Gary Grainger was Rod Stewart’s guitarist for five and a half years at the height of Sir Rod’s chart success – the days of Hot Legs and I Was Only Joking, songs Gary co-wrote.
But he returns to his first love The Who when he lines up in Chichester as lead guitarist in The Total Who Show at Chichester’s Assembly Room on February 9.
The Who were the first band he ever saw, says Gary, who lives just outside Chichester.
“I first worked with (Who frontman and singer) Roger Daltrey in 1985-86, and that was for an album that ended up being called Can’t Wait To See The Movie, and we did various TV shows playing live. We were touring on the back of his previous album called Under The Raging Moon.
“Roger was always lovely to me. I have seen him explode at people at times, but fortunately I was never on the receiving end.
“He was always a great joy and really friendly.”
It helps, of course, that Gary is such a massive Who fan: “The Who were the first band I ever saw, in 1965 in London. I was 13. I was terrified.
“It was the first gig I had ever been to, and it was jam-packed. I think I fainted about three times, but I couldn’t fall over we were all so tightly packed in!”
The gig was electrifying: “Pete Townshend was ramming his guitar into the stacks and making all these fantastic noises, really terrifying noises!”
Of the members of The Who, it was perhaps bassist John Entwhistle that Gary got to know best.
“Because I was such a fan of Roger and Pete, I probably found it easier with John.
“I recorded a lot down at his house at Stow-on-the-Wold. He had a studio built in his house that was really state of the art. He used to let me stay there and take my son down. He was great…”
So it is great to be playing The Who’s music now… particularly as more and more gigs are now coming in.
Gary was brought into the band by singer and frontman Johnny Warman as a temporary replacement last July. He is certainly hoping to extend his stay as much as possible. It is definitely Gary’s kind of music.
A big part of the fun is also the fact that he and Gary go back to 1983-84.
“We wrote a lot of material together that we never really finished. I moved house and split up with my wife at the time and we just didn’t finish it. But one of the songs we co-wrote ended up with Ringo Starr. It is great to have a co-write with a Beatle!”
It was with Rod Stewart, however, that Gary made his name.
“I was in Rod Stewart’s band for five and a half years from 76 until the end of 81. I think those were the best years really. I like what he does now, but those were the greatest days. They were the days of Hot Legs, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy, great songs.”
Gary was co-writer on songs including Hot Legs, I Was Only Joking, Passion and Ain’t Love A Bitch.
Gary also played on classics including You’re In My Heart.
As for the Total Who Show, Gary and Johnny are promising tracks including Won’t Get Fooled Again, My Generation, The Seeker, Can’t Explain, Baba O’Riley, Pinball Wizard, Who Are You, 5.15 and many more, all played in their own unique way, but capturing The Who’s celebrated pure adrenaline rush.
Tickets for the gig are available on https://ticketcrowd.co.uk/total-who/events/the-total-who-show-in-chichester/