Interviews Music

Music | Interview: A chat with Gerry McEvoy from Band Of Friends

Ahead of their show in The Opium Rooms (The Village) on 23 October, I had a quick questions and answers session with Gerry McEvoy from the band about Rory Gallagher, how the band formed, and his favourite tracks.

RM: The story of how you all met is quite special, could you tell me a bit more about it?

First of all I’ve known Ted McKenna for a long time, since his days with “The Sensational Alex Harvey band”.  Ted joined Rory in early 1978 and we played together as Rory’s rhythm section until 1981.

I met Marcel Scherpenzeel around 2006/07, when I was invited to play at a Rory Gallagher style festival just North of Amsterdam,NL.  I was pleasantly surprised by his guitar skills, but mostly his passion.

What inspired you to create Band Of Friends?  Was it love of the music or a chance to keep Rory’s legacy alive?

Around 2006/07 I decided to go back to listening to vinyl.  I found all my Rory vinyl’s and started listening to them.

I had listened off and on to the Rory albums on CD, but listening to them in on vinyl, gave the songs a different edge,which I’d forgotten. I realised how good the songs were, and decided I would like to play them live again, with the right musicians. So I contacted both Ted and Marcel, and they agreed to give it a go.

I do believe Rory’s legacy should be kept alive, but for me it was the love of the music.

What would be your personal favourites in terms of

That’s always a difficult question to answer, there are so many favourite tracks.  I love the early stuff, from “Rory Gallagher” & “Deuce”. ‘I’m Not Awake Yet, ‘Crest of A Wave’, ‘Laundromat’.  Also after Ted joined, the songs became tougher, ‘Follow Me’, ‘Philby’.

How do you channel the influence of Rory to the on-stage performance?

I don’t think about channelling Rory’s influence on stage.  I would like to believe Rory’s energy is with us when we play.

Bands Of Friends is clearly not a tribute to Rory, but rather a celebration to working and listening to the musician.  Is there a particular way in which you prepare for your shows with that in mind?

I prefer to call it a celebration of Rory’s music as opposed to Tribute

There are many tribute bands out there, all doing a great job, but the fact that I played with Rory for 20 years and Ted close to 4 years, I believe a celebration fits better.

As far as keeping this in mind when preparing for the shows, we don’t consciously do so.  What happens on stage, regarding how we play or possibly sharing some anecdotes, just comes naturally.

How much are you looking forward to playing the recently renovated Village Venue / Opium Rooms?

Yes we are all looking forward to the gig.

We played last year and it was a belter.

Any hints for those attending the show about what to expect setlist wise?

That would be a give-away, but we’ll try and please as best we can.