Book review: High Stakes & Dangerous Men – The UFO Story by Neil Daniels

Soundcheck Books

UFO have never been a massive band like say Deep Purple, although they have had periods in their history, most notably the 70’s Schenker years, when they easily sold out Apollo sized venues here in the UK and had notable success in the US. They have had numerous line-up changes, throughout which vocalist Phil Mogg has been the one constant and the band has released some classic albums.

This book is a chronological run through the band’s history with the author Neil Daniels adding in his own review of each album. Sadly no new interviews with the key figures in the band’s history Phil Mogg, Pete Way and Michael Schenker, although their views are represented by quotes from older interviews with them. However, in the case of Mogg and Way I would imagine both will keep the powder dry on many key stories for their own memoirs.

There is interesting insight from a couple of the producers involved with albums recorded by the band, including Ron Nevison who is very honest about his time working with the band and Leon Lyons, who was heavily involved in the early days of the band, plus he managed them for a short while too.

I had forgotten how many times Michael Schenker kept leaving the band, only to rejoin later, between 1995 and 2002, a period that saw them release the album ‘Walk On Water’, one of their better latter day albums.

I like the fact the book covers the various solo projects and related bands like Waysted and MSG, albeit briefly. There are recent interviews with past members like Danny Peyronel (who is now in X-UFO), Clive Edwards and Neil Carter, who all who add their own insight about the band and what is was like touring with UFO.

What shines through is that Phil Mogg has kept the band going since it formed, albeit with a couple of short break ups, and that despite all the line-up changes the greatest success came when the classic line-up of Way, Mogg, Schenker, Andy Parker and Paul Raymond were active.  They have had a recent purple patch since guitarist Vinnie Moore joined the band in 2004, releasing a series of well received albums and following a blues rock path.

UFO are still touring and recording and well worth seeing live, although their set list is still heavily based on the classic ‘Strangers In The Night’ album. If you’re a fan of the band grab this book to sit along Martin Popoff’s earlier tome on the band.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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