The Golden Age of Rock lost another of its stars as former UFO lead guitarist Paul Chapman went to the Great Gig in the sky. Sixty-six isn’t that old, and he just made it, dying on his birthday, June 9. His death was announced by his son, Paul.
UFO have been around as long as Blue Öyster Cult, and have arguably been even more influential and successful. The above is the front cover of the band’s 1980 album No Place To Run, the vinyl of which came in several colours. Six times married bass player Pete Way in the leopardskin jacket is leaning on Paul. Drummer Andrew Parker is standing at the back. Lead vocalist Phil Mogg is next, and on your far left is rhythm guitarist/keyboard player Paul Raymond who died in April last year aged 73.
I actually saw UFO at Leeds, on January 19, 1980 if the Setlist database is correct. They were supported by glam rock newcomers Girl. Paul had recently replaced the legendary Michael Schenker as lead guitarist, having previously played second guitar. He was not a bad substitute. There was a lot more to Paul than his tenure with UFO though.
Paul William Chapman was born at Cardiff on June 9, 1954. Wales has always punched well above its weight musically, including in the modern era; Deke Leonard, lead guitarist with Man, died in 2017. Like Deke, Paul began his musical career in Wales, playing in local bands. Then he followed in the footsteps of Paul McCartney and others who a decade earlier had spent some time playing clubs in Germany. Then he replaced Irishman Gary Moore in Skid Row. Moore went on to bigger and greater things, in particular Thin Lizzy and a solo career until his premature death at just 58.
In addition to UFO, Paul played with Waysted – Pete Way’s solo project which might have been called UFO without Phil Mogg – and early on in his career, Lone Star.
After leaving UFO, he spent some considerable time in the States, played on a Nazareth tribute album, and with various outfits. Paul was also a music teacher, and the cousin of Dave Edmunds.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.