"Microwave Dave plays with enough energy to nuke a couple of frozen dinners with each chord he blazes through."
- John Koetzner - Blues Access


 

"His axe drips seductive honey. His taste in covers is impeccable. If you're looking for wiry, tightly wound good-time raunch, this'll fill you up."
- Robert Fontenot - Blues Revue

 

"The distorted guitar and foot stomping harkens back to the Detroit sounds of a half century ago."
- Jim DeKoster - Living Blues




 
"Some excellent Alabama blues done up just right by a fine blues craftsman ... a very tasty CD with a wonderful late '50s, early '60s feel to it."
- George Seedorff - Big City Blues


 

"Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down is rife with crackling songs that bounce off a variety of bases, all of 'em apt to give the body a case of the shakes."
- Tom Clarke - Hittin' The Note

 

"But the overriding focus of Cadillac is Gallaher's excellent guitar playing. His slide, a fine mix of precision and grit, is the sound of a player who's paid dues aplenty."
- Ed Ivey - Blues Revue
BLUESWAX--Down South Nukin' (2008)

Boogie Time, (04/02/08)

The infectious grooves and boogie beat of Microwave Dave come out of the trios that were the ouserockers, two-thirds of which were Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey. These bands backed Hound Dog Taylor until his death in 1975 and then went on to support the slidewinder J.B. Hutto. Microwave Dave's sound begins with these two power trios, but grows from there. These guys get as close as you can to that boogie beat on Bo Diddley's "Road Runner" and Hutto's "Hip Shakin'" and "20% Alcohol."  Microwave Dave has brought out a live recording that is summed up in one word: fun. The songs are catchy, his gruff voice has so much character, and the slide guitar is slick with just enough grease. Rick Godfrey handles the bass lines with a driving force. James Irvin shuffles the drums around on each song.

This is a tight trio that picked a great show in Alabama to record. The question of "What makes an artist unique?" was recently asked of me. And my response was when you could take certain sounds and yourself and come out with your own sound. Microwave Dave has done that and showcases his talent here. Every song is a "cover" song, but the charisma and approach to each song makes you forget who else might have recorded it. That alone is not an easy task. These three pull that off from track to track.

Another sweet track is "Ray Brand." Microwave Dave takes out the Lowebow. Not too many musicians have tackled this instrument, but here Microwave Dave gets a nice, low groove out that he rides on. John Lowe makes the Lowebow in Memphis and one of the more noted players of his instrument is Richard Johnston. Here, Microwave Dave sets the nuker to a low power and lets the sounds simmer.

Between each song you hear some crowd noise, but when the music starts its down to business. The sound quality is right on the money. These guys were born to be recorded live and raw. The atmosphere resonates off the disc and brings you to the show.

The fans on that night were treated to this show and Microwave Dave has made a wise decision in sharing it with the rest of us. Take a boogie pill, grab a drink with a chill, and you will get your fill.

Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax. You may contact Kyle at blueswax@visnat.com
CAPITAL NEWS (Australia)--Down South Nukin' (2007)

An explosive incendiary device...this three piece rocks like crazy.
 
author: Capital News (Australia)

Down (or up?) in Alabama a bloke called MICROWAVE DAVE has been cranking out some high octane slide guitar and rough hewn vocals for many a year. With stripped down (bass & drums) unit THE NUKES he is as pumped up as he can be on the brand new release Down South Nukin' (Rockin' Camel). In fact the old Bo Diddley opener Road Runner kicks like a camel and at near seven mins long is an explosive incendiary device that the album takes a few tracks to recover from. I would love to see what Dave could do to (for example) a late night Gympie crowd with song such as 20% Alcohol, Shot Gun Slim and Hip Shakin' this three piece rocks like crazy (most) of the night long. Pausing just long enough to salute a lost guitar brother with the instrumental RAY BRAND, Dave tears up the strings and creates hitherto unknown nodules on vocal chords.
BLUES REVUE--Down South Nukin' (2006)

