Anyone who’s met Pete Way will have a wealth of stories about him. He’s that sort of character – forever at the centre of lunacy. That has been the course of his life, and thankfully his autobiography captures exactly this side of him.
Way has always engendered mirth, affection, irritation and frustration in equal measure. He is a genuine personality who has left in his trail a series of improbable events. Of course, the former UFO bassist is not alone in this; rock is full of such dynamic individuals. Yet many rock autobiographies are simply dull and boring,a boastful melée of sex, drugs and booze, and opportunities for the author to deliver bitter diatribes against those who’ve supposedly wronged them.
In A Fast Ride Out Of Here Way has avoided such traps, and in the process come up with an entertaining romp that is also informative about his life in music with UFO, Waysted and more. And when you get to the end of the book you feel a real warmth for him.
Throughout, you know Way is the architect of his own excesses, and that leads to plenty of ludicrous behaviour. He explains how his wife Yvonne – the first of six marriages – didn’t want him to go on a European tour with UFO. So he told her he was going down the road for a newspaper, got on the tour bus and went to Germany.
There are also some surprises. Way reveals that, far from being a school drop-out, he passed his exams. He speaks French, which he explains came in very useful when trying to get drugs in France. And he became a vegetarian because of second wife Jo; he still is a veggie–but enjoys crispy duck.
There’s also a serious side. Way openly regrets not being there for his daughters Charlotte and Zowie when they were growing up. And the substance-related deaths of hi sthird and fourth wives, Bethina and Joanna, are tragic. He also never romanticises his own delirious appetite for drugs, but nor does he demonise it.
What also makes the book work is that Way and co-author Paul Rees have got people such as Michael Schenker, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and Joe Elliott to tell their versions of events. Sometimes they contradict his own recollections, but it makes for a more balanced approach.
A thoroughly absorbing autobiography, worthy of the subject.