AN INTERVIEW WITH JASON BONHAM
By David Iozzia
DI: Jason, on behalf of Strangers-In-The-Night.com and UFO fans worldwide, Id like to congratulate you on joining up with UFO. How did it happen?
JASON: Thanks Dave. Phil saw The Quireboys in concert and Spike [their singer] recommended me to Phil. That was over a year ago. I was thrilled when Phil called me in.
DI: What should UFO fans expect this tour?
JASON: Hard-hitting rock and roll, my friend, with some added zest. A little fresh blood is no harm.
DI: I realize that the U.S. tour has just started. Whats your favorite moment so far?
JASON: I couldnt name one particular moment, everything has been crazy! Hearing audiences chanting UFO, UFO every night. Plus, UFO fans loyal to Michael Schenker and Pete Way have been great. I havent heard any anti-Vinnie or anti-Barry chatter. UFO fans are the greatest!
DI: What are you most looking forward to on the balance of UFOs U.S. tour?
JASON: Just playing these 17 shows. Were all hoping this is a stepping-stone tour that will lead to a much bigger tour. We have to prove to promoters that we could show up.
DI: What is your favorite UFO song to play drums on?
JASON: Its difficult to name just one. My favorites would include Mother Mary and Love To Love.
DI: UFO has two shows at B.B. Kings club in New York City later this week. Your old band, Healing Sixes is the opening band at those shows. Are you drumming for both bands, and what can you tell us about Healing Sixes?
JASON: No, Healing Sixes couldnt keep waiting around for me. They have another drummer. Healing Sixes is a great band, 70s style rock and roll. Doug Henthorn is a fantastic singer, and Im hoping to do some songwriting with him for a future UFO album.
DI: I was fortunate enough to see your band Bonham open for Emerson, Lake and Palmer on a late 90s tour. I saw Healing Sixes in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 2002. What did you work on in between?
JASON: I did a tour with ex-Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers tour. I was in the film Rock Star. I did some stuff with Aerosmith producer Marti Frederiksen.
DI: How did you land the role in Rock Star? Is that where you met ex-DOKKEN bass player Jeff Pilson?
JASON: I had to read and audition to land that role. I knew Jeff from his stint with DIO. The Jason Bonham Band opened some shows for DIO.
DI: Jeff and you co-wrote a song called Desperate Hearts which appears on his new War and Peace CD, The Walls Have Eyes. I attended a War and Peace show in New Jersey last week and that song was performed. Can you tell us more about the song and the songwriting process that Jeff and you used?
JASON: Its hilarious! The producers of that film paid us a bunch of money to write a song that they never used. The song was to be a spoof of a Scorpions-style ballad.
DI: What is your favorite U.S. city to visit?
JASON: New York City, especially Manhattan
DI: What is your favorite U.S. venue to play?
JASON: NYCs Madison Square Garden. Its legendary.
DI: What is your favorite foreign city to visit?
JASON: Sao Paulo, Brazil.
DI: What is your favorite foreign venue to play?
JASON: Sao Paulos football stadium. 85,000 people chanting my name was incredible!
DI: Who is your favorite drummer to watch in concert?
JASON: None. I dont attend concerts.
DI: Okay, who is your favorite drummer to listen to?
JASON: Definitely NOT Jason Bonham. Im my own toughest critic. I dont listen to much music, I just love to play. When I was younger and listening to bands, I was a big new-wave fan. The Police were my favorites.
DI: If you could form a supergroup for one CD/tour, with musicians youve never played with, who would be in your band?
JASON: Chris Cornell would be the singer with Flea on bass. My two guitarists would be Jeff Beck and Slash, no keyboards.
DI: In your opinion, will Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones EVER play together again as Led Zeppelin?
JASON: In my opinion, no way.
DI: Whats up next for UFO following the U.S. tour?
JASON: Hopefully a West Coast U.S. tour as were proving to promoters that we can still play. Theres rumors of some shows with The Scorpions. That would be an incredible show.
DI: Whats up next for Jason Bonham?
JASON: Im doing a Jason Bonham Band reunion in Spain. Its a one-off show, an hour and forty minutes of all Led Zep songs. While in Europe, Im attending a big football game, Manchester United versus Arsenal. Its a huge game, sort of London versus the North. Im a big Man U supporter.
DI: The Manchester United goalkeeper is an American, Tim Howard. He grew up minutes away from the venue youre in playing tonight.
JASON: Tim is a fine goalie, and an even better story. He suffers from Tourettes syndrome and is an inspiration to people worldwide that suffer from that disorder.
DI: Any closing comments for UFO fans worldwide?
JASON: Thanks for the support coming to our shows. And thanks for the open mind embracing the new UFO.