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.
Your keyboard player, Andy Richards, used to work with people like Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Nik Kershaw. How come you gave Andy so much influence on this record?
Andy wrote a great keyboard part for "Run For Cover." In between he also worked as producer with people like the Belle Stars and Malcolm McLaren. But he is also a very gifted musician. Also, he owns a Fairlight 3, and that was naturally very important for a couple of tracks on the new album. The song "The Loner" was a struggle between the guitar and the keyboards. The drums are Fairlight and so is the bass, and then there is also guitar and violins laid over. This combination of natural instruments, that stir up the emotions, and cold-sounding technology fascinates me. When the Chieftains mix their ethnic-Irish instrumental parts with sequencers, that's extremely interesting to me.
So your band is going to stay for the most part the same, concerning drums?
Yes. In the beginning we were working with drummer Gary Ferguson. But he had to take off, because we decided to use drum machines instead.
Why do you hold such a high opinion of drum machines?
I wrote these songs with the help of computers. At home I have an eight-track and a simple drum machine, and the rhythms I produced with these were the basis for all my songs. When we were in the studio with a real drummer we wanted to change, it didn't sound perfect enough. I kept hearing these small mistakes, minimal to be sure, but I couldn't endure it, and I sent the drummer home. He really felt somewhat shit upon.
Did you write the new songs in a rush?
No. I took about six months for that. I started more than a year ago with the title song. But we didn't start recording until the beginning of last summer. In between we played the Open Air Festival with Queen. We were also in Germany. So we had to split the recording into three sections-one part before the festival, one part after-and then at Christmastime we had to go into the studio again, to complete the album.
How do you. manage with such a divided schedule?
I manage quite well. I don't like to spend a lot of time in the studio. The enthusiasm winds down, and I get bored. And I've ' been told that my enthusiasm. dies because I do so much of the work myself. That's something else, when you go into the studio with an entire band. Alone, you burn out very quickly. I like to divide up the work, maybe a Monday in the studio here, then some time. off to write some new material, and then another Monday back in the studio.
What do you do in between, to turn it off?
Give interviews [satisfied laugh]. No really, I always have my music in my head. I develop the ideas slowly, until the song crystallizes. The best ideas come in the mornings. When I can't get any farther on a piece after a day's work, I go to bed. And when I get up the next morning I get a brainstorm, and run to the studio to write it down. It always fascinates me the way some songs just write themselves, with none of my doing. They come out of nowhere.
Where are you living now?
About 60 kilometers from London, way out in the country. I try to keep my private life and my music business separate. When the two realms mix too much, sometimes it goes downhill. I've lived in London since I,was 16-15 years. A year ago, I moved out. I said to myself: when a tour is over, you should really finish it and get away. When you're living in London, the show just goes on. You meet people from the music business. Also, the fresh location has positive effects on my work. I don't live in nowheresville, but the nearest neighbor is so far away that I can really make a lot of noise and no one will complain.
What music do you listen to in private?
Everything possible, only no hard rock. Mostly I like listening to singers: Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood. I really like Billy Idol's newest album. Jeff Beck and Allan Holdsworth are among my favorite guitarists. And now and then I like to listen to Debussy.
Why do you keep saying that hard rock doesn't appeal to you?
Because there's hardly any difference between most hard rock groups. You often can't tell where they're coming from. Okay, the Scorpions with their classical guitar style sound different than the British metal groups and their blues infusion. But in the end it's all restricted to loud guitar noise, and there's only so many notes you can get out of a guitar.
But bands like Europe can be quite energetic.
Spare me from Europe. They have no style of their own. They are completely unoriginal. I have absolutely no respect for them. Their guitars sound like mine, and the singer sounds like a cross between Deep Purple and the Scorpions. I find Bon Jovi better; at least they have their own style.
Are there any plans for a collaboration with other artists?
Really I should go into the studio with Tina Turner. But unfortunately up to now something has always come between us. The idea of making another record with someone else excites me. But it's extraordinarily difficult to find a partner with whom the chemistry is so right as it was with Phil.
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