Barry Barnes, Sinnerboy, and an Irish Legend-Interview

On 20.04.2019 Barry Barnes from Manchester is the guest with his band Sinnerboy at the Hotel Klosterhof in Euskirchen.
No one evokes the sound and sheer emotion of a Rory Gallagher concert like Barnes.  He developed his enthusiasm for the guitar playing of the enigmatic Irishman at an early age.  At that time, in 1969, Rory still headed the band TASTE. After Barry had visited a show it was clear for him THIS was his music! From then on he honed his guitar playing skills and internalized the technique of Rory Gallagher.


After Rory’s death in 1995, Barry’s life also changed. He organized the first tribute concert in Manchester and regularly played the music of his hero in the bars and pubs of England and Ireland.
When he turned 50, Barnes decided to quit his normal job and devote himself entirely to the music of Gallagher. It’s unlikely that any other musician has played so many tribute concerts, or performed so often at what is probably the largest Gallagher tribute festival in Ballyshannon (IE). With his band Sinnerboy, Barry Barnes is the most sought after name to recreate the Gallagher sound at festivals throughout Europe. Whether Greece, Austria, Italy, Norway, Spain or Germany, the list could be endless.


Barnes interprets Rory’s music in his own way, close to the original but never as a cover, clearly Rory, but unmistakably Sinnerboy. What he does comes from the heart, acoustically alone, electrically with Sinnerboy, as a guest with other bands or with guests at his own show. Barry Barnes embodies, just as his great role model did, the buddy from next door with whom you can drink a pint, talk about music, down-to-earth, authentic, uniquely sympathetic.


In advance of the show in Euskirchen, guest 3songsbonn contributor Peter Reimer asked Barry Barnes about his life taking the music and magic of Rory Gallagher around Europe: INTERVIEW HERE

When did you listen for the first time to Rory?
1969 I wanted to buy Led Zeppelin 11 but they didn’t have it in the shop, so I bought ‘On the Boards’ instead, which was life-changing.

What were the first songs you played?
I played ‘What’s going on’ and ‘Morning Sun’ in a band onstage in 1970 – which means I’ve been playing his music for longer than he was alive.

What song out of them all is your favourite?
Tattooed Lady

How long have you been on the road playing Rory’s music?
18 years

You travel as Sinnerboy and also as Barry Barnes only with acoustic music.  Which do you enjoy the most?
Sinnerboy every time – Acoustic is OK but I prefer rocking with the boys.

Why do you think Rory was not as commercial as others like Clapton and Gary Moore?
Because he didn’t want it to be commercial, so he didn’t release singles, he did not want to be a part of that scene He said he didn’t want to end up on the Princes Trust!

What is your favourite equipment on stage?
My Fender Stratocaster, it’s been my companion all through Sinnerboy.

Did you start with guitar playing or did you play any other instrument?
Guitar, when I was 16

Did you have any tips for young musicians learning to play guitar and especially play Rory’s music?
Buy the Essential Rory Gallagher books off the official website – they are perfect!

For which three things in your life are you most thankful?

What was the best decision in your career?
To keep the band going after both the bass player and drummer left me at the same time – it was horrendous, and I almost went bankrupt.

What profession did your parents imagine for you?
A Plumber! (I may have liked a bit of plumbing!)

What was the best compliment someone ever gave you?
You sound like Rory Gallagher (He was, however, wearing hearing aids)!

Is there anything you could you not do without in your life?

What was your favourite school subject in the past?
English Literature

What would you get up for in the middle of the night?
To pee of course – I have a 67-year-old bladder!

Is there a decision in your life would you like to reverse in retrospect?
Too personal.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The smiling faces in the audience when we play Rory.

Why are you doing the job you do today?
Because I love it.

If you had three wishes, what would it be?
I’ve got everything I want in life, but I wish for love.


Article/Interview by Peter Reimer copyright 2019

Tickets available via various locations in advance including Mr Music

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