Billy Sheehan’s resume includes stints with Talas, Steve Vai, Mr. Big and David Lee Roth, to name a few.
But apparently none of it compares to the time he performed with UFO on their 1983 European tour. The Winery Dogs bassist recently told Ultimate Classic Rock that the experience was too Spinal Tap-ian for his tastes.
“We did that tour, and a lot of things happened,” he says. “So much so that when I got home and first saw the movie Spinal Tap after that tour, it was not funny at all. I didn’t think it was funny a bit—I was wondering why I was even sitting in the theater watching it, when I had just lived that completely on the entire tour.”
Sheehan agreed to join UFO for the tour after Pete Way’s 1982 departure. His most painful memory from the stint is of a stop in Athens, Greece, where the show’s promoter bestowed on the group a massive bottle of Metaxa, a liqueur of brandy blended with wine and flavorings. UFO singer Phil Mogg proceeded to empty the bottle by the middle of the day.
“So we knew it was going to be a particularly good show,” Sheehan says.
Mogg was so inebriated that he could barely perform, angering the audience, which began pelting the band with objects, including a lit M-80. Somehow, Mogg decided that he and Sheehan could take on the crowd.
“Phil comes back to me and says, ‘Billy, I think if we move to the front of the stage, we can get them,’ ” Sheehan recalls. “I said, ‘Okay.’ So I went up to the front of the stage and, pow! Something hit me in the head so hard, I thought an M-80 blew off in my face.”
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