Legendary Irish rockers Thin Lizzy came to a shuddering halt in 1986 with the tragic death of frontman Phil Lynott but more than 30 years later the band’s legacy shows no signs of stopping.
Formed in 2010 by guitarist Scott Gorham, Black Star Riders is the latest incarnation of the Thin Lizzy story with the name showing Gorham’s determination to record new material as well as pay tribute to his band’s 70s heyday.
Three albums later there can be no doubt that Black Star Riders have an identity all of their own and with their latest collection, Heavy Fire, and a 16-date UK tour, the band, which also features vocalist Ricky Warwick and guitarist Damon Johnson, is looking forward to a great year.
“It’s an exciting time ,” says Damon, who was formerly part of Alice Cooper’s band.
“You put so much into the writing and recording that it’s almost like childbirth, although my wife might hit me if she heard me say that!
“Without a doubt it’s our best album so far. We are running at full speed and are so grateful to our fans for the support – they are a major factor in the enthusiasm we are putting into this.”
Choosing to record new material, but not to releasing it under the Thin Lizzy name was a brave move for a band reliant on their reputation.
“We have always felt confident in the fact that we are quality players and song writers but we will always be tied to the Thin Lizzy legacy,” agrees Damon.
“When we started there was a lot of uncertainty and it was brave of us because we could have just kept playing as Thin Lizzy, but there was enough of an itch that we wanted to do something new, so it wouldn’t have been right to put that material out as Thin Lizzy.”
For Alabama-born Damon getting to play with a band who were his heroes growing up is very special.
“I still pinch myself,” he laughs.
“Scott knows what I feel about Thin Lizzy and what the band meant to me and sometimes I look across and we’re playing guitar together and I think of my friends from high school thinking ‘how did you get here’?”
Damon describes touring the UK as “special” but despite their reputation as hard rockers he insists they have a job to do once they arrive.
“We’re pretty well behaved and I think that’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll in its own way,” he says.
“How punk rock is it to go on tour and go to the gym and have a healthy lunch and stay hydrated?
“This is a rare opportunity for us and we’re so grateful, so we take it very seriously.
“We want to give people quality entertainment so you can’t fuss about. We’ve got to be in shape and it takes a lot of energy man!”
Finally I ask Damon how he feels about his new president just days after the inauguration of Donald Trump into the White House.
“Brother, it’s a hot mess over here,” he adds.
“At some point every day there are a variety of feelings – sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s anger and sometimes it’s frustration.
“I never in my life could have fathomed that Trump would be the leader of the most powerful country in the world.
“I get that we need to shake things up but you still need respect, intelligence and reason and because of that we’ve got to keep asking questions.”
Black Star Riders play Wrexham William Aston Hall on Friday, March 3 with support from GUN and The Amorettes. Doors 7pm. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult. To buy tickets call 0844 888 9991 or go to www.glyndwr.ac.uk
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