John Gerrard “Gerry” McAvoy (born in Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Irish blues rock bass guitarist. He played with blues rock musician Rory Gallagher between 1970 and 1991, and then with Nine Below Zero until 2011.
McAvoy was born on in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 19 December 1951. In his youth, he enjoyed listening to his sister’s collection of Buddy Holly, Beatles and Rolling Stones records. Aged 13, he bought a second-hand Muddy Waters album in a Belfast record store and later said it “changed my life”. He began playing in bands soon afterwards, initially on rhythm guitar before switching to bass. He later joined the band Deep Joy, playing Motown and 60s pop covers. During his tenure in the band he first played with drummer Brendan O’Neill, who was later to tour with Rory Gallagher and appear on his last three albums Jinx, Defender and Fresh Evidence.
Deep Joy eventually moved to London but split in late 1970, at the same time as Gallagher’s band, Taste broke up. Gallagher contacted McAvoy, who had returned to Belfast, to come back and rehearse. The pair jammed with latterday Deep Joy drummer Wilgar Campbell, and the trio became Gallagher’s first solo touring band.
McAvoy began listening to blues records at an early age. As well as rock and roll, his main influences include Muddy Waters, Paul McCartney and Jet Harris. In his autobiography he cites his brother-in-law (of the same name) as an influence on much of his musical taste. He mostly plays Fender bass guitars, particularly Precisions, owning a 1955 butterscotch blonde Precision and a 1975 cream Precision. However his main stage bass guitar is the black Music Man StingRay. He also owns a black Silvertone bass. For amplification, he uses a Trace Elliot V6 amplifier and a 4 X 10 speaker cabinet, a Peavey T1-15 and a Marshall bass 30W.
On 18 December 2011 McAvoy performed his last gig (to date) with Nine Below Zero in Leicester, at a venue called ‘The Musician’.
He subsequently formed “Gerry McAvoy’s Band of Friends”. On 15 May 2014, Gerry McAvoy’s Band of Friends performed at the Flowerpot in Derby for a celebration of the music of Rory Gallagher and were supported by British acoustic blues singer songwriter, Matt Woosey.
2005 saw the publication of his biography, Riding Shotgun: 35 Years on the Road with Rory Gallagher and Nine Below Zero.
- 1980 – Bassics
- 2010 – Can’t win ’em all