By Todd Houston
Peter ‘Pete’ Frederick Way is a bass player and notorious rock ‘n’ roll rebel in every sense of the word. Best known for his melodic bass playing with the likes of UFO, Waysted, Fastway and Ozzy Osbourne, Pete has influenced Motley Crue’s Niki Sixx to Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris. Pete and UFO singer Phil Mogg have even sometimes been referred to as the “other” Toxic Twins (referencing Jaggar & Richards and Tyler & Perry). Since then health problems and legality issues have plagued Way and kept the rock ‘n’ roll machine from turning. In 2017 he managed to pen a book called A Fast Ride Out of Here: Confessions of Rock’s Most Dangerous Man. The book did extremely well and today Pete is back in action with a new band, tour and album. Read on as Pete Way and drummer Clive Edwards fill us in on recent happenings.
Rockford Rocked Interview: Good morning Pete! First of all congratulations on getting healthy again. I can’t tell you how many people here in the Chicago area alone are stoked to hear that you have recorded a new album and are touring behind it. Tell us what else has been going on with you these past few years.
Pete Way: Hey Todd, nice to hear from you. To be honest, the past seven years have been a bit of a nightmare health-wise. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 which I found horrifying. Luckily I had symptoms and it was detected early so I got away with a long period of radiotherapy and didn’t have to have chemotherapy. I am now clear of the insidious disease. I spend time working for Prostate Cancer Charities urging men over 50 to be tested and/or examined. The prognosis when caught early is good – left it can be deadly. I also went through a cardiac condition called Atrial Fibrillation which means my heart beat can suddenly become irregular. They have to stop it and start it again maintaining a healthy rhythm. Whilst all that was going on I was trying to record my forthcoming album Walking On The Edge and I wrote a biography with Q magazine editor, Paul Rees, entitled A Fast Ride Out Of Here – Confessions of Rock’s Most Dangerous Man. The title came about after two of my wives died and people connected to me wound up passing away – mainly from overdoses. The book was a critical and commercial success and was a well required cathartic exercise for me at a time when I was required to rest up. Something that I have never found easy.
RRI: So who’s in the new lineup of the Pete Way band?
Pete Way: On drums we have the inimitable Clive “Star” Edwards without whom the spine of the band would collapse. We often call the band the “Clive Edwards Five” as tribute to our leader (laughs). Jason Poole is the band’s multi-instrumentalist ( keyboards, Mandolin, bass and rhythm), as well as my song writing partner on the new album Walking On The Edge. Jason was also in my band Waysted for some time. Laurence Archer who you may know as working with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott in Grand Slam is on lead guitar. Laurence is a fabulous guitarist and makes all the difference to the sound of the band. And lastly Tim Scopes is our very wonderful slide/lead guitar player. I am on vocal duties and play bass on the album. Live I do all the vocals and bass for some of the songs
RRI: Clive, you and Pete have known one another for years. You guys recorded the 1992 UFO release High Stakes and Dangerous Men together. Do you recall when you first met?
Clive Edwards: Well I had met Pete a few times around the time Neil Carter joined UFO from the band Wild Horses, but had not got to know him. We met properly when I started rehearsing for the new UFO line up in late ‘89. He was such a character and brilliant guy to work with that you couldn’t help but enjoy yourself. Funny and talented is a great mix.
RRI: Why did you decided to go with the twin lead guitars this time around?
Pete Way: Well mainly because we don’t use keyboards and this is a guitar band, you know? These two guitarists are second to none and the sound they work out together is phenomenal.
RRI: When and where does the tour start? I was told Sweden?
Pete Way: We do a couple of warm up gigs prior to the festival in Sweden, but yeah that’s our starting point. We are then doing festivals and gigs throughout the UK until just after Christmas 2019. In early 2020 we will be working on a Japanese tour and taking in Australia. They seem to want us despite never touring there as UFO, Ozzy or Waysted. We then plan to come back to the US and Europe.
RRI: I just spoke with producer/engineer Ron Nevison a couple weeks ago. He told me some hilarious stories about the recording of the UFO Lights Out album. Is it true that there were some weird things happening in the studio’s bathroom?
Pete Way: Erm, yes. I put a speaker in the bathroom and while he was in the studio his instructions would come into the bathroom. Of course he knew nothing about it! I won’t go so far as to share the reason for spending so much time in the toilet though.
RRI: Clive, what’s the difference between playing in a band with Pete as opposed to other bass players like Jimmy Bain or even Rocky Newton?
Clive Edwards: They all have their own defining styles, but Pete has a great sense of melody especially on intros and parts where he has some freedom, just listen to “Cherry” or “Love to Love” and you can hear those melodic bass lines. As for being on stage, there is only one Pete Way, no one gets close.
RRI: UFO still draws a huge crowd here in the states especially in my neck of the woods near Chicago. Besides being a great rock band from England who broke it big here in the USA at the height of rock ‘n’ roll madness, what else can we attribute their success and longevity to?
Pete Way: We all share the same thrill of the music. Whether you are playing or listening the music is still fresh as if it was yesterday. It’s called passion and UFO had it in spades.
RRI: Clive, how many of you guys in the band are still allowed here in the states? Be honest.
Clive Edwards: We all are! We weren’t that bad Todd!
RRI: Do you think Clive could take Phil Mogg (UFO singer) in an arm wrestling match?
Pete Way: Phil doesn’t excel at arm wrestling. Due to being a drummer Clive has strong arms and wrists and could take Phil out in a heartbeat! He also tells better jokes than Phil (laughs).
RRI: Please answer accordingly – Pete, how long has it been since you’ve seen your buddy Ozzy?
Pete Way: Due to my health I’ve not been to the US recently, but Ozzy keeps in touch whenever he comes through via our mutual friends.
RRI: Clive, when is the last time you had a beer with Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Etc?)
Clive Edwards: About eight years ago, at The Philo Vibe. That was the last time I actually had a beer with him. I have spoken to him many times since. He has a wicked sense of humor that boy!
RRI: Pete, do you think Brian Wheat (Tesla) and Nikki Sixx have a crush on you or do they just like the way you dress onstage?
Pete Way: Nikki has been quoted as giving me full credit for his “look” and style of playing. Honestly I think he’s just a friend rather than anything else. Brian Wheat has also been quoted as being impressed by my sound. He often drops by when he’s in the UK. He is a true friend and a great support to me.
RRI: Clive, Alex Harvey or Bon Scott?
Clive Edwards: It’s close but it has to be Bon!
RRI: Can we expect to see you guys here in the States anytime soon?
Pete Way: There are plans to come to the US in 2020. We have yet to put some dates together but we are going to Japan/ Pacific Rim/Australia earlier on in the year and then out to the States after that finishing in Europe. I am looking forward to playing the US. Audiences have been very good to me there
RRI: Where can we buy the album when it’s finally available?
Pete & Clive: All usual music outlets – Amazon, etc. We have plans to do a limited vinyl run with merch which we are excited about. We will also be putting out CDs and downloads – again available through music stores and online outlets.
Photo: Pete Way (left) and Clive Edwards (right)
Photo credit: Clive Edwards