New Thin Lizzy Frontman Ricky Warwick States “There will only ever be one Phil Lynott and that’s it.”
Eric Mackinnon of RockAAA.com recently conducted an interview with new Thin Lizzy frontman Ricky Warwick. Here’s that interview below…
The former Almighty singer, Def Leppard guitarist Viv Campbell and ex-Whitesnake bassist Marco Mendoza joined up with Lynott-era members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton last year to start work on a 2011 tour. They’re on the road now and receiving rave reviews – and Warwick believes Lynott, who died 25 years ago last week, would approve of how they’re respecting his legacy.
The frontman tells RockAAA: “We all know it’s not going to be the same. It’s got to be different because Phil is irreplaceable.
“People keep saying to me, ‘Those are really big shoes to fill’ – but I’m not filling his shoes. There will only ever be one Phil Lynott and that’s it. We can’t replace him. What we can do is go out there and play his songs with a passion, a spirit and an energy and try to make them as vibrant as we can. And that’s what we are doing.”
Warwick is charged with the task of keeping an honest feel to Lynott’s lyrics and delivery style, while trying to inject a little of his own character too. He explains: “You have to put the Phil-isms into the songs. People need to hear them with the phrasing they know and love. I know when I go and see a band and they screw around with the lyrics or the arrangement too much it ruins it for me.
“So I’m trying to do 50 percent of that and then put 50 percent of my own personality into it – I have to try and get the balance somewhere along the line.”
He didn’t catch Lynott with Lizzy when he was young, although he did see the rock legend playing with Grand Slam after the iconic band split. That leaves him in the strange position of never having heard Lizzy live until he was a member of the band when their tour started in Aberdeen last week.
Warwick says: “It couldn’t have gone any better. I was shitting myself before the show, but in a good way: I just wanted to get up there and do my best. The crowd were into it and it was everything I hoped it would be.
“There were moments where I was a fan looking around thinking, ‘There’s Scott Gorham! There’s Vivian Campbell! There’s Brian Downey!’ Then I found myself looking up at the Thin Lizzy sign and thinking, ‘Wow. Oh my God – I’m in Thin Lizzy!’ It’s still freaking me out. I think it always will.”
Despite initial concerns about whether the idea could work, Warwick never seriously considered refusing Gorham’s offer to join the band. “As soon as I picked myself up off the floor I had to do it,” he explains. “It was huge to be asked. It’s life-changing; I was very happy already and I had a very blessed life with the solo stuff. I was doing fine, playing away, then this came out of the blue.
“I was never not going to do it. But I needed to talk to Scott, find out what he was trying to do and what he wanted me to do.
“Once I’d spoken to him, and thought about Phil’s lyrics and the kind of guy he was, I knew he’d be up there digging it because we’re all doing it for the right reasons. I thought about the lyrics for You Can Do Anything, my favourite Lizzy song, which are very relevant to what I was thinking before I joined.
“That’s why Phil would approve – he’d say, ‘Go for it – keep bringing my songs to the people.”
The band’s UK and European tour is soon to be expanded to the USA and possibly further, and summer festival appearances are under discussion. There’s also the possibility of a new album at some point in the future if they feel it’s the right thing to do.
Warwick says: “We don’t know about that. There’s been talk and it would be cool when you think of the amount of talent we have in the band. But if it does happen it’s a long way off. For now we want to go out and play for a year, let everyone know we’re around and see how the vibe is.”
Meanwhile Gorham and Downey have been working with Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott on the production of revamped Lizzy albums with new instrumental tracks behind Lynott’s original bass and vocals.
Warwick reports: “That’s been done and the reissued are coming out soon. But I didn’t play any part in that – I wouldn’t feel comfortable. It’s different for Scott and Brian because they were there first time round. I wouldn’t go near that.”
So far the singer’s only regret making a fluff in Whiskey in the Jar during that first show in Aberdeen. He says: “It’s only a song I’ve been playing since I was two years old, tut-tut…”