Gerry McAvoy - Interview - June 12th 2010
"Blues à Jarnioux" Festival
AM : What are your first impressions ?
It's a beautiful place, I came down today from Paris by TGV, lovely drive, lovely train journey and I arrived here and it's a beautiful place !
AM : Do you remember when did you first pick up a bass ?
AM : A long time ago !
I actually played guitar first. I was a guitar player in a band and the bass player left, so we needed a bass player, so I decided to take a bass and play bass and that was about in 1961, it was a long time ago.
I grew up with rock'n'roll and the Blues. I grew up with The Beatles. I was a big fan of Del Shannon, 60's rock, Buddy Holly and then somewhere in the mid-sixties I discovered the Blues on radio, I listened to late night radio, I heard Muddy Waters and he did - I'm a man - I heard this music and it was like nothing that I heard before, so I discovered the Blues and never look back since.
AM : And now what kind of music do you listen to ?
I still listen to, you know, my Blues records, Sonny Rollins and Muddy Waters. I listen to Bob Dylan, I like a cross section of music, you know, a lot of different music. New bands, The Queens of the Stone Age and different new bands, some good stuff out there at the moment, and I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan, I love Bruce Springsteen.
AM : what is the best memory you have from him ?
It was 20 years, a long, long time. I think one of the first times we played Belfast. I'm from Belfast, with Rory, it would have been 1971 and the troubles were still happening in Belfast, there was still a lot of trouble about, but we went and played and people came, the atmosphere was fantastic, that's great memory for me, because it's my hometown.
This one here, Irish Tour 1974. In fact I was in Cork last week and I had to do a record for an exhibition called pictures in rock. This is great memories, making the film and doing the tour.
AM : It's from Tony Palmer.
Tony Palmer, great film director. He directed 200 Motels with Frank Zappa and also directed a Jack Bruce's film, Rope Ladder to the Moon. Yeah it's a good film, I think this was made before the bizarres of rock'n'roll, it's the genuine thing (smiling). Gerry showing the DVD : That's the one !
I actually like the second album, I did with Rory, an album called Deuce, which I like a lot, because there is a lot of folk influences on there, and Rory was very folk influenced as well. There're a lot of songs and sometimes Nine Below Zero have been, people said too poppy, which I can't understand, you know, sometimes because writing songs doesn't have to be pop music, pop music means popular and Rory and Deuce, he wrote there some great pop songs, but it's still Blues based, the same as Nine Below Zero, so to be criticised as being too poppy... I found it wrong.
AM : Called...
Gerry showing the book to the camera : Riding Shotgun.
AM : 35 years on the road with Rory Gallagher and Nine Below Zero.
AM : Could you please introduce this book ?
This is Riding Shotgun, I show it to the camera now, which myself and Peter wrote over three or four years and it's basically, it's my memories and it's my life, you know, and a lot of my life was with Rory and also with Nine Below Zero. It's basically, it's a journey and a story, it's a journey of my life from Belfast, the sixties through to five years ago.
AM : And with a lot of anecdotes.
Lots of anecdotes.
AM : Which are very funny for some of them.
Yeah, a lot of stuff, I wish I hadn't written as well, and put it in there ! but also we've updated the book and it will come out again next year with updates.
AM : That's fine to hear it.
Bruce springsteen. (laughing)
AM : What do you do apart from the music, do you have some hobbies ?
No, at the moment I'm sort of building my house, because I live in France now..
AM : Oh you live in France, okay.
AM : A Valloire.
I am trying to work on my house, so that takes a lot of my time !
For the future, we just made a new CD with Nine Below Zero which I think is probably the best we have ever made, so we are trying to promote that at the moment, we have a tour in France in November, we do some shows in Clermont-Ferrand, I think, we'll play Paris also, we'll play The New Morning in Paris, November 11th, I'm sure it's the right date, so everybody come along to the present show and we just tour, keep it on to promote the new CD.
AM : It's never too late.
It's never too late. That's never too late !
AM : It's never too late, okay, that's it Gerry.
Okay. Thank you very much for your time. Merci beaucoup d'être avec nous ce soir. Merci bien.
AM : Enjoy it ! I'm sure we will enjoy this gig, very much, always.
A bientôt !