Blistering, industrial-strength blues-rock served up with great variety
 
author: Blues Revue Magazine

Recorded live at the 2nd Street Music Hall in Gadsden, Alabama, in April, August, and November 2005, this 12-song set is an enjoyable slice of what guitarist/vocalist Dave Gallaher, bassist Rick Godfrey, and drummer James Irvin do best: blistering, industrial-strength blues-rock served up with great variety. For the album's lone original, the swampy instrumental "Ray Brand," Gallaher accompanies his slithery slide guitar with a Lowebow, an instrument that produces twangy bass sounds. Three fan favorites can be traced to Gallaher's debut album: Bo Diddley's bombastic "Road Runner"; Doc Pomus' double-entendre-filled "Body and Fender Man," played here at a breakneck pace; and J.B. Hutto's "20% Alcohol" (the late slide master is also tapped for a bludgeoning "Hip Shakin'"). Elmore James' rollicking "Can't Stop Lovin' My Baby" is no surprise, but the remaining tunes are.

The best known of three tracks from the golden age of R&B and soul is Dee Clark's Diddleyesque thumper "Hey Little Girl," a No. 2 R&B hit in 1959. Obie Jessie's frenetic lament "It Don't Happen No More" and Dyke & the Blazers' churning funk tune "Shot Gun Slim" qualify as obscurities. Bob Dylan's "From A Buick 6" recalls the live version recorded by Johnny Winter in the '70s. John Sebastian's jaunty "Got No Automobile" and Los Lobos' lilting "Let's Say Goodnight" provide changes of pace. Gallaher is a vocalist of limited range, but he can roar and holler with the best. First-generation electric slide masters appear to be his main inspiration, but such leanings combine with rock influences to evoke George Thorogood, Ron Thompson, and Eric Sardinas. DOWN SOUTH NUKIN' will appeal to fans of those venerable blues-rockers.
ILLINOIS BLUES--Down South Nukin' (2006)

Great live act. Energy and ambience, as in the pocket as you get
 
author: Ben Cox/Illinois Blues

Microwave Dave Gallaher is a musical veteran who's been plugging away as a slide guitarist since before a lot of the newer guys who are heaping up a lot of success on blues radio were even born. Gallaher is steeped in the traditions of the Deep South and Chicago. He has a laundry list of folks he's had the pleasure of playing with and has the chops to show for it. Recorded live at the 2nd Street Music Hall in Gadsden, Alabama in April, August, and November 2005, this 12-song set is loud, raucous, great party music that will find you tapping your feet along with the beat.
 
Dave's band, the Nukes are about as in the pocket as you get, and for the power-trio setup, they are about as solid as any big band around. Their style is steeped in the slide guitar work of J.B. Hutto, Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and may ring a bit familiar with fans of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials. In fact, two Hutto songs appear on this disc--"20% Alcohol" and "Hip Shakin'" which are handled beautifully. It is also apt that Gallaher tips his hat to the man who gave him his start, Bo Diddley, and the song that got he and the Nukes international notoriety, "Road Runner." At almost seven minutes, the song may get a little repetitive and is actually poorly suited as the introductory track. Bob Dylan, Duke Robillard and "Hey Little Girl" (a very common jukin' song for the familiar) all make their appearance on the album in fun party fashion. Gallaher also shows some of his horn driven R&B roots when he attacks the Doc Pomus/Duke Robillard "Body and Fender Man."

Overall this record is a fun, evenly paced party band record. Gallaher's gutsy voice is easy on the ears and doesn't grate, his guitar playing refuses to get pigeon-holed into any single style which matches his in-the-pocket rhythm section. Why these guys haven't gotten much national exposure outside their native Alabama is beyond me, but one things for sure, they sound like a great live act. This album exudes an energy and ambience that I don't think would work well in the studio because of the balls-out style of the band. Plus, the studio, to me sounds like it would confine this band's style which they seem to feed off the crowd that you can hear at the end of the tracks. I mean you can almost smell the stale, thick smoke and the beer bred for a down south juke. If this is a style that you like, which harkens back to the masters of the Mississippi Delta at times and to the Chitlin Circuit at others, you'll like this record.
BLUES & RHYTHM (UK)--American Peasant (2005)

Unpredictable, risky but generally successful, certainly exciting...a tour-de-force
 
author: BLUES & RHYTHM Magazine (UK)

