Joe Bonamassa Shares The Bright Side Of His Audition To Replace UFO’s Michael Schenker

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In an interview with Guitar World, blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa talked about how he met Pete Way who introduced him to Paul Kossoff after he had gone for the audition of replacing UFO’s Michael Schenker.

In the late ’90s, Joe Bonamassa auditioned to replace Michael Schenker when he was only 17 years old. He stated that he thought they had a pretty good time at the audition, but he eventually was not hired. Instead, the band started working with Vinnie Moore, who Bonamassa also said was the right choice later.

In an interview held in the past year, Bonamassa detailed the UFO audition he went to as a young player. He explained that not being accepted by the band did not make him upset because their choice instead of him was right for the band.

During a recent interview, Bonamassa again reflected on those times but mentioned one bright side of his failed audition. The guitarist stated that his UFO audition led to Bonamassa’s meeting with Pete Way, who introduced Paul Kossoff to him. The latter has become one of the most important names, inspiring Bonamassa since then.

The guitarist revealed that although he was not chosen as the guitarist of UFO, he learned about Paul Kossoff after meeting Pete Way. Bonamassa told the story of how Way informed him about Kossoff. Apparently, UFO’s bassist resembled Joe’s vibrato to Kossoff, the blues-guitarist Joe never heard until that day. Bonamassa added that Pete Way gave him a cassette that includes Free songs, a great discovery for his musical journey.

Bonamassa recalled when Pete introduced him to Paul Kossoff:

“I discovered Paul Kossoff from the late, great Pete Way, who is known and loved as the longtime bassist for UFO. A little known and fun fact about me is that when I was 17, I auditioned to replace Michael Schenker in UFO. I didn’t get the gig, but I did meet Pete. He was very kind to me, and we maintained a friendship throughout the years.

On the day I auditioned, Pete said my vibrato reminded him of Paul Kossoff. I said, ‘What’s a ‘Paul Kossoff?” He says, ‘You’ve never heard of Free? With Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, and Andy Fraser?’ I said, ‘No!’ He then proceeded to make me a cassette of his favorite Free songs, and the first song on the tape was Walk in My Shadows.”

You can watch the previous interview below.