Q&A with Band Of Friends guitarists Paul Rose & Jim Kirkpatrick - celebration of the music of Rory Gallagher

"I think Rory’s music shows his strong personality. And people resonate with this very much. Not the star but a human being."

Band of Friends: Keeping The Myth Alive!

Gerry McAvoy formed Band of Friends in 2012. Gerry played with Rory Gallagher for 20 years. The band now consists of Brendan O’Neill on drums (Rory Gallagher 1981-1991); Paul Rose on guitar; and Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar. Paul Rose, born in Newcastle, England in July 1966, is without doubt one of the most unique and talented guitarists in the world today. Fundamentally a rock guitarist, his extraordinary playing style touches on blues, country, jazz and folk, blended together into a style that is entirely his own. Never a gig goes by where audience members don’t comment that Paul is the best guitarist they’ve seen and heard. Rory Gallagher awarded Paul a Fender ’62 Reissue Strat, with a Vox AC30, in a Fender sponsored competition that invited guitarists from all over the UK to appear in local music shops. Out of 1000 guitarists, Rory selected Paul as the winner and described him as ‘a hot player with a hot future.’ Having also won ‘Guitarist of the Year’ in Guitarist Magazine a couple of years later, it is plainly obvious that Paul is a force to be reckoned with.  

(Band Of Friends: Brendan O’Neill, Gerry McAvoy, Paul Rose, Jim Kirkpatrick / Photo © by Adam Kennedy)

Jim Kirkpatrick is a renowned guitarist and musician from Cheshire, England. With over 20 years of professional experience Jim has become an in demand session player, writer and performer and is becoming recognised as one of the UK's premier slide, blues and rock guitar players. Jim has been the lead guitarist with legendary British classic rock band FM since 2008. Jim has also been onstage right hand man to former Whitesnake guitarist and hit songwriter Bernie Marsden since 2006 recently collaborating with him and several members of the late Rory Gallaghers band on a tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist. Jim has performed all over the world and appeared at major festivals and has supported on tour Foreigner, Journey, Thin Lizzy, Joan Baez amongst many others and has been fortunate enough to appear onstage with Foreigner, Zak Starkey, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Deacon Blue to name but a few. Gerry McAvoy's Band of Friends will be in Greece; February 10th at Eightball (Thessaloniki) / Open Act: Nick & The Backbone and February 11th at Gagarin (Athens) / Open Act: Big Nose Attack

Interview by Michael Limnios 

Special Thanks: Simos Pavlidis (Rockin' The Blues Events)

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Paul: It’s given me courage to go into the world. It’s always been an adventure!

Jim: It’s influenced my guitar playing, listening choice, my friends and career. So, pretty much everything.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

Paul: Music is an expression of soul. Technique is merely the vehicle to express the soul. If you have no soul but strong technique it doesn't mean a lot. If you have soul technique is much less important.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? What touched you from the sound of slide guitar?

Jim: Music philosophy - I want to enjoy and believe in what I’m playing. It’s difficult when you don’t enjoy what you’re doing musically. Slide guitar - it always intrigued me. I found it very difficult to learn at first but I persevered.

How did you hook up with Gerry McAvoy's Band of Friends? How do you understand: Music & Friends?

Paul: I have known Gerry for a long time. Ted McKenna also played in my trio for almost 14 years. So, none of us are strangers.

Jim: I had met Gerry and Brendan a few times briefly in the past. I think someone from the festival in Ballyshannon (Ireland) recommended me.

"I miss the soul and the freedom. Music must be free of corporate commercial greed so it can breath. Otherwise, it will surely die. I hope it’s not too late." (Irish bassist Gerry McAvoy formed Band of Friends in 2012. Gerry played with Rory Gallagher for 20 years. The band now consists of Brendan O’Neill on drums; Paul Rose on guitar; and Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar - Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, Ireland 2022 / Photo © by Arnie Goodman) - Gerry McAvoy's Band of Friends will be in Greece; February 10th at Eightball (Thessaloniki) and February 11th at Gagarin (Athens)

Why do you think that Rory Gallagher music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Paul: I think Rory’s music shows his strong personality. And people resonate with this very much. Not the star but a human being. Like I said about soul and technique.

Jim: It’s great music!

Are there any specific memories by the late great Rory Gallagher that you would like to tell us about?!

Paul: Seeing him perform live in Newcastle when I was a kid was very important to me. And of course, meeting Rory when he gave me the guitar.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Paul: I miss the soul and the freedom. Music must be free of corporate commercial greed so it can breath. Otherwise, it will surely die. I hope it’s not too late.

Jim: Well, there’s still lots of great music around. It just doesn’t seem to be in the mainstream which is sad. You just have to dig a bit deeper. I think it’s disappointing that there’s so many great artists out there that most people will never hear.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Paul: I feel free through music. It has taken me all around the world. I have made many friends in many countries. It has made me strong.

Jim: Never burn your bridges!

Band of Friends - Home

(Band Of Friends: Jim Kirkpatrick, Brendan O’Neill, Gerry McAvoy, Paul Rose / Photo © by Terry Hanna)

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