Lynott never ceased to amaze me – Gorham
Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham says Phil Lynott’s talent for lyrics never ceased to amaze him.
The current Lizzy lineup, fronted by Ricky Warwick, have morphed into a new band called Black Star Riders. This week they started work on their first album, which Gorham vows will match the spirit of the band’s classic era.
And while he has praise for Warwick’s own songwriting abilities, he says Lynott – who died 27 years ago today – was a “great.”
Gorham tells Gibson.com: “He’d show me his lyric book and he never ceased to amaze me. He wrote about a lot of historical things, without making it about fairies and dragons and all that crap. But he could write about war and history – he was a great visualiser. He knew how to rhyme everything just right, too.
“I remember asking him about Dancing in the Moonlight and the lyric ‘I always get chocolate stains on my pants.’ I was like, ‘Phil, are you sure about that?’ But within the whole song it made sense.”
There are similarities and differences between the two lyricists, Gorham says. “Ricky has the same visualisation skills as Phil. He can make you see a picture. He tells a story, as opposed to just some rhyming bullshit. Every song has a point, a story, just like Phil used to do.
“What Ricky brings to this band is amazing. He’s absolutely prolific with lyrics. Phil would come in with a few lyrics, some more a week later, little unfinished bits of others. With Ricky, you can play him a riff and he’s immediately going, ‘I’ve got lyrics for that.’ Bang, they’re right in front of you.”
Founding Lizzy member Brian Downey and long-time keyboardist Darren Wharton aren’t part of the Black Star Riders project, and the drumstool has been filled by Jimme DeGrasso. He’s holed up in a US studio with the band and producer Kevin Shirley.
Asked how closely the new material will match the Lynott years, Gorham reflects: “It’s tough to say how the new band will eventually sound. We need to electrify it, get Kevin’s input. But the harmony guitars, the twin solos — it’s all there, believe me.”
And the guitarist says he enjoys some parts of band life more today than he did in the 1970s. “It’s a lot easier, to be honest, with this crew of people,” he admits.
“There were a lot of times in Thin Lizzy when parts became precious. Someone would write a guitar part and insisted, ‘Damn it, I want that part in the song.’ Now, it’s more amenable to finding the best outcome for the whole song.
“In Thin Lizzy, writing songs was normally just two guys – one of us over at Phil’s place. Now, we all get together and we all write together. It’s a big difference, and it’s sounding great. It’s exciting.”