MWE3 Feature Story
conducted by Robert Silverstein of
mwe3.com for 20th Century Guitar 



MWE3.COM PRESENTS AN INTERVIEW WITH

GARY MOORE

 

Continued From Home Page


GARY MOORE
Getaway Blue
s

by Robert Silverstein


Returning to the essence of the music that first excited him so much back in the '60s, Gary Moore comes full circle with his 2004 album Power Of The Blues. Inspired early on by U.K. guitar greats George Harrison and Hank B. Marvin, Gary Moore moved into the realm of the blues, crafting his early guitar style around the legacy and inspiration of ‘60s axe legends like Peter Green, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck—all the while demonstrating his mastery of the guitar on a number of classic solo projects. In 2002, Moore returned to spotlight with his Scars lineup and—following his 2003 Monsters Of Rock tour—Gary reunites with long time cohort, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Darrin Mooney for the Sanctuary CD release of Power Of The Blues. With a musical tip of the hat to Clapton & Cream, Peter Green & Fleetwood Mac as well as giants like B.B. King, Moore delivers the goods on an album that blows you away with blues-soaked rock fury. On the mend from a hand injury that set him back earlier in the year, Gary Moore spoke with 20th Century Guitar reviews editor and mwe3.com founder Robert Silverstein on November 9, 2004 about Power Of The Blues, his famous Peter Green-owned Les Paul and other guitar-related topics.

{Guitar hero Gary Moore tragically passed away on February 6, 2011 but he leaves behind a great legacy of brilliant blues / rock solo albums as well as fame from earlier works with renowned bands including Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II, Traveling Wilburys and BBM. When I interviewed Gary back in 2004, he had just released his Power Of The Blues CD and while I wasn’t completely aware of his extensive history and discography, I remember being totally blown away by that album. Just around the time of Power Of The Blues, Gary had signed to Eagle Rock and since 2004, Eagle has gone on to release several classic Gary Moore blues rock CDs as well as a range of DVDs, including titles covering Moore’s appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival. With his historic background in the music world, Gary Moore proved to be quite easy to talk with and he was filled with loads of intriguing stories. I was lucky to get a few good ones as you can read here. An edited version of the following Gary Moore interview first appeared as the cover story of the January 2005 issue of 20th Century Guitar magazine. In honor of a great guitar player who will be sorely missed by millions of music lovers and guitar fans worldwide, mwe3.com now presents the entire full length Gary Moore interview as it was originally produced, written and recorded. - Robert Silverstein, February 2011}


MWE3: Power Of The Blues is a fantastic blues / rock album...the title track is brilliant. Could you provide a little history on how the album came about?

GM: Well the album was done in a kind of live way. We just did it with the three of us. We did it in the same room. Very little in the way of separation. And Bob Daisley was the bass player. He was someone I hadn’t worked with for a long time, since the early ‘90s actually. On the early blues stuff, like Still Got The Blues. And he did a lot of my rock stuff in the ‘80s as you may or may not know. So I was kind of writing some more stuff last year for this album and I just kind of thought of Bob because I’d be glad to make a blues album again but do it with a bit more of an edge and Bob’s always had that kind of more, sort of aggressive bass sound than the standard sort of bass player who would play in a blues band. And having the kind of drummer I’d been working with, a guy called Darrin Mooney, I thought the two would compliment each other really well. Because Darrin plays with a band called Primal Scream, which is very a kind of industrial rock band so there was a lot of kind of aggression to be had out of the whole thing. And I didn’t just want to go in and make another kind of album of 12 bars where it would be just sticking to the tried and true tradition so, that was the kind of thinking behind it. To go in and do a very raw, aggressive blues, or like you say, blues-rock album. And that what’s we did. We just went into the studio. We didn’t even rehearse or anything. And we started off with just trying “I Can’t Quit You Baby” just with one run through and we recorded it straight away. And that was kind of the take that was on the album. It was mixed straight away and we just stuck it out like that. So the whole album was made really on that basis of just keeping it very honest, very raw, very spontaneous.

