Interview: Gerry McAvoy (Rory Gallagher, Nine Below Zero, Band of Friends)

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HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 6 July 2011. We had the great honour to talk to a great bassist, Gerry McAvoy. Gerry was for more than two decades Rory Gallagher’s closest collaborator and bandmate. He is also a member of Nine Below Zero and Gerry McAvoy’s Band of Friends with drummer Ted McKenna (also in Rory Gallagher’s band, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Ian Gillan). Read below the very interesting things he told us:


Are you doing any recordings at the moment? How close is a new Nine Below Zero album?

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Nine Below Zero will have a new CD recorded together with Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze). It should be available in the Autumn.


You are playing with Nine Below Zero for more than 20 years. Are you satisfied with the recognition you get from fans and press?

It’s been 20 years indeed. The recognition is great and we have a very loyal fan base. It would be nice to have more radio play.


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Your autobiography “Riding Shotgun-35 years on the road with Rory Gallagher and Nine Below Zero”  has a great anticipation.  How emotionally difficult was to write it?

The book received great critical acclaim from the public and press alike. It was interesting to write about memories. It was also difficult to remember certain periods, especially the ‘80s which were a blur. Also it was quite emotional it brought back thoughts and memories of my great ally and friend Rory.


Is there anything you ‘d like to include in the book but it didn’t happen for any reason?

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There were certain things I could have put in the book but we are doing an updated version on the book. So there will be extra chapters.


You played with Rory for more than 20 years, you opened with Nine Below Zero for 12 Eric Clapton shows at Royal Albert Hall and you supported Brian May for a tour. Do you think your musical dreams have been fulfilled?

Yes, I have played around the world and have been on the same stage as many of my personal heroes. But one person I would still love to play with would be Bruce Springsteen.


Do you remember the unforgettable 1981 Athens show when you played for 35.000 crazy fans?

I remember it well. We had about 5 days in Athens leading up to the show we did some press conferences and soundchecks etc. On the night of the show I remember we were in the dressing room in the stadium when the promoter came to tell us the fans waiting outside had crashed through the doors. They were expecting around 15000 people now there was over 35000.We played and as we hit the last chords of “Bullfrog Blues” all hell broke loose. I remember we were all taken off stage by the police, who rushed us the dressing room at the same time teargas was being fired into the audience. It was all pretty crazy but coming from Belfast I was used to it. HA HA!


Do you have any news about the fate of Rod de’Ath (the classic Rory Gallagher drummer)?

Apparently Rod de’Ath has re-emerged from somewhere. I think it may have something to do with the new Rory CD “San Francisco Notes”.


Do you think Joe Bonamassa is the future of blues rock?

I met Joe at a festival we did in Sweden. He was very complimentary about my playing with Rory. He is a very good player, I think there are other players who are slightly more unique, John Mayer for instance.


What kind of music are you listening today?

I listen to as much as possible, my son Ciaran keeps me up to date  with what’s current on the music scene. He also plays in a great band “Screamaballerina” they are getting loads of radio play in the US.


Jack Bruce (Cream) or John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)?

Jack Bruce or JP Jones hmmmmm. What about James Jamerson or Bob Babbit (Motown bassists)?


How possible is to play soon in Greece?

We have been trying to get back to Greece as Nine Below Zero. I would also like to take “Band of Friends” to Greece also. A message to everyone in Greece, don’t get to down about the political scene at present. What goes around will come around. Greece will see the light at the end of the tunnel and we will get together and play some great music again.


A huge “THANK YOU” to  Gerry McAvoy.

Buy his book “Riding Shotgun”  here:

Check everything about Νine Below Zero here:

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