Alabama's Microwave Dave Gallaher acquits himself well as a solo electric guitarist on this set recorded at the Kaffeeklatsch Bar in Huntsville, Alabama in June 2003. Proceedings start politely enough but by track four, 'Soul Of A Man', Blind Willie Johnson is the starting point before Dave proceeds to get low-down without ever losing the plot as a more rock-inflected player would. 'Anna Lee' follows, not the expected slide guitar workout but solo quasi T-Bone Walker. 'Goin' To Brownsville', an original, evolves into an almost Hawaiian guitar tour-de-force. I should mention too that Dave is a convincing and unforced singer. Every number has something to commend it. The CD overall is unpredictable, risky but generally successful, certainly exciting. (Norman Darwen)
BLUES REVUE--American Peasant (2005)

"Trail Of Tears"--an evocative slide piece--heats to a jaw-dropping crescendo.
 
author: BLUES REVUE Magazine

AMERICAN PEASANT (Distant Farmer) documents a live performance by Microwave Dave, a modern-day one-man band who keeps things basic with guitar and stomp boxes, yet incorporates sampled loops to fatten the rhythms (ed. note: the loops are recorded and overdubbed on the spot, not previously sampled). If the Alabama artist plays too fast on the opening cover of William Clarke's "Gambling For My Bread" and the closing version of John Mooney's "Too Tall To Mambo", he redeems himself with the raw, rude slide piece "Unity"--it's hard to resist a lyric like "Shut your mouth/and get off my tv." On "Soul Of A Man" guitar and vocal snarl in unison; "Little Wheel" is a satisfying shuffle in several movements; "Trail Of Tears", an evocative slide piece, heats to a jaw-dropping crescendo over seven minutes.
BLUESWAX--Atomic Electric (2004)

From Roots Rock To Funky R&B, (10/15/03)

Anybody who can cover Dyke and the Blazers like Dave and his orbiting protons do on "Shot Gun Slim," are all right in my book. As a matter of fact, the boys do justice on all the surprising covers: the upbeat shuffle of James Harman's "It's All Right Now," the Calypso treatment of Brother Ray's "Mary Ann," or the too-quickly-faded-out version of Jerry "Boogie" McCain's "Courtin' In A Cadillac." This is a band that no one in his or her right mind would want to miss live. Several people have told me, people whose opinion I trust, that this was a band I should have at my Annual Bandana Blues. Well, they are absolutely correct. I've even swapped e-mails with Dave about just that possibility, so
far it hasn't happened. Hey Dave, let's talk!

Their cover of "Anna Lee" is pure low down Blues. Even Percy Mayfield isn't safe from a nukin' with "River's Invitation." Toss in "Sleepwalk" and "Night Train" and you have it all, including one solo performance by MD on the Lowe Bow. It looks like a two-stringed cigar box! My real favorite, however, is a love song to a motor lodge, the Moon Winx. It is complete with hydro-percussion which is real wet sounding as advertised. Dave's grinding slide work on "Highway 49" is pure Elmore James, but with a Flying V.

From roots Rock to funky R&B and back, this bombastic power trio is Atomic Electric. Throw this baby on at your next party, even if the party is only in your mind.

Beardo is a senior contributing editor at BluesWax.
GUITAR ONE--Atomic Electric (2004)

damn near vaporizes his strings
 
author: Dave Rubin - GUITAR ONE magazine

"Microwave" Dave Gallaher damn near vaporizes his strings on this selection of hip covers which includes "Night Train" and "Sleepwalk." HOT LICK: "It's All Right Now." To quote Frank Barone, "Holy crap!"
BLUES REVUE--Atomic Electric (2003)

"This Alabama trio has everything a blues fan could want"
 
