The Guitarist Brian May Described As A ‘Magician’
The Marquee Club was a music revenue in London in which many legendary bands and musicians performed shows, especially before they gained international fame and commercial success. During the ’60s, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Taste appeared on the stage many times, making the club one of the milestone places for rock music history.
Thanks to its incredible lineup, changing almost every night, it drew great attention and audience along musicians who wanted to pursue professional music careers. Therefore, Queen lead guitarist Brian May and his friends used to go and watch some of these musicians years before he founded Queen, and one of the main reasons behind his becoming a regular was the iconic guitarist Rory Gallagher.
The Reason Why Brian May Called Rory Gallagher A ‘Magician’
Rory Gallagher can be considered one of the most talented guitarists of all time with his extraordinary talent, and he started to become more famous after he formed a blues-rock and R&B power trio named Taste in 1966 with Eric Kitteringham and Norman Damery who were later replaced by John Wilson, Richard McCracken. The band performed in many places in the UK and of course at Marquee Club like the others.
During an interview, the reporter asked him why people enjoyed gathering at Marquee Club during the ’60s and ’70s, Brian May revealed that he also went to the club to listen to the art-rock band, The Nice and Rory Gallagher almost every week. May highlighted that Gallagher’s performance both as a guitar player and entertainer was so amazing that he was always fascinated and admired by the shows.
Here’s what the reporter asked:
“When you went to Marquee Club, what made you gather, what was it about?”
May’s answer read:
“The Marquee Club was a legendary place in those days. That’s where everybody played it. My mates and I used to go down there whenever we could. Certain nights would be certain things, Mr. G. was there managing us and saying, ‘this is so so night or whatever.’ Thursday night for a long time, I think, was The Nice. We used to go to see The Nice every week.
Rory Gallagher also had a residency there. We used to go and see Rory every week, and just open-mouth; I think that the way the guy played and the person he was, the way he interacted with his audience, hold people by tapping his foot or clicking his fingers. He was just a magician, as far as we are concerned, as an entertainer.
Funnily, he wouldn’t think of himself as an entertainer, was such a pure man. He thought himself a musician and never made any compromises towards being building himself into a superstar, but we went there every week.”
Then, Brian May added that he was sure that Rory Gallagher didn’t see himself as an entertainer because he focused on his music without a hint of ego and pretentiousness. That’s one of the main things that made Gallagher special and May described him as a magician who enchanted the audience with his extraordinary guitar playing whenever he performed at the club.
The Queen icon stated that Gallagher was always nice and gentle toward the young people like him who wanted to talk and learn things. Furthermore, years before Brian May, Jimi Hendrix also described Gallagher as the best guitarist of all time after The Mike Douglas Show’s host asked him, ‘What’s it was like to be the best rock guitarist in the world?‘ So, it can be said that Gallagher’s legacy was set in stone with his nice personality and great contributions to rock music.
The reporter added:
“You mentioned the relationship with the audience. Was it something or it was just you hadn’t seen before, how would you analyze, what was special about him, what had he done that the others didn’t?“
In May’s words, he said:
“I think Rory’s elemental and people could sense that there’s no pretense, showmanship which hides what the real man is. He just came on there and played, would talk, so you felt like you had a one-to-one relationship with him. That’s the way I see it, and his playing was incredible. He’s one of the very people of that time who could make his guitar do anything it seemed it. I remember looking at his battered Stratocaster and thinking, ‘how does that come out?’
We were boys, we hung around and hid when Marquee was at turning out time, and then we kind of strolled over as if ought to be there. We said ‘Hello Mr. Gallagher, can we chat with you?’ He was incredibly patient and was packing up his own guitar gear. That’s the kind of man he was. He had to grace to speak to us.”
You can watch the interview below.