Rory Gallagher’s ex-bassist ponders the music Rory might be making if he were alive today

By Steve Newton

As we kick off a new year it’s fun to ponder what type of music is to come–or what might have been if certain rock legends hadn’t passed before their time.

When I interviewed Rory Gallagher’s bassist of 20 years, Gerry McAvoy, last month, I asked him what kind of music he thought Rory might be playing these days if he were still with us, cranking out the tunes at age 70.

“I’m sure he’d still be doin’ the same thing,” replied McAvoy, the week before a killer Vancouver show with Band of Friends. “I think he might have experimented more with the acoustic stuff, you know, ’cause he enjoyed doing some acoustic stuff on television things. So he might have taken that on board as well.

“And he would have kept on goin’ the way he was goin’,” added McAvoy, “you know, playin’ the way he wants to play, and writing the songs. I would imagine so anyway.”

Of course, we’ll never know for sure what musical road Gallagher would have taken in his senior years, as he died in 1995 after a liver transplant at the age of 47. A sad tone takes over McAvoy’s voice when asked about the effect Gallagher’s drinking had on the band in its final years.

“Um… [sighs heavily] …I found it a problem, yeah, but it wasn’t just the alcohol. I mean he was prescribed different medicines to stop the alcohol, and was taking the medicines with the alcohol. And toward the end I thought… it was all very sad, you know. It’s just a shame that it happened.”


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