“I joined out of frustration. I was 15, which is pretty young even by contemporary standards. But I didn't realise I was that young, y'know? I'd been playing since I was nine, so in my own eyes I was a bit of a trouper!
“I had tried to get a group together in school, which lasted one night! I was still doing the odd show on my own — talent shows and charity prisoner rallies — all sorts of things. So when I saw an ad in a paper —‘Showband needs guitar player — I said well, I'll give it a bash.” In the early days of Taste, we had to take on two guys on tambourine for the union rule whereby a three-piece band wasn't regarded as a band! There had to be five members? So for the whole night they had to stand at the back of the stage shaking tambourines!!” May 1980
"A hit album doesn't mean you're drawing people in to gigs, and vice versa in my case! You can't be Yogi Bear and Cyrus Vance! You can't be everybody. You just spread the music. I'm confident I'll crack it whatever way I'm supposed to crack it. And as long as I'm playing to my people out there, it's all you can ask for' .
"I think too much has been made of turning rock and roll figures into some sort of deities, of elevating them too much. Everyone likes praise. and everyone likes to see certain artists admired, y'know, or held in esteem. But if it's taken too far, I think it gets a bit lop-sided, particularly if you know one or two of them -if that's not a prim thing to say -and you know they're only human, and they can only do a certain job..
"I have avoided certain trappings of the thing because I think they ruin rock'n'roll -or whatever we play. They mess people's heads up, and it's a hard enough business as it is! I like to keep a certain amount of control over what I do, and you've to make sacrifices for that: you have to cut down your stardom ambitions. At least this way you can attempt to make fairly decent music- make decent albums and play for the fun of it -without getting too carried away..
"I still like music that sounds fairly human -I suppose that's a corny way of putting it. But I'm not keen on -I'm not against synths, but y'know the current wave of bands, I'm not keen on them -the new romantics, and stuff like that, it doesn't appeal to me! I tend to still have a lot of respect for the more traditional names like Dylan and The Stones and peoples like that". December 1981
“When you leave Cork docks on a van that is literally held together with plastic bands and you're heading for Hamburg and you arrive there and see the conditions in the club where you have to sleep —that in all modesty, takes a lot of guts. . . I remember going to England in a van, getting there and finding the two weeks of gigs we were promised didn't exist and you're standing in a phone booth trying to get through to the agent. I tell you, we had some real dose calls. “I'd rather play in the Shadows than Bon Jovi” March. 1988
“I suppose I had the slight benefit of hearing it before I knew what it was. By the grace of God, because I didn't have a record player, I heard primal blues radio recordings of Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy. AFN was playing them on jazz programmes and also BBC. Then there was Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran, so it wasn't too far to discover Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed. And then there was the Rolling Stones and of course, the so-called blues boom.”
“It's like the true creed. When all else fails in other aspects of life, in business or whatever, I can play a blues record. It's as natural for me, as wholesome for my soul and heart, as probably traditional music is to somebody in the West of Ireland, who absolutely needs the music on a spiritual level.”
“I suppose I'd like to be a crusader for the blues, but in a vary subtle way. I wouldn't want to preach it in a too intellectual way, even though I might know a fair bit about it. I'd like some kid to enjoy it without being part of some blues society. But I always parallel this with my need to be known as some sort of original performer.” March. 1988
DEATH OF PHIL LYNOTT
“I liked the guy, but I was more shocked than I thought I would have been at his death, particularly with the long drawn-out hospital reports. I thought, now he'll get through, but then he didn't. I saw him a few months before, hanging out with Grand Slam buying clothes or whatever. Then I saw him on TV with Gary Moore and I got a shock when I saw him. Not the appearance but something in his eyes, God rest and save him. You'd assume because of his reputation, inverted commas, you'd take it as just another one — but it shocked me more than I thought. It shocked a lot of people.” March, 1988
“I used to gallantly say what's good enough for Muddy Waters is good enough for me. I'll play till I'm 62, 65, whenever. I intend to do that, but you do start learning. You think it's going to be a breeze, but it's quite an undertaking (laughs). I'd rather go crazy on the road than off it because it's one or the other. I don't know if I could only be the relaxed type of musician, then I'd be much healthier because I could switch off for a night or go off for a holiday.
“You know every so often a person will ask me, ‘Rory, why do you get so intense on stage?’ and any time I try not to lay back but to switch down, I just ...it's something I've got to watch.
“My dream would be to be fit and healthy at 65 and still playing, but that's asking too much of the man upstairs, it really is.” March, 1988
“I deserve as much attention as anybody else, ‘cos I put as much into it. It's about time that they copped on. But I had taken it on the shoulder for a couple of years, they were really ostracising me. There's no two ways about it. I'm not a cry baby, but it's a bit hard to take some times when you've worked very, very hard. Particularly on the Jinx album, which was imperfect I must admit, but it had a lot of plusses that were overlooked at the time.
“I do take it to heart a wee bit, ‘cos I'm still competing. I'm not competing with people of my own generation so to speak, I'm still trying to hold my own with what's happening now.
“If I was living up in Buckinghamshire with a huge mansion and seventeen Alsatian dogs and a limo and acting the guitar-hero thing, I'd probably get more respect. But we've stayed on the street within reason, we've been touring. I think it's kind of the story of my life in that. I'm certainly not part of the mainstream here.” December. 1988
JOINING THE ROLLING STONES
"I did a little stint with them and I think Mick Jagger liked me and wanted me to join. But Keith was in a pretty bad way that time, so I wasn't sure if they were going to get it together at all. There was a lot of uncertainty. Then, I'd been booked to do some gigs in Japan, so I headed off and that was the last I heard. It just wasn't to be, I guess..
BLUES AND GOOD HEALTH
"The blues is bad for your health. It's as simple as that. Look at the list. Jimmy Reed was epileptic, Howlin' Wolf ended up on a kidney machine, most of the other big names were alcoholics. Muddy Waters was one of the few guys who got that under control. And when Howlin' was on dialysis and he stopped drinking, it affected his performance, strangely enough. So drink and the blues are closely linked, one feeds off the other. It goes with the territory.. July, 1992
At the moment, I just can't wear them to be honest with you. I know it's peculiar but it's just a psychological thing. That denim jacket and check shirt have become like a stigmata to me. I never treated it as a uniform, but that's what it has become over the years, a uniform that I just don't want to wear anymore. Lately, I wear an ordinary black shirt and a black jacket when I'm on stage. Right now, I feel a lot happier in black. July, 1992
article comes from the July 12, 1995 issue of Hot Press
reformatted by roryfan
The background is a photo by Slipkid, mutated by roryfan
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