author: Blues Revue Issue No 84, Oct/Nov 2003

This Alabama trio has everything a blues fan could want: impeccable taste; a steady, no-frills rhythm section; and, in Microwave Dave Gallaher, a first-rate guitar individualist. Gallaher, bassist Rick Godfrey, and drummer Skip Skipworth kick out a dozen solid tunes. Gallaher has a gritty sound all his own, with punchy rhythm work and loads of unhurried, flavorful soloing. The bigfoot funk of "Shady Muscadine," which starts the record, provides a fine example of his craft; the song's first solo passage is a burning yet restrained melodic run, while the second is John Fogerty-swampy, minimalist and perfect. Atomic Electric hangs together beautifully from beginning to end. "Shot Gun Slim" is a Jerry Reed-style tale of an off-kilter Southern man who, come to think of it, might live just down the road from Amos Moses. Skipworth shows how it's done on a powerful cover of James Harman's jump blues "It's All Right Now" with playing that's unforced, masterfully disciplined and truly powerful. On the instrumental "Trail of Tears," Gallaher breaks out the cigar-box guitar known as the Lowebow for a moving, slide-fueled tribute to the nation's largest annual motorcycle ride. Other fine cuts include a cover of Ray Charles' rumbling "Mary Ann," a rocking take on Jerry McCain's "Courtin' in a Cadillac," a pass through Percy Mayfield's always-welcome "River's Invitation," and a hot and heavy "Night rain"---killers all. Gallaher's "Moon Winx," a grinding tribute to a Tuscaloosa, Ala., "motor lodge," has a percussion effect that sounds like rubber boots walking in a rainstorm; somehow, it fits perfectly. The band manages to freshen up the guitar ballad "Sleepwalk" through sheer force of will, and wraps things up with their standard show-closer, "Highway 49," a slide tour de force. This is the real thing. Put it on and rediscover everything you love about blues. JEFF CALVIN - BLUES REVUE
BIG CITY BLUES--Atomic Electric (2003)

author: Gary von Tersch - Big City Blues (Aug/Sep 2003)

My buddy Tim and I were sitting around listening to this inspired blues power trio and his eyes lit up at the third cut: a Junior Parker and His Blue Flames-styled meltdown cover of James Harman's "It's All Right Now." "Turn it up!" he shouts. I do so, and start paying attention myself. Next up--actually separated by a jolting version of Ray Charles' "Mary Ann"--are a pair of ear-catching Microwave Dave (Gallaher) originals. "Trail Of Tears," a moody instrumental tour de force showcasing Dave on the drone-like cigar box Lowebow guitar (custom built by John Lowe of Xanadu Music in Memphis) begins Charley Patton bleak the, after about three minutes, starts cooking Sun-style. The other self-penned opus is "Moon Winx," a gris gris tribute to one of Dave's favorite hangouts--the Moon Winx Lodge & Restaurant (air conditioned plus telephones) with great place setting lyrics and Dave's Night Tripper-deep vocal. And then there's the "hydro-percussion." Tim and I stare at each other. "I'd sure like to see Dave and his Nukes live," he grins. I smile and red zone the volume as atmospheric, downhome covers of the likes of Jerry McCain's "Courtin' In A Cadillac", Big Joe Williams' "Highway 49" (with some particularly searing, swerving slide work by Dave), Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation" and that ever magical, slow-dancer "Sleep Walk" proceed to warmly greet our respective lobes. The two Nukes who also deserve a few lines is Skip Skipworth's seasoned drumming really rings out on the uptempo numbers while Rick Godfrey's bass under-rigs affairs and clearly throughout. The liners assert that the "performances herein were fueled by fried chicken from Posey's Restaurant in Hazel Green, Alabama. " Tim and I chuckle. That must be some chicken!
REAL BLUES (Canada)--Atomic Electric (2003)

NUKES, ATOMIC ELECTRIC TAKE THREE REAL BLUES AWARDS
 
author: REAL BLUES MAGAZINE (CANADA)

Canada's REAL BLUES magazine has announced the 2004 REAL BLUES AWARD winners. 2003 TOP SOUTHERN BLUES ALBUM: ATOMIC ELECTRIC, MICROWAVE DAVE & THE NUKES. 2003 TOP SOUTHERN BLUES GUITARIST/MODERN: MICROWAVE DAVE GALLAHER. 2003 BEST SOUTHERN BLUES BAND: MICROWAVE DAVE & THE NUKES.
BLUES REVUE--Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down (2001)

His axe drips seductive honey---his taste in covers is impeccable.
 
