1) Hello Neil, you have a new book about the music group of UFO. Please let us know about all the details.
I was asked by the publisher at Soundcheck books if I was interested in a book on UFO. I jumped at the chance. It’s out now in the UK and due in coming weeks in the States. It wasn’t an easy book to write as they have a very complicated history and you’re right, they are very underrated, I hope fans will enjoy the book. It covers their entire history and includes a foreword by US broadcaster Eddie Trunk who is a major UFO fan. Here’s the press blurb:
“UFO are one of heavy rock's most influential groups, admired by Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pearl Jam and Slash from Guns N Roses, amongst others. Albums like Lights Out, Obsession and Strangers In The Night have all achieved classic status. The list of musicians who have passed through their ranks reads like a Who's Who of rock: Pete Way (God bless him), Michael Schenker, Larry Wallis, Bernie Marsden, Paul Chapman, Billy Sheehan, Jason Bonham, Aynsley Dunbar and more, have all done time in one of the most enduring, and endearing, bands. Using extensive research and first hand interviews, top metal writer Neil Daniels traces UFO s history from their space rock roots in 1969 through to the present day, as the band, with original member Phil Mogg, just keep on rocking. The book contains a wealth of anecdotes about a group renowned for partying as hard as they rock and doing nothing by halves. High Stakes & Dangerous Men includes a foreword by the American broadcaster and author Eddie Trunk and an afterword by British rock journalist Peter Makowski.”
2) What type of sources did you use in order to gather your material for your book? Please describe us the whole process of gathering the material.
I started as I usually do with each book by gathering a list of possible interviewees and approaching them. I got to interview the likes of Leo Lyons, Laurence Archer, Mick Glossop, Nick Tauber and Ron Nevison, amongst other producers and ex members from the band’s history. I then created a chronology of their history going back to 1969 and merged my research into the chronology to create the first draft.
3) Did you have any official positive or negative from the UFO camp?
No, not yet. I’m unlikely to be honest.
4) What is the highlight of your UFO information in this book that we cannot find anywhere else?
It’s very hard to write a book on a famous band and unearth new information in the age of digital information and research because so much is online. Plus, it depends on your own knowledge of the band – one story may have been heard before by one fan but unheard of by another. What this book does is tell the story of the band in a chronological and easy to read fashion – there’s enough geeky detail on the music for seasoned fans and enough casual detail for newcomers.
5) Are there any UFO sex, drugs and rock and roll related stories that you are aware of but for obvious reasons you did not proceed on publishing them?
It’s a book more focussed on the music. I think a Hammer Of The Gods style book is best left for the band to write or even Pete Way to pen a memoir. I don’t fancy getting into legal trouble over such stories.
6) Do you have unpublished material for a second book that deals with UFO or any of the band's members?
Pretty much all of it is in the book to be honest.
7) Self-publishing versus traditional publishing, choose your side and let us know about the advantages and the disadvantages according to your experience.
This is a long debate and one that continues to dominate the publishing industry. I see advantages and disadvantages to both hence why I move for one to the other. I like print on demand publishing (a former of self-publishing) for the more niche ideas and traditional publishing for bad biographies, though I have just released a book on Neal Schon through Createspace. With both forms of publishing you still have to write the book and promote the hell out of it. There are little financial rewards on both fronts, too. The great thing about Createspace is that anybody can use it. It’s free and after a few tries very easy to use. I looked to Dave Thompson for advice as he’d churned out a few Createspace books in between his commercial ones and he offered a lot of advice and tips. I thought the first two books that I did, AOR Chronicles and Rock & Metal Chronicles, came out quite well but I’ve done about 10 more since then and they definitely look and feel better and I’ve started to insert images too. My latest books are called Bang Your Head – Heavy Metal Shots and Get Your Rock On – Melodic Rock Shots. In the age of digital printing more of these print on demand companies are cropping up but Createspace is probably the best. I even reprinted my first four PDO books (through AuthorsOnline, initially) through Createspace and renamed them, so Rock N Roll Mercenaries became Hard Rock Rebels – Talking With Rock Stars and the All Pens Blazing books became Rock N Roll Sinners. They’re all sold on Amazon.
8) Would you support an adoption of the music streaming model from the book publishing providers? What about online reading under a monthly subscription model?
Again, this is a tricky area. All I can say is I don’t like the idea of working for free.
9) Do you work on any new book projects?
This year will hopefully be a good one. I kicked off 2014 with a book on Neal Schon and following that I’ve got books out on ZZ Top, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi. I’m currently at work on my first non-music based nonfiction book due in 2015, and hopefully I’ll be working on another thrash metal book soon for release later this year. Details to follow. My brand new website will be launched later this month, too. I’m also going to release more Createspace books.
10) Any tips for the new authors?
Don’t’ do it for the money because there is none – write because you enjoy it.