A Rockapaedia Obituary

Bernie Tormé

Bands: Gillan, Atomic Rooster, Bernie Tormé Band,

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    Bernie Tormé died aged sixty-six of double pneumonia on 17th March 2019, the day before his sixty-seventh birthday. He was survived by his wife Lisa,photo of Bernie Torme their children Jimi, Eric and Tuli, and his sister, Cliodna Murphy.
    Inspired by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Rory Gallagher, and Gary Moore, Bernie Tormé formed his first band at at around sixteen years old. Bernie Tormé played in Dublin band The Urge in the early 1970s before relocating to London in 1974, where he initially played with heavy rockers Scrapyard. Inspired by England's burgeoning mid-1970s punk rock scene, Bernie Tormé formed the Bernie Tormé Band in 1976. With this group, Bernie toured with successful groups of that period such as The Boomtown Rats and Billy Idol's Generation X, among many others. Bernie Tormé later revealed that his band secured the supporting slot with the Boomtown Rats by agreeing to go around London putting up posters advertising the tour.
    In 1977 the Bernie Tormé Band were asked to contribute two tracks to the Live at the Vortex album, "Streetfighter" and "Living for Kicks". This led to them being signed to the Jet Records label.
    Frustrated by a lack of commercial success, Bernie Tormé accepted the invitation of former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan in 1979 to join his band Gillan. Over the next four years, Gillan enjoyed three Top Ten UK albums (Mr. Universe, Glory Road, and Future Shock), in addition to extensive worldwide tours of Europe, Japan, and the United States.
    In 1981 Bernie Tormé left Gillan, citing frustration over a lack of money despite the success the band was seeing and was replaced by guitarist Janick Gers. Bernie then played as a live session man for Atomic Rooster and was hired in March 1982 by Jet Records to replace the recently deceased Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne's band. Bernie Tormé flew from England to Los Angeles with the promise that the job was his, even being paid an advance by Jet before leaving England. Though Ozzie Osbourne had already settled on Robert Sarzo to replace Rhoads, he was forced to abide by the record company's decision and Bernie Tormé began rehearsing with the band. After only a handful of shows it became apparent that Bernie Tormé's bluesy style was not a good match for Osbourne's brand of heavy metal, and he elected to return to England to continue work on a solo album.
    Beginning in 1982 Bernie Tormé led his own band under various names and lineups and spent several years with the band Desperado with former Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider. Although the record saw limited release, Snider re-used a number of the songs for a subsequent project named Widowmaker.
    In addition to the continued release of new Bernie Tormé recordings and re-issuance of his back catalogue titles, Bernie Tormé also became involved with the 'Silver' project, which also included former Michael Schenker Group vocalist Gary Barden. In 2006, Bernie Tormé announced the formation of Guy McCoy Bernie Tormé (aka "G.M.T"), with former Gillan bassist John McCoy and drummer Robin Guy. In 2007, Bernie Tormé contributed lead guitar and sitar parts to "Smile in Denial", track No. 4 of Yoni, a solo album from Wildhearts frontman Ginger.image of Bernie Torme
    Bernie successfully released 4 albums via the Pledgemusic platform between 2014 and 2018, and his last album 'Shadowland', featuring drummer Mik Gaffney and Sy Morton on bass was released in November 2018, followed by the 'Final Fling' UK tour starting on 22nd November.
    Bernie Tormé also ran his own record label, Retrowrek Records, and recording studios, Barnroom Studios in Kent.

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Music: STAR by Bernie Torme and Electric Gypsies