First Performance
Ungarn-Tour    January 1985
A virtuoso full of energy  with his scratched guitar

All around town, bills announce the gigs of the leader of the former
legendary TASTE,  RORY GALLAGHER:" The greatest guitarist of blues rock".

Although this is a bit exaggerated, it almost comes to the point because the great majority of those who made the same kind of music and had become famous at that time have changed their style; and the others are  living on the songs they wrote many years ago.

It is so easy
Rory Gallagher was born on March 2, 1948 in Ballyshannon; Ireland. He got his first guitar when he was 9. When he was 15, he was perfect. His first group was the"Fontana Show Band'~ who later called themselves "Impact"~ During two years with this band, Rory got good routine on stage. In 1966, he founded the first TASTE formation with two Impact members. Above all they played compositions of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. They were also greatly influenced by the rock'n'rock tradition, but they had also modern blues elements. The band went to many European countries, but they were not very successful.

In 1968, Richard McCracken (bass),  and John Wilson (drums), both from Belfast, took the place of Eric Kitteringham and Norman Damery. From that time on, the band changed from blues to rather hard rock style. Attention was now focused on Gallagher's guitar play which was full of imagination and varieties and completed by his characteristical voice. They became very popular, which was favoured by the fact that the excellent blues rock group, Cream, which today is still considered the blues band number one, parted at that time.

After the first two albums, critics anticipated a splendid future for the TASTE, but nevertheless the band parted in 1970. The group's popularity was increasing and the number of Rory's improvisations and their importance were increasing as well. Lead guitarist Rory Gallagher began to play the most important role. He disregarded Richard and John and forced them to play the supplying role. John Wilson said: "He was a show-off and acted like a superstar. It was terrible to watch him. When we were on stage he sometimes behaved as if we didn't exist, and he played one solo after another."

In 1971, after the split of TASTE, RORY decided to call the new band simply "RORY GALLAGHER BAND" -no matter who has been with him ever since. The fact that the readers of the Melody Maker chose Rory as the best guitarist of 1972 is characteristic of his success as a one-man band. We must also consider that both Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore were in good form too. Amoung all his albums, which are full of atmosphere, the "Irish Tour" double album is particularly good -there is also a film of this tour.

Since 1978, Rory has changed his music in some ways. The blues rock rhythm and Rory's technique are still the same, whereas the tune and the sound of the compositions have become more "hit-like" - but without having lost its artistic value. On the contrary: if there is the possibility of further improvement then there is even more power in the songs than before.

Gallagher hasn't changed his three-men composition of the band. His bass guitarist is still Gerry McAvoy, who was with him since he started his solo career. But he has a new drummer: Brendan O'Neill. Besides, there is Mark Feltham (electric harp ) who accompanies the band on the tour. The Budapest organizers (Arena GMK -GMK is a special private organisation = S.CS. )tried to hide Rory from the journalists, but the day after the concert in the capital we succeeded in approaching Rory with the microphone before he left the country.

Which groups did you like best 20 years ago?
I think the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones were my favourite groups at that time. And I also liked some other groups, for example The Big Three from Liverpool. Although they had not as much talent as the Beatles they were a rather good band. From America, I liked Bob Dylan a lot, but his style was quite different from the others. Obviously. But when I'm home I listen to many kinds of music. Rock, country & western, jazz, rhythm & blues.

Black music too?
A lot, in fact, my music is influenced by the black music: Muddy Waters. Elmore James, Buddy Guy, Leadbelly. In my opinion, you can gather from my songs that I often listen to black music. First of all, of course, I mean blues and soul and not the present American pop music, which I don't like.

You're are said to object ot the show business. What is your method?
I think I'm not too sure about that because everyone must have something. But I don't like these "pop manners" where the people think that the image and all that glitter stuff is all-important. I'm mainly interested in the music itself and its natural development, you know. I don't go in for big publicity and stories. Of course, sometimes the sale of all album is dependant on publicity, but thats not a main interest. I just want to make music.

During the years, you have modifed the blues and taken up various other styles.
What do you think of these experiments?
I'm still mainly influenced by the blues, and a bit rock'n'roll and folk music. But I change as a composer: You know, every year I write new songs, have new ideas and learn and develop at the same time. I still play the blues, but nevertheless you sometimes have to experiment. To do so, you must use various styles, sometimes a bit jazz or folk.

American critics say your music got better, "deeper'~ when the keyboarder joined the band. But later you decided to have a three-man band.
Well, the keyboards give the music much harmony and they change the song. I think this instrument is a good idea, but five years later, l wanted to go back to the trio because I believe that it is much more rhythmical and more powerful and that somehow there are more possibilities for experiments.

If you recall the past, which phase of your caree do you like best?
Well, every single album is a part of my life and there are songs on every album which remain my favourites. On every album there are one or two tunes which l still love and I enjoy listening to then at home. But it would be very difficult to choose a year or a space of time and to say that his was the best. You always like the present best.

What are your future plans?
When we are back in England we will finish the new album, where we are working on at the moment. And if there is a possibility I maybe record an acoustic album in the fall.

Are there may concerts at the moment?
Very few. The most important thing now is to finish the new album and therefore you need time.

Do you have any impression of the Hungarian audience yet?
Oh yes, there were two gigs so far: Every town, every audience and every concert is different, but I feel these two shows were a success and I probably will come back.

You mean you want to play here again some time?
Well, maybe next year it would be fine.

It really would be fine! Then he will play in sold out halls on his 20-year old guitar that sound better than if it was a new one.

This piece was translated by Edith Viertelhauser for the 1/86 issue of Deuce Quarterly #38
reformatted by roryfan
Thanks to John Wainwright for passing it along.
The background is a John Wainwright photo from the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool 1988,
mutated by roryfan
 To Join The Loop
Mailing & Discussion List 
email roryfan at
 Back to main RoryON!! page
 Back to Articles page
Back to previous article
  Forward to next article