Gary Moore Discusses His Latest Album, Gear and Phil Lynott in 1987 Guitar World Interview
In this interview from the September 1987 issue of Guitar World, Gary Moore opens up about about his gear, the late Phil Lynott and his latest album, Wild Frontier.
In songs like the ballad "Johnny Boy" you even play up the Irish influence.
I really wanted to get back to my musical roots. The impulse for this change was a trip to Ireland last year. There a lot of famous musicians appeared for the benefit of the unemployed in Ireland. And it was suddenly clear to me how much talent cities like Dublin and Belfast have produced: people like Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, the Chieftains, Bob Geldof and U2. I wanted to remember the music I grew up with.
Being so patriotic, you must really be proud of Bob Geldof, who nearly won a Nobel prize.
Naturally, it's very satisfying that the person who got the ball rolling for Live Aid comes from Ireland, but I was never a real fan of Bob's music -- only the earlier stuff. In spite of that, I'm very sorry that he's having so much trouble selling records now. People only want to see or hear of him in connection with some charity performance or the other.
Have you been listening to a lot of Irish folk music lately?
I usually don't go into record stores to buy folk music. But the tunes from my childhood are still buzzing around in my head. So it's not difficult for me to write songs that resemble the traditional Irish melodies, especially when they sound a little different on the guitar.
Your lyrics also revolve around the theme of Ireland ...
"Wild Frontier," for example, is a pretty political song. It describes the fate of anybody who grew up in Belfast and then returns after many years. It's shocking how much the city has changed.
But not all your lyrics have this personal background, or do they?
Yeah, most of them do. Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to concentrate on reading books, and I rarely read one to the end. At best I get my inspiration from the newspapers or from television. The song "Stranger In The Darkness" tells of young people who visit the promised city of London and are seduced into heroin addiction. They even turn to prostitution to support their expensive habit. An anti-heroin song with a typical Soho scenario.
And another song, which like "Johnny Boy," is dedicated to Phil Lynott?
Sure, to a certain extent. Mainly I see the whole album as a tribute to Phil. That's also part of the Irish influence. The music that we played with Thin Lizzy also had a Celtic influence, especially the Black Rose album. Obviously, Wild Frontier isn't a concept album. I dedicated the album to Phil simply because it's the first one I've produced since he died. I can really imagine Phil singing "Wild Frontier."
Why does your voice sound deeper on this album than it has in the past?
I used to write my songs in a higher voice, because I had this dream of an ideal singer who would one day fall right out of heaven and into my band. Since it didn't happen, I have to write the songs for myself, like it or not, a little deeper. I certainly had success in the studio with the old sound, but not on stage when I had to play guitar, too.
Lately your guitar isn't sounding as strong and bold as it used to.
Oh yes, the guitar is still strong and serious, like in the instrumental "The Loner" on the Wild Frontier album. The guitar part hasn't disappeared. But you are right to the extent that my songs are no longer tailored for the guitar. They are songs in themselves. When I stopped being not only the guitar player in my band, but the lead singer as well, I had to divide my songwriting efforts between the two parts. The new record is more complete. With Gary Moore as composer, co-producer, Singer and guitarist. On the stage the guitar still has a big part.
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