Scott Gorham talks touring with Black Star Riders

There are fewer Class As, but the Lizzy alumni are a class act...

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv08R993G3Y

"It got wild," remembers Scott Gorham of the Thin Lizzy campaigns of the mid-70s. "When you've got a guy like Phil Lynott fronting this thing, who loved women and all the Class A drugs that were going, it was a party every night. After a while, it became second nature. Like, this is what you do..."

The backstage might be less bacchanalian, but scan the setlists for March's UK tour and you'll note the shared DNA of Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy.

The Riders, to recap, were formed as a Lizzy offshoot in 2012, when Gorham conceded that new studio material under that hallowed name was a "touchy subject" given Lynott's death in 1986.

"I still get a buzz from playing the Lizzy songs. They're just absolute guitar vehicles. You can hear it in the audience. You see them lift"

They've since recorded two whip-cracking albums - including February's The Killer Instinct - but can't resist playing the odd venue-detonating trump card.

"I'm looking forward to playing the new songs," says Gorham, who'll be armed with an Axcess Les Paul, Engl E650 and Jim Dunlop Jerry Cantrell Wah.

"Y'know, Soldierstown, Through The Motions, The Killer Instinct. But I still get a buzz from playing the Lizzy songs. They're just absolute guitar vehicles. You can hear it in the audience. You see them lift.

"The first time I played songs like Waiting For An Alibi, Bad Reputation and The Boys Are Back In Town, I was emotional, man," recalls guitarist Damon Johnson, whose gigbag includes a 90s Les Paul, ESP Eclipse and Wizard Vintage Classic valve amp. "That twin-guitar sound, that Scott is the absolute pioneer of - it changed my life."

After two years locking lead lines, Gorham and Johnson will appear telepathic when the tour kicks off in Dublin on 2 March.

"I'm a lucky guy to be partnered with Damon," says Gorham. "He's one of those really giving players. He'll move over or take charge. He's a really easy guy to be up there onstage with, and the bonus is he's a fucking great player."

Gorham feels he's improved, even from 1978's immortal Live And Dangerous. "Oh God - a zillion times better!" he laughs.

"Some of the old stuff, I just can't listen to anymore, because it sounds like I'm still learning to play. Almost every facet of my playing is better now. As far as the band goes, I don't think we've ever had a bad show, with everybody fucking up. That really would be a disaster."

But then, stresses Johnson, it's not about technical perfection: "We're not up there to be 'impressive'. Everybody plays their asses off in this band, but it's not a muso thing. It's heart and soul and sweat and power. It's really all about the songs."

Black Star Riders' tour starts on 2 March, 2015 in Dublin. See www.blackstarriders.com

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