"UFO JAMS" Those two words seem to be graffittied all over my hometown of Hollywood, Florida. Behind the 7-11, on the pier where the Haitian men would fish, and under the bridges where the older kids smoked their brown weed. UFO JAMS? What does it mean? my young mind wondered. If UFO was a band, I certainly wasn't aware of them, or the magnitude to which they jammed.
When I was about sixteen I was at a party at Bruce's house. We were doing gravity bong hits and I had a seizure and banged my head on the table. When I came to I had an icepack on my head, and I heard this song playing, and it sounded so fucking good. It was "Mother Mary" from UFO's 1979 live album Strangers In The Night. I asked Bruce who it was, and like a wizard answering a thousand year old riddle he said, "UFO, they jam."
Some twenty-two years later, Strangers In The Night is the only UFO album I own. Their studio albums are good but usually suffer from a couple of straight-up lame tracks. With Strangers you get all their best songs played extra high. Recorded over the course of a string of shows in the midwest supporting Blue Oyster Cult, the album is the last recorded performance of the classic UFO line-up complete with Michael Schenker (not including the '93 reunion). This album marks the end of the '70s, the end of "UFO JAMS." I can think of no better live album (Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous comes real close). Oddly enough, I see this record quite a bit in thrift store bins or sidewalk sales and I always wonder "What kind of empty motherfucker wouldn't enjoy this. Why is this here? UFO JAMS!"