MWE3: Just the name, Power Of The Blues is like a kind of universal expression.

GM: I suppose so...I just always thought the blues was based on a real power and obviously in the way we’re doing it, in a sort of power trio format and the way we’re approaching playing the music I just felt it had enough power so it just seemed like the right title. And I had that kind of idea for the song “Power Of The Blues”, which was kind of almost done in an almost like a black humor thing...you know like when everything’s going wrong for you, instead of just calling it the normal superstition thing, I wanted to kind of equate it with the blues. So I made the title Power Of The Blues.

MWE3: That’s really cool. The cover art is really cool too.

GM: I’m glad you like it ‘cause a lot of people didn’t like it and they thought it looked too much like a hip-hop album or something, but basically what it was...I live in a place called Brighton, which is on the south coast. It’s like a little seaside town. These young graffiti artists here, I’ve been looking at their work in one of their shops and they were so talented and I wanted to try something really different this time for the cover art. So I asked them if they’d come up with something. And one guy painted the guitar in this really cool style and then the other guy came up with the logo which became the front cover. So I was kind of supporting local artists as well as trying to do something different.

MWE3: How long have you been with Sanctuary Records? They’re doing some incredible work on both sides of the Atlantic.

GM: Yeah, I think they’ve gotten a lot better because when I started with them they were called Castle and then they got bought out by Sanctuary. They were a catalog label doing a lot of back catalog. And that was about six years ago. And I’ve been with them pretty much since. I was doing an album called Different Beat, and I’d left Virgin about a year before that. And I was financing this album and I was experimenting with all these different rhythms and stuff and wanted to put out a very different kind of a record. And they were the guys who picked up on it and wanted to sign me so we’ve kind of been working together ever since.

MWE3: Besides the title track, another highlight on the CD, “That’s Why I Play The Blues” is great, burning BB King style blues track.

GM: Yeah, sure...All those influences are there. I mean I have the same influences as a lot of people who play this style of music. I grew up, I started off with the British guys, you know when I was living in Belfast. I heard the Bluesbreakers album when I was 14, like a million other guitar players, and went from there and started listening to B.B. King and Albert King and went down that kind of route. So they all come out sometimes, they all come out to play at some point. I think that B.B. King is a good comparison. He’s someone that I’ve loved for a long time as a musician. And I’ve worked with him a few times. So I guess you could definitely compare that to what he does.

MWE3: One of your long time fans mentioned that “There’s A Hole” is kind of a new direction for you.

GM: Ah...I was not trying to do anything too radical, but I mean the thing was it’s different in so much in that it’s not a straight blues at all. But then the album is not a straight blues album. I don’t think it’s completely...I think I’ve done things in the past with that kind of chord cycle, maybe “Cold Day In Hell” from the After Hours album. But I think it’s with a much bigger kind of arpeggio guitar thing and just opening out a bit. I kind of went more for that, whereas in the old days it would have had a like a horn section and stuff and been a lot more slick. So again, to stick to that kind of blues rock format, I kind of opened it out a bit this time and let it rip a bit more. But the song itself, to be honest, maybe it was coming from listening to people like The White Stripes and people like that. Because you absorb everything and I wouldn’t make a conscious effort to sound like them at all. It would be pointless, they’re so great at what they do and everything. But you do absorb a lot of stuff, any musician will tell you that, and it just kind of comes out whenever it’s ready. And I think that’s kind of what was happening there, and I’d been listening to a lot of new stuff at the time.

MWE3: Your choice of covers on Power Of The Blues is quite interesting. Percy Mayfield’s “Memory Pain” is one of the all time classic blues tracks. Can you remember when you first heard that song?

