Gary Moore (4th April 1952 – 6th February 2011)
Terrible news. Gary Moore has died. There are no details yet, it seems he died in his
sleep on holiday in Spain. Tragic.
Gary Moore was, of course, a guitar hero. There can’t be a rock guitarist around who
hasn’t been influenced by him. His control and vibrato were legendary.
I interviewed him on TotalRock a couple of years back. Now I know one mustn’t speak ill
of the dead, much less the recently deceased but Gary had a reputation for being, shall
we say “grumpy” at times. I’d been warned of this before the interview by… well, by
quite a few people actually.
I could either, just do a short chat about his new album and let him go quickly before we
fell out, or I could gamble on getting a good interview by opening with a pretty cheeky
question. This is a risky technique, it can go either way.
It worked great when I chatted to Kee Marcello from Europe and opened by asking if he’d
like to tell the listeners about why he’d been deported from the UK on a previous visit.
He told the tale and laughed all the way through. Great interview (turned out he was a
Kiss fan too).
It went horribly wrong with Scott Ian from Anthrax. Whoops! I’ll tell you about that
another time… and he was a Kiss fan… nevermind.
So Mr Moore, guitar hero, turned up at TotalRock, shook my hand briefly and avoided small
talk and eye contact. Nice. He avoided eye contact by wearing dark sunglasses despite the
fact we were in a windowless studio. No problem.
So I played a track of his and went in with “Gary Moore, it’s a pleasure to have you on
the show. I’ve always thought of you as being a bit like Madonna. But as a guitarist…”
“Eh?” he said. I was really glad he had those sunglasses on now. He was certainly giving
me a filthy look.
“You know” I said “Always reinventing yourself, Thin Lizzy guitarist, solo rock
guitarist, blues player, three piece rocking band…”
“Yeah, but I don’t have these” he said pulling his shirt out in the form of ladies’
breasts. He laughed and took the sunglasses off. The gamble had paid off. Phew!
From there on we just chatted and had a laugh. He was hilarious and very genuine. I wish
I’d recorded it.
Mainly we chatted about the first gig I saw him do – Donington Monsters of Rock 1984. It
was the year of guitar hero madness, Gary, then Jake E Lee with Ozzy, then Edward Van
Halen himself, with Angus Young and AC/DC to finish. Mötley Crüe, Accept and Y&T had
opened the bill. Has there ever been a better festival line-up?
I asked Gary if he’d felt the pressure backstage. He said that he totally had, he’d heard
Eddie VH warming up. But when it came to his gig, he saw Eddie was watching his show.
Even Edward Van Halen is a Gary Moore fan.
Just before we finished the interview, I got an email in from John Keeble (Spandau Ballet
drummer – more on him another time), he said to say “Hello” to Gary. I passed the greeting
Gary, looked surprised and said “I’ve not seen John for years. We used to have great fun,
top bloke. We used to drink at the…. err, you know, the… in the West End… at the…
oh, shit. I know we were drinking anyway!” and we both fell about laughing…
That’s how I’ll remember Gary Moore, a good laugh and a great guitarist. He’ll be sorely