In the era of tribute acts who deliver note-perfect renditions of their heroes' catalogues, The Band of Friends is something different. They can do the notes played by electric blues icon Rory Gallagher. But they can also do the sound, energy and feel – because the band includes people who helped define those essential elements.
When the Irish guitarist-vocalist passed away in 1995 he left behind an eleven-album catalogue of inspired albums, and the memory of unforgettably energetic concerts.
Bassist Gerry McAvoy [Nine Below Zero, Champion Jack Dupree, Deep Joy] appeared on every one of those albums. Drummer Ted McKenna [Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Greg Lake, Gary Moore, Ian Gillan, Michael Schenker Group] powered those live shows from 1977 until 1981 and appeared on Rory's acclaimed Photo-Finish, Top Priority and Stage Struck albums.
"Gerry and Ted were no backing musicians. They were part of an integral unit that allowed the maestro to present his prodigious talent. Plenty of body language was what I remember. Little nods here, smiles there and just enough ad lib without over milking the solo breaks. The tradition continues with Marcel." Noel Buckley (Get Ready To Rock! )
They old friends have teamed up with Dutch guitarist and vocalist Marcel Scherpenzeel [Wolfpin], who grew up with his bandmates' music. If they say he's the nearest thing you'll get to Rory – and that's exactly what they do say – you'd better believe them.
Ted recalls: "In 2010 Gerry told me he'd played with Marcel at a tribute show and thought he was the closest thing to Rory you'd ever hear. We got together for a play in Marcel's dad's blues club in Amsterdam. The impact was instant."
Gerry says: "Rory will always be close to my heart, of course. Playing tribute shows was one thing – when I heard Marcel I knew he had it all. Close your eyes and it's there."