GM: Sure. I heard it on the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation album. Aynsley Dunbar was the drummer on A Hard Road, with John Mayall and Peter Green. Then he left and went to work with people like Zappa and Journey. A great, great British drummer. But he had this band called The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation with a guitarist called John Moorshead and I saw them in Belfast again when I was about 14 and they were playing that song then. I always remembered the riff and then Phil Lynott and myself used to jam on it in Skid Row and Thin Lizzy. We used to jam on that song a lot. So it’s always been there. In fact, Thin Lizzy actually did a version of it after I left the band. It’s on one of the DVDs that’s out now from Germany. There’s a version on there. So it’s just always been around, that song. But the dilemma I had...I didn’t realize until much later, it’s the same lyric as “Serves Me Right To Suffer” by John Lee Hooker. So I had to go back and check out where the actual riff came from and of course, it’s Percy Mayfield so...Because I actually played on a John Lee Hooker tribute album a couple of years ago and I did “Serves Me Right To Suffer” (laughter), a new version of that so, (laughter) it’s a little bit confusing who to credit it to. Because I felt morally, who wrote the lyrics, who got it from who? There was a bit of that going on. Obviously, Percy Mayfield came up with the riff, so he gets the credit. (laughter)

MWE3: And of course “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, the Willie Dixon song is legendary in rock history and as you prove here, is still quite effective. When did you first hear that song?

GM: Ah yeah...Willie Dixon is just my favorite. I could just do a whole album of Willie Dixon, maybe it’s something I could do later on. It’s funny, because you know when you’re a kid and you’re listening to all these great bands and you don’t actually care who wrote the songs? Of course, later on it turns out all the songs that I loved when I was growing up were all written by Willie Dixon. (laughter) From “Spoonful” to “I Can’t Quit You Baby” to whatever. They’re all by him. He was like Lennon and McCartney all rolled into one, but in the blues world.

MWE3: You really get a sense of urgency with the album’s live in the studio sound. Is that the way you like to record?

GM: Yeah, well I mean for this record that...in all honesty, in the past I’ve tried to do that y’know? It hasn’t worked out. I’ve gone in with this great idea of recording just live and everyone just blasting through it but for some reason it hasn’t worked out. For example, maybe you’re playing good for a couple of takes and then maybe the drummer or the bass player, whatever in the band isn’t cutting it. So you’ve got to keep doing over and over and then your solos get stale and then you end up having to overdub and once I get into that overdub mode it takes me a long time to get what I want. Whereas if I do it live, I can get another couple of takes, which is what is happening on this record. So we just stuck to this kind of rule where if we didn’t get it in two or three takes that was it, we’d move on and do something else and come back. So we never allowed anything to become stale. That was a very important rule for us. And I think we kept the whole thing sounding very fresh. It stands to reason if you keep playing the song over and over again, especially for the guy who’s got to take the solo in the middle, he’s not going to be on enough for a few takes. No one is really. You’ve got to nail it straight-away or else leave it and come back to it.

MWE3: Can you say something about the main guitars you used to record Power Of The Blues?

GM: Absolutely, yeah I mean I used two main guitars. I had a white Explorer that I got, a just off the rack Explorer that I started to use on the Monsters Of Rock tour last year. And I got very fond of that guitar. It’s not something you would associate with me but it ended up on quite a few bits on this album. Like on “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, that sound right there was just that guitar plugged into a real old, beat up Marshall combo. Kind of like the last of the old Bluesbreakers, like an old tremolo, 50 watt, sort of basket weave front Marshall combo that I’ve had around for years and I’ve never actually used it. I plugged it straight in, and we did that take and then the fucking thing blew up (laughter) straight afterwards. Same old story, like a lot of people say I’ve got a story like that, so I kind of got it repaired and it wasn’t the same but it still sounds pretty good. And then the guitar got broken half way through the recording, like half way through the album. Someone knocked it over and and got a chip out of the back of the neck and that really pissed me off. So there’s definitely a lot of the power of the blues going on with this record with (laughter) things going wrong! So I ended up using my Les Paul more than I’d intended to and...I’ve got a few Les Paul's but there’s two main ones, both made in 1959. One is the one that used to belong to Peter Green, and I used that on “Torn Inside”, that very haunting kind of tone on there, that’s Peter Green’s old guitar. And then I used the other one, which is the one that I used to use from the Still Got The Blues track really onwards. That’s another ‘59, and I used that on things like “That’s Why I Play The Blues” and “Power Of The Blues” and stuff like that. So between those two, I’d say that was pretty much it, and there’s a couple of other things...I used an SG on “Evil” for the rhythm stuff, and I used a smaller bodied Explorer for the slide stuff on “Tell Me Woman”. But basically, the Explorer and the Les Paul were the two main guitars. And just two various 50 watt Marshalls. I didn’t use any 100 watt Marshalls at all. It was all...like the most I would use would be one head and usually into the two 12’s of the combo, and sometimes a 4X12, and that’d be it.

