In Conversation With Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham on enjoying major commercial success with The Black Star Riders and keeping the Lizzy flame alive.

“We’re really delighted, it’s been getting great reviews so keep them coming!” laughs Scott Gorham relaxing at his London home. The Black Star Riders and former Thin Lizzy guitarist has been basking in the rave reviews for third opus Heavy Fire which is their highest charting outing to date - number 2 in the UK album chart if you don’t mind.

The current collection is their most cohesive to date, boasting a plethora of tracks that doff their cap to classic rock stylings whilst remaining refreshingly contemporary. The album also bristles with a confidence and energy that reflect an act coming into their own.

“Absolutely, we have really established our identity and working methods now,” nods Scott. “Although here is a lot of closeness, we are ruthless in the studio in terms of guitar parts and the ideas people bring. If it’s not strong enough it doesn’t make the cut. Communication is a big deal with us – the key is being honest.”

Heavy Fire seems a braver proposition than its predecessors, the band have introduced female backing vocals and more melodic, downtempo tracks such as ‘Cold War Love’ and ‘Dancing With The Wrong Girl’.

“Well, we’re not afraid to show the different sides of who we are and where we are,” states Scott. “We can do the rock tracks, but there’s more to us than that – it was the same with Lizzy.”

The Black Star Riders live show always contained Lizzy numbers, but now that that their name is more established and they have more original material, what can we expect from forthcoming dates?

“We are probably going to whittle it down to two songs,” says Scott. “We have three albums now. On our first tour we couldn’t do a full set. Then on the second, the Lizzy material started to get pared down even more. It’s not that we don’t like playing Lizzy, but we are on the BSR trail now.”

Scott did take time out last year to play some one-off Thin Lizzy dates to honour the 30th anniversary of Phil Lynott’s passing. BSR bandmates Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson joined him as well as special guests Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith on bass and Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis.

“Well I didn’t want to not mark 30 years of my friend’s passing,” explains Scott. “In terms of guests we just started kicking about some names. Our manager Adam Parsons said, ‘How about we get someone from Aerosmith?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, right!’ But Tom jumped at the chance. It was really great fun, he’s a lovely guy and has a great sense of humour.” For the moment there are a batch of UK and Ireland Black Star Riders dates to prepare for, including a pitstop at Dublin’s Academy on March 4. So what is the difference between getting on stage under the Lizzy banner and with the new act?

“Well, there’s a big responsibility with Lizzy as in I am representing these songs,” says Scott. “I am a bit of a stickler for details and making sure the tracks are played in the right way. It’s different with BSR because it is our band. If we feel like changing a guitar part or a solo, we can.

“It’s not that I don’t have fun with Thin Lizzy, I have a great time, but it has to be done exactly right. I am representing a lot of people and I don’t want to let them down. Whereas with BSR I can let everyone down! (laughs)”

Heavy Fire is out now. Black Star Riders play the Academy, Dublin on March 4.


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