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UFO filed monthly $28,000 cocaine bill as medical expenses

Pete Way onstage
(Image credit: Gus Stewart / Getty Images)

The life, music and legacy of late UFO bassist Pete Way is celebrated by family and friends in the new issue of Classic Rock. Way passed away on August 14, from injuries sustained in a domestic accident, aged 69.

“I thought Pete would outlive all of us,” admits UFO drummer Andy Parker. “I can’t imagine a world without Way.”

Parker and UFO frontman Phil Mogg share their memories of their late bandmate in an 8-page tribute to Way in the current issue of Classic Rock, verifying some of the apocryphal tales involving the hard-living bassist.

Famously, Way once told his wife that he was popping out for a newspaper, and returned home six weeks later, claiming that he’d bumped into his bandmates at the end of his road by sheer coincidence, and had been whisked off to tour Europe.

“It’s true,” Mogg confirms to Classic Rock’s Dave Ling. “She actually wanted him to [leave the band and] become a postman. That’s why he jumped ship.”

On another memorable occasion Way bowled up to a UFO rehearsal wearing a pair of desert boots that were three sizes too large.

“His wife had hidden all of his shoes, so Pete walked barefoot for a mile and a half to his pal John Fiddler’s house and borrowed those boots,” says Andy Parker. “Nothing would keep that man from rocking.”

Ling’s tribute to Way also includes archive interview material from the late bassist, including a memorable tale concerning the band’s cocaine use at the peak of their success in the 1970s.

“On tour, we wrote drugs off as medical expenses,” Way is quoted as saying. “No one questioned it, until one month when we tried to claim 28,000 dollars in medical expenses. That’s when someone said: ‘Hang on, what’s all this?’”

“I remember one night a guy turned up with a suitcase full of coke,” Way told Classic Rock’s Lee Marlow in 2013. “We didn’t think: ‘Right, we’ll have a bit of that now, save some for tomorrow and the rest of the week’, we just had it all. But we did it because we felt we deserved it. We made records that I was proud of, but what I’m most proud of are the shows we did.” 

“What you have to remember with the drugs and the booze is that it all started very gradually, very innocently. I didn’t start off as a heroin addict. I used to drink shandy when I was first in UFO.” 

Classic rock subscribers will receive a limited edition version of the magazine with Way on the cover.

Classic Rock 280 is on sale now.

classic rock cover

(Image credit: Future)