Interview with Legendary Rock Icon Pete Way

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Pete! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Pete Way: The pleasure is all mine, Mick. 

CV: It's a long way to the top if you want to Rock n Roll so they say. And along the way, you have worked with many of the greats including Michael Schenker, Ozzy, "Fast" Eddie Clarke and Phil Mogg to name just a few. Though the road is long still, what do see as being the highlight of your career thus far? Is there any one point that stands apart from such an array of accomplishments?
PW: I suppose it has to be breaking the US after a grueling tour schedules.  We went from clubs to the giddy heights of playing stadiums when we had our first Top 30 album with Chrysalis.  It was the second album we recorded with the label.

CV: UFO is considered to be a major influence on the 1980s rise of Heavy Metal; as well as being cited as the band that helped bridge the transition from Hard Rock to Metal during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal invasion in the late 70s. Did the band see itself in such a role?
PW: I’m not sure we realized what an influence we were.  We just concentrated on being a good solid Rock band who interspersed their Rock repertoire with strong ballads. I always thought of Metal as Iron Maiden etc.  We did have just about every Rock band as our support and then we’d notice a lot of the bands were playing bass like me and songs began to be structured like UFO.  We always thought the copying as the greatest honor another band could bestow.

CV: They often say "lead by example" and UFO did just that. From sound, style and attitude, UFO made an impression both musically, selling over 20 million records worldwide and culturally, influencing future bands such as Saxon, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Were you at all aware that UFO was also setting an example to follow and making such an impact on what future bands and artists would strive to become?
PW: I’ve probably covered this point in the last question but we were aware of the other bands who worked with us as support as being influenced by us on some level. Again, we thought of this as an honor rather than an form of plagiarism.

CV: Was UFO attuned to all the changes that were taking place in music during that time in the late 70s? Did the changes have an effect on how the band was writing and recording?

PW: It didn’t change the way we wrote or performed…but we were aware that Punk and Ska/Reggae were popular.  But fans still wanted to see us perform and listen to our albums because we had cracked America which was much more attuned to Rock than any other genre of music.

CV: Pete, your personal playing style, energy and attitude have also been very influential as well on many aspiring bass players, namely Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. Are you an Iron Maiden fan?
PW: I admire both Steve and Maiden.  They are a damned good Rock band and Steve is a master bass player.

CV: In 2004, VH1's That Metal Show host Eddie Trunk listed you in his Top 5 Bassists of all time. A proclaimed UFO fan, Trunk included such notable players as Geezer Bulter, the late Cliff Burton, Billy Sheenan and Steve Harris. Do you take an interest in such lists? Does being listed with other players have any bearing on how you view yourself as an artist?
PW: No not really.  It was an honor really, but I admired the other bass players on that particular list because they were bass players who aspired to be good songwriters.  Nikki Sixx always impressed me…he was a friend…and he wrote some good songs, which is how I liked to be perceived.  Any monkey can play the bass notes but achieving writing a hit means so much more…it does to me anyway.

CV: Does performing still have the same meaning for you after all these years? What drives you to keep going out on you see it as part of who you are?

PW: It’s in my blood and whilst I am enjoying it I will keep going. I’m having a great time at the moment touring with the Pete Way Band.  They are great musicians and we all get on so it is not a chore.

CV: The Pete Way Band is now gearing up to be back on the road later this month with a host of dates that take you into January of 2020. What are you looking forward to most on this tour?
PW: Playing Rock and enjoying ourselves.  Everyone has such a good time…the band and the audience.

CV: Pete, has your life and musical career been all about the journey and less about the destination? Has the experience, and there has been many, been worth the ride in your opinion?
PW: Yes! I wouldn’t do anything else…although there would be a few things I wouldn’t do if I had to do it all again.  Being late for Christmas is one.  When I finally arrived home on Boxing Day in 2000 I found my wife dead on the bathroom floor. That wasn’t really my finest hour.

CV: Motorhead’s Lemmy had said “if you think you're too old to rock n roll then you are,”…was he right? Is music timeless or does it have an age limit?
PW: I believe your body tells you when it’s time to quit.  My body is happily OK at the moment…although I have had several health scares.

CV: Bass player, songwriter, performer, have covered all the bases and your credits are legendary. Do you appreciate the things you have done as an artist and see them as the fans see them or do you view them more as stepping stones to get you where you want to go and what you want to do?
PW: I am extremely self critical but I would say I do things to please the fans.  I need things to be perfect though.  I would rather not do something unless it is 100%.  I love songwriting and enjoy creating a masterpiece!

CV: An artist's need to create can be an overwhelming and compelling drive. Are you that type of artist? Are you compelled, by your nature, to create?
PW: I work when I feel like it.  You can’t force the creative process and write a good song if you don’t feel 100% up for it.  Anything I do write or arrange then gets played to the band…if they like it that drives me on.  You are always in competition with yourself…so you must keep your standards up.

CV: Can an artist achieve contentment by their accomplishments or does their drive to create hinder the feeling of satisfaction.
PW: I think that it does.  I write songs all the time and I always think the most recent is the best.  I lose interest when a song is finished.

CV: The music industry has seemed to have turned itself upside down over the last number of years. What has your time and experience in the business taught you about weathering a change as an artist? Is there always a light at the end of the tunnel for those who stay true to the course?
PW: I must stay true to my roots.  I don’t follow trends and have a lot of self belief.  Rock ‘n’ Roll seems to still be popular. The one difference with my genre of music seems to have gone 360 degrees and I have just re-released the “Amphetamine” album on special edition white vinyl.  I never thought I’d be releasing vinyl again but very pleased that I am able to release this format.  What with touring, vinyl and merchandise, we’ve gone back to where we started and I thank God for it.

CV: What's next for you?
PW: I am picking up the tour in the UK again along with the band and then we plan to tour Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the USA and then back to Europe for the festivals.  I will have my new solo album released in 2020 through an American label…so we’ll be there for some time.  The new album is produced by Mike Clink who worked on Guns & Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” amongst several other massive sellers. We have Slash as a guest on one track and Nikki Sixx as well has put some bass down because I am on vocal duty for the new album and tour.  There are several other friends who will be making guest appearances on the album but their identities are strictly confidential...but the album won’t be boring!

CV: Thank you again Pete for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.
PW: As before - it is my pleasure Mick.

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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