Rory Gallagher sets a torrid pace for himself in the studio and on
tour. A broken thumb held him up for a while, but now he's a strumming
away like nothing happened, and making up for lost time.
by Steve Solomon
Gallagher makes a living strumming his guitar, so when the 29 years old
Irish guitarist got his right thumb caught in a Los Angeles taxi door
last year, it looked like his illustrious career would be brutally cut
says, "I paid a taxi, got up to close the door, and just didn't take my
thumb out of the way. For a split second, I thought I was gone, but it
got caught just on the joint. I had a dressing on it, for six weeks. It
can't completely bend like it should, but I can play."
that counts in his business, because Rory Gallagher without a guitar
would be a very unhappy man. Rory's currently making the stateside
scene, pushing his ninth solo album, Photo
Finish. Considering his youth, Rory has had a long and checkered
history in the rock scene. He started making a living with his guitar
at the age of 16 when he split school and toured Europe with a group
called the Impact Show Band. Then it was four years with his trio,
and seven years as a solo artist.
few years have not been good ones for lead guitarists, so why does he
keep at it? He says, "That whole critical commandment- thou shalt not
do long guitar solos - you're not even allowed to say 'lead guitar'
anymore. I still want to be modern and valid, but I haven't sold out on
the past, the things I love and refuse to drop."
listen to Shin Kicker,
and Brute Force on his
new album, they all have the manic
intensity that Gallagher is noted for. Rory has become known as the
"loner" of the rock scene. He usually produces his own albums, relies
on his brother to manage him and lives simply on the road. Why does he
produce his own albums with the multitude of good producers who'd love
to work with him? According to Rory, "A lot of producers don't
understand the blues thing. You say you want to try a Slim Harpo sound
and they say 'Who's he?' Then you have to explain it to them; you're
Rory started out Photo Finish
with Elliot Mazer as producer, but was dissatisfied with the results,
and scrapped the album and started over again, this time with himself
as producer. His thumb episode and touring schedules fouled up his
recording plans, so it was two years between releases. Gallagher, who
sets a torrid pace in the recording studio, considers that a
Gallagher isn't the most
sophisticated person musically; but instead he
relies on a "gut instinct" for what is right. He can't read music, and
first bought an electric guitar without realizing he needed an amp for
it. Rory considers himself a "no-frills man" who looks the way he
plays - with trademark flannel shirt faded jeans, sneakers and wild,
curly hair that is kept to his shoulders. One English critic said, "He
looks like a paper boy in his plimsolls and blue jeans."
But Rory has no desire to
follow the current trends. He works out of
London, calls Ireland his home, loves touring and plays the blues as
hard as he can.
According to Rory, "It's
important to find your own trail and drive
along it as far as you can go." That sounds like the remarks of a very
determined man who doesn't let broken thumbs get in the way of success. I need help with
the source for this article from 1979 reformatted