White knuckle guitarist
                                            by John Sakamoto

In a career that's had more stops and starts than "a Ben Johnson race", the last thing guitar hero Rory Gallagher needed was a new complication: Fear of flying.

"We'd been doing lots of dates in Europe and flying in small planes, and we had a couple of bad flights, at least from my point of view," Gallagher was saying yesterday from Minneapolis.

 "But it's like any phobia," he says. "It goes away eventually: although, even flying here yesterday, I had to kind of brace myself, you know?"

Gallagher is back with his first North American release in almost a decade, Fresh Evidence, and a tour that stops at ElMo on Tuesday. (A few tickets, at $25, will be sold at the club on the night  of the show. Doors open at 8.)

An aversion to planes wasn't the only reason for Gallagher's prolonged absence. He spent the last six years working on an album that he would eventually abandon, touring places like Hungary and Yugoslavia, and making another LP called Defender - "it's kind of the godfather of Fresh Evidence" - which will finally see then light of day in Canada in May, two years after the fact.

"We were offered American dates last year, but the flying thing had me, back then. Plus we were dissatisfied with one or two of the tours we'd done in America where most of the dates were supporting some stadium rock act," the 42 year old says bluntly. "We were getting less than decent conditions - no lights, no monitors, six feet of stage."

"Some American bands are so mean, it's like they're afraid of you or something."

This time around, Gallagher and his three-piece band are headlining clubs and small venues, a situation that seems to bode well for his commercial prospects in 1991.

 "Certainly the success of people like Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood and Jeff Healey helped," he says, "but I think also that a lot of young people were dissatisfied with the 'video' kind of music that was coming out.

"I think they were looking for the raw bones and roots of rock again."

Despite being continually on the verge of stardom, Gallagher has been incredibly stubborn about not yielding to the demands of the music biz. It's a stance he lays out in a new song called "Kid Gloves", about a boxer who refuses to take a dive.

"It's written the way Jerry Lee Lewis would view the music business" says Gallagher.

"It's a kind of statement of defiance against the way things are, and you can't put a good man down and all that. It's also done tongue-in-cheek. If I was as bitter as I am in the song, " he says, laughing softly, "I'd really be in trouble."
This one comes from the March 21, 1991 issue of the Toronto Sun
reformatted by roryfan
Background is a photo from the article that was mutated

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