“I’ve never really been happy with being the band leader,” Bernie Tormé told me once – but he was good at it, although the guitarist who passed away yesterday on the brink of his 67th birthday will always be remembered for his immense contribution to GILLAN and his brief stint with Ozzy Osbourne. With the former, the Irish artist created such seminal albums as “Mr. Universe” and “Glory Road” – Bernie’s assault on the likes of “Unchain Your Brain” is worth the praise of any metal axeman out there – and with the later, Tormé filled the space left by Randy Rhoads but didn’t stay, as he always preferred to pursue his own, so-called Electric Gypsy, thing.
Bernie also liked to share creative load with John McCoy, and the two friends, plus Robin Guy, had GMT going for some time, yet the veteran plowed a solo furrow for the last decade, releasing record after record – financed mostly via crowdfunding at PledgeMusic. And it was this platform’s machinations that left Tormé in dire straits when the payment for 2018’s “Shadownland” didn’t get through to him: the guitarist’s health deteriorated, and he was hospitalized with pneumonia in February from which Bernie didn’t recover and died on St. Patrick’s Day.
Razor-sharp as a musician and as delicate a person as you can meet in this business, he was special, and I’ll miss him very much.