This is the transcript of a press conference interview held in Alsóörs, Hungary, where Gary Moore was interviewed by a room full of journalists. I, being the huge Gary Moore fan I am & will always be – was lucky enough to be there and ask him a question of my own. 14.06.2008
Q: You started studying piano. What was the reason why you left piano?
Gary Moore: (laughs) ‘Cose I was shit. I couldn’t play piano. Terrible. I was the worst pupil. I didn’t like reading music so I failed very quickly.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a soloist or you consider yourself to be a member of a band, which is characterized by your own attitude, musical attitude?
Gary Moore: You can’t be very much on our own so, I always have a band. I can’t play alone so I always have to have a band, but it’s my music.
Q: “Still Got the Blues” it’s a kind of rock icon that’s been played by all of the guitar players in the world. What did Peter Green mean to you, whom did you dedicate this album to?
Gary Moore: It wasn’t for Peter Green, that’s a different album. (Journalists give the right answers.) You know best. You’re the experts.
Q: In the middle of the 70’s John Hiseman reformed Colloseum and invited you as the guitar player in the band. Was it a challenge for you to play in a jazz-rock band?
Gary Moore: Ya, it was. The whole point of that was that I wanted to play with the best musicians and challenge myself musically.
Q: At the end of the 70’s you joined Thin Lizzy.
Gary Moore: Ya, three times.
Q: The legendary album “Black Rose” how do you consider your own part in terms of recording this legendary album of rock history?
Gary Moore: The album is kind of a collection of songs. Some of the songs shouldn’t be on the album because some of the songs were for the Phil Lynott solo album, but he didn’t have enough songs for the Thin Lizzy album so he put some songs from his album on the “Black Rose” album, songs like “Sarah” for example, which I wrote most of. I also helped write “Black Rose” and “Toughest Street in Town”, so I was very involved in the writing of the album.
Q: In the 90’s , the Cream had a reunion. Instead of Eric Clapton, you joined…
Gary Moore: No, that’s totally wrong, bullshit. Hang on, I formed that band. It started of as a Gary Moore solo album, and then Jack Bruce got involved and then Jack to my amazement suggested Ginger Baker as the drummer, because we had no drummer. And then Ginger came in so it was not a Cream reunion. This is what killed the band, people crooking like this.
Q: The first two songs on the “Around the Next Dream” album, “Waiting in the Wings” and “City of Gold” resemble very much with Cream’s “White Room” and “Crossroads”.
Gary Moore: So what? What do you expect? If you have a drummer from Cream, the singer from Creamwho wrote all the songs for Cream and you have a guitarist who as a kid he grew up listening to Cream, it’s gonna’ sound a bit like Cream. It would have been strange if it didn’t. But then you hear songs like “Where in the World” which is the first single from the album, it’s nothing like Cream. And “The Wrong Side of Town”, the one at the end of the album it’s like a jazz ballad, so some of this music was nothing like Cream and some of, it of course was gonna sound like Cream if you put Jack Bruce in it.
Q: Do you have any relation to Peter Green, any contact these days?
Gary Moore: No, I think he lives in Sweden now. I haven’t seen him for a few years now.
Q: Is it your first time in Hungary ever?
Gary Moore: Yes.
Q: Did you have any kind of previous image of what sort of musical life, what sort of rock life, did you know anything about the Hungarian rock music, or about Hungary at all?
Gary Moore: I think there’s quite a good jazz tradition in Hungary, from what I know. Which obviously relates to blues so I was very happy about that and I always think that in this part of the world people like music, which is very emotional and reaches them. It’s not about technique; it’s about music that reaches people on an emotional level and I think blues plays a big part in that. And I also know a lot of people like rock here, but it’s different generations of people, so I think there’s room for everything.
Q: You could have been a guest in the 1995 Rolling Stones World Tour but it just wasn’t realized. What was the reason of that?
Gary Moore: They wouldn’t pass enough. They didn’t pay me enough. They said: “We give you 5000 dollars.”
Q: How did you feel the welcome from the fans for your album, the sells of “Close As You Get” that came out last year?
Gary Moore: I don’t know how did it sell, they wouldn’t tell me. But I liked the record very much.
Q: As you came out by the end of the 90’s with “Dark Days in Paradise” an experimental album, that for some people was a kind of a…
Gary Moore: …a shock.
Q: Do you intend to go more diversely and more different musically.
Gary Moore: I’ve always done what I felt like doing at that time, and I think it’s important for a musician. All the musicians that I respect they’re not afraid of doing something different. I might do an acoustic album after this. Acoustic dance album, you know. (laughs)
Q: Once John McLaughlin had an interview and said he considered the guitar to be a woman, you need to be very sensitive with the guitar. How would you consider the guitar?
Gary Moore: I don’t think he sticks to that principle very much. (laughs) I do, but he doesn’t.
