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metal talk
Paul Stenning
judith fisher
17th February 2011

Paul Stenning is an author. He has also written for Metal Maniacs, Terrorizer and Metal Hammer.

He hates most modern rock and metal and thinks it was all better between about 1975 and 1999. The millennium killed most good metal.


Many people have pontificated - since the sad death of Gary Moore recently - over the significance of Moore's influence in the guitar world, and rightly so. There is no need for me to add my technical ramblings over his six string prowess, it is there for all to see in the groove of every record he put his name to, or every piece of audio/visual footage.

Too often I think we tend to quickly mourn the death of a public figure and then move on. Ah that's sad, what a shame. RIP. We post a You Tube link onto Facebook and then suddenly the doorbell rings, or your child shits themselves, or perhaps you just are drawn to a half naked photo on your friend's list that momentarily dilutes your grief. Either way, isn't it strange how we can be so blasé about death?

Then there is the other side, to which with Gary Moore, I belong. You see, when Peter Steele passed away I was upset - and very disappointed. But I didn't cry. I had even spent a wonderful couple of hours with Pete, during an interview which would be difficult to top in ten years of metal writing. I'd also loved Type O Negative since the first time I had heard 'Black No.1', the very day the video was released. Yet, there were no tears.

When I heard Gary Moore had died I couldn't stop crying. What was the difference? After all, Pete Steele was much younger. The difference my friends, is perspective and emotional investment.

Perspective colours the issue because I don't recall ever reading of Gary Moore's deep depression - unlike Pete Steele - and, at only 58 with a healthy lifestyle, he seemed very young considering he wasn't dining out on heroin or pint after pint.

Steele told me about consuming seven bottles of wine BEFORE he went on stage on several occasions with TON. That's an early death waiting to happen. Moore was the notorious linkage to Thin Lizzy, a band well known for harbouring a song writing genius who just happened to have a number of chemical addictions, but he himself never got involved with that side of rock n' roll, easy as it would have been. So, logic suggests he should not have died at 58. Bummer, poor bloke.

Emotional investment. Well, let me tell you, the happy times in my childhood - and there were not many - were coloured by the audio gold of Gary Moore's music. At several stages through my early life I had the comfort of his soulful croon and the never less than solid and emotive guitar playing.

'Victims Of The Future' is an extremely underrated album, 'Wild Frontier' is probably overrated but still great. 'After The War' (also heavily underrated - check out 'Blood Of Emeralds') accompanied me through some tough times and the almost miserable reflections of 'Still Got The Blues' provided a haunting soundtrack through an adolescence of unrequited love.

Though I like most of what Gary Moore released, it is those 80s and early 90s albums which spoke to me as soon as I think of him moving out of this life. I never met him but I felt as if he knew ME. His guitar playing and often his voice and lyrics spoke to ME, and I was not alone I'm sure.

Isn't it strange though, how someone we have never met or do not know personally can have such a strong impact on our development? Without that music I might have been different, without that music I might not be here.

Without Gary Moore there might have been many thousands of people who were worse off. He always provided excellent showmanship and perfect renditions of his studio work when onstage - there are millions of memories there for anyone who ever saw him perform. That is priceless.

I don't want to know of any more deaths of people who mean something to me. They don't have to be friends or family, they can be someone external to your intimate circle. All they have to do sometimes is release a record and speak to you. When they're gone, you know you can never see them live again and they will never release another record. That's enough to make me cry.


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