Larry Wallis is not pictured in the UFO image on the left. He never recorded with the band.
Check out this rare footage of Larry Wallis (Entire Sioux Nation, Shagrat, Bloodwyn Pig, Pink Fairies, Motörhead, “Police Car”, etc.) playing with UFO on the French TV music program, Rock En Stock from 1972. It’s a fantastic, fuzzed-out, raw mini-set featuring three tunes: “Galactic Love,” “Silver Bird” and a righteous version of Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody.”
Wallis was only with UFO on a 1972 European tour from February to October after original guitarist, Mick Bolton left the band in January of that year. Wallis never recorded with the group and this has to be one of the very few performances of the proto-punk guitarist jamming with UFO ever captured on film.
UFO 1972 from left to right: Singer Phil Mogg, drummer Andy Parker, bassist Pete Way, and temporary guitarist, Larry Wallis.
Here’s Wallis in a 2002 interview with Tony Rettman discussing his brief relationship and rather hilarious separation from the band:
TR: After Bloodwyn Pig, you answered an ad in the Melody Maker that read ‘Gigantic Rock Band, No Names, Needs A Guitarist. You’ve Got To Look Great.’ Am I correct?
LW: It was all very secretive for some reason. Eventually I found out it was U.F.O. It was the winter of 1971. I toddled off to the audition. When I got there, Andy Parker (drummer for UFO) and Pete Way (bassist) were there, along with a video camera. No Phil Mogg (singer). He probably had a plumbing job that day. Now, at the time I had the full set up… the long hair… the cool hippie garb. When I came in, Pete said ‘He looks like a star.’ We plugged me in and the day before I heard Hendrix on the John Peel radio show and he’d whacked out something called “Drivin’ South,” so I just started playing my version of that. And that was that. I had never heard of UFO, but I didn’t tell them that. Mark Hannau was our manager. He had just parted ways with the successful Curved Air. We thought the Curved Air pedigree was great until we figured out they must have fired him for a reason. He signed us a publishing deal for 8000 pounds, which was a respectful amount in those days. We were about to go off on a tour of Germany, so naturally we spent the money on a sound system bigger than anyone else’s and a second hand Bentley. The tour ended when the German gangsters running one of the shows nicked the Bentley. Apparently Mark Hannau made them believe we were going to stay in Germany and tour for them. It was then we figured out Mark wouldn’t be giving Peter Grant (Zeppelin manager) any sleepless nights.
When we got back, Chrysalis got involved and gave us a chap named Wilf Wright to look after us. They kept us busy touring Italy and these were great times. One night, I got drunk and told Phil Mogg what I really thought of him and he kicked me out. Pete and Andy were real upset, but whatcha gonna do? The roadies hated me leaving so much they dropped my amps off at my parents’ house. This caused Wilf to have a meeting with me where he said the amps weren’t mine and I would have to give them back. I said ‘No’ and Wilf pointed out it would be a great shame if the police were told anonymously that dope was kept and smoked at my parents’ house. I called him a string of names that I felt suited his behavior and made an exit. Fuck him and the stolen horse he rode in on!
TR: And right after that was when you were asked to join The Pink Fairies.
LW: I wanted to be a Pink Fairie more than anything in the world.
You can read the whole interview here.
After Pink Fairies (for whom Wallis wrote the majority of the tunes on Kings of Oblivion), Wallis would go on to become a founding member of Motörhead and, as a producer at Stiff Records, a seminal figure in the late seventies transition between heavy rock and punk in Britain.
After working even more briefly with Bernie Marsden, UFO would find a slightly more long-term guitarist in Michael Schenker who stayed with the band until 1978 before taking a long break and returning in 1993.
It’s almost criminal that the Rock en Stock commentator couldn’t have waited until after Wallis’s killer sounding guitar solo on “Galactic Love” to do his spiel!