Title: “UFO: Shoot Out The Lights”
Author: Martin Popoff
Publisher: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 4/1/2005
Martin Popoff has again delivered a well arranged and enjoyable tome about a bands history for the fans of such literary works. This time around he gives us the scoop on the legendary UFO. For decades this group has been referenced by band after band as a source of inspiration to their own careers. It’s very easy to see how this was the case as UFO gave us some killer rock anthems in their early years. Among the numbers include “Rock Bottom”, “Doctor Doctor”, “Lights Out” and many, many more. This band not only had the warm vocals of Phil Mogg, but also the guitar wizardry of Michael Schenker. Add the skills and creativity of Pete Way and you get the picture. As you will find when reading the book; UFO has had many different lineups over the course of their existence. Yet in most cases that allowed the material to grow and change along with the times.
Popoff uses the same format as he did with his Rush and Blue Oyster Cult history by setting each chapter after the bands individual albums and also referring to songs recorded as well. He pulls many statements from interviews across the years and when placed together give you a solid piece. The album/chapter idea is unique for instance with the section for “Phenomenon” we find as much of the story at that stage of band life while “Force It” continues along from there. When I had read his Rush history I was a bit confused by this layout but as it went along I realized how much it worked. It gives the fan/reader an easy means to reference a point in time or simply focus on their favorite album and absorb more details on that aspect. It is also very comprehensive as bands like Mogg/Way and Michael Schenker Group are discussed, and it take you right until the latest release from the band which is 2004’s “You Are Here”.
While I cannot claim to be a diehard regarding UFO and their contributions to music I can definitely say that this book really increased my appreciation of their life as a legendary act. My only real criticism of the book is the lack of any color photography throughout. Perhaps it was a budget concern, but I think it would have added to it. At 251 pages, it is an enjoyable read nonetheless. I recommend all fans of UFO and the splinter groups formed around them to pick this up.