MWE3: Peter Green was such a huge influence back in the ‘60s. I actually saw the original Fleetwood Mac open for Grand Funk Railroad and Sly & the Family Stone back in 1969!

GM: Oh did you? That’s great. That’s when I met Peter because we were opening for them in Dublin. I was in a band called Skid Row at the time and he sort of discovered me, if you like, through that gig. Through him, his manager kind of took us over to London and stuff. So he gave me my first big break as it were.

MWE3: How did you end up with old Peter Green '59 Gibson Les Paul guitar, you said he recorded “Albatross” with that guitar?

GM: He did A Hard Road with it, the John Mayall stuff. He did “Man Of The World”, “Oh Well”. But someone’s told me since that it was a Strat on “Albatross”. I always thought it was the Les Paul because, I’ve seen him play it live and because it was him playing it, it sounded the same anyway, to be honest. But it was on “Man Of The World” and “Green Manalishi” and all this stuff, so it’s a very, very special guitar. But basically, he left Fleetwood Mac and, not long after I got to know him in fact...I was in the Marquee Club one night in London and he said, “Would you like to borrow my guitar?” And I said, “Wow, I’d love to borrow your guitar!” It was my dream guitar, having seen him play with John Mayall and everything, and Fleetwood Mac with that guitar. To me, that was the ultimate guitar. So I went back to his parent’s house the next day and picked it up. And I kept it for a few days, in my little bed-sit flat in north London. And I fell in love with it obviously over those next few days. And he called me up and he said, “Well, what do you think of that guitar?” And I said, “Oh, it’s amazing!”, and he goes, “Well do you want it?” I said, “Well I can’t afford that guitar, are you crazy?” And he says, “Well, you sell your guitar and whatever you get for it, you give me and it’ll be like swapping axes.” That was the way he put it. I remember exactly how he said it. And so, I had an SG and I sold it for 140 pounds or something. And he kind of took most of that loot, gave me some back and said, “No, I’m gonna just take what I paid for it”, which was 110 pounds or 120 pounds, something like that, which was ridiculous y’know, at the time. But I said to him, ‘cause I knew he wasn’t in a very good frame of mind at the time, I said, “If you ever want it back, just tell me and you can have it back.” And he said, “No, I’ll never ask you for it back. I just want it to have a good home.” So, (laughter) he’s never asked me for it back. That was like in the early ‘70s, so I’ve had it ever since.

MWE3: It’s amazing how influential that guitar has turned out to be.

GM: Oh, man...everyone’s played that guitar. I think Eric Clapton played it, Jeff Beck’s tried it, when I’ve had it and Jeff Beck’s played it. He even had the case off the one from the Bluesbreakers that Eric had stolen. And I had that case on that guitar for a long time, and then that disappeared as well. So I had the case from the Bluesbreakers one and the case from A Hard Road, which isn’t bad.

MWE3: Are you still working with Gibson on the Gary Moore signature guitar?

GM: Well, I mean they stopped making it now but they’re talking about doing another one. They stopped making it about a year ago. But obviously I worked with them on the first one and it was very successful because, I think what was good was they managed to keep the price down compared to the other signature models. Because you know what guitar players are like, we see something, it looks pretty and we go for it. It doesn’t just have to be a guitar right? (laughter) You see it and go like, ‘that’s a nice guitar.’ It is a nice looking guitar, but it plays great. To be honest with you now, I haven’t been using the old ones on stage for the last year, I’ve just been using the signature models and they’re great. They’re on the live recording of the Scars album and everything. I used it on the stuff we did in the summer this year. It’s great.

