Before Wednesday’s concert, I managed to ask Gerry McAvoy about the changes that have taken place in Band of Friends since Ted McKenna’s death.
It’s been an eventful five years since I last had a chat with you. Ted McKenna was clearly a central figure in the band’s heart and soul so the shock of his death following complications after a routine hernia operation must have hit you hard.
After we lost Ted I was considering disbanding Band of friends. Ted was a big part of the bands sound. But after receiving so many messages of encouragement from people who followed the band , I decided to continue.
Thankfully you decided to carry on, but Ted’s place must have been difficult to fill. Fortunately you managed to get another former Rory Gallagher Band man in to fill his shoes (Gerry played in a band with Brendan O’Neill previous to both being with Rory)
Brendan was the obvious choice as drummer, after all he played with Rory for 10 years. His playing style is different to Ted, so he adds a different flavour to the sound.
Marcel Scherpenzeel was ‘Rory’ so to speak in Band of Friends, taking lead guitar duties and most vocals. He also left the band. What happened there?
Marcel took Ted’s passing pretty hard. We took band of friends on the road for about 10 months through 2019 into early 2020. Then Marcel decided he wanted to form his own band called the Marcel Scherpenzeel band.
At the time I thought it was a good idea,Marcel had lost the spark we initially had, probably because of the loss of Ted. Also During 2019 I had tried out different musicians, to add new life to the band. I jammed with Stephan Graf, Ben Poole and Paul Rose.We also toured the US without Marcel, through 2018 and 2019. The line up was Myself, Ted McKenna and Davy Knowles on guitar and vocals. Davy is an exceptional talent and was perfect for Band of friends. But because of the distance between the US and Europe it would have been a logistical nightmare. Hence the new line up of Jim Kirkpatrick ( guitar & vocals) and Paul Rose (guitar) Both these guys are great players and Jim is a superb vocalist.
Why the change to a four-piece with two guitarists? Are you looking to cover
some Thin Lizzy numbers in future? 🙂 or taking the opportunity to keep a fresh sound?
Yes I wanted a fresh sound – and no Thin Lizzy songs.
A fresh start then. What does the future hold for the new four-piece Band of Friends?
We will be bringing out 2 new albums in September 2023. A live album recorded at the famous Liverpool Cavern club. And a new album with self composed songs and a few Rory songs. The album is titled “ Roll with the punches” and it will contain songs written and recorded by all the band members: Myself, Gerry McAvoy, Jim Kirkpatrick , Paul Rose, Brendan ONeill and also Davy Knowles. With additional musicians
And additional musicians: David Cowan ( keyboards) and Naomi Campbell ( vocals)
You’re 71 now but still play with a tremendous amount of energy. What’s your secret? What keeps you playing concerts in 2023?
I enjoy playing to a Live audience, and I work of the crowd’s enthusiasm. If they’re having a good time, then so are we.