Meet Gallagher's Men
by Roy Hollingworth

Who are Wilgar Campbell and Gerry McAvoy? A good question. Both seem to have appeared from nowhere, joined Rory Gallagher, and established themselves as exciting musicians almost overnight.

For a start, they are both Irish, and both come from Belfast.

In all ways , Wilgar (drums) and Gerry (bass) are a backing group for Rory. They acknowledge that fact, and are willing to let Rory take the limelight. Says Wilgar, "People told me about Rory, and said I would find myself being very restricted. Well, that's not true, for with Rory I have found an excellent form of freedom."

Wilgar, football mad, but quiet and shy, writes poems in his spare time - that's a good opening line for a publicity handout! "I started drumming about six years ago, knocked around with several Belfast outfits, but there was nothing spectacular. From that I joined a band called Andwella's Dream, who are now Andwella. I came over to England with them in 1968, and have been sort of living over here since then.

"I've known Rory for about three years, and Gerry and myself had just finished playing with a band called Deep Joy. It was a bit strange at first, but after playing together a few times, it became incredibly enjoyable. I've progressed about a year since joining Rory, if you can understand that.

"I've always looked upon myself as being a basic drummer, playing with emotion. I dig Rory's music, and sort of fall into it."

Gerry was dressed in something resembling a suit. "I started playing in 1966, and chopped and changed about quite a lot. I was playing soul and pop. There were several offers to join showbands, and good bread was offered. But I was playing music for the love of it, and not for money. I thank God I didn't fall into the showband thing. After finishing with Deep Joy, I was sitting at home in Belfast when Rory phoned. He asked me to come and have a blow with him in Dublin. I did, and enjoyed the music. The next time he phoned was to ask me to work on an album.

"It didn't take me long to realise that Rory's music had great feeling. I'd always dug rock and roll, and this was a modified version. It's sort of foot tapping, free music and that's so good."

This article comes from the 5/8/71 issue of Melody Maker.
article reformatted and graphic by roryfan.

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