What Pete Way Told Geddy Lee About His Bass Sound
Rush bassist Geddy Lee shared an affectionate tribute to UFO's Pete Way, who died last week at age 69, revealing how the British musician had described his bass sound.
Way co-founded UFO in 1968 and appeared on their first 10 albums, leaving in 1982, returning briefly in 1989 and then completing a third stint from 1991 until 2008. He was reported to have suffered “life-threatening injuries” in a June accident, which he had “fought hard” until his death on Aug. 14.
“I have so many fond and hilarious memories of touring with Pete and UFO back in the late ‘70s,” Lee wrote on Instagram, adding that the news of his death was “so sad.” He described Way as a “true rock 'n' roll character, always ‘takin’ the piss,’ as they would say in his homeland. ... I once asked him about his bass sound and he said, ‘Well, Glee … it’s uh … 3/4 good, and 1/4 not very nice!’ A funny, energetic, sweet man and a great rock bassist.”
Meanwhile, Iron Maiden – who usually open their concerts with a playback of UFO's classic “Doctor Doctor” – acknowledged Way’s importance in a Facebook post. “As all Maiden fans know, Pete was a massive influence on Steve [Harris] and also a great friend to the whole band,” they wrote. “We’re all deeply saddened by his passing. He was an inspirational musician and a truly lovely man. Our heartfelt condolences to his family at this time.”
Tributes to Way previously came from Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Michael Schenker, among others.
In a 2019 interview with Antihero, the bassist reflected, “I just love to play rock music, you know. I’m old now. I pretend I’m not old, but you look back and … you can’t sort of not count the years. … I’ve had a unique opportunity to play with some very good people.”
He chose UFO’s 1979 live album Strangers in the Night as a high point of his career: “That was a summary of many years on the road, many albums and it was very successful. And it proved how good we were live.”