MWE3: You often say, “The guitar is made for the blues”. In your opinion what makes the guitar so effective for the blues?

GM: Yeah, I think so...it just has this inherent thing, because there’s nothing between you and the guitar. Especially if you don’t use a pick like a lot of the guys, but I still do a lot of the time, you can actually just be so direct with the guitar and it can come straight from you, through the strings, into the wood, into the amp and you’ve got that great kind of direct expression which you don’t get with other instruments, maybe like piano and stuff because there’s all the kind of mechanics of the stuff. That’s my theory anyway. It might be a lot of bullshit, but that’s the way I feel about the guitar and there’s just something about the guitar...it’s such a responsive instrument to the human touch. Again, it’s just got that kind of response, you can play it very gently and it’ll respond accordingly. It just seems that it’ll cry or scream, it’ll shout or it’ll laugh or whatever. It’s just got that whole range of emotions built into it somehow. It’s a very magical instrument, for me anyway.

MWE3: What about acoustics? There doesn’t like you use them on Power Of The Blues.

GM: Ah, not that much (laughter) no. I’m not so good with that. I always think, ‘I think I’ll put a little acoustic track on this album’, and I never get around to doing it. I mean the only time I did it really in recent years was when I did some acoustic versions of songs on one of the blues albums, like the Blues For Greeny album. The last afternoon in the studio I said, ‘look, I’m going to do as many acoustic versions of these songs as possible.’ And they ended up on like b-sides and stuff but I just kind of did them in one or two takes, but I haven’t done anything seriously acoustic for a while. But, having said that, I would like to, to be honest I’d like to get a bit more into that at some point and do something a bit special with the acoustic.

MWE3: Could you also say something about your current work with Marshall amps?

GM: Basically, they showed me, you know the new hand-wired series that they’re doing. They’ve done like the 18 watt, the 20 watt and they’re doing the old 100 watt again. They’re doing it in the hand-wired series. I’ve got one of the 18 watt amps and basically I’m just in an ad and I’ve made some comments about it. They let me try stuff out before it comes out. Like the DSL series for example. I’ve got the first one of those. I’ve got the prototype of that and that’s the amp I use on stage, you know? Basically, they gave it to me and I wouldn’t give it back to them (laughter) ‘cause I liked it so much. But they were still tweaking at that stage. They give me a chance to comment on things and I always tell ‘em what I think but it’s a very personal thing, as you know. I’m sure you play yourself and I’m sure you know what it’s like with amps and guitars. It’s very personal, but for what it’s worth I do give them my opinion sometimes. I would like to think that we might be able to work on a project of creating an amplifier at some stage. We’ve kind of talked about it over the last few years but it hasn’t really happened yet.

MWE3: I know you’d injured your hand. Is that going okay for you now?

GM: It’s recovering, but it’s been real, real slow because I went into the hospital in July to have an injection and I got an infection in my hand, picked up this bug in the hospital. It completely fucked me up. My hand is up like a football, so swollen. The left front of the fingers are very stiff. I’ve been having physiotherapy to kind of, deal with that again, so...but I’m playing a bit again now and stuff. I mean at one point I thought, ‘shit, this is not good at all.’ But I’ve done a couple of charity gigs and like just short things. I haven’t gone out and done a whole show again. It’s been slow and very frustrating really, but I’m on the mend.


MWE3: How about a box set or retrospective of your recording history?

GM: Virgin have done a lot of that kind of stuff. They keep reissuing and remastering all the old stuff and putting it out again so there’s been a lot of that going on over the years. But it’s kind of up to them really. I get a bit sick of it to be honest because they like remaster stuff and they don’t involve you in it and they don’t get you to authorize it and then stick it out and people moan about the sound and it kind of reflects on you. So sometimes that’s kind of annoying but contractually of course, there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just the way it is. It’s the same for any musician who’s been involved with a company and then they leave. They’ve got to recycle as much as they can. But it’s a shame because on some of that stuff I could’ve given them some extra tracks that would have made it more attractive for people or a little bit more special instead of just giving people what they’ve got pretty much already. So, it’s kind annoying but for the moment I don’t think there’s any more plans for any of that stuff.

