Former UFO, Lone Star, and Waysted guitarist, Paul “Tonka” Chapman passed away yesterday (9th), which was also his 66th birthday. No cause of death has been revealed at this time. The news was confirmed by his son, who wrote on Paul’s Facebook page with the following statement:
“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. will keep everyone posted on his celebration of life. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers as his family grieves and processes everything at this time. I love you Dad. So much.”
Chapman’s music career started when he joined the band Universe, and by 1971, he briefly joined Skid Row. By 1974, the guitarist joined UFO and left in early 1975 and later formed Lone Star, which he was part of until 1978. Chapman rejoined UFO in 1978 as a full-time member and worked on albums No Place To Run (1980), The Wild, The Willing and the Innocent (1981), Mechanix (1982), and Making Contact (1983). Following his 1983 departure with UFO, Chapman teamed up with ex-UFO bassist Pete Way and joined the group Waysted.
UFO and members of the rock and metal community have reacted to Chapman’s death:
“We send our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Paul Tonka Chapman, who died yesterday, on his 66th birthday.
Paul’s son broke the tragic news on Paul’s Facebook page yesterday evening.
An AWFUL year keeps getting even worse. According to his FB former @UFO_rockband guitarist Paul Chapman has passed away. I LOVED Paul’s playing & his albums w/ UFO, Waysted, Lone Star & more. So bummed! Damn.. on his 66th birthday no less.. RIP Paul. pic.twitter.com/VOFPoUPujX
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) June 10, 2020
Just woke up to sad news of Paul Chapman passing. He was my main influence on guitar for many years and a brilliant bloke. Thoughts are with his family. RIP Tonka pic.twitter.com/h993Yj3uOc
— Phil Campbell (@MotorheadPhil) June 10, 2020
R.I.P. Mr. Paul Chapman!!!! Lovely gentleman and great guitar player!!! I had the great fortune of meeting him in Philadelphia, and L.A., and he was nothing short of amazing to a young dreamer!!!! 66 is much too young!!! pic.twitter.com/ne3bV1I0rp
— John Corabi (@Crablegs59) June 10, 2020
Just heard that Paul Chapman, guitarist for UFO, has died on his 66th birthday. He was one of the missing pieces in the jigsaw of Bon Scott’s death. More than anything else he was a fantastic guitarist and an incredibly nice guy. RIP Paul @EddieTrunk @UFO_rockband @ClassicRockMag pic.twitter.com/QSauGYQBJH
— Jesse Fink (@JesseFink) June 10, 2020
I’ve known Paul Chapman since 1982 when UFO and Ozzy toured during Diary of a Madman tour. Outstanding musician and friend. 🙏🏻🎸🙏🏻 https://t.co/cAs4Stcmav
— Rudy Sarzo (@rudysarzo) June 9, 2020
Everyone remembers their first concert – mine was a band called Lone Star, touring their album ‘Firing On All Six’ in ‘77 – so I was sad to read of the death of guitarist Paul Chapman yesterday… I also saw him with UFO, and he’s the reason I HAD to have a black Les Paul!! RIP✨ pic.twitter.com/wfoifjiQ21
— Dave Kilminster (@DaveKilminster) June 10, 2020
We send our thoughts to Chapman’s family and friends during this difficult time.