Former UFO guitarist Paul "Tonka" Chapman passed away on Tuesday, June 9, his 66th birthday, the Wales-born musician's family has revealed.
"It is with a heavy heart writing this, today is my dads 66th birthday. He passed away earlier this afternoon. He was a brilliant, energetic, loving and most carefree person and the First man I ever loved. Everyone he came in contact with loved him. no ADORED him," Chapman's son wrote on Facebook.
"Will keep everyone posted on his celebration of life," he added. "I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers as his family grieves and processes everything at this time. I love you Dad. So much."
Paul William Chapman (9 June 1954 – 9 June 2020) was a Welsh rock guitarist best known for his work in bands such as UFO and Lone Star. Chapman was well known by his nickname "Tonka", allegedly acquired because of his indestructible qualities.
Chapman’s first notable band was the Welsh outfit Universe. Chapman then joined Skid Row in December 1971 replacing Gary Moore as guitarist. His tenure was fairly short and only lasted until July 1972. His next band was Kimla Taz, with whom he was guitarist from December 1972 to May 1974.
Chapman first joined UFO in 1974 as a second guitarist to augment their live sound having answered an advert in UK's music paper, Melody Maker. He auditioned at the Unity Theatre in London. Although Chapman did not record an album during this period, he did join in time to tour and promote the Phenomenon album. However, he can be heard with the band on several tracks on the BBC live sessions album that was released retrospectively. He left UFO in January 1975 due to personal differences with the band, and went on to form Lone Star, where he remained until June 1978.
In 1977, he filled in for Michael Schenker in UFO when they were on tour with Rush in the United States during one of the German guitarist's absences.