UFO – Rock Bottom: BBC Live ‘In Concert’ 1974 (Song Review)

HMO salutes Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman who recently passed away aged 66. The Welsh guitarist had played with the Irish Skid Row, Lone Star, Waysted and others but he was most famous as the guitarist that replaced Michael Schenker in UFO. An unforgivable task that Tonka proved more than equal to: recording albums like The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent that remain fan favourites.

I was tempted to pick one of that album’s songs as a tribute but I decided to go for an older, and geekier, recording. After Schenker debuted with UFO on 1974’s Phenomenon the band decided to draft in a second guitarist for live duties and, for a brief period that year, the band featured both Schenker and Tonka on lead guitar! This fascinating and short-lived lineup can be heard on this BBC live recording from London. Rock Bottom was always a live centrepiece due to its extended soloing and here you get to hear both Schenker and Tonka trading wonderful solos. Chapman kicks his off at the 4:25min mark. It’s a cool, wah-tinged solo that makes jazzy use of the passage’s Dorian tonality and there’s a real chemistry between the two guitarists. Chapman was nicknamed ‘Tonka’ because, like the steel toys, he was thought to be indestructible, and he certainly sounded it here.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

24 thoughts on “UFO – Rock Bottom: BBC Live ‘In Concert’ 1974 (Song Review)”

  1. Tonka played some good guitar in UFO and my first discovery of Chapman was the Mechanix record.
    Crazy thing is outside of Strangers in the Night I prefer the Chapman guitar driven UFO over the Schenker stuff in UFO.
    My 2 cents worth though.
    Having said that I liked that MSG period from 1980-1984 than it went sideways lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. See thats the thing as they weren’t really mainstream here in the early 80s It was when i seen the add for a Mechanix and a buddy and myself each bought it..
        Mogg was a brilliant lyricist.

        Liked by 1 person

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