INTERVIEW: BLACK STAR RIDERS SINGER RICKY WARWICK THRIVES UNDERHEAVY FIRE

In 2010, revered Thin Lizzy guitarist, Scott Gorham, asked singer, Ricky Warwick, a man who had made his name screaming out hard rocking tunes with heavy noise merchants, The Almighty, to step in to the hallowed spotlight as frontman for his legendary Irish band.

Warwick knew he was being asked to sing the songs that the much-loved and sorely missed Phil Lynott had written and once delivered with unrivalled conviction and soul when he had fronted this great Irish rock institution in the seventies and eighties. It would be a gig that could either bring him great reward or, as had been the case in those less than successful experiments replacing Freddie Mercury in Queen, or in finding someone to take Michael Hutchence’s place in INXS, he might incur the wrath of over-critical fans and music journos and be seen as damaging the Lizzy brand.

It was a challenge Warwick could not resist taking on. He was, after all, a long-time Lizzy fan himself.

His curriculum vitae, that also included stints with New Model Army and Stiff Little Fingers, coupled with the fact he had released a brace of solo records under his own name, made it obvious to all that Warwick was a credible choice and more than qualified to step up to the microphone.

The new Lizzy recruit soon proved himself to be an excellent choice, and fans were immediately satisfied with his vocal power and approach.

Once in the line-up, being a prolific songwriter himself, along with other members of the now revitalised Thin Lizzy, he began writing a lot of excellent new material that the band soon decided needed to be recorded and heard by the public.

Feeling it would be disrespectful to put material out as new Thin Lizzy product without Lynott’s involvement, the band made the courageous decision to drop their famous trademark name and forge a new career under the Black Star Riders banner.

Now, on the verge of releasing their third album, Black Star Riders are going from strength to strength, having won over old Thin Lizzy fans and cultivated a new audience who have been hypnotised by the band’s blend of powerful, melodic rock licks in new songs which build upon the bedrock of the dual guitar attack pioneered by Lizzy in their heyday.

The new album, ‘Heavy Fire’, is full of thought-provoking songs and memorable hooks, and is due to be released in early February, through Nuclear Blast.

The Upside News recently chatted to Ricky Warwick about the new record, the band’s career so far, his recent solo work and Thin Lizzy’s formidable legacy.

The Upside News: So, the band’s third album, Heavy Fire, is due to be released very soon.

 It follows the first two records, All Hell Breaks Loose and The Killer Instinct, both of which were great. And, after listening to the new album last night, I can confidently say this new one sounds just as good.

 Can you tell us a little about the genesis of the band’s latest offering? Did it come together quickly? Or did it evolve over the two years that have passed since the last album came out?

Ricky Warwick: You know, it did come together really quickly. Damon Johnson and myself – we basically write most of the material – don’t really stop. We’re writing all the time.

So there is always stuff going on. There’s never a period where we don’t have any songs, no having to ‘go away and write the album’ kind of thing.  We both come from song writing backgrounds from the other bands we’ve been in – that’s something which has stood us in really good stead, you know?

As soon as the last one, The Killer Instinct, was done, we just kept on writing. And then, about this time last year, Damon flew out to L.A. and we went down to my manager’s house at that time, for a week.

We just set up camp there and went through basically everything that we’d got, as well as any riffs that Robbie or Scott had thrown into the mix as well.

By the end of that week we had the nucleus of twelve or thirteen songs pretty much written.

Then, over the course of last year, we would just work on them whenever we were together, and we also wrote another seven or eight.

By the time we went in to record, there were twenty-one songs there.

I’ll be honest with you, I find writing to be very easy. It’s very natural. Hopefully, I’ll always be able to say that to you! It’s certainly not a labour of love, it’s something that I find really therapeutic and I just find it really easy, you know?

TUN: When you say that all the band members come with material, is it always a fully collaborative effort? Do you all come with snippets of ideas and then put them together? Or do you come with fully formed songs and…

RW: No, not really. I mean, I write a lot of the material. I write all of the lyrics and I write a lot of the guitar riffs as well.images

What I usually do, is I’ll get an idea and then my first port of call will be [guitarist] Damon Johnson, and I’ll go: ‘This is what I’ve got. What do you think?’

And he’ll go, ‘That’s cool. Why don’t you do this?’ – that sort of thing. You know, ‘Why don’t you add this riff in here? We could do this dual guitar solo here…’

And that’s how it works.

Scott Gorham, being the legend that he is, will also walk in with two or three killer riffs, and Robbie Crane, our bass player, he delivered a couple of riffs too on this record. Ninety percent of everything else though, is pretty much just myself and Damon.

TUN: Can you talk us through a few of the songs on the album that made the cut from the twenty odd that you originally had? Where, for instance did the idea for a song like Who Rides The Tiger come from?

RW: That was a Damon Johnson guitar riff that Damon had emailed to me.

He has to send them to me because we live miles from each other – he lives in Nashville, and I’m in L.A.

So, he emailed me the guitar riff that you hear at the start of that song, and I hit him back and said that it was great.

I had a phrase stuck in my head – ‘Who rides the tiger / is afraid to fall off’. It’s a very old phrase, a very old saying. And all of this shit was then going down in America…I don’t know if you’ve seen the news today, but there has been another shooting in Fort Lauderdale…

It was just the stupidity of out-dated American gun laws, and the failure of the Government to act and that whole thing. That was all happening at the time that Damon sent me that riff, so I just fired off the lyric.

It’s an angry riff and it deserves an angry lyric.

And that’s what Who Rides The Tiger is about.

TUN: Was that song written before or after a song like Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed, because thematically there seems to be a link there?

RW: Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed came first. That’s from a conversation that I had with some guy.

You know, it was just one of those weird things where I was at the park with my little girl – quite a few years ago now, actually.

She was three at the time, and she needed to use the bathroom. I brought her into the bathroom, and there was this guy in there.

He’d obviously been living on the streets for quite some time, and the first thing he says to me is, ‘Hey man, don’t push those fucking shoes at me, man.’ And I’m like, ‘What? Have you got a problem, mate? I’m here with my little girl – watch what you’re saying…’

And he goes, ‘No, no, no – you don’t understand!’

My little girl is hiding behind me in terror at this guy by then, but he starts opening up. We walk outside and he starts telling me about his life.

I don’