Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting To The Core : An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist Vinnie Moore Of UFO

Influenced by the music of Jeff Beck, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Queen, guitarist Vinnie Moore first picked up the instrument at age 12 .

After traveling the familiar route of playing clubs and bars, the Delaware born musician was discovered by legendary Shrapnel Records head honcho Mike Varney through a magazine article in Guitar Player Magazine, leading to not only a contract with the label but also the opportunity to write and perform (only his hands are seen) in a national Pepsi commercial in 1985.

The release of his debut all instrumental album 'Mind's Eye' in 1987 heralded the arrival of a supreme talent on the then overcrowded shred guitar scene of the 1980's. Despite the overabundance of virtuoso players whose sole reason for existence seemed to be to display how fast they could burn up and down the fretboard, Moore quickly rose to the top of the heap, with the release garnering him 'Best New Talent' awards from Guitar Player, Guitar and Guitar World magazines. Going on to sell over 100,000 copies, it brought him directly into the spotlight of the guitar world.

Over the next decade and a half Moore continued to impress, releasing five critically acclaimed studio and one live album. A high profile stint with rock legend Alice Cooper on both the 1989 'Hey Stoopid' album and accompanying tour served to increase his visibility and extend his influence.

While the fortunes of many players in the scene declined with the shifting of popular musical tastes in the early 90's due to the arrival of grunge - resulting in instrumental rock and any form of music with guitar solos to fall largely from favor - he continued to be extremely popular world wide, conducting hundreds of guitar clinics throughout Japan, Scandanavia, Italy, Poland, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, England, Germany and Australia.

In 2003 Moore joined renowned British hard rock icons UFO after the departure of guitarist Michael Schenker for 2004's 'You Are Here' album. While initially there was some resistance from some die-hard fans of the band unable to come to grips with anyone filling the shoes of the heroic German legend, the release of 2005's superb live DVD/CD 'Showtime' and 2006's' studio offering 'The Monkey Puzzle' seemed to silence most critics, cementing Moore's status as a world class player within the group setting.

This year has seen a renewed flurry of activity from Moore with first the release of a brand new UFO studio album 'The Visitor', which despite the absence of founding bassist Pete Way - currently battling liver disease and unable to record or tour with the band - shows the rock veterans returning to form with arguably their finest release since 1995's 'Walk On Water'. Tempering their time tested brand of Euro based heaviness with a healthy dose of 70's styled blues rock, the influence of the guitarist is stamped throughout the recording. Both compositionally and via stellar axe work he shines from start to finish.

Just released also is Moore's first instrumental solo album in eight years 'To The Core'. Wonderfully diverse, encompassing hard rock, blues, jazz and funk, the recording is a fine showcase for the prodigious talents which have made him one of the most influential and important guitarists to emerge out of the virtuoso boom in the mid to late eighties.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Moore to discuss the brand new UFO album, his solo work, his thoughts on the state of his playing and much more. Read on to access the exclusive interview

1 comment:

Ron said...

i too am a die hard fan of the UFO from the past like Strangers in the Night era...but am now a believer of how KICK ASS he really I can only Hope that they will tour my part of the country. P'cola, Fl. my fingers are crossed.

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