BLACK STAR RIDERS, the new band formed by THIN LIZZY alumni Ricky Warwick (vocals), Scott Gorham (guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass) with new addition Jimmy DeGrasso (ALICE COOPER, MEGADETH, DAVID LEE ROTH, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES) on drums, entered a Los Angeles studio this past Monday (January 7) with producer Kevin Shirley (LED ZEPPELIN, IRON MAIDEN, AEROSMITH, RUSH) to begin recording its debut album for a May release via Nuclear Blast.
The first set of photos from the studio can be found at this location.
In October 2012, THIN LIZZY announced that they would not be recording new material under the THIN LIZZY monicker. The last incarnation of the band — Gorham, Brian Downey, Wharton, Warwick, Johnson and Mendoza — would be looking to form a new project.
According to a press release, Brian Downey decided to not become involved with BLACK STAR RIDERS because he didn’t want to commit to the touring cycle a new album would entail and Darren Wharton wanted to concentrate on DARE and other music and film projects.
“Brian and Darren just don’t want to be on the road 150 days a year. anti that’s completely understandable,” Warwick tells Classic Rock magazine. “But we do. We work very well together, and there’s no better man than Jimmy to gel it together. This is a kick-ass band.”
The BLACK STAR RIDERS album will feature material the band wrote while touring as THIN LIZZY and the sound retains that classic feel but is very much its own as well. The BLACK STAR RIDERS record is the next step in the evolution of the THIN LIZZY story.
“There’s no way it could sound like THIN LIZZY with [late THIN LIZZY frontman] Phil [Lynott],” Gorham tells Classic Rock. But Johnson disagreees. “I think Scott is too dose to it,” he says. “Ricky or I would bring in a song idea, and as soon as Scott starts playing on it, it sounds like THIN LIZZY, whether Scott realizes it or not. Everybody who’s heard the new music says it has that dassic THIN LIZZY vibe. No, it can’t sound like the original band. But that classic LIZZY vibe is absolutely there.”
“I’m not gonna pull any punches here,” says Warwick. “It sounds like classic THIN LIZZY brought up to date. l’ve been singing Phil‘s songs every night for two years, and although it sounds a bit crass because the man’s not here, I feel like I’ve had these lessons from getting so deep into his work. Phil‘s songwriting, his lyrics, his phrasing, his pitching, his delivery — it’s genius. And that’s really helped me as a writer.”
It was Warwick who named the new band BLACK STAR RIDERS, after an outlaw gang in the 1993 western movie “Tombstone”. As Johnson tells Classic Rock: “Scott said from the very beginning that we did not want a name that was specifically related to THIN LIZZY, because this band has to stand on its own.”