A Rockapaedia Obituary
Ted McKenna died aged sixty eight on 19th January 2019, of a hemorrhage during a routine operation for a hernia.
Ted McKenna was born in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland, U.K. He was educated at St Patrick's High School, Coatbridge and his studies included double bass lessons at school, several piano lessons, and a year under Glasgow big band veteran, Lester Penman. He worked as a band member for several artists, including Rory Gallagher from 1978–1981. Ted worked as a session musician with Greg Lake & Gary Moore in The Greg Lake Band 1980–81; plus the Michael Schenker Group in 1981–84; plus Bugatti & Musker in 1982; Ian Gillan; plus a solo album for Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty, in 1975.
Ted had his own band after his time in MSG called Ted McKenna's Gold; formed at the end of 1986, it played together for just over two years and featured Charles Bowyer on vocals, Julian Hutson-Saxby on guitar, Alex Bowler on bass and Steve Franklin on keyboards.
In 1992, Ted McKenna and Zal Cleminson formed The Party Boys, an idea Ted McKenna had in Australia whilst working with Womack and Womack. They recruited keyboardist Ronnie Leahy from Stone The Crows, and invited well-known rock singers such as Stevie Doherty, Fish, and Dan McCafferty. Soon after, the band reunited with Sensational Alex Harvey Band keyboardist Hugh McKenna, Ted's cousin, and reformed Sensational Alex Harvey Band. This line-up included Stevie Doherty on vocals. They released an album named 'Live In Glasgow '93' but disbanded in 1995 after a final gig with singer Maggie Bell at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow.
In 2004, Ted McKenna reformed Sensational Alex Harvey Band with remaining members Zal Cleminson, Hugh McKenna, and Chris Glen, but this time introduced vocalist Max Maxwell, formerly of The Shamen. Their farewell tour was so successful they continued to tour between 2004–2009 including The Wickerman Festival and The Sweden Rock Festival in 2006.
Around this time they released the live album Zalvation, which was the band's first official release since Rock Drill in 1977 with Alex Harvey himself. They performed tours in the UK, Europe and Australia, as well as two sell-out Christmas shows in 2006 and 2007 at the ABC in their hometown of Glasgow. In 2008, Clem Cleminson left the band and retired from performing, and was replaced by guitarist Julian Hutson Saxby before disbanding permanently in 2008.
Although primarily known as a rock musician, Ted McKenna worked with jazz guitarist John Etheridge, Juno Award-winning American/Canadian blues guitarist Amos Garrett, American soul duo, Womack & Womack, Paul Rose, Gwyn Ashton, The Rhumboogie Orchestra, Frank O'Hagan, and Fish. He toured with Rory Gallagher bassist Gerry McAvoy and Dutch guitar virtuoso Marcel Scherpenzeel in "Band of Friends", a celebration of the music of Rory Gallagher. This band won 'Best Blues Band of 2013' at the European Blues Awards, and released the CD/DVD 'Too Much Is Not Enough'. He won the 'Best Musician (performance)' award at the European Blues Awards 2015. Band of Friends released the live album 'Live & Kickin' and the studio album 'Repeat After Me'.
Ted McKenna and Sensational Alex Harvey Band bass player Chris Glenn reunited with Michael Schenker for Michael Schenker Fest, an anniversary line-up of all three original MSG vocalists (Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley). In 2016, the band recorded a concert in Tokyo and released a live DVD and double CD package. In 2018, the studio album Resurrection was released.