Interview: Rory Gallagher by Oisin Tormey

“Sorry can you call back, the Spanish police are up ahead and they don’t let you away with anything!”. Always the nice guy, I caught up with Rory Gallagher of The Revs from his Lanzarote home to discuss everything from his thoughts on why the band separated, modern pop music today and his surprise at the response his new song “Ryanair Blues” (Available for free download) has received in Ireland so far.

Q: Firstly congratulations on how the song has been received so far in Ireland. Did you release it expecting anything or was it simply a joke track?

A: “Yeah it actually did start off as a joke track. We were at a house party fairly stoned with a drum machine playing in the background. It started off as a spontaneous Ryanair rap and I woke up in the morning and saw the lyrics written down beside me. I went into the studio with the band and we had 45 minutes to spare. I showed them the lyrics and its sounds corny but in a 50’s-style we basically jammed and it was recorded from there. The owner of Charlie’s Bar where I play, Barry, took a copy of the song home and gave it in to Red FM in Cork. From there it just took off! You could spend months writing a piece of shit and it wouldn’t do as well as something like this.

Q: You also got married this year. Has this affected your music in any way?

A: “Well for one thing its more miserable (laughs)!. Not really to be honest. The last album (God Bless The Big Bang) was more love orientated as I had just began going out with Cara when I wrote the songs. This one does have one or two love tracks but its more social commentary this time around. I’ve got a song called ‘Katrina’s Got a Gram of Cocaine’ and another one about a guy from Senegal who sells watches around here. He came over with nothing and now has 3 guys working under him, it’s a great story.”

Q: You moved over  to Lanzarote around 3 or 4 years ago. How did the move come about?

We (The Revs) were over playing a festival in Lanzarote and I met Cara over there. It was going well so I kept going back and forth. Things began to go downhill with the band so I decided to start from scratch and move over to be with her. At the time it seemed like the worst decision I could make but with the recession kicking in a lot of my musician friends can’t get work now so I can’t complain

Q: The Revs have been over now since 2007 and unfortunately Louis Walsh and his pop machine is still going strong. Do you still hold the same resentment The Revs (immortalised in the song ‘Louis Walsh’) had towards him and manufactured pop in general?

It’s not as intense as it was (laughs)! But what he’s doing is instant popcorn basically. He’s never going to find a Pink Floyd or Radiohead and he knows it. Simon Cowell is more intelligent. I’d say he finds it hard to sleep realising he’ll never find a Michael Jackson or a Damon Albarn, a true talent. He probably finds it hard to sleep!

Q: Your next album is the follow-up to 2008’s ‘God Bless The Big Bang’. How is the album coming along and can we expect a release date soon.

At the minute it’s looking like it’ll be out around April 10th. I’ve just done a few demos at the minute, and Sharon Shannon has played a few songs with me so it’s coming along well. It’s going to have an Irish-reggae influence if that makes sense.

Q:Are you using the same hands-on approach as the last album? (For the last album Rory produced the album and released it on his own label, Buddy Records)

Yeah I think I will. It could take years to gain a major label’s attention so I think it’s the best way to get music out. I’m 31 and still making my living from music. I might have lost some of the ambition I’ve had in the past but can’t wait to get the album ready

Q: For the album you supported it with an acoustic university tour. Are you going to do this again or use a band instead?

I think I’ll be using a percussionist and a double bass this time around and play around 10 well-supported dates around the country. It should work better than just booking a university the week before and hoping people turn up.

Q: I couldn’t do this interview without asking about The Revs, Do you still enjoy playing and hearing those songs or do you see them as in your past?

The third (self-titled) album is the one I’m most proud of and I do listen to it every few weeks. I should feel disappointed with how things went but I’m actually not.We got to play Oxegen and Slane as well as big festivals in Europe and the US, so because of that I don’t feel as bad. My favourite memory of the whole band? Has to be coming on stage at Slane. We were opening the day so just seeing the castle in the background and people running down just to see us just gave me this ‘oh my God’ feeling. I’d been to gigs there when I was younger but actually being there on stage was a brilliant experience.

Q:And Kings of Leon headlining there next year?

It’s a good move because at the minute they’re the best band in the world. Their newer stuff has gotten a bit stale and repetitive. They’ve been touring and recording non-stop so I’d guess they’re tired. If they had better management they might have taken a break ala U2 and gotten the chance to ‘dream it all up again’ like after they did Rattle and Hum.

Q: You have a namesake, the famous Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher. Have you ever been confused for a tribute act of his when you’ve been over in Lanzarote?

It has happened a bit, especially with Germans (laughs)! It actually was a problem for the last album just using the name Rory, because it’s near impossible to find on Google. I think for the next album I’ll be using the name ‘Rory and the Island’ so it should be a bit easier.

Q: And finally, what are you at for the rest of the day?

I’m heading into town to meet my wife and go out for dinner, maybe a bit of seabass and then I’ve a gig in a sister pub to Charlie’s after that with a bongo player. It’s great because I get to do a set halved between covers and my own songs so its works out quite well.

Could be a worse life I suppose!

Rory’s Song Ryanair Blues is currently available for free download at