author: Robert Fontenot/Blues Revue July/Aug 2001

It may seem odd for a bluesman to name himself after an ultramodern symbol of household convenience, but damned if it doesn't fit---David Gallaher's guitar certainly sounds as if it's been heated by questionable but powerful methods. Listen to that watery, angry squawk he wields throughout Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down---Regardless, he didn't pop up fully formed: Microwave Dave has backed up Johnny Shines and Bo Diddley, and basically appeared at any Southern roots-music festival that would have him. He's been a journeyman, in other words, and the music on his first true solo album is plenty tight as a result. You can hear the Diddley all over his sprightly cover of Dee Clark's "Hey! Little Girl" (not much of a surprise, of course, but still solid), and his axe drips seductive honey all over his cover of Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Soon As The Weather Breaks." Like microwaved food, some of this seems reheated and slightly rubbery. . .but his taste in covers is impeccable (his version of Roosevelt Sykes' "Don't Care Blues" is swamp pop in extremis), and he even pulls out a shiny new original in the raw "Don't Throw My Baby Away." . . .if you're looking for wiry, tightly wound good-time raunch, this'll fill you up
HITTIN' THE NOTE--Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down (2001)

rife with crackling songs that bounce off a variety of bases, all of 'em apt to give the body a case of the shakes
 
author: Tom Clarke/Hittin' The Note Spring 2001

Alabama's Microwave Dave can't help send sparks-a-flyin' when he applies heat to his six steel strings. Contrary to what his moniker might imply though, you can like Dave's sparks to those that spray from a backwoods bonfire or a roadhouse grill, not some device. When he sings "No big fat record company lookin' at me out there 'cause I'm a little bit short on that long blonde hair," he sums up his mission plainly. This guy just loves to cut loose-no pretenses allowed. That same song, "King Of The Blues," begins with the lyrics "Well I love Duane Allman and I love Stevie Ray." That about says it all! Produced with zest and clarity by Johnny Sandlin, Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down is rife with crackling songs that bounce off a variety of bases, all of 'em apt to give the body a case of the shakes. In place of his regular band The Nukes, the steadfast Muscle Shoals rhythm section is on board matching Dave's growl on "Sugar Bee," stamping out a Bo Diddley rhythm on "Hey Little Girl" and sending the Eddy Clearwater-penned title track into caterwauling Chuck Berry territory.
BIG CITY BLUES--Wouldn't Lay My Guitar Down (2001)

Some excellent Alabama blues done up just right by a fine blues craftsman.
 
author: George Seerdorf/ Big City Blues Feb-Mar 2001

If you dig the late Johnny Shines, you might want to pick this disc up just for the fine rendition of "Dynaflow Blues" (track #10), so you can hear some fellow Alabamians properly saluting the chief. Back in 1976, Dave actually took a long afternoon lesson from Shines, which he obviously savored. He even captured it on audiotape, but that's another story Another surprise standout is a wonderfully quirky version of "Sentimental Journey" (track #11). Without question. Microwave Dave's new record will also delight Lonnie Mack fans everywhere the way the first cut, "Sugar Bee," indulges itself in that special blend of distortion and tremolo, done well enough here to provoke a king-sized Mac attack. Cut two goes straight to Texas with a Buddy Holly knockoff called "Hey Little Girl," which taps into a Peggie Sue sensibility and carries a lyric that connects with the proverbial high school sweater in the sky. Cut three, which is also the title cut, connects with classic Chuck Berry, done very tastefully and quite effectively. Cut four, "Hat," goes straight to Memphis for some nice back-scratchin' guitar built around the premise of a sunbather wearing only a hat and some No. 8 sun screen. Cut five, "Soon As The Weather Breaks," heads up north for some tasty Chicago-style slow blues with "Stormy Monday" chord changes around a cold weather theme that reaches a little for an Albert Collins flavor minus the windshield scraping. Finally with cut six, we get to hear Microwave Dave himself must be all about with some excellent Alabama blues done up just right by a fine blues craftsman, here aided with some radioactive assistance from Nukes Rick Godfrey and Skip Skipworth, pictured with Dave on the flip side of the liner notes. The effort was recorded at Duck Tape Studios in Decatur, AL, and produced by Johnny Sandlin. This is a very tasty CD with a wonderful late '50s/early '60s feel to it and more than adequate vocals throughout. There are 12 tunes in all and each one is highly listenable. Pop it in your changer and drive with it a while. You won't be sorry.
BLUES REVUE--Gotta Get a Cadillac (1999)

Launching this record with Lowell Fulson's wall-busting "Room With a View of the Blues," Microwave Dave & The Nukes put a cool spin on everything they touch - these dozen cover songs drip with new coats of sonic paint.  Microwave Dave Gallaher is a multi-instrumentalist and singer with a twisted take on the blues.  He injects an avant-garde element - not through risk-taking arrangements or lofty harmonic ideals, but by just being himself, a gruff-voiced guitar player with a knack for interesting rhythm changes.

