ZZ: What about
contemporaries -do you try to keep up with what's going on at the
Rory: Up to a point.. ..I keep my ears open. Keith Richard always gives me a kick -he's a good mean guitarist who doesn't mess about. He always keeps his grit, but still manages to move on. Martin Carthy. ... Bert Jansch. ...Davy Graham. ...I think that the acoustic guitarists in Britain are a little ahead of the electric ones, or maybe it's just because we hear the electric ones more often and we're used to hearing them play well.
ZZ: What about
Rory: Well, Muddy again, Dylan, Willie Johnson, Eddie Cochran. ...so many people I think I probably have a tendency to get used to hearing some bands and I don't give them the credit they deserve... ..their names don't spring to my mind. Let's see. .. I like Steeleye Span, the Stones, Rod Stewart, Jansch sings nicely. I reckon the old blues guys, especially Muddy, are pretty difficult to beat.
ZZ: Let's talk
about Ireland; do you feel that London's your home now?
Rory: I'm domiciled here. ...it's a place to hang out, but I can't regard it as my home. I'm always thinking about Ireland, but I get home fairly often, so it's not too bad. I mean, that's not to say I don't appreciate London. ...you'd probably feel the same if you came from Derby.
photograph by Barrie Wentzell
ZZ: What about the
group scene over there?
Rory: Well, the troubles in the North don't help, of course, but it's improving steadily. Skid Row, Thin Lizzy, the Woods Band and various others have come over here to have a go.
ZZ: I know you
generalise, but it seems that most bands coming over from Ireland have
a Rory type feel to them....as if they're treading the path of a great
Rory: Now come on, you don't think I could be as presumptuous and pompous as to
agree to a statement like that. There are all sorts of different bands. ...a wealth of
music from hard rock to the folk scene, which is particularly rich. I think that most rock musicians have the urge to make it,and that usually involves coming to England, but recently the gig scene has improved and bands aren't so anxious to leave Ireland... they're taking their time and getting more experience before stepping out too far. The scene where you~had-to-make-it-before- you-were-twenty has been superceded by a much more relaxed state of affairs where musicians are musicians and age is unimportant. It's a much more pleasant and satisfactory state of affairs.
ZZ: What about
recent pioneering tour of America -did you manage to see anything
the insides of hotels and dark auditoriums? Like, did you see the seamy
side of America at all ?
Rory: Well, Detroit was probably a tough area, but the odd days that we did have off were usually in milder cities where the violence wasn't so evident. We played five nights at the Whiskey in LA, two sets a night, and that was good. ...then we moved back to the east coast for a while, and on to Chicago.
ZZ: Did you get to
see any bluesmen there, or was it too perilous for a white kid to
Rory: I saw Hound Dog Taylor -he was just great... played and sang through a little Fender amp. That was at Peppers Lounge, which is apparently the only blues club you can safely go to these days, what with all the tension, and that seemed to be pretty much of a borderline case as far as safety went. Then we had a blow with awhite band called Siegal Schwall, whichwas nice. They're a nice folkie, acoustic blues band.. ...great harmonica player.. .. and they showed us around, took us to the pawn shops and so on. Then we went back to New York and off home.
ZZ: Was it a well
promoted and organised tour?
Rory: It wasn't the best tour as far as promotion went, but I can't really complain because we were only third on the bill.Like, a typical bill was Frank Zappa, Mylon, and then us. but maybe it'll be a bit better the next time.
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