It’s Thin Lizzy but not as you know it: the boys are back in town – again!
Legendary Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham on changing the name to Black Star Riders, battling drug addiction and why he believes that Phil Lynott would get the band back together if he was still around
Does playing in Dublin mean something special to you?
It means everything. There are probably three or four spots that your stomach turns a bit because of the nerves – Los Angeles, New York, London and Dublin. Every place else just turns into just another city. Maybe I shouldn’t say that! LA and New York has such a concentration of media. In London and Dublin, it is the fans. That’s where you take particular care and it is a bit more nerve-wracking. Thin Lizzy is known as an Irish band so you can’t let the side down.
Do you think Thin Lizzy retained that Irish identity though a lot of the band members including yourself are from abroad?
Well I think it always had the Irish feel to it, the Irish essence. Phil was a great believer in bringing the good word of Ireland to any interview that he did. There were times where you might be in Idaho or something and the interviewer would make some comment about Ireland and that was it. We didn’t talk about music any longer.
Now Phil is going into the history of Ireland and this and that and I had to rein him back and remind him, ‘dude, you’re here to plug the new album’. When I started in Thin Lizzy, I was 21 years of age. I didn’t know anything about Dublin. Phil knew that. He would take me by the scruff of the neck and give me a history of the city. It was almost too much. You couldn’t take it all in.
On the opposite side, we landed in New York, Phil slapped his hands together and said, ‘so, Scott, tell me about New York’. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘shit, I’ve never been here before in my life’.
What’s your proudest achievement with Thin Lizzy?
God, there’s a whole ton of them. Probably, when we went into do the Bad Reputation album. There was just the three of us writing and arranging. I did most of the guitar work, harmony and lead-wise. We were pretty proud of that one. That album, when it came out, sounded very well.
There are so many things that we have done, the places that we’ve played, the amount of people that we have played to and all that. It’s kind of hard to calculate what is the best of anything. People ask me what my favourite Thin Lizzy song. I don’t have a favourite Thin Lizzy song.
Thin Lizzy broke up in 1983 before Phil Lynott died. Did you think then that an incarnation of the band would be going 30 years later?
No absolutely not. We were too fucked-up at that point. I thought at that point it was pretty much it. Beyond trying to get myself better, I wasn’t thinking about Thin Lizzy. It was kind of curtains at that point.