Think ZZ Top meets Frank Zappa in Captain Beefheart's house trailer for a little Sunday jam session, and you start to get the picture.  Add his appreciable talent on harmonica and cornet, and you get the feeling that Gallaher has quite a hip toolbox.  His guitar is all towering chords and classic fills - no grace notes or noodling here.  You'll find catchy overhauls of stalwart cuts like "Rock Me, Baby," "Further On Up the Road" and "Take Out Some Insurance," but Microwave Dave & The Nukes spread out the footprint with a swing-rock take on Brian Setzer's "Look At That Cadillac" and the straight American saloon rock of "Georgia Swing."

Ít Hurts Me Too" is among the best cuts here; it slices all the fat off the bone, leaving nothing but taut bass, guitar sludge and dead-on vocals.  The roadhouse psychobilly take on Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" is a superb choice, too.

Sidemen Rick Godfrey (on bass) and Mike Alexander (on drums) make the perfect rhythm section, laying down the core groove and leaving the fireworks to Gallaher.  But the overriding focus of Cadillac is Gallaher's excellent guitar playing.  His slide, a fine mix of precision and grit, is the sound of a player who's paid dues aplenty.  ED IVEY


BLUES REVUE--Goodnight, Dear (1997)

Blues Revue No. 31 October 1997

"The name Microwave Dave & The Nukes may conjure up images of a quasi-blues-influenced, way too loud rock 'n' roll band or a bunch of NASA engineers out for some weekend fun. But don't be deceived. This band, backed by veteran blues drummer Ardie Dean and bassist-song- writer Rick Godfrey, deserves high marks as a true blues band that is keeping alive the blues tradition while adding originality and personality to the music. The band, best known for it's regional and European hit, "Road Runner," was started by Microwave Dave Gallaher. Gallaher got his nickname in the mid-'80s while sitting in with "Chicago" Bob Nelson at the Kaffee Klatsch in Huntsville, Ala. Nelson was listening to some of Gallaher's material for possible recordings. At the end of the set, Nelson couldn't remember Gallaher's last name, so he introduced him as "Dave the Microwave!" Later it was turned into Microwave Dave, and when he formed his current band, Gallaher's then-wife came up with an appropriate name for the musicians, the Nukes.

This band got it's start about 1989, when Gallaher was asked to play for a public radio fund drive. So many people called in to ask where the band was playing locally that they went out and found some regular weekly gigs. Icehouse Records released the group's first CD, Goodnight, Dear in 1995. Produced by Johnny Sandlin and with guests such as Jerry "Boogie" McCain, David Hood and Roger Hawkins, the CD has been successful and was re-released featuring the song "Road Runner," better known as the "Beep, Beep" song. The tune, which has received a lot of airplay in Europe, was selected as the theme song for Paris' professional soccer team, being played several times a game to a crowd of 80,000 (it is known as the "Bip, Bip" song there). The song had the top spot on the Rhythm & Beach Top 40 music chart for 22 weeks this year and had the No. 1 spot on the Top 60 in Dixie chart earlier this year. The band is so popular in Charleston, S.C., that one night the bouncers wouldn't let them into the club where they were supposed to play because it was already full and the lines were so long.

Gallaher's story about early blues influences is not unlike that of many modern bluesmen who grew up in the '50s. Growing up in Houston, he started listening to the radio when he was young. After getting a crystal radio set for Christmas when he was 11, he went to bed every night with a pillow over his head and the radio crystal in his ear so his parents couldn't hear him listening to the all-night disc jockeys in Houston. The only station he was able to get was a black station that played R&B and the blues all night long until morning when it switched to gospel. He said he was "sleep trained" in the blues for several years, and his singing and guitar playing certainly reflect that influence.

