35 years on the road with Rory Gallagher and Nine Below Zero
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Gerry McAvoy was the bass player for Irish blues legend Rory Gallagher from 1971 through to 1991, the only constant factor on all 14 of Rory’s solo albums which sold over 30 million copies worldwide. No-one knew Rory better or was closer to him throughout this most creative period of his life, before serious illness blighted his career.

Gerry is highly regarded as a musician's musician and, as Rory's right-hand man for over 20 years, his career has given him the opportunity to meet and play with a veritable who's who of rock and blues performers - from Muddy Waters, John Mayall and Van Morrison through to Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Rod Stewart, ZZ Top, Rush, Eric Clapton, Sting and U2.

In 1991, with Rory's health having deteriorated to the point where he had all but given up touring and recording, Gerry reluctantly left the band to help reform English R&B legends Nine Below Zero, one of the UK's hardest working bands, with whom he recorded 12 successful albums. Gerry also created the Band of Friends - initially an informal reunion of ex-Rory Gallagher band members who played several times a year to celebrate Rory's music at concerts and festivals all over Europe. Gerry left Nine Below Zero in 2011 to concentrate on the Band of Friends, now a hugely successful band playing across Europe. Full-time members with Gerry are, from Belfast, Brendan O'Neil (drummer with Rory for 10 years from 1981-91) and two superb guitarists - Paul Rose from Newcastle and Stephan Graf from South Thuringia in Germany. As Gerry says: "These are the closest guitarists to Rory you will ever hear."

Pete Chrisp is a freelance writer and journalist. A lifelong Rory Gallagher fan, he saw Rory and his band play live on a number of occasions. He has also played bass guitar in various pub rock bands over the last 25 years.