Jul 11 2010

Rory Gallagher on the Dave Fanning Show — February 16, 1988

Published by at 11:17 pm under radio interviews,Rory on the Radio

RTE radio dj, Dave Fanning

Dave Fanning is a veteran radio broadcaster for RTE 2 (now called RTE 2fm) whose various shows on Irish radio, such as “The Dave Fanning Show” and “Drivetime with Dave” have been mainstays of the Irish airways. Fanning is widely regarded as Ireland’s answer to the late, great John Peel of BBC1, and his “Fanning Sessions” gave his Irish audience their first listen to such big name rock bands as U2, The Cranberries, and Hothouse Flowers.

When RTÉ Radio 2, Ireland’s first pop music station, was launched in the summer of 1979, Dave Fanning’s midnight slot came to be regarded as the Irish equivalent of the Peel show. Chief among its innovations was the Fanning Sessions, overseen by Ian Wilson, whereby a fledgling band was given the opportunity to record four tracks which were aired at least twice, thus granting valuable national exposure, not to mention a few quid and a free lunch in the RTÉ canteen. U2 were the first band to record a session, and allowed the show’s listeners to choose the A-side for their first single. Other notables to avail of the service included The Cranberries, Hothouse Flowers, Therapy? and JJ72. Peter Murphy, Hot Press Magazine

Dave Fanning, Christy Moore, & Rory at
Self Aid. Photo from christymoore.com

In a recent interview for Hot Press Magazine, Fanning claims to have interviewed over 200 of the greatest Rock stars. None greater perhaps than Irish guitar legend, Rory Gallagher, who Fanning interviewed on several occasions. I’ve uploaded one of these interviews to my downloads page. The interview was done on February 16, 1988; Fanning interviews Rory prior to an upcoming 4-night stand at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. You can listen to the interview here: Dave Fanning Show February 16, 1988. In Part One of the interview Rory talks about; his 15 minutes at the ’86 Self Aid Festival at the RDS Showgrounds in Dublin, Ireland, Chuck Berry’s autobiography, his latest album Defender and the scrapped album Torch, his new record label Capo, and his recent touring. In Part 2 Rory talks about his love of detective novels, spy novels, his song “Philby” and his attitude towards making “singles”. In Part 3 Rory talks about working with producers such as Roger Glover as well as producing on his own, and in Part 4 he talks about his current and past lineups, the gimmickry of many heavy metal bands, the devolution of Fleetwood Mac, and the music he listens to now a days.

Of interest to me was when Fanning asked Rory about who comes to a Rory Gallagher concert now: is he still relevant to the younger generation, to the audience of a U2? Fanning has been a huge supporter of U2. His very first “Fanning Session” on RTE Radio 2 was with the young four-piece Dublin band and his friendship with, and support of the band continues to this day. Six months prior to the interview with Rory Gallagher, Fanning talked with some of the U2 road crew: Joe O’Herlihy, Steve Iredale, Tim Buckley, Tom Mullany, and Sam O’ Sullivan — affectionately called the “Cork Mafia”. Joe O’Herlihy may be the sound engineer and crew boss for U2, but back in the seventies Joe was Rory’s man. Joe had been working with a band called Sleepy Hollow and caught the eye of Rory Gallagher:

[Sleepy Hollow] supported Rory Gallagher on his Irish tours and one or two college tours in Europe and the U.K., and Rory saw me doing my little trick for the boys and one day asked me if I’d be interested in working for him. So the situation opened up from there doing backline, monitors and, eventually, to sound. I was with Rory for the best part of five years, up until September ’78… One very good thing about that relationship with Rory, it was an incredible apprenticeship… Rory is a real 100% performer and you have to be on top of your case all the time to maintain that consistency. Because other people growing up, they fall in love with the girl of their dreams but with Rory it’s his guitar that is the girl of his dreams. He’d work eight days a week, 48 hours a day if he could. When you’re working under those conditions you grow up very quickly. Rory’s from Cork as well, so it meant I walked into an ideal working situation. — Joe O’Herlihy

During the interview with the “Cork Mafia” Fanning asks Joe about working with Rory back then as well as on the occasional tour date when U2 was on holiday or taking a break from touring. He also asked whether Joe thought Rory would still be playing the Blues when he’s in his 50’s and 60’s. Joe replied that, “I think Rory has always had that ambition within himself to be around when, you know, like all the other blues artists as you say are 50 or 60 years of age, that sort of thing, and Rory will definitely be there.” Here’s an audio excerpt from that interview: Dave Fanning interview with the “Cork Mafia”. Sadly, it proved not to be the case, as Rory was taken from us far too early.

Still, Rory’s memory lives on, and on June 1, 2010, Donal Gallagher and Bernie Marsden were on RTE 2fm radio’s, Dave Fanning Show to talk about the upcoming International Rory Gallagher Festival and the dedication of the new Rory Gallagher statue in Ballyshannon, County Donegal. You can listen to the interview here: Dave Fanning Show. (My apologies for the occasional dog barking, I taped the show through an external mike, and got my dog, “Big Blue” in there as well.) The memorials to the Irish legend seem to multiply from year to year. He may have not lived to play into his 50’s and 60’s as some of the great Blues masters did, but the legend that is Rory Gallagher, has grown large over the years, and his legacy stands with the best of them.

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Rory Gallagher on the Dave Fanning Show — February 16, 1988”

  1. Tom McCoolon 14 Jul 2010 at 9:39 pm

    This is a really great piece, I used to listen to DaveFanning before I moved to england and miss 2FM. Rory was one of the best and it still grates with me when I talk to people who think they know guitar music and they say who? But the word is spreading more and more. I’m pleased to say my 14 year old son is a fan, and my nephews play in a band in Derry and they cover some of Rory’s material. I was at Ballyshannon this year, happened to be in Derry for my birthday so took my sons and nephews. There’s a whole new generation born after Rory’s premature parting, who are taking to his sound. I hope to post some clips soon from Ballyshannon and my nephews playing “messing with the kid”. Keep up the good work – keep spreading the word.

  2. Len de la Couron 06 Feb 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Great interviews. Rory was a perfect gentleman. Do not have to comment on his playing. As for Joe, a sound guy ,no pun intended, worked with him in Sleepy Hollow. Thanks Dave for great contribution to music. Len

  3. LunaJuneon 06 Mar 2014 at 3:22 am

    totally grateful for all these wonderful interviews popping up all over the place
    Never had to chance to hear him live, lots of friends did so I live vicariously though them all

    really great interview :~)

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