Gary Moore is known to most US music fans for his three short periods as part of Thin Lizzy. In Gary’s career, as well as Thin Lizzy, that was just a small part of their history. His biting white boy blues came from the second wave of Belfast rock musicians that started with Van Morrison and his band Them. Euro and US guitarists with an interest in rock and blues technique know Gary well.
My personal dealing with Mr. Moore was when Gibson Musical Instruments decided to open their UK office with a party to launch the opening of a UK office plus the debut addition of a limited run of a “Scotty Moore” signature issue guitar. The publicist for the event had used our resources, and their own, to invite every guitarist in Europe to attend the event with a chance to perform with Scotty.
During the days leading up to the event, I was so absorbed with details I had no time to keep up with who was invited and who was coming. After a long day of press and traveling around London, we arrived at Air Studios and were rushed in for more camera shots and a soundcheck with the same band who had joined us on the Spring UK tour.
After settling in and getting Scotty and D. J. onstage for rehearsal, the publicist wanted to introduce me to some guests to later meet Scotty or perform on an informal jam. Imagine my surprise when I walked to a corner of the studio and there stood Jack Bruce, Alvin Lee and Gary Moore. I knew Alvin from our visit with George Harrison and I had invited Jack through the Stones London office but I did not expect to see Gary, one of the best white blues guitarists in the world. He was very humble and said he would play on anything Scotty would have him. He played an amazing solo on “One Night With You” and “Hound Dog” with Jack on bass and vocals.
My job with Scotty had to carefully bridge my work with my regard to music heroes from my early years and this was one of those moments. I had to maintain my calm demeanor as I stood chatting with a roomful of my heroes from the sixties and seventies. I always prided myself for never appearing too business-like or acting like the gushing fan but somewhere in between.
On my youtube channel, the video clips of Gary jamming with Scotty are some of the loudest and most bluesy performances Scotty has played and it shows two men trading licks and a younger man just happy to be there on stage with one of his heroes. I am not even sure if Gary had the chance to meet Scotty properly but he gave a wonderful, heart-felt interview recounting the story of his first guitar – a small plastic Elvis model bought by his parents in a Belfast dime store.
I am saddened by Gary’s passing but from my brief time with him, I could tell he loved music and loved playing the guitar more than anything in his life. It was his life.