Interview conducted August 08 2014
Interview published October 09 2014
Before Black Star Riders treated
the excited audience at Getaway Rock Festival, Sweden to a terrific rock
show, Metal Covenant got the pleasure to talk to frontman Ricky
Warwick. Chatting about Black Star Riders as well
as the legacy of Thin Lizzy, the prolific Northern Irishman and former
The Almighty star made a humble impression, relishing his current position
Mozzy: You played at Wacken Open Air last
weekend, which is more of a metal festival, how did that go?
Ricky: Yeah, it was incredible. Sure, you don't
know what to expect. We played in a big tent and it was unbelievable.
The place was packed, with a crazy reaction. It was a brilliant gig
and day out at a great festival. We had a good time.
Mozzy: Yeah, that's the biggest metal festival
really. I guess everyone recognised the old Lizzy songs, especially?
Ricky: Yeah, the Lizzy songs obviously went down
really well, but the Black Star Riders songs too. During Kingdom Of
The Lost, the place went crazy. So that was great to see.
The album has been out for over a year now. Do you feel that people have
really taken to the Black Star Riders songs now, singing along and so
Ricky: Yes, very much so! Like I said, Kingdom
Of The Lost, and Bound For Glory - people sing along as much to those
as to the Thin Lizzy stuff which is great.
Mozzy: It's a excellent album.
Ricky: Thank you.
Mozzy: I guess some people had their doubts
Ricky: Yeah, that's understandable. People didn't
know what to expect, but I think people were surprised with how it turned
out so that's great.
Mozzy: How was the tour in Japan in May,
Ricky: It was great. We only made a quick visit,
we were there for about six days, but it was good. We played three shows
and there was a great reaction.
Mozzy: In the future, with another album
out, do you think you will play less Thin Lizzy songs?
Ricky: You know what, I think we'll always be
playing Thin Lizzy songs. Because Scott's in the band and I was in Thin
Lizzy myself for a few years. That's certainly a part of Black Star
Riders. And we want to play those songs, but whether it will be as many,
I don't know. We'll see when the record comes out. But there will always
be some Thin Lizzy in Black Star Riders' music, you know.
Mozzy: About the new album, I guess your
working on that? Is the writing done?
Ricky: Pretty much. We're still working on it,
you're still writing right up the day before you go into the studio.
You're always changing stuff. We're due to start September 1st. That's
three weeks away so we can't wait to get started.
Mozzy: So you have Joe Elliot producing?
Ricky: No, we're not now! Joe had to pull out.
Mozzy: Oh, I hadn't heard that.
Ricky: Yeah, Def Leppard have become really busy
with the Kiss tour so Joe pulled out some time ago. But it worked out
good, we're working with Nick Raskulinecz. He's worked with Mastodon,
Rush, Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters and so on.
Ricky: So we're recording with Nick in Nashville
which we're really excited about. I think it will be great for the band
Mozzy: So you didn't get to produce in Ireland
with Joe then?
Ricky: Well you know, Joe is a friend and he
would have been great. But you know, if you had asked me for a list
of producers, except Joe, Nick would have been at the top of the list.
So it's great to work with him.
Mozzy: On the DVD that comes with the special
edition of the first album, you say that the writing was smooth. Was it
the same this time?
it's been harder
been touring very aggressively in America and when we were writing the
album we were on some pretty big tours so we had a nice backstage area.
We would write a lot in the dressing rooms. For some of the smaller
shows we would write some stuff on the bus. But it has come together
and I think that it have given it some edge. We have twenty songs or
Mozzy: You will choose from those then?
Ricky: Yeah, we'll pick ten or eleven.
Mozzy: Last time you recorded 12 songs in
12 days. Not this time, I guess.
Ricky: Oh, no no (laughs). That was great for
what it was and it worked for that first record but I think we'll spend
a bit more time this time for sure (smiles).
Mozzy: I read that Scott didn't really like
Ricky: No, Scott didn't enjoy that and fair
play that he didn't. But because we knew the songs so well, and that
is the way Kevin Shirley works, we got a good result. We wanted to take
our time with this one and spend more time on each song, you know.
Mozzy: The line-up is slightly new, with
Robbie Crane on bass. Will that have some effect on the sound?
Ricky: Well, it already has. Robbie's such a
big personality and a great bass player. He has brought a lot to this
band; he has brought his own style and flair. I think he's great, I
love him. He has really brought a lot to Black Star Riders and made
us a better band. And that's no disrespect to Marco (Mendoza). Robbie
is great, you should see him live, he's phenomenal.
On that DVD, you also say that you had Phil (Lynott) in mind when doing
Ricky: Well, I always do, you know. He's always
in the back of my mind, everyday. You cannot get away from Phil and
I mean that in a nice way. So he's always around, you know.
Mozzy: How is it to sing those Thin Lizzy
Ricky: Oh, it's a dream come true, you know!
I'm so proud to be able to sing those songs. When I grew up, Thin Lizzy
was my favourite band and it's such an influence and inspiration. Such
great songs to sing. I love it, really love it.
Mozzy: When you changed the band name, did
that ease the pressure and expectations a bit, do you think?
Ricky: Absolutely, it has. We are basically
a new band and I can really get back to being Ricky Warwick if you know
what I mean. I think it takes a bit of pressure off me, yes.
Mozzy: I think the band change was a wise
Ricky: Thank you. And we do too, we don't regret
it. We felt it was the right thing to do and will stick by that.
Mozzy: You've been in Thin Lizzy and then
Black Star Riders for four years or so now. What are your reflections
on this period?
Ricky: It still feels as crazy and surreal as
it did four years ago. I never take it for granted. When I'm standing
there and looking over to Scott Gorham it's like 'fuck! this is great!',
you know. So I still feel the same way, it hasn't changed at all.
Mozzy: Great. And what did you think about
Brian Downey and Darren Wharton leaving?
Ricky: Well, I think it was for the right reasons.
They just didn't want to tour as aggressively as we tour, that was really
what it was down to. You know, I'm just happy I got to play with those
guys as they are such great players and such great people. Brian is
such an amazing drummer. So I'm happy I got to share the stage with
Cool. Do you regard this as a highlight in your career, although you've
had a great career before in Almighty and so on?
Ricky: Yeah, I've been very lucky and very blessed
you know. For 20 odd years I've been doing this and I've had some amazing
experiences. But being in Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders is by far
Mozzy: I can understand that. And I've seen
that Scott speaks highly of you as well.
Ricky: Yeah, Scott
What can I say
Scott believes in me so much and gives me so much confidence and makes
me feel great. For someone like Scott Gorham to be confident in me and
what I can do, it's a great shot in the arm for me. Scott is wonderful.
Mozzy: Great to hear. This fall, you're
performing on the Rock boat in Sweden. It used to be called the Sweden
Rock cruise. What are your expectations of that?
Ricky: Yes! I'm looking forward to it. It will
be good, I think it's run by the Sweden Rock Festival people?
Ricky: So it will be really well run. I mean,
we just love playing in Sweden. Obviously Thin Lizzy have a huge history
here. The country is always good, the shows are always good, and the
people are great. Any excuse to come here is good so it will be fun.
Mozzy: You did the Rock At Sea cruise here
a while back.
Ricky: We did, it was crazy, good fun!
Mozzy: Yeah, those rock cruises are quite
a party (laughs).
Ricky: Pretty wild, yeah (laughs). We actually
just got on the boat, played the show and then got off. But the show
Mozzy: I'm going on the cruise this time
so I'll see you there. That was all I had I think, thank you!
Ricky: Thank you man, I appreciate it.
also: review of the
gig the same night