By Carl Begai
“I lost my mind when I got the gig.”
That’s Ricky Warwick, former vocalist/guitarist for The Almighty, on being asked in 2010 to join the new and, as it turns out, altogether brilliant incarnation of the legendary Thin Lizzy by long time guitarist Scott Gorham. Which was, of course, a no-brainer decision. Several years of road dog touring later, the band got down to discussing the possibility of and need for a new Thin Lizzy record. The fans had embraced the new band with Warwick standing in for the irreplaceable Phil Lynott, so why the hell not? Of course, one doesn’t simply pick up where Lynott and Lizzy left off 30 years ago (with Thunder And Lightning) without taking long, hard repeated looks in the rear-view mirror and questioning the wisdom of doing so. In the end songs were written, music was laid down, and the band decided to leave the past where it belongs as far the Thin Lizzy legend is concerned, opting to release the new album All Hell Breaks Loose as the Black Star Riders.
Before getting into the why and how of the Black Star Riders, Warwick is gracious enough to recap how he came to front his dream band even though he’s taken on the question a gazillion times since getting the gig. The story has lost none of its fire for him in its re-telling.
“Basically, what happened was is I’ve known Scott for many years, back from when I was in The Almighty in the ’90s. I did a solo record in 2002 and Scott payed guitar on a few tracks for me. So, he knew me well, he knew what I sound like, and when he was putting Thin Lizzy back together again he sort of had everybody except a singer. He was talking to Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) saying that he couldn’t find anybody to sing, and Joe asked him ‘Have you thought about Ricky?’ Scott’s reaction was pretty much ‘Fuck, why didn’t I think of that?’ and I got the phone call from out of the blue. It was like ‘Here’s what the story is, here’s what I want to do; do you want to sing?’ (laughs).”
“I describe it as winning the musical lottery. Thin Lizzy is the band I idolized my whole life, and I was given the chance to stand up there on that stage to play and sing those songs. You’ll say yes to that without even thinking about it. After I said yes and put the phone down, then I thought ‘Shit, what have I taken on? Phil is such a legend, he’s iconic, he was the greatest frontman in rock n’ roll, how am I going to pull this off?’ But, instead of freaking out I lived with it for a couple days and thought about how I as a Thin Lizzy fan would want to see the band presented. But, it never stops being surreal. It’s surreal every day and it will be for the rest of my life.”
“I never take it for granted,” he adds. “The honour is as huge now as it was when I got that phone call. And there have been moments where I’m standing there, I look over and there’s Scott Gorham, there’s the Thin Lizzy backdrop behind me. I have to be careful because there are moments where I’m off in dreamland thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m fronting this band, I have to put on a show.'”
“It’s a dream come true, absolutely. It really is, and it’s been an honour and a privilege to be involved in it.” Continue reading BWBK Interview: BLACK STAR RIDERS – “I’ve Never Learned So Much From A Dead Guy In My Life”