【face-to-face / interview】THIN LIZZY
THIN LIZZY is one of rock music’s most recognizable names. Lead by Phil Lynott, the band reached many peaks and influenced generations of musicians with classic tracks such as Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back In Town, Still In Love With You,Cold Sweat, Emerald and Don’t Believe A Word. In 1986, after encountering huge success, the world was shocked when singer/bassist and founding member Phil Lynott passed away at the age of thirty six. Twenty five years have passed, the band reformed with a new lineup. We met singer Ricky Warwick before the band show in Paris (France).
Hi Ricky, how’s the tour going so far ?
Ricky : Unbelievably brilliant ! The tour is going really great. Thank you all so much. We’re having a lot of fun and it’s a real honor to be the singer of the band I grew up with. I was listening to them when I was a kid, you know. It’s a dream come true.
How did you get involved in this project ?
Ricky : Well, I got approached by Scott Gorham. I’ve known him for many years. Scott played on my first solo record so, he knew me, he knew how I sound like. He and Adam Parsons, the band manager, asked me if I’d be interested in singing for THIN LIZZY and of course I was. We had a rehearsal in London, that went amazing and it was all signed and sealed that day. That’s it. That’s how it came about and here I am today.
How does it feel to be the one who has to carry on the flame of Phil Lynott legacy ?
Ricky : It’s a real honor and hugely intimidating. Phil was a hero of mine, still is. He had it all, he was enigmatic, he had a great look, he was a brilliant lyricist, a brilliant musician and so on. It was very daunting knowing that I was going to recapture the spirit and the greatness he put into those songs. Phil is irreplaceable. I asked myself, as a fan, « How would I like the band to sound like without Phil ? » and the answer is, I’d like to hear the songs with Phil’s phrasing but also with the mark of the new singer. You can’t replace Phil. He’s a one-off genius. I am trying to keep Phil’s spirit alive by delivering the songs with honesty, heart and soul. I would never dream of being Phil. No one can ! I am just being me singing his songs. It’s not the THIN LIZZY it was with Phil anymore, but it’s a great THIN LIZZY.
How hard was it to learn their songs ? What was the process of learning ?
Ricky : Actually, I already knew some really well but there was a lot of stuff to learn too. I had over 30 songs to learn. I got up every day for 3 or 4 months and just play and sing along with those songs. I was constantly listening to them. For 4 months, I couldn’t listen to anything but THIN LIZZY.
How has the fans’ feedback been so far ?
Ricky : It’s been really positive. I knew some people couldn’t get over the fact that Phil is no longer here. That’s OK. We all want Phil back. If Phil was still here, I’d be in the crowd tonight watching the show. But the hard reality is that he’s not around. Life goes on, and I think people are starting to realise that and come to terms with that. People die but the music lives on. I think the songs need to be heard and want to be heard by the fans. More and more people go to our shows so I think they get the message. We have a good Rock N Roll band now, yet without Phil, we all know that, but it’s the next best thing.
Do you think the hard rock revival helped Thin Lizzy come back ?
Ricky : No. I don’t think there’s any correlation between the two. THIN LIZZY is such a unique and timeless band. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in terms of trend around the music business. THIN LIZZY has always been seen as a cool band. It has never been affected by trend and won’t ever be.
How is it different to go from performing your own songs to doing the Thin Lizzy tour ?
Ricky : It’s very different. When I play my songs, I can do whatever I want because I wrote them, they are mine. With THIN LIZZY, I try to recreate what people know and love as close to the original as I can. That’s what is challenging. I have to settle my mind in a different way when I sing songs that aren’t mine. I have been singing them so much now that I feel like, not that I wrote them… But I am very comfortable with the whole situation. I am not thinking about how I should sing them, it comes naturally. So, to answer your question, it’s very different but I enjoy them both. I love singing THIN LIZZY songs, I love being in this band because it’s such a dream come true. And I love doing my solo stuff too. They are both enjoyable for different reasons.
Do you plan to record some new material with the band ?
Ricky : We’ve talked about it. We might try a song just to see how it goes.
Do you plan to continue working on solo material alongside Thin Lizzy ?
Ricky : Yes, I do. But I am very busy with THIN LIZZY. We have a lot of shows and festivals coming up which is fantastic. When I have the time, I’ll definitely keep that. But as for now, the band is my priority.
Ricky : You’re welcome. Thank you.