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 THIN LIZZY – “Best Lineup Since Phil Was With Us”

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Date d'inscription : 14/04/2009
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MessageSujet: THIN LIZZY – “Best Lineup Since Phil Was With Us”   Jeu 7 Avr - 16:38

THIN LIZZY – “Best Lineup Since Phil Was With Us”

By Martin Popoff

Classic rock legends THIN LIZZY are currently enjoying a renaissance of activity touring Europe and North America playing all those songs you love with a spirit that can’t be denied. The lineup at this point consists of Scott Gorham and Vivian Campbell (DEF LEPPARD) on guitars, returning founding member Brian Downey on drums, Marco Mendoza on bass, Ricky Warwick (THE ALMIGHTY) on vocals (plus occasional guitar), and on keys, Darren Wharton, official member for the band’s last two albums, contributor on Renegade and Chinatown.

“You’ve only got to watch Live And Dangerous to see what kind of charisma Phil had,” figures Wharton, asked pre-show in Toronto recently about why so much excitement still exists for the songbook of PHIL LYNOTT and Thin Lizzy, 25 years past Phil’s death from drink and drug. “And that whole connection between Phil and Scott and Robbo and GARY MOORE and all the various guitarists on stage… they definitely had some sort of magic. You could say the same thing about FREDDIE MERCURY or anybody else, but I mean, Phil’s talent was really in his songwriting, and like I say, his charisma. It was a brilliant band. I was just so lucky; I was like 17 when I joined the band, and so I think the spirit of the music is always going to live on, isn’t it? We’re just lucky now that we’ve been out doing the band justice, really.”

Interrogated as to fun surprises in the setlist, Darren reveals, “We’re doing ‘Wild One’, and as far as tracks that I never used to play on, there are a few different tracks in the set over the last few weeks; we do ‘Wild One’, ‘Southbound’, but ‘Angel Of Death’ is back in the set now, and it’s nice for me to have a little blast on that. But no, it’s a really good set, and I think this lineup really does the band justice, probably the best lineup since Phil was with us.”

Adds Brian Downey, with respect to the setlist, “We kind of took out one song, really. We took out ‘Bad Reputation’, and put in ‘Killer On The Loose’ instead; we had a good run for ‘Bad Reputation’ - we played it on the UK leg. Just decided for the European leg, on ‘Killer On The Loose’. And it’s gone really well, you know? I mean ‘Bad Reputation’ is a really good song, but we just wanted to experiment a little bit. And that’s why we changed it. But it’s basically the same set. ‘The Rocker’ comes in every so often. It just depends how Vivian is feeling on the night (laughs). And it’s a time factor as well - if we’ve got enough time, we put ‘The Rocker’ in as well.”

“Ricky is just a pleasure,” continues Downey, his satisfaction with the front man justified, given the warm and enthusiastic response of the 1500 or so in attendance later that night at The Sound Academy in Toronto. “He’s so good, because I mean, he’s had the hardest job of all of us, coming in to do this. Vivian Campbell obviously, basically, knew the songs, and the guitar solos he’s been playing are really note for note what Gary Moore and Robbo had been doing. But Ricky, he was a bit apprehensive about the whole thing initially, because there’s so much to learn. When it was put to him at rehearsals, you know, six months before the tour actually started, he had his work cut out - there was a lot of stuff to learn. But no, when he started singing and we started playing behind him, it was a revelation; he’s really come on leaps and bounds, and it’s great, fantastic. You know, he’s one of these guys who is just so natural on stage. He’s got really good stage presence and he’s a veteran in his own right.”

Given that Thin Lizzy had always been about guitars, twin leads specifically, I asked of Darren whether he could articulate Phil’s philosophy surrounding the question of keyboards and their role in the Thin Lizzy sound.

“Well, Phil was never one to sit on his laurels,” explains Wharton. “He was always trying to push the band with his music, as you can probably tell from his solo albums. He was always trying to experiment and sort of grow. The thing is for me, it was sheer chance that Gary Moore left during an American tour. Phil, at the time, didn’t really have many options. He got MIDGE URE in to play the keyboards and a little bit of guitar, and just because Midge wasn’t really a keyboard player, more of a fully-fledged guitarist, he sort of jumped into a bit of keyboards as well, as they were needed, when Phil found them appropriate. And they just obviously liked the texture of them in the band, so after that tour Midge went off and joined ULTRAVOX, and Phil decided that he wanted more of a permanent keyboard in the lineup, and obviously that was my lucky break.”

With that, it was time for the boys to prepare for the night’s anticipated main event. “For me, I’d just have to say again that it’s the best lineup since Phil was with us,” notes Wharton in closing. “Lovely bunch of guys - it’s a really nice atmosphere within the band, and it’s brilliant obviously now that Brian is back.”

Yes, you’ve got a drummer now that is very much suited to the Thin Lizzy sound…

“Yes (laughs). It’s all jelling nicely, and I think – no disrespect to John (SYKES, previous guitarist and vocalist) – but I think that Ricky has the humility that Phil had. And he also has that sort of Irish twinge in his voice, so it all seems to work really well. And like I say, I really do think it’s the closest that it’s ever going to be without Phil.”

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