Ted McKenna

Last updated

Ted McKenna
Ted McKenna 2008.jpg
McKenna performing on 29 November 2009
Background information
Birth nameEdward McKenna
Born(1950-03-10)10 March 1950
Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Died19 January 2019(2019-01-19) (aged 68)
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, progressive rock, glam rock, heavy metal, rock and roll
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, bass, piano
Years active1966–2019
Associated acts Rare Breed (1969),
Dream Police (1970),
Tear Gas (1971),
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (1972–1978),
Rory Gallagher (1978–1981),
Greg Lake,
Gary Moore (1981–1983),
The Michael Schenker Group (1983–1984),
Womack & Womack (1988),
McKenna's Gold (1988),
Ian Gillan (1990),
The Party Boys (1992–1993),
Gwyn Ashton (2004),
The Paul Rose Band (2006–2011),
The Rhumboogie Orchestra (2009),
Band of Friends (2011–2019),
Michael Schenker Fest (2016–2019)

Edward McKenna (10 March 1950 – 19 January 2019), was a Scottish drummer who played with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, [1] Rory Gallagher, [2] The Greg Lake Band, [3] and The Michael Schenker Group. [4] He also toured with Ian Gillan for a short period in 1990, alongside fellow former SAHB member, bassist Chris Glen. He lectured in Applied Arts at North Glasgow College from 1996–2011. [5]


Life and career

McKenna was born in Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire, Scotland. He was educated at St Patrick's High School, Coatbridge. His studies included double bass lessons at school, several piano lessons, and a year under Glasgow big band veteran, Lester Penman. He was the drummer of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band from 1972 to 1978, and then worked with artists including Rory Gallagher, 1978–1981; Greg Lake & Gary Moore in The Greg Lake Band, 1981–83; the Michael Schenker Group (MSG), 1981–84; Bugatti & Musker, 1982; Ian Gillan; and worked on a solo album for Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty in 1975.

He had his own band after his time in MSG, called McKenna's Gold. Formed at the end of 1986, this band played together for just over two years and featured Charles Bowyer/vocals, Julian Hutson-Saxby/guitar, Alex Bowler/bass, and Steve Franklin/keyboards. Hutson-Saxby later played guitar with the reformed Sensational Alex Harvey Band after Zal Cleminson's departure in 2008.

In 1992, McKenna and Zal Cleminson formed The Party Boys, an idea 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 SAHB keyboardist Hugh McKenna, Ted's cousin, and reformed SAHB. This line-up included Stevie Doherty from Zero Zero and Peter Goes To Partick on vocals. They released the album Live In Glasgow '93. They disbanded in 1995 after a final gig with Maggie Bell at The Kings Theatre in Glasgow.

In 2004, McKenna reformed SAHB 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. The tours were: 2004 - Brick By Brick, 2005 - Zalvation, 2006 - Dogs of War, 2007 - Hail Vibrania.

In this time they released the live album Zalvation , which was the band's first official release since Rock Drill in 1977 with Alex Harvey. 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, 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, 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.

McKenna and SAHB bass player Chris Glen 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.

Ted McKenna died on 19 January 2019, at the age of 68, of a hemorrhage during a routine operation for a hernia. [6]


1972 set-up

2013 set-up

Drum throne – Rock ’n’ Soc or Gibraltar

Related Research Articles

Alex Harvey (musician)

Alexander James Harvey was a Scottish rock and blues musician. Although his career spanned almost three decades, he is best remembered as the frontman of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, with whom he built a reputation as an exciting live performer during the era of glam rock in the 1970s.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were a rock band formed in Glasgow in 1972. Fronted by Alex Harvey accompanied by Zal Cleminson on guitar, bassist Chris Glen, keyboard player Hugh McKenna and drummer Ted McKenna, their music veered from glam rock to experimental jazz, around a core of experimental and avant-garde rock, dealing with themes from environmentalism to Chinese take away food. They achieved a critically acclaimed status in the UK, were very popular in continental Europe, and were also highly influential in Australia, most notably on the young Nick Cave and his first band The Boys Next Door.

