I originally came up with the idea of writing "Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music" at a coffee shop in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, in December 1998. I was talking with a friend who agreed with me that many musicians who made a huge contribution to the evolution of rock 'n' roll music have been currently overlooked and replaced with artists whose motivations for creating their work differs. The book started with a list of 17 artists and was whittled down to 4 over the course of a year.
Rory Gallagher, Steve Marriott, Rick Derringer and Robin Trower all made an incredible impression on me in the early 70s, a time when music began to mean more to me than anything else. I was playing in bands throughout high school and college and noticed that the aforementioned artists were increasingly dominating my set lists. I used to sit on my parents' porch and blared Humble Pie music to the neighbors until they threatened me. When I was 16 years of age, I wanted to be Rick Derringer. Bill Mann, a music critic in Montreal, introduced me to Rory Gallagher in 1973, the first "rock star" I ever met. And Robin Trower made me appreciate funky music like never before. The list of musicians who made an impression on me is a longer one but these 4 are the dominant ones.
The musicians of whom I write combined record sales in the millions. But over the course of time their contributions have been forgotten. My intended audience is twofold. First, I want to remind those of us close to my age of these artists. And there's no need to drag the boxes of vinyl from the basement. All the catalogues have been remastered and released on Compact Disc. Not to sound cliché but it's like listening to it for the first time. The only difference is that you already know all of the lyrics! And secondly, there's an entire new generation of musicians and yet-to-be fans that deserve to be exposed to this music. To find out about singer/musician/songwriter/performers who pursued their art for all the "right reasons." As an example, Slash is a huge Rory Gallagher fan. His father played Rory's music incessantly in the house and Slash was lured to picking up the guitar because of him. The same goes for Edge from U2. Gallagher took his influence of the music from the Mississippi Delta and, because of the uniqueness of his Irish background, presented the end result in a fashion never heard before and since. A tireless live performer, his solos were never the same from one night to the next.
Bryan Adams credits Steve Marriott for his wanting to become a performer. As does Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. Marriott was a child star on the stage before turning to music and his success with The Small Faces allowed him to develop into the ultimate front man. He has been labeled as the greatest white blues singer ever. Paralleled to the likes of Otis Redding and Ray Charles. A very credible guitarist. And a personality that people still speak of to this day! Very few realize what a contribution Rick Derringer has made to contemporary music dating back to 1965 when his band held the #1 spot on the U.S. singles chart. He was a crucial ingredient in the formation of both Johnny and Edgar Winter and later took his talents to develop his solo career and those of others. His adaptability and proficiency on the guitar has led him to contribute to the studio releases of countless performers. And he performs to this day.
And Robin Trower unintentionally took his musical influences of James Brown, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix and developed his own style of funk and blues, exposing millions to what the guitar can do. And through it all has sacrificed financial independence to maintain his constantly evolving artistic integrity. His distinctive sound exists on stages today.
I could easily write volumes based on my thoughts regarding these musicians but decided to get their stories from those who knew them best. The musicians they worked with. Members of their road crews. Management. Recording producers and engineers. Record company executives. Family. Friends. And the book is laid out in an "interview" format. Click on to the accompanying excerpts for examples. I found this to be the easiest manner in which to be consistent with allowing true participation of those I've interviewed.
And the interview process has left me with transcriptions that far exceed what is in my book. A lot has been excluded due to space restrictions and irrelevance. Conversations took off into directions that have nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. Though very interesting! As well, a lot has been excluded due to the requests of those spoken to.
The key to having people read this book is not convincing those of its contents. I feel the end result of my work speaks for itself. But the task at hand is getting readers to know of its existence. A difficult job. And a gross understatement. But I'm committed to doing so. And with the help of some very devoted people we hope to achieve our goal. If anyone feels the urge to participate in getting the word out . feel free to do so.
The original title was "For All The Right Reasons." This truly depicts the cause of these musicians to pursue their chosen vocation. It also describes why I wrote the book.
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