Q: Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to be part of any of your recent concerts, but I’ve hared about your new songs and I would like to ask you what could we expect? What sort of a musical change, what sort of an attitude musical change could we expect from the new songs that you’re gonna’ perform?
Gary Moore: The new songs we perform are new songs from the next album. Which is more aggressive than the last album. The last album had a lot of a space and a lot of gentle songs, and a lot of sensitivity, a lot of ballads. This one is a bit up-tempo. There are a couple of tracks in the new album, which we can almost say are kind of rock, but not that blues-rock, what I’m gonna do now it’s still kind of blues but it’s played in a rock style.
Q: You play more often on a Fender Telecaster guitar, does it have any impact, the sound, does it sound differently?
Gary Moore: Ya, I got a new country track on the album, and I use this guitar because it’s perfect for that kind of sound. I also use it on some of the slower songs, because back I used to like listening to Roy Buchanan, and people like that, it’s got a honky-tonk kind of country, singing, crying sound. The Telecaster is perfect for that. In fact the first proper guitar I had was a Telecaster, from when I was a kid, so, it kind of goes back to that – I’m very at home with a Telecaster.
It’s also good because, like a lot of people play on Stratocasters, the Telecasters have a more tougher sound and it kind of goes back to the 60’s to the Yardbirds, when Eric Clapton started, people like that, Roy Buchanan, Albert Collins – all these people played on Telecasters. It had a slightly different sound and I like that because when people play Stratocasters they go down that kind of Texas road and start playing like Stevie Ray Vaughan. I never wanted to do that.
Q: These journalists are from Transylvania, Romania. Four years ago there was a chance that you might have got to Romania.
Gary Moore: I still wanna’ go there. I’d like to come. I’d like to see your country very much. We had one offer this year but it didn’t work out, but I keep trying.
Q: We were trying to figure out the reason why your show needed to be canceled.
Gary Moore: I can’t remember. It was probably to do with the promoter, or something. I don’t remember.
Q: Because this is the biggest motorbike Festival, the Harley-Davidson Festival, do you have any relation with motorbikes?
Gary Moore: No.
Q: Do you know anybody besides you who was invited to either Montreaux Jazz Festival and to the Monsters of Rock?
Gary Moore: No. Or, The Bulldog Bash, which is also a big bike festival.
Next. (points toward Noris, who’s wearing a red shirt) Red. Favorite color!
Noris: What would be your advice for a young musician guitarist if he wants to start a career?
Gary Moore: It’s very difficult now because it’s the hardest time ever for young musicians. Because it’s so corporate now, everything is so much to do with money and it’s pretty difficult for young musicians to be signed to a record label because they just chew’em up and they spit them out and it’s very difficult. I would just say, learn to play as well as you can and learn to express yourself on your instrument. Learn to express yourself; don’t worry too much about being famous because…you probably won’t be. (laughs)
Q: Did you have such a thing like your deepest emotional state on stage, which you can remember?
Gary Moore: That’s difficult. It happens all the time. It depends. I remember one special night when I was playing with Albert King and Albert Collins and that was a special night for me. It was very emotional for me to be in the middle of these two guys, looking this way and that way and seeing these great musicians on stage. Things like that can really affect you, but also you have private emotions as well.
Q: This is the one and only concert this month. What is the concert program we can expect tonight?
Gary Moore: Well, we’ll be doing things, stuff from this record (points towards “Still Got the Blues” album) “Still Got the Blues”, we’ll do stuff from the last record, we’ll do stuff from the next record and we’ll play some other songs, we’ll play “Don’t believe a Word” by Thin Lizzy. We’ll play some ballads as well, it’s kind of a mixture of things.
Q: The reason that you play the Thin Lizzy song is that you still have Brian Downey on the drums?
Gary Moore: Ya, because there’s more of us in this band, than there are in Thin Lizzy. We had to make that statement, you know.
Q: It’s been 13 years that Rory Gallagher has passed away. Did you ever play together, what memories you have about him?
Gary Moore: I used to open for him when I was 14, in Belfast, when he came to Belfast at first. He was a very, very kind man, very considerate and we used to be so… we had no money, so we had no spare strings for our guitar, so he used to leave his guitar for me on stage, and I used to leave my guitar for him, and we always used to wire our amplifiers together to make it matter. He was a very kind man and I saw him in London before he died. He was living in a hotel actually, in Chelsea Harbour in London and he was in a very bad way. He was very unhappy, but the only time that we ever spent any time together was that one night not long before he died, and we had a night just in his room. He had all his guitars up there. We sat around, talked and played a little bit. We never played together on stage, except for one time, with Thin Lizzy. He got up and played my guitar on stage, and that was the only time.
Q: What do you think about Hungary, now that’s the first time for you here?
Gary Moore: I was only in Budapest for one day so I didn’t get too much chance to see the city. I walked around, had a look around, it’s a very beautiful place it’s kind of like I imagined it would be. But, I haven’t really spent too much time here yet.