MWE3: Do you prefer the power trio format or will you be expanding your group sound in the future?

GM: Well you know, I’ve gone from power trios, which is kind of what I started with up to a ten piece band at one time. In the ‘90s I had the two girl singers, I had the four piece horn section, the whole thing. And then I got kind of tired of that because it felt so arranged, so structured and so kind of like inhibiting, whereas with the power trio you have the other extreme of that. You can just improvise and everyone’s got that kind of immediate contact that you can only get between three people. I think once you add that extra element then you have to arrange things a little bit more. But I think certainly, some of the songs I’m starting to work on now, (I’m going to work with) four people again to make it more melodic. So, I can definitely see that happening. And if it calls for it, some horns, and if it calls for it, strings. Why not? Just treat the song as it deserves to be treated. That’s always been the way I’ve worked.

MWE3: You grew up in Belfast and I heard your father was a concert promoter. What kind of music did you grow up with?

GM: Promoter might be a little ambitious for that, but he ran a ballroom in a place called Holywood, (pronounced Hollywood) but with one L. It was a place just outside Belfast. Every Saturday night he would have, what we call, show bands come and play. They’re seven piece kind of outfits with...like old fat bald guys basically in suits, y’know? (laughter) Playing country and western believe it or not, ‘cause country and western is huge in Ireland, at least it was at that time. So they’d play some Irish music and they’d play a lot of Top 40 stuff and a lot of country stuff so that was kind of the first music I was exposed. So I fell in love with the guitar even at that stage, and I’m talking about when I was five here, y’know? And I didn’t actually start to play until I was ten but I was already hooked on it, I just didn’t think in a million years I’d be able to play it.

MWE3: One of my favorite albums was the album you did back in the ‘90s with Jack Bruce...

GM: Oh, the BBM thing.

MWE3: That was such a cool record. Why was that band so short-lived?

GM: (laughter) There was a lot of pressure on us. A lot of people got the wrong idea. The general perception in the media, certainly in England, was that Jack and Ginger tried to get Cream back together but they couldn’t get Eric, so they got second best, which was me. And of course that wasn’t the way it was at all. It was kind of like my project. Jack was writing some songs with me and playing on my album and then we had no drummer because the drummer we were going to use was working with Billy Cobham at the time doing keyboards, a guy called Gary Husband. So Jack suggested we get Ginger and much to my amazement it kind of went from there. And then it just evolved into me saying, ‘well we can’t call it fucking Gary Moore with you guys. It’s gotta be band.’ (laughter) Even the name wasn’t too cool...BBM. How creative was that? We had some good, kind of like funny names...like Clapped Out (laughter). Ginger came up with Pope Wank one night. He wanted to call the band Pope Wank, as in you’d have more chance of getting a wanker for pope then this band making it, y’know? (laughter) So we ended up just using our initials and then it was like, who’s going to go first? And I said, ‘I don’t give a shit who goes first. Just use whatever sounds best.’ And BBM worked so we ended up with that. But we got so much shit from the press over here just for like being who we were. There was so much expectation of the band. We had some really great gigs and I really enjoyed making the album but it wasn’t something that was going to continue unfortunately. But I’m really glad I did it and I learnt so much from those guys. And I worked with Jack obviously since then. He’s been on my albums. I’d work with Jack anytime. You know, I love the guy. To me, he’s a big hero, really. The guy’s a genius, he’s unbelievable. His solo records and...I think I know more of his songs than he does. I’m such a fan.

MWE3: What about instrumental music? I can remember growing up and loving “Albatross”, the Fleetwood Mac classic.

