Sons of Apollo bass guitarist Billy Sheehan was the latest guest of Breaking Absolutes’ Peter Orullian. He talked about his solo work, bass innovation, and working with UFO’s Michael Schenker in 1979.
Bassist William Roland ‘Billy’ Sheehan was born in 1953, and he’s been in the rock and heavy metal scene since the early ’70s. During his 50 years long career, he has worked with many stars and bands such as Steve Vai, Talas, David Lee Roth, Philip Anselmo, The Winery Dogs, and Michael Schenker.
In his recent interview with Breaking Absolutes, the interviewer asked the Sons of Apollo bassist whether he got the opportunity to tour with the British heavy metal band UFO. Sheehan revealed that UFO invited him to a European Tour in 1983 after their bassist Pete Way had left the band, which was a great opportunity.
Billy also shared the story of working with Michael Schenker before the German guitarist got fired from UFO. According to Billy, Schenker was going through some hard times when he asked Sheenan to contribute to his first solo album alongside Monstrose drummer Denny Carmassi. Since things did not end up well in the studio, they decided to call it off, and Michael hired another bass guitarist for his debut album.
Sons of Apollo bassist shared the story of his collaboration with UFO, saying:
“I did, in 1983, I believe. I had previously played – or tried to work with guitarist Michael Schenker on his first solo record. He flew me to England in ’79, me and Denny Carmassi, he was the drummer from Montrose.
And we went there and worked with Michael. Unfortunately, Michael was in a bad state and a bad spot in his life, sadly, and he just didn’t have it together. So we ended it, we went home, we never went back, and he hired some other people later on.
But the UFO guys knew about me also so when Pete Way quit in ’83, they called me to come to do a European tour with them. So I did all over Europe with UFO, quite an amazing thing. I’ll sum it up by saying when I got home from that tour, I went to the movies to see ‘Spinal Tap,’ and it was not funny. Because I just lived on most of that.”
“And now when I see ‘Spinal Tap,’ it’s funny but I remember sitting there in the movies thinking, ‘Oh boy, it’s exactly what happened.’ But, great guys, I love UFO, and they’re a great band. Unfortunately, a lot of bands get to a point where they’re changing members and you don’t know if they’re going to continue or not. They’re really wonderful people but it was just falling apart, sadly.
So I was there to kind of witness it to some degree. But what a great honor – UFO, one of the best bands ever, I think I love them so much since the first time I heard them. It was quite an eye-opener, my first international tour.”
You can watch the whole conversation below.