Penilee Human settlement in Scotland

Penilee is a small housing scheme and suburb on the southwestern edge of Glasgow, Scotland. The area is bounded to its east by the Glasgow suburbs of Cardonald and Hillington, and to the west by the Renfrewshire border and the farms of North and South Arkleston. The district's southern boundary forms Glasgow's border with the Renfrewshire settlement of Ralston. The area is currently undergoing considerable residential redevelopment.

<i>Songs from the Mirror</i> 1993 studio album by Fish

Songs from the Mirror is the third solo album by Scottish singer-songwriter Fish, released in 1993 as his final album for Polydor. It does not contain any original material; instead it is a cover album featuring Fish's versions of songs by artists who inspired him before his career started. It reached 46 on the UK Albums Chart.

<i>No Mean City</i> (album) 1979 studio album by Nazareth

No Mean City is the tenth studio album by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, released in 1979. The album title comes from the 1935 novel No Mean City and features artwork illustrated by Rodney Matthews. With this record the band's sound was heavier, considering the addition of guitarist Zal Cleminson of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. It sold very well at the time, with the main single "Star", preceded by "Whatever You Want Babe". The popularity of the album allowed the band to play with several big names such as Thin Lizzy, on their 1978/79 tour.

<i>Malice in Wonderland</i> (Nazareth album) 1980 studio album by Nazareth

Malice in Wonderland is the eleventh studio album by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, released in 1980. After the heavy lurch of the previous album, the band chose to follow a more commercial path and the album produced the hit singles "Holiday" and "Heart's Grown Cold". The latter was covered by U.S. Southern Rock band Blackfoot on their 1983 album Siogo. This is the second and last studio album to feature guitarist Zal Cleminson of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band as a member of the band.

Shannon Lucas

Shannon Lucas is an American heavy metal drummer from Staunton, Virginia. He is best known as the former drummer for death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder and metalcore band All That Remains.

Alistair Macdonald "Zal" Cleminson is a Scottish guitarist, best known for his prominent role in The Sensational Alex Harvey Band between 1972 and 1978. In 2017, he put together a new rock band - /sin'dogs/, which recorded and released a 4-song CD and toured Scotland and England at the end of the year.

<i>Framed</i> (Sensational Alex Harvey Band album) 1972 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Framed is the 1972 debut album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. The album was released separately on CD but is more widely available on a 2 in 1 album, the other album being Next. The title track is a Leiber/Stoller song originally recorded by The Robins. This album also features a cover of the song written by Willie Dixon and originally performed by Muddy Waters, "I Just Want To Make Love To You". Both of these songs appeared on Alex Harvey recordings as far back as the 1963 live recording from Hamburg, released in 1964 as "Alex Harvey and His Soul Band". "Hammer Song" and "Midnight Moses" are two Harvey originals that first appeared on his solo LP Roman Wall Blues in 1969. "Hole In Her Stocking" had been recorded by Alex Harvey as recently as 1970 on the Rock Workshop eponymous release of the same year.

<i>Next</i> (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band album) 1973 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Next is the second album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, released in 1973.

<i>The Impossible Dream</i> (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band album) 1974 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

The Impossible Dream was the third album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. It was released in 1974. The album was released separately on CD but can be hard to find; however, the CD is widely available on a 2-in-1 album, the other album being Tomorrow Belongs to Me. It was the band's first release to chart, peaking at No. 16 on the UK Album Chart. "Anthem" was the last single released by SAHB in the U.S.

<i>Live</i> (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band album) 1975 live album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Live was the first live record by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, released in 1975. It features a cover version of the Tom Jones song "Delilah". Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic writes "Live is a double-triumph for the Sensational Alex Harvey Band because it functions both as a strong live souvenir for the group's fans and also as a solid introduction to the group's highlights for the novice".

