Gary Moore Discusses His Latest Album, Gear and Phil Lynott in 1987 Guitar World Interview
Here's our interview with Gary Moore from the September 1987 issue of Guitar World, which featured Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin of Yes on the cover. The original story by Harold Mac Wonderlea and Christine Rebmann started on page 26 and ran with the headline, "Gary Moore, The Wild Irishmen: The former Thin Lizzy is becoming a fat cat, indeed."
GARY MOORE IS BUSY storming the stages of Europe as we put this issue to bed, yet his technically experimental and rousingly adventurous new album, Wild Frontier (Virgin), is beginning to crash upon American airwaves like a gathering typhoon.
Dedicated to former Thin Lizzy bandmate, Phil Lynott, the album contains not only Moore's trademark slashing axwork, but some very thoughtful tunesmithing and singing, as well. It marks the maturation of this wild Irish rose into a complete rock entertainer, one who has paid his dues.
After 18 years of hard work, innumerable roles in different bands, many successes and some setbacks, the Irish guitarist is at the high point of his windswept career. Our European correspondents, Harold Mac Wonderlea and Christine Rebmann, caught up with Gary in the midst of this triumphant tour, and we present their encounters here in a manner we thought appropriate.
Harold leads off with an enlightened road map of Moore's career, with comments by Gary. Harold continues in the next segment with an axological and technological discussion of Gary's adventures in equipmentland.
Then, we take you to a Munich hotel room, where Christine presents The Interview. Hang on to your hats!
-- GW Editor [in 1987]
A Road Map of the Soul
Gary is a dyed-in-the-wool, full-blooded guitarist with a highly developed, personal style. With his inimitable flair for melody, which is bound up with what guitar players call "feeling," he has grown into a cult status as one of the last of the great guitar heros.
"In Belfast, where I grew up," he says, "I came in touch with music at an early age. My father was a show band promoter, who took me along as a little nipper of five and put me up on the stage with the musicians to sing." After a false start on the piano -- "I found reading musical notation frightfully boring" -– his career was first launched at the age of 11, when his father gave him a guitar and a guitarist in the band showed him some chords.
He began teaching himself, laboriously copying licks from Hank Marvin of the Shadows. Then came the now-classic influences of musicians like Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Clapton and Hendrix.
Moore learned quickly, and joined his first professional band as soon as he finished high school. He was 16 when Skid Row started up. The r&b-style band from Dublin had a singer named Phil Lynott, and it was then that the cornerstone of a long, fast friendship was laid. Moore's Skid Row period lasted three and-a-half years.
"We made two LP's, Skid Row  and 34 Hours . We made a third, but it was never released."
Before Moore got the first Gary Moore Band on its feet, he made a guest appearance with a certain Dr. Strangely Strange, where he played Irish folk tunes. We can frankly state that the Gary Moore Band's first LP, Grinding Stone, was a flop. He immediately found himself in Thin Lizzy again, for a short-lived tour, replacing Eric Bell. This was in 1974. Moore stayed with the band for six months that time.
The next stop was a band called Collosseum II, until in 1977 Thin Lizzy beckoned again and was ready to rock.
"The boys wanted to start a US tour, when a few days before take-off Brian Robertson hurt his left hand in a brawl. Again, I leaped into the breach and went on tour with them."
Then came another short term with Colloseum II, before the third and final phase with Thin Lizzy followed one year later. Although they were tight as friends, Lynott and Moore could not continue working together much longer -- their musical tastes went their separate ways.