GM: I think in the right way, if somebody comes up with a really great tune like that...you say that was maybe the thing that turned you on to instrumental music, but we had The Shadows obviously. You had The Ventures. The first song I ever learned was “Wonderful Land” by Hank Marvin and The Shadows. There was a lot of instrumental music around. In fact, “Albatross” was kind of a cry back to that, a few years later, in the late ‘60s. That was Peter’s version of The Shadows if you like. Or Santo & Johnny, whatever. I always think, like record companies, if you say you’re going to do an instrumental, the crosses come up. You’re the anti-Christ, right? (laughter) It’s true, isn’t it, really? And yet if you come up with a really beautiful, melodic song...

MWE3: You know we didn’t have The Shadows here.

GM: But you had Elvis though! (laughter) He never came to England, ever. Did you know that? He never came to England. ‘Cause he didn’t like flying, he didn’t come to England. Isn’t that something?

MWE3: Hank Marvin was such an influence on so many players over there.

GM: Oh man! He was the first guitar hero for me. In fact, I just got to meet him. You won’t believe it but I met him for the first time about a month ago. At the Fender 50th anniversary. You know the Strat Pack thing we did over here. There were tons of guitarists, like Dave Gilmour was on that. Hank played “Wonderful Land” and I was like choking back the tears at the rehearsals. It was like, ‘Oh Hank’, there he is playing “Wonderful Land”, the first song I ever learnt and there’s me like talking to him and stuff. And he was such a cool guy. He hung around all day at the rehearsals and watched every guy play. And he was like a kid. He was like, ‘what kind of picks do you use? What kind of strings do you use?’ It was just great to hang out with him. And he played beautifully and he still has the same sound. And it was just such a great thrill to see him play. I mean, he was the first guy. There wasn’t anybody else to be honest when I started to play, except Hank.

MWE3: Especially in England. Duane Eddy...but he wasn’t doing the same. I think what The Shadows represented...

GM: Duane Eddy, I loved him as well man, yeah. He used to do “Guitar Man” and all that stuff. I used to play that. I was like ten at the time. I used to play it at my dad’s ballroom. You know, get up on the stage and play that song. I just loved all that stuff. It was actually a really good time for guitar music because, although you had a lot of crap pop stuff happening it was still a lot of instrumental guitar, heavily featured guitar music around. It was a good time.

MWE3: From Hank Marvin, for me I would think the next logical step would be George Harrison.

GM: Right, me too. See, I went from Hank to George Harrison. The Beatles came out and of course because between those couple of things you really had all the tools you needed. You had melody, you had great rhythm guitar strumming parts, great songs, great harmonies, catchy hooks. It was all there. Even before the other thing came along, the blues thing and before The Yardbirds came along - because of course that was the next stage in - you just had so much there to dig into and learn from. So, again, it was a great time for a kid to be learning guitar. You had The Yardbirds come along after that. Especially with Jeff Beck. Once he got involved, it was an incredible time really. That’s when the whole kind of sonic possibilities of the guitar began to open up a lot more and you had all the feedback happening. I mean, that was all happening before Jimi came over. Jimi was listening to the English guys apparently. He was listening to Eric, and Jeff Beck and stuff. I think he got a lot of his feedback stuff from the English guys, but of course he took it a helluva lot further. But there was great thing happening in England at that time. You had The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, you had Cream and then Jimi. What a time to learn to play guitar. It was a great time definitely.

MWE3: Speaking of George, God rest his soul, you also played on the Traveling Wilburys, the second album?

GM: That’s right, yeah.

MWE3: Which track?

GM: The first track, it’s called “My Baby”. And what happened was...George and I were quite good friends. We used to live in the same place. We used to live in Henley-On-Thames. And I used to go over to his house quite a lot. He had a studio upstairs in his house. He’d just call you up sometimes and go, ‘hey can you come over and play on this track?’ or something. You’d go, ‘okay’, and you’d think it was a demo or something right? You go up there and you’d have to play. And I wouldn’t even have a guitar sometimes or an amp that he’d just make you plug into whatever was there. And it would like not a very good sound or anything, ‘cause it would be so basic and very flat. He’d make you play real dry. And he’d just say, ‘play on this song’ and then yeah, yeah, yeah. Like they wouldn’t finish it or nothing. And there’d be like Jeff Lynne sitting there. And the next thing, the fucking thing’s out and it’s on the radio all over America, and I’m living in the States by then. It’s like, ‘shit, this thing’s all over the radio’ and I didn’t realize it was going to that serious of a thing at the time. I was still proud to be on it. I really like those Wilburys albums. So George gave me a song from the Still Got The Blues album. “That Kind Of Woman” it was called. He also played slide guitar on that with me and he sang on it. And I also played “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at his gig at the Albert Hall. You know, he did that sort of one off comeback gig after 25 years. He hadn’t played in London. So I did that together with him as well. Yeah, so we did a few things together.

