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 Beckall 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 andfollowing his 2003
Monsters Of Rock tourGary 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.
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 wasnt 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 Moores 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}
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 hadnt 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 Id be glad to
make a blues album again but do it with a bit more of an edge and
Bobs 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 Id 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 didnt
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 whats we
did. We just went into the studio. We didnt even rehearse or
anything. And we started off with just trying I Cant 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
GM: I suppose so...I just always thought the blues was based on a
real power and obviously in the way were doing it, in a sort
of power trio format and the way were 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 everythings 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: Thats really cool. The cover art is really cool too.
GM: Im glad you like it cause a lot of people didnt
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. Its like a little seaside town.
These young graffiti artists here, Ive 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 theyd 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? Theyre
doing some incredible work on both sides of the Atlantic.
GM: Yeah, I think theyve 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 Ive been with them pretty
much since. I was doing an album called Different Beat, and
Id 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
weve kind of been working together ever since.
MWE3: Besides the title track, another highlight on the CD, Thats
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. Hes
someone that Ive loved for a long time as a musician. And Ive
worked with him a few times. So I guess you could definitely compare
that to what he does.
One of your long time fans mentioned that Theres 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 its different in so much in that its not a straight
blues at all. But then the album is not a straight blues album. I
dont think its completely...I think Ive done things
in the past with that kind of chord cycle, maybe Cold Day In
Hell from the After Hours album. But I think its
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 wouldnt make a conscious effort to sound like them at
all. It would be pointless, theyre 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 its ready.
And I think thats kind of what was happening there, and Id
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 Mayfields 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 its always been
there. In fact, Thin Lizzy actually did a version of it after I left
the band. Its on one of the DVDs thats out now from Germany.
Theres a version on there. So its just always been around,
that song. But the dilemma I had...I didnt realize until much
later, its 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, its 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) its 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 Cant 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 its something I could do
later on. Its funny, because you know when youre a kid
and youre listening to all these great bands and you dont
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 Cant
Quit You Baby to whatever. Theyre 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 albums live
in the studio sound. Is that the way you like to record?
Yeah, well I mean for this record that...in all honesty, in the past
Ive tried to do that yknow? It hasnt worked out.
Ive gone in with this great idea of recording just live and
everyone just blasting through it but for some reason it hasnt
worked out. For example, maybe youre playing good for a couple
of takes and then maybe the drummer or the bass player, whatever in
the band isnt cutting it. So youve 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 didnt get it in
two or three takes that was it, wed 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 whos got
to take the solo in the middle, hes not going to be on enough
for a few takes. No one is really. Youve 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. Its not something you would associate with
me but it ended up on quite a few bits on this album. Like on I
Cant 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 Ive had around for
years and Ive 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 Ive
got a story like that, so I kind of got it repaired and it wasnt
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 theres 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 Id
intended to and...Ive got a few Les Paul's but theres
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, thats Peter Greens 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. Thats
another 59, and I used that on things like Thats
Why I Play The Blues and Power Of The Blues and
stuff like that. So between those two, Id say that was pretty
much it, and theres 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 didnt 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 12s of the combo, and sometimes a 4X12,
and thatd be it.
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? Thats great. Thats 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 someones
told me since that it was a Strat on Albatross. I always
thought it was the Les Paul because, Ive 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 its 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, Id 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 parents 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, its amazing!,
and he goes, Well do you want it? I said, Well I
cant afford that guitar, are you crazy? And he says, Well,
you sell your guitar and whatever you get for it, you give me and
itll 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, Im gonna just take what
I paid for it, which was 110 pounds or 120 pounds, something
like that, which was ridiculous yknow, at the time. But I said
to him, cause I knew he wasnt 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, Ill
never ask you for it back. I just want it to have a good home.
So, (laughter) hes never asked me for it back. That was like
in the early 70s, so Ive had it ever since.
MWE3: Its amazing how influential that guitar has turned
out to be.
GM: Oh, man...everyones played that guitar. I think Eric Clapton
played it, Jeff Becks tried it, when Ive had it and Jeff
Becks 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 isnt
MWE3: Are you still working with Gibson on the Gary Moore signature
GM: Well, I mean they stopped making it now but theyre 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
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 doesnt just have to be a guitar right? (laughter)
You see it and go like, thats a nice guitar. It
is a nice looking guitar, but it plays great. To be honest with you
now, I havent been using the old ones on stage for the last
year, Ive just been using the signature models and theyre
great. Theyre on the live recording of the Scars album and everything.
I used it on the stuff we did in the summer this year. Its great.
MWE3: You often say, The guitar is made for the blues.
In your opinion what makes the guitar so effective for
GM: Yeah, I think so...it just has this inherent thing, because theres
nothing between you and the guitar. Especially if you dont 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 youve
got that great kind of direct expression which you dont get
with other instruments, maybe like piano and stuff because theres
all the kind of mechanics of the stuff. Thats my theory anyway.
It might be a lot of bullshit, but thats the way I feel about
the guitar and theres just something about the guitar...its
such a responsive instrument to the human touch. Again, its
just got that kind of response, you can play it very gently and itll
respond accordingly. It just seems that itll cry or scream,
itll shout or itll laugh or whatever. Its just got
that whole range of emotions built into it somehow. Its a very
magical instrument, for me anyway.
MWE3: What about acoustics? There doesnt like you use them on
Power Of The Blues.