Gallaher started out playing ukulele at the age of 9, but one day he stepped on it getting out of bed. With a broken heart, he discovered an old Stella guitar, which his father had bought several years earlier, in the attic. He played only 4 strings for a while, like the ukulele, until he aquired his first guitar book. In school bands he played trumpet, french horn and drums. Professionally, he played drums in a couple of trios that played standards, as well as a Dixieland band called the Supersonic Philharmonics that played for the drill team during the Houston Oiler's first season.

In 1961 he moved to Atlanta, where he got heavily involved in soul music. In 1965 he formed the Majestics, a seven-piece band with horns that quickly became known as the band of choice to open for and back such notables as Aretha Franklin, Carla Thomas, Billy Stewart, William Bell and others. The draft finally pulled that band apart, and while in Vietnam, Gallaher played in a Saigon-based R&B band called the Rotations. That experience helped him decide that if he got back home, he would spend his life being a full-time musician.

Upon his return to Virginia, Gallaher joined a band that played a number of rural juke joints, some riskier than others. One such joint, where they played every Saturday for a year and a half, gave the band a contract that they would play the whole evening -- or until the first gunshot. Even if the
shot came 15 minutes into the set, the band would get full pay and head home. The worst Gallaher got hurt, though, was on a night that he dove behind his amplifier to avoid a bullet and a speaker fell on his head.

Gallaher's musical studies have been varied as well. He has studied guitar with Johnny Shines, and learned arranging, composition and guitar at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. In Boston he played in the band Cameron, which eventually took a house gig in the Fort Lauderdale area. After 12 years and three albums -- and some major local success opening for stars such as Blood, Sweat and Tears, Della Reese, Louis Prima, Brenda Lee and others -- the band finally broke up, and Gallaher moved to Huntsville.

Being close to Nashville, Gallaher found work with a number of country acts including the Thrasher Brothers and Helen Cornelius, but he got bored with the country music scene and headed home to Huntsville to make a career of woodworking. He was hired by Rick Godfrey, a stained glass artist noted throughout the Tennessee valley, and the two of them began playing blues tunes at lunch time using a drum machine. Later, friend Mike Alexander joined them "live" on drums, and Microwave Dave & the Nukes was born.

When Alexander left the band in 1995 to join his family's business, friend Ardie Dean stepped in to fill his shoes. Dean, who has played at Carnegie Hall with Guitar Gabriel, is a veteran of 10 years with Homesick James and one of the few drummers Bo Diddley allows to play the Bo Diddley beat with
him. Dean also collects and brokers classic drum kits, and the guys never know what kind of kit he'll have when he shows up at a gig.

Centrally located near several cities with blues venues, the Huntsville-headquartered band plays nearly 200 dates a year, gaining a loyal following everywhere they go. The band frequently backs harmonica master Jerry "Boogie" McCain and Bo Diddley when he plays Alabama. These bluesmen
have toured Europe four times recently and played several cruises for Themequest International's Livin' the Blues cruises. The list of blues stars whom the band has played with include Koko Taylor, Bobby Bland and Lazy Lester, Kenny Neal, John Mayall and Little Milton.

Gallaher recalled one of the high points of his career: the day Bobby Bland called him a bluesman. Gallaher said he takes his guitar style from listening to piano players and trying to adapt what he hears on the guitar. He said players such as Roosevelt Sykes, Sunnyland Slim, and Otis Spann have
influenced his guitar style more than many of the guitar players have (the ever-modest Gallaher said he doesn't want to embarrass the great guitarists by saying he tries to sound like them). He and his band members have written a variety of songs, but when they play a gig, they don't call attention to
their original tunes because they don't want people to change their frame of mind of listening. They want their audience to enjoy the whole program. However, Gallaher is always quick to give credit to the master bluesmen whose songs the band covers.

What's the secret of success for these musicians? Microwave Dave & the Nukes want only to play the music they love, play with musicians they love playing with, and play for people they love playing for -- passing on the tradition as the blues masters before them did. Nearly a third of their gigs benefit others, whether they be at Blues in the Schools programs, blues society shows, jail concerts, or retirement centers. And Gallaher also finds time to broadcast "Talking the Blues With Microwave Dave," which was nominated for a Keeping the Blues Alive Award in 1995, twice a week on public radio.

Quite simply, this is a group that wants to make people happy with their music, and judging from the crowd response at a recent appearance, they are an incredible success." -- Ruth Higley