Rory the guitarist launches Rory Gallagher the band


"I DIDN’T just sit back on the sofa and go to sleep for so many months.  I kept in trim, did an awful lot of practice improving my technique.  I wrote a lot of songs, enough for a double album really and there are a lot of numbers for the stage."  The announcement last week that Rory Gallagher has formed a new group was excuse enough for me to stock up with Irish cheer, race round to see the lad and extract quotes like the one above.

When Taste broke up some nine months ago, large teardrops rolled down the cheeks of devoted fans of the group from America right across to the other side of the continent.  Then John Wilson and Richie McCracken formed Stud and went about their business.  But no word from Rory Gallagher, which was strange for, when all’s said and done, he really was Taste and what the group was all about.

So when a bloke from Polydor phoned me with the tidings of Rory’s new group, I decided an interview was called for.  Questions like 'just what he has been up to for all these months? ' and 'what is he planning now?' needed to be answered.
Rory arrived early for our meeting wearing a muffler to keep out what the weather forecast man satirically described as “warm periods.”  He paused while I swallowed a couple of aspirin and a cup of coffee to cure my headache, and then led me to a bar nearby in Mayfair for half past elevenses.

“So, what have you been up to?” I asked with flash of inspiration and Rory replied: “I’ve formed the new group with Gerry McAvoy on bass and Wilgar Campbell on drums.  It’s taken up to the last two weeks to sort the legal things out and all the complications that surround them.

“Gerry and Wilgar were going through a period of not doing a lot, but they had played together which was useful.  It was very relaxed in the studio and we got the album done quite easily.  I tried various combinations of musicians but I think I had these two in my head, I knew them from Ireland a time ago.”

Given that Rory has at last emerged from a period of silence it seems a bit odd that it took him all this time to form a new group.  Couldn’t he have played before now?

“I could have worked, but it wouldn’t have been advisable,” he said somewhat mysteriously. “There was an awful lot of running around to do.”

The group is called simply Rory Gallagher and it struck me that this tended to imply that it would be just him up front with a couple of others backing him.  Not so, he explained.

“To a great extent it’s me doing my songs and what I want, but it’s not a case of having these two shadows in the background.  The day has gone when the backing musicians were just decoration,” he pointed out.

He took another forkful of sausage and potato salad while I asked him how different the new outfit would be from the last and if he had considered that people may regard it as being the new Taste.

“Even now I can notice differences in my playing,” Rory said after a moment’s thought. “There are different circumstances, different musicians, the time element.  When I compare myself to the late Taste and the Taste period before that. I can see differences.

“There’ll be quite a few differences, but I can’t change that much.  I’m responsible for the writing and the planning, if I changed everything it would be false wouldn’t it?

“I don’t have any complex about people that think they’re going to see the new Taste, you can’t give any reasons to people as to why they should come and see you and why they shouldn’t.  I hope that we get people that liked what I was doing before and new ones.”

In early May, the group embarks on a tour of England and Scotland, then there’s an Irish itinerary, then a visit to the Continent and then a period of preparation for America.  An album is ready and this is due out next month also.  Taste never released any singles and I asked Rory if he would be doing so now.

“No, no singles,” he revealed. “I never wanted to do a single, I just don’t feel like it, it never occurs to me.  There are a lot of advantages to singles, but it strikes me that there are a lot of disadvantages and it’s just not worth it.”

Just then, we were joined by Polydor public relations man Mike Clifford who sat quietly while Rory and I talked.  The last topic we touched upon was the “Live Taste” album.

“I was reading a paper and saw a live album was coming out,” Rory admitted. “You read it and think ‘Now, was that a good gig?  Did we play well?  Were we in tune?’  I think people deserved another Taste album, but I haven’t really thought about it because I wasn’t involved in the circumstances surrounding its coming out.

“It’s a good souvenir.  It was the only live Taste tape around so they used it, it’s an official bootleg in a way.”

From New Musical Express – April 10, 1971
Thanks to Brenda O'Brien for sharing this article
reformatted by roryfan
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added 01/30/05