelly Keeling and drummer Scot Coogan. Are you going to prepare some more material or will this be the only album?
It is hard to say at the moment but I really love that record and I am very proud of it.
The Dean company manufactures 'Vinnie Moore Series' guitars. Why did you choose this brand?
I talked to a few companies and went with Dean because they were the company that was most excited to build a great guitar for me.
I ask because Dean guitars are not so popular among the musicians in comparison to other brands (Fender, Gibson, Ibanez).
I have been an endorser of both Ibanez and Fender in the past. They are great companies and make great products. But at this point, Dean was the right thing to do for me.
Vinnie, thank you for the interview.
Thank you very much. Hope to see you sometime soooooon!