Q: You came out by the end of the 80’s a lot of live videos, do you see any chance in the future that you will come up with a live dvd? With a different record company, maybe?
Gary Moore: Ya. We’re recording at the Montereaux Jazz Festival and a friend of mine Otis Taylor is opening, Buddy Guy, me and then there’s John Mayall at the end. I think they’re going to film the whole show and put that out. And also, there’s a DVD coming out later on, filmed last year in October, with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell, the Hendrix thing when they launched the Monterey, we only had three songs, but now they have the whole DVD, the whole set, so I think that’s gonna’ come out on DVD eventually.
Q: At the beginning of the 80’s Ozzy Osborne wanted you to join his band. Is it true?
Gary Moore: Yes, it’s true. That’s why he hates me. I’ll tell you what’s happened. He wanted me to join before Randy Rhoads. I was living in L.A., and Ozzy was living in L.A. after he got fired from Black Sabbath, he was living in a hotel. And he’s had a friendship with Sharon at that time, but they weren’t really seeing each other at that time. She was my manager at the same time, and his manager and she tried to help him get a band together, but he only wanted me in the band and I just left Thin Lizzy and really don’t wanna’ go into another situation with a complete drug field singer. I just didn’t want to do it again and I had my own band by then so we used to audition musicians for him, doing rehearsals. When there was a drummer and a bass player, I would get up and played guitar with them, and if the one auditioned was a bass player, the guitarist and my drummer would play with them. So we used to help him find musicians. Eventually he found Randy.
There was a problem later on because Randy Rhoads died and they called me the next day to finish the tour. But, I had had an accident. I chipped a bone on my wrist and I was playing with Greg Lake at the time, and I couldn’t play. But Sharon told Ozzy that I wouldn’t pick up his calls. She lied to him about me. There’s always been a problem because of that because she didn’t tell him the truth: that I actually couldn’t play.
When she asked if I would do the tour, I said “yes”. And then, that night, or the next night, before we went to America I was with my drummer, from Greg Lake’s band, Ted McKeena, and we were trying to cut the last 3 hours of the bar before the chat. We were running, and I fell over and that’s what happened.
Q: I would ask you to compare what sort of ideas and expectations you had in mind when you were a child, and compare it to the situation you are right now. What would you say?
Gary Moore: I’d say I’m in the situation I wanted. When I was a kid I used to dream about being a musician and I used to spend a lot of time alone thinking about these things. Maybe that helped to come true. I go to play with a lot of great musicians that I dreamed about playing with and I got to be friends with all these people. So, I’m very happy with where I am, really.
Q: Your first guitar was given by your father and you needed to work out the price of it. Is it true and did you succeed?
Gary Moore: (laughs) My father came home from work on a Friday and he said: “Would you like to learn to play guitar?” and I said: “Yes, please.” Because I always wanted to play guitar. And he took me to a friend’s house on a Saturday morning and that guy showed me one chord, and that was it. He had a guitar for sale, for 5 pounds that my father bought for me. It was a terrible guitar. Made in Germany. A famous guitar from Germany, but it was very difficult to climb. It was the same size as me when I stood next to it. It was. And when I was waiting for the bus the guitar would be here. The strings were this high but it was a good training for me because I could… all the guitarists that were 25 years old couldn’t play that guitar and they always wondered: “How the fuck do you play this thing?” But it was good for me because when I got a good guitar it was so much easier. So, it was probably a good thing.
Q: Approximately how many gigs you play in a year?
Gary Moore: I don’t know, 50 or 60 or somethin’. As many as we can get. (laughs)
Q: You heard that your brother Cliff has played…
Gary Moore: Ya, in Budapest, on a boat. I know, I spoke to him the other day.
Q: Do you see something in the future, a record together?
Gary Moore: No, I don’t think so. We have very different styles, you know. He likes the 80’s. (laughs) And he likes Jeff Beck. He started to learn a bit more now because used to like some terrible bands before. I used to say: “Why do you listen to that shit?” So we used to fight over the music all the time, but we don’t live close together. We live very far away from each other in England, but I said: “Why are you listening to Rush, why are you listening to all this prog stuff?” And he says: “I like it neat.” So he went to see all these bands but now he’s coming around a bit and he’s starting to realize that there’s other music out there. He likes Jeff Beck and that’s ok.
Q: What’s your thought about this new sort of digital download today, the records are not as the used to be in the past. We can download all the songs from the Internet…
Gary Moore: Sure, I do too. (laughs)
Q: Peter Gabriel thought he could put an ad to every downloaded song getting some money from the advertising. What do you think?
Gary Moore: That’s the modern world for you. What can you do? It’s ok. I like it too. (laughs) I have 12.000 songs already.
Q: Thank you, Gary.
Gary Moore: Thank you.