Rory roars back with a new band
 by Roy Hollingworth

RORY GALLAGHER is back!  The former leader of Taste has formed a new group – and dates have been set for an 18-day British Tour in May, followed by an Irish tour.

A new album, titled simply “Rory Gallagher” will be released by Polydor to coincide with the tour.

The new trio comprises Rory, and two Irish musicians, Gerry McAvoy on bass and Wilgar Campbell on drums.  They will go under the name of Rory Gallagher and both are featured on the album, which Gallagher produced.

Dates set for the tour, revealed exclusively to the MM on Monday, are Leeds University (May 8), Liverpool Philharmonic (13), De Montfort Hall, Leicester (16), Marquee Club, London (18), Free Trade Hall, Manchester (19), Melody Rooms, Norwich (21), Edinburgh (23), Electric Gardens, Glasgow (24), Civic Hall, Guildford (29), Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (31), City Hall, Newcastle (June 11), City Hall, Sheffield (12), and Fairfield Hall, Croydon (13).  Other dates are being negotiated.

The album has been completed in recent weeks at Apple Studios and all the tracks are Gallagher’s own compositions.

artwork by john wainwright

Melody Maker – April 3, 1971

Interview by Roy Hollingworth

Rory Gallagher talks exclusively to MM – about his new band, his new album, and the death of Taste…

RORY GALLAGHER, 1971.  Still the same Rory, still a lumberjack’s shirt, pair of soft sneakers, new jeans mind.  Still the same Rory, affable to a warm extent, interested in everything – except talking about himself.

We sit, and like the time before, share a bottle of something heady.  Where do we start?  Knowing Rory you don’t gas into Taste – straight away that is – for he’s on a level above that, on a level above moping, and lashing out on something he maybe should do.  No, for the start we talk of now.  “I’ve just finished an album.”

No, Rory hasn’t changed, only the date has changed.  From the time that Taste finished, Gallagher has strode through legal complications he really didn’t want to know – to free himself, to make a new start.  It was a busy time, maybe not musically, but it cleaned his mind out a little.

“I’m pleased with the album.  We just did five days of sessions over two weeks, did everything on one track.  No dubbings.  It was honest to goodness stuff.”

It’s good having a relationship with a person who in the past you have criticized to a heavy extent.  I’ve maybe slagged Gallagher, because I’ve had a certain feeling that he’s good, but hasn’t yet fulfilled his potential.

Who did you use for the album?

Two guys who I’ve been delighted with and guys I’m certain will go on the road with me.  On bass, there’s Gerry McAvoy, and Wilgar Campbell on drums.  They are Irish, been around a lot, played a lot.  Over the years our paths crossed.  I tried lots of people during the auditions, but went for these two, maybe in view of the fact that they played together.  I’m very happy with them.  There is piano on a couple of tracks, and its Vincent Crane – but not the Vincent Crane that most people tend to hear.  It’s old-fashioned piano playing – sort of Leroy Carr stuff.

Were you pleased with the way the album has turned out?

Very, very pleased.  I had a big store of songs.  In fact I had too many.  I had enough for a double album, but the guy at Apple studios worked a few tricks and we managed to get more onto the album than most albums contain – in time that is.

What’s the material like is it similar to Taste material?

Well I wrote it.  I’m the same person, the same writer, so there are bound to be certain similarities.  There are different musicians with me, so there are bound to be certain differences.  It’s just Rory Gallagher, 1971.

You seem apprehensive about talking of another band – is it going to be a band of sorts, or Rory Gallagher and backing musicians?

I’m not apprehensive about forming a group.  At the moment, it’s just the way I’m going.  There’s just myself, and there’s going to be some other guys on stage.  I do what I want to do, I always have done – and I hope I always will.

From Taste to the new set up has crossed several months, how did the lay-off affect you?

I was itching to play.  It wasn’t as though I had stopped playing for I was holding auditions and also playing for myself.  The lay-off worked both ways.  It gave me a chance to listen to many records, and to get more into acoustic guitar.  It also cleared my mind a little bit.  My mind became pretty free, but I was busy, and I knew what I wanted.

Did you want another Taste?  Were the auditions aimed that way?

Strangely not.  It didn’t work out as me trying to form a group; it worked out as me trying to find musicians I could play with.  I had no ideas of what size band I wanted.  The object was to firstly record, and then to go on the road.

Were you unduly upset when Taste split?

I can’t really talk about that.  I just hope that what we did was enjoyed by people.  I hope I gave some people enjoyment, and I hope that they will listen to me now, and I really hope they will enjoy it.  The album is released during the early part of May, and my live tour starts off then as well.  God, I’m really looking forward to playing on stage again.  I’m Gallagher 1971, I hope they liked what I did before, and I hope they like it now.

How do you look upon what you did before?

I’m proud of it, and I hope I can do better.  I hope that Charlie McCracken and John Wilson are happy in what they are doing too.

What will you be like on stage now?

There will be certain changes, but let’s say I’m the same guy.  Since playing in showbands six or seven years ago, I’ve progressed and matured.  I’m not now going to come on with a spacesuit and violin bow and make out it’s different.  I couldn’t do that.  You can’t pretend you are someone else.  I’m still keeping to the nitty gritty.

What can you see for the future now?

I’d like to go to America; I want to play out there.  I want to get to a point where the music is forceful and relaxed, maybe like Muddy Waters, I just want to breath like he does.  As far as getting a Rolls Royce, well I don’t dig that.

What’s the band going to be called?

It’s just going to be Rory Gallagher.  But I like the musicians, and I’d like them to stay around for some time.

What’s the album going to be called?

Just Rory Gallagher.

Did you produce it?

Yes, because I knew the sound I wanted.  But just because I’ve produced an album doesn’t mean I’m going to do out and try and produce everything and everyone.  I just liked doing it.

Do you hope for the same audience reaction, the same audience participation that Taste had?

I just hope that the same number of people will sit down and dig it.  If they want to be quiet, then okay.  I don’t set off to cause any exact sort of reaction.  But if it’s exciting music, then they can do what they like, maybe like I do.  If I play an Eddie Cochran record I’ll end up dancing all around the floor.  If I see a couple of smiles from the front row, I’ll be okay.  I’ll do as much as I can to make it good, and I’m quite confident it will be.  I’m quite confident that the people who liked me will come and hear me again.  I’m the same guy, but happier.  Happier because of certain things.  I don’t want to be a King Kong; I just want to keep on doing what I feel.  Writing is not just talent, but technique, and maybe I’ve found that.

 from Melody Maker – April 3, 1971
Thanks to Brenda O'Brien for passing it along and to John Wainwright for the artwork

reformatted by roryfan
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