<i>Tomorrow Belongs to Me</i> (album) 1975 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Tomorrow Belongs to Me is the fourth studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. It was released in 1975 on Vertigo Records. While no A-side singles were released from this album, three compositions were used as B-sides to other SAHB singles: "Soul in Chains", as a live version taken from the subsequent tour, "Shake That Thing" and "Snake Bite". The album's title track was a cover of a key song in the 1966 musical Cabaret and its 1972 film adaptation.

<i>The Penthouse Tapes</i> 1976 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

The Penthouse Tapes is the fifth studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Unlike previous releases, comprising predominantly original compositions, The Penthouse Tapes consists largely of covers, ranging from The Osmonds' "Crazy Horses" and Alice Cooper's "School's Out", to Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene". Of the three originals, "I Wanna Have You Back" and "Jungle Jenny" open side one; a third, "Say You're Mine", was written by Alex Harvey and appears on side two. The album was released in 1976 on Vertigo Records.

<i>SAHB Stories</i> 1976 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

SAHB Stories is the sixth studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, released in 1976. It features their hit single "Boston Tea Party", as well as a cover of the Jerry Reed song, "Amos Moses". Harvey left the band shortly after this album was released, but returned in 1977. The album was re-released in 1984 on the Sahara Records label.

<i>Fourplay</i> (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band album) 1977 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Fourplay is the seventh studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and the first of the group's albums to be made without Alex Harvey: the band was identified as "SAHB " on the album cover. Harvey had quit the group and was producing another album called Alex Harvey Presents: The Loch Ness Monster at the time. Most of the group had recorded two albums under the name Tear Gas in the early 70s, and John Neil Munro states in his 2002 book The Sensational Alex Harvey that they had been planning to record without Harvey for at least a year prior to the split. Harvey helped to select songs for the album and contributed some production assistance. Some songs, such as 'Smouldering' and 'Outer Boogie' had been road-tested by the group during portions of shows for their 1976 tour of Europe during which Harvey was required to rest. In 2004, Ted McKenna told John Clarkson:

<i>Rock Drill</i> (album) 1977 studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Rock Drill is the seventh studio album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, which was released in Europe in 1977 and in the UK in 1978. The album includes Tommy Eyre on keyboards; the band's original keyboardist Hugh McKenna was absent due to an internal dispute - however, three songs from the album are co-credited to him. McKenna has since recorded his regrets at the dispute, given what lay ahead in the next five years.

<i>Zalvation</i> 2006 live album by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Zalvation: Live In The 21st Century is a live album, released in 2006, which served as a The Sensational Alex Harvey Band reunion notwithstanding that Harvey himself had died in 1982. This was the third SAHB album to be made without Alex Harvey, the others being the band's eighth studio album, Fourplay and another reunion album Live in Glasgow 1993. This album features Max Maxwell on vocals, and sees the return of Hugh McKenna to the band, his last appearance being on the Fourplay album, for which he had been vocalist. The album commemorated a reunion tour, but was also intended as a farewell tour; however the tour had been so successful that the band decided to continue. The album release contains 2 CDs and comprises new versions of songs written or covered by the original SAHB. Although four fifths of the group on Zalvation were responsible for 1977's SAHB album Fourplay, no songs from this album are included.

Chris Glen

Christopher John Glen, known simply as Chris Glen, is a Scottish rock musician. He is best known for playing with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band from 1972 to 1978, and Michael Schenker Group from 1980 to 1984, 2008 to 2010, and 2016 to present. He currently performs with Michael Schenker Fest; featuring original MSG band members.

Events from the year 2019 in Scotland.


  1. McGartland, Dino. "Ted McKenna: 'Remembering Rory'" . Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  2. McGartland, Dino. "Ted McKenna: 'Remembering Rory'" . Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  3. Welch, Chris. ""Birth Of A Band"". International Musician and Recording World: 28-29, 31. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  4. Ruhlmann, William. "Alex Harvey: Biography". AllMusic . Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  5. McGartland, Dino. "Ted McKenna: 'Remembering Rory'" . Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  6. Rock, Fraser Lewry 2019-01-19T13:17:16Z Classic. "Ted McKenna, drummer with Rory Gallagher, SAHB, Michael Schenker, dead at 68". Classic Rock Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2019.