MWE3: A couple of months ago we had Greg Lake on the cover...

GM: Oh, fuck, yeah...I just saw him a couple of weeks ago too.

MWE3: He kind of transcended bass playing because of his early work with King Crimson.

GM: Oh yeah, that was a great band.

MWE3: You were in Coliseum II as well. So how do you reflect back on that progressive rock era?

GM: Well, that was a great record. It was a monster record, wasn’t it? You had that first record, “21st Century Schizoid Man” and it fucking blew your head off. You’d never heard anything like it before. Sort of like prog-rock or whatever you want to call it, it went on to be. Like you had Emerson, Lake & Palmer and you had Yes and you had that whole kind of thing. I mean, I was never really drawn to that whole movement because I found that music quite clinical but King Crimson’s a little different because it had this kind of dark side to it, which I quite liked and it had this kind of very sort of melancholy thing with some of their slower songs. So it had a kind of magical thing about it, a mysterious kind of thing which I like, which I didn’t get off of some of those other bands. Yeah, Greg was obviously a very big part of that. He’s a great singer, a very talented guy. I just did a charity gig with him a couple of weeks ago. In fact, he plays on this thing every year we did together. So I’ve seen him a couple of times in the last year. And I hadn’t seen him for a long time. We did two albums together, for him. The records we worked on together weren’t that great, to be honest, ‘cause I don’t think the songs were that great. But I think Greg’s a very talented guy. Very underrated actually.

MWE3: Any new gear that’s impressed you of late?

GM: New Gear. Shit man, I try everything. I’m a fiend for gear. There’s a really good guitar store near where I live in Brighton. Everything that comes in from the States ends up there. I’m always trying new amps out. I like that little hand-wired Marshall, I’ve been using that lately with an 18 watt. That’s a really nice little amp. You know I did this project a couple years ago called Scars? With the bass player from Skunk Anansi Cass Lewis, Darrin Mooney on drums and myself. It was more of a rock thing and I got into the more sonic side of thing of it then, I started using the Line 6 modeling pedals, you know, the filters and all that stuff. So it depends on the music. Sometimes I will go that way and sometimes I just strip it all down again. I get so sort of sick of the whole sort of pedal thing and I just go back to the very simple thing again. So, I don’t think that there's anything that I’ve been using which is really new that would blow you away. And, at the moment I’m using a quite traditional sound with a bit of reverb and a bit of distortion. That’s it really.

MWE3: Any final thoughts on Power Of The Blues...?

GM: It was just great fun making the record. It’s like I’m sort of onto the next phase now...(laughter) Writing stuff and I don’t know what it’s gonna be ‘cause you know what I’m like, ‘cause you said yourself I have changed many times and I’ve got a lot of flack from the media for it. People have said all kinds of things about that. But I’ve always been excited by musicians who weren’t afraid to take risks. And I’m one of those people. I feel like you just have to really do what’s true to your heart at the time and fuck the commercial side of it. ‘Cause I’ve never done anything deliberately where it’s worked out commercially. Like with Still Got The Blues. No one would have thought that was going to do what it did. We just did it because that was what I wanted to do. And that’s what I’ve been like ever since. I just think you have to be true to yourself and if you like it enough, hopefully somebody else will.


Thanks to Gary Moore @ www.Gary-Moore.com, Graham Lilley, www.Eagle-Rock.com, www.ChipsterPR.com and www.SantuaryRecordsGroup.com






 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 

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