Pat McManus has had an extremely storied career from his humble beginnings performing with Mama’s Boys to his more recent solo offerings. He frequently records and is always on the road with one of his more common stops being to the annual Rory Gallagher festival. I had the opportunity to see him live at the Big Top on Friday night and again on Sunday. After spending time with his adoring fans, Pat was gracious enough to speak with me about Rory’s influence on his career, his recent issues with stolen gear and his future recording plans.
You performed at the Big Top on Friday and you are just after performing at The Gable. What has been your experience and impression of this year’s Rory Gallagher Festival?
“This year has been fantastic for the atmosphere because the weather plays a big factor in it. It has been absolutely brilliant the whole weekend, and you can really get into the party spirit. There is no problem going between the venues to see the gigs to see the great band play. For me it has been the best one so far.”
Have you had the opportunity to see any of the great bands that have performed at the festival?
“Oh God yeah, I thought ‘Laundromat’ who played with us at the Big Top were fantastic. ‘Aidan Pryor’ was great, but some of the younger acts were great to see, they are keeping the music alive. ‘Fresh Evidence’ who played here today we’re absolutely fantastic. They blew me away, I couldn’t believe it. These guys weren’t even alive when Rory died, but it is incredible that they are playing homage to his music. It has been a very memorable weekend.”
Speaking of Rory, how much of an influence has he been on you as a musician.
“For me personally, he was everything to me as a musician. He was the one we looked up too because of his international success because he showed that there was a way out of here. Rory was the first true rock star out of Ireland, long before Thin Lizzy and U2. He led the way and if it wasn’t for him, a lot of the Irish bands wouldn’t have had the success that they had. It might have happened at a later date, but it would have taken a lot longer. He was one of the great guitar players of our time and he meant an awful lot to me. He was an icon as far as we were concerned. We were very fortunate to have played some festivals with him before he sadly passed away. To see him and meet him in the flesh was fantastic; it was like a dream come through.”
It is always good to meet your hero’s…
“He was a total gentleman and so humble. As I always said, he was just too good for this world.”
Out of Rory’s entire discography, is there any stand out albums or songs?
“Rory might clip me over the ear for saying this, but I loved ‘Against the Grain’. That was when Rory really came of age. You know what I also liked and Rory might hate me for saying this, but I loved ‘Calling Card’. Maybe it was the time when I got into Rory and discovered him. People might talk about the earlier stuff, but for me he seemed to move into a different league when he did those albums. Everything Rory did was off the highest quality, but those albums mean so much to me.”
Earlier this year, you had some equipment stolen. Has there been any progress in recovering it?
“Sadly, no. It meant a lot to me because the gear was off sentimental value. It is one of those things that you hope somewhere down the line, if someone keeps an eye out that it might turn up. It was a big hit and we were only the second night into the tour. It meant we had to turn around and buy all the gear again. There is every possibility that it might turn up, but at the moment it is not looking good.”
Do you have any future plans in regards to touring and recording?
“The last album only came out in October, but this time around I want to do a live album, maybe later on in the summer. We never stop touring and after this we have festivals in Norway, England, Sweden, France and Germany in this year to do.”
Do you think Rory Gallagher should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
“Yes, absolutely! I think it is scandalous that he hasn’t, but you have to look at in terms of that the Americans, who are not that familiar with him. He was a leading pioneer in British Rock and Blues and he is the most important person after Jimi Hendrix. There was no one who could touch him and he was the standard by which everyone compared themselves.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
“Not at all.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Pat for about ten minutes after I turned off my audio recorder and Pat’s reputation of humbleness, honesty, politeness and overall niceness proceeded itself and was reinforced. He is one of nicest people I have ever had the opportunity to speak with. With everything that Pat has accomplished in his career, he is entitled to some form of an ego, but no, he is quite the opposite and the definition of a gentleman.
As previously mentioned in the interview, the equipment that was stolen from Pat and his band has not been located. If you know anything or stumble across it online, please contact your local authorities or The Pat McManus Band directly. The equipment could be in a second hand shop or on an auction site like eBay, so stay vigilant.