GM: Ah, not that much (laughter) no. Im not so good with
that. I always think, I think Ill 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,
Im 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 havent done anything seriously
acoustic for a while. But, having said that, I would like to, to be
honest Id 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
GM: Basically, they showed me, you know the new hand-wired series
that theyre doing. Theyve done like the 18 watt, the 20
watt and theyre doing the old 100 watt again. Theyre doing
it in the hand-wired series. Ive got one of the 18 watt amps
and basically Im just in an ad and Ive made some comments
about it. They let me try stuff out before it comes out. Like the
DSL series for example. Ive got the first one of those. Ive
got the prototype of that and thats the amp I use on stage,
you know? Basically, they gave it to me and I wouldnt 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 its a very
personal thing, as you know. Im sure you play yourself and Im
sure you know what its like with amps and guitars. Its
very personal, but for what its 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. Weve kind
of talked about it over the last few years but it hasnt really
MWE3: I know youd injured your hand. Is that going okay for
GM: Its recovering, but its 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. Ive been having physiotherapy
to kind of, deal with that again, so...but Im playing a bit
again now and stuff. I mean at one point I thought, shit, this
is not good at all. But Ive done a couple of charity gigs
and like just short things. I havent gone out and done a whole
show again. Its been slow and very frustrating really, but Im
on the mend.
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 theres
been a lot of that going on over the years. But its kind of
up to them really. I get a bit sick of it to be honest because they
like remaster stuff and they dont involve you in it and they
dont 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
thats kind of annoying but contractually of course, theres
nothing I can do about it. Its just the way it is. Its
the same for any musician whos been involved with a company
and then they leave. Theyve got to recycle as much as they can.
But its a shame because on some of that stuff I couldve
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 theyve got pretty much already. So, its kind annoying
but for the moment I dont think theres 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, Ive 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 everyones 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 Im starting to work on now, (Im
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. Thats always been the way Ive
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. Theyre seven piece
kind of outfits with...like old fat bald guys basically in suits,
yknow? (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 theyd play some Irish music and theyd
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 Im talking about when I was five
here, yknow? And I didnt actually start to play until
I was ten but I was already hooked on it, I just didnt think
in a million years Id be able to play it.
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 couldnt get Eric, so they got second best, which was
me. And of course that wasnt 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 cant call it fucking Gary Moore
with you guys. Its gotta be band. (laughter) Even the
name wasnt 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 youd have more chance of getting a wanker for pope
then this band making it, yknow? (laughter) So we ended up just
using our initials and then it was like, whos going to go first?
And I said, I dont 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 wasnt
something that was going to continue unfortunately. But Im really
glad I did it and I learnt so much from those guys. And I worked with
Jack obviously since then. Hes been on my albums. Id work
with Jack anytime. You know, I love the guy. To me, hes a big
hero, really. The guys a genius, hes unbelievable. His
solo records and...I think I know more of his songs than he does.
Im 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 Peters version
of The Shadows if you like. Or Santo & Johnny, whatever. I always
think, like record companies, if you say youre going to do an
instrumental, the crosses come up. Youre the anti-Christ, right?
(laughter) Its true, isnt it, really? And yet if you come
up with a really beautiful, melodic song...
MWE3: You know we didnt 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
didnt like flying, he didnt come to England. Isnt
MWE3: Hank Marvin was such an influence on so many players over there.
Oh man! He was the first guitar hero for me. In fact, I just got to
meet him. You wont 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 theres 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 wasnt anybody
else to be honest when I started to play, except Hank.
MWE3: Especially in England. Duane Eddy...but he wasnt 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 dads 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.
Thats 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: Thats right, yeah.
MWE3: Which track?
GM: The first track, its 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. Hed just call you up sometimes and go, hey can
you come over and play on this track? or something. Youd
go, okay, and youd think it was a demo
or something right? You go up there and youd have to play. And
I wouldnt even have a guitar sometimes or an amp that hed
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. Hed make you play real dry. And hed just say,
play on this song and then yeah, yeah, yeah. Like they
wouldnt finish it or nothing. And thered be like Jeff
Lynne sitting there. And the next thing, the fucking things
out and its on the radio all over America, and Im living
in the States by then. Its like, shit, this things
all over the radio and I didnt 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 hadnt 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, wasnt
it? You had that first record, 21st Century Schizoid Man
and it fucking blew your head off. Youd 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 Crimsons 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 didnt get off of some of those other bands.
Yeah, Greg was obviously a very big part of that. Hes 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 Ive seen him a couple of times in the last year. And I hadnt
seen him for a long time. We did two albums together, for him. The
records we worked on together werent that great, to be honest,
cause I dont think the songs were that great. But I think
Gregs a very talented guy. Very underrated actually.
Any new gear thats impressed you of late?
GM: New Gear. Shit man, I try everything. Im a fiend for gear.
Theres a really good guitar store near where I live in Brighton.
Everything that comes in from the States ends up there. Im always
trying new amps out. I like that little hand-wired Marshall, Ive
been using that lately with an 18 watt. Thats 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 dont
think that there's anything that Ive been using which is really
new that would blow you away. And, at the moment Im using a
quite traditional sound with a bit of reverb and a bit of distortion.
Thats it really.
MWE3: Any final thoughts on Power Of The Blues...?
GM: It was just great fun making the record. Its like Im
sort of onto the next phase now...(laughter) Writing stuff and I dont
know what its gonna be cause you know what Im like,
cause you said yourself I have changed many times and Ive
got a lot of flack from the media for it. People have said all kinds
of things about that. But Ive always been excited by musicians
who werent afraid to take risks. And Im one of those people.
I feel like you just have to really do whats true to your heart
at the time and fuck the commercial side of it. Cause Ive
never done anything deliberately where its 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 thats what Ive 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,