Heavy metal guitarist, solo artist and member of British rock group UFO, Vinnie Moore has released 9 solo albums and 3 DVD’s to date.
In this interview Vinnie chats with us about his early roots and musical influences as a guitarist, recording for video games soundtracks and TV commercials, his signature “Vin Man” custom guitars by Dean Guitars, upcoming records and tours with UFO and more.
Guitarhoo!: Hello and welcome to Guitarhoo! Today we’re talking to rock metal guitarist and member of U.F.O Vinnie Moore. Hello Vinnie how are you doing today?
Vinnie Moore: I’m doing great. Rock Metal yeah!
G!: To cover some of your history Vinnie, when did you first begin to play guitar and what got you into music?
VM: I started playing guitar when I was almost 13 years old and I started playing guitar because I was into bands like Deep Purple, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Queen I don’t know why I liked rock music, I just always liked music in general when I was growing up. I just found a natural attachment to it and just naturally liked rock stuff and that made me want to play guitar.
G!: That’s a great choice. Did you take any formal lessons or learn by ear from your favorite artists?
VM: I took lessons for a year with one instructor who taught me the basics like how to read music and some basic fingerings and chords. Then after about a year I found this really good rock jazz player and took lessons with him for about four years and you know, it was very helpful to study with him. I learned a lot. But yeah, there was lots of learning from records from my favorite players, learning solos and songs and that was definitely all very helpful in the development of my learning to play and just developing as a musician.
G!: That’s cool. You’ve done some interesting gigs over the years. In 1985 you played for a Pepsi commercial. How did that gig come about and what was the process filming it?
VM: They saw me in a magazine. It was Mike Varney’s spotlight for new talent and for some reason what he wrote, I guess, and the picture of me kind of captured their attention and they called me and ended up flying me out to Los Angeles the following morning. Then I went in and started to audition for the commercial. I was initially auditioning for the music and the part on camera. I ended up only getting the music part of the deal. So, I went into the studio and just basically recorded some ideas knowing the concept that I was supposed to play some intense stuff that would blow the bottle caps off the bottles, play some high intensity stuff. So that’s pretty much what I did.
G!: Amazing! In 1988 you scored and performed the soundtrack for the Sega Saturn video game “Burning Rangers”. What was the process like putting that together?
VM: Well, that was just a couple songs on that video game. It was a session. I think TM Stevens the bass player might have recommended me for that and so I went up to New York and yeah, played on two different songs on that. Some rhythms and some solos. And I’m not much of a video game guy so I’ve never seen it or owned a copy, so I have no idea of what it’s all about.
G!: So just this year in 2013, you performed on Peter Framptons Guitar Circus Tour which featured and amaziong bunch of guitarists. How was the event and where did you end up playing and what did you play?
VM: The gig was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania which kind of turned out to be convenient for me because it was only an hour and a half drive from where I live. He was looking for different guitarists to guest on all these shows he was doing. He had other players like Steve Cropper, Larry Carlton and Dean DeLeo and I was just honored to be one of the guys he considered and chose to be a part of the Circus. Actually, it was a great night. It was awesome playing with him during the show and during the soundcheck rehearsals. It was also the first night BB King was on the tour with him and it was just a great experience, I had a blast.
G!: That’s great! So, after releasing 9 solo albums and then joining UFO, how was the transition from working on your own material to collaborating with the guys?
VM: In a lot of ways the creative process is the same. It starts with ideas and its taking those ideas and building them into a song structure. It’s just different things happen in the end. I’ll put song skeletons together the same way but with UFO I know vocals will eventually be put over top. So, I’m kinda handing my creations over to someone else to kinda be inspired by and take to a another place. Whereas with my own stuff I’m going to be the guy doing everything. And it’s just definitely a different feel. I enjoy doing both things but it’s a lot less work doing a vocal thing actually because somebody else is helping out in the creative process.
G!: Cool. So, you tour pretty steadily with U.F.O. How would you describe a UFO show to anyone who hasn’t been to one yet?
VM: I think it’s pretty crazy and comical and exciting. I mean you never know whats going to happen on stage with us. You know there’s been some pretty insane things. You’re always going to get everybody giving full energy and playing really well and you know, were just kinda a little goofy and insane on stage too, always being playful with the audience and acting a little crazy.
Vinnie with Phil Mogg – UFO Live
VM: There are a lot of them. I like Mother Mary, This Kids, I’m A Loser and some of the newer ones I like are Baby Blue, Hell Driver and Burn Your House Down.
G!: Alright. So, about your guitars. You’ve got your own signature guitar series with Dean Guitars. How involved do you get in the design and making of them and what more can you tell us about its features?
VM: Well, I got very involved in the making of it. We started with a prototype which is based on some conversations we had on the phone. I mean they basically know which type of guitar stylistically that I like to play. I mean it’s basically a stratocaster. A Super Strat is what I’ve always played over the years. And so we just started form there, did a basic design and then I went down to Tampa and we took the guitar and started honing in by changing the shape and pick up configurations and where the knobs were and the feel of the neck and we just kinda honed in and changed things until we got it right where I wanted it to be.
Vinnie Moore Signature Guitar VINMAN Trans Red by Dean Guitars
VM: Usually I just just go up and play some of my songs with backing tracks and then just answer any question and talk about anything that anybody wants to play. I don’t really have an agenda. Back in the early days I had an agenda, I had little work sheets that I’d hand out and I don’t know now I just kinda go with the flow and what ever people want to talk about that’s what I talk about.
G!: I see. So, Vinnie you’ve had a solid career so far from releasing solo albums, you’ve worked with UFO, instructional DVD’s and guitar clinic tours. What are some things you have in the works for the new year to come?
VM: Well, there’s going to be another UFO record. We’re going to start writing songs for that now. And right now I’m in my studio or I was in my studio before I came up to wireless, rather. I’m working on a new solo record which is a collection of songs that I’ve had laying around for a while that I finally want to record and release
G!: That’s going to be exciting!
VM: I hope so and it’s going to be out early next year.
G!: ok great we’ll look forward to that. Do you have any advice to aspiring guitarists out there?
VM: I would just say love what you’re doing and learn as much as you can. Study with a teacher, get together with friends that you can share information with and just have fun with it, man. That’s what it’s all about.
G!:That’s great advice from you Vinnie. Thanks for taking out time tonight, it’s been great talking to you. We’re looking forward to your new projects. Everyone check out Vinnie’s website VinnieMoore.com for latest news, music, tour dates and more.
Interview © 2013 Guitarhoo!