“We love playing Lizzy songs, people expect it from us, and there will always be some Thin Lizzy songs in the Black Star Rider set.”
Black Star Riders are back with their second album, The Killer Instinct. SHANE PINNEGAR catches up with singer/guitarist Ricky Warwick for a chat.
Having toured internationally, including a support slot for KISS and Motley Crue throughout Australia in 2013, what was the modern day Thin Lizzy changed their name to Black Star Riders.
Shedding the Thin Lizzy moniker has allowed the band to evolve musically and The Killer Instinct shows them forging a unique identity of their own.
“We’re comfortable in our skin, we knew we were making a Black Star Riders’ album obviously right from the get-go on this,” says singer/guitarist, Ricky Warwick. “The band toured for two years as Black Star Riders. Whereas the first album (All Hell Breaks Loose) came out of all the turmoil because we weren’t sure if we were going to carry on the Thin Lizzy name.
“But myself, Damon (Johnson, guitarist), and Scott (Gorham, guitarist and only remaining member of the 1970’s Thin Lizzy) were very galvanised in the fact that we needed to carry on, we needed to come up with a new name, which we did. Jimmy Degrasso came in on drums, I’d met Jimmy two days earlier before we went into the studio and started recording. Total different set of circumstances this time around.
“I’m not taking anything away from that album, I love that first album. I think it established a bond, and I’m damn proud of it.”
Running the gamut from denim-and-leather rockers to Celtic-tinged stompers and even a slow-burning epic, The Killer Instinct proves these old dogs still have teeth to take a bite out of you, and the promise of more music – and more evolution – from them is exciting indeed. Warwick says the expectations of their fans are slowly evolving as well.
“When we went out we were playing nine songs off All Hell Breaks Loose, which was virtually unheard of off a brand new album. That stuff was going over great. I think people are now realising that we have this (Thin Lizzy) legacy which we can tap into which is amazing, but we’re very much a standalone band.”
That said, Warwick is adamant that Black Star Riders will still play Thin Lizzy tracks live, despite having two original albums’ worth of material of their own to choose from.
“We love playing Lizzy songs, people expect it from us, and there will always be some Thin Lizzy songs in the Black Star Rider set. I think there’s the question of how many… but we’re going to be playing a good chunk off the new album and obviously a few from the first. There’s still room for a good percentage of Lizzy stuff as well so it looks pretty good.”
Despite a line-up including former members of The Almighty, Ratt, Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar and Vince Neil’s bands, Lynch Mob, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth and more, Warwick is insistent that this is a real band rather than an artificially created ‘Super Group’.
“I would hate to think of Black Star Riders as a ‘Super Group’! There’s a chemistry in this band, there’s a belief in this band. It’s not a project – it’s a band.
“Everybody that’s in this band is committed to Black Star Riders first and foremost. Beyond that we all have other things that go on, but they take a back seat. One of the reasons why Michael Mendoza is no longer with us because he had a few things going on, Dead Daisies being one of them. We wanted a commitment. It’s real for us as cliché as that may sound. We believe in it, we’ve got great camaraderie, we get along great. We care about the songs, we care about the shows, we care about the art, we care about how we’re presented, we care about how people pick us, what time they’re having when they come and see us live. We want to make sure they’re entertained. We make sure they have a great night, they feel the energy, they feel the attitude.
“It’s real and I don’t think some of these other bands are real. I don’t think they mean it and I think that’s the biggest crime that you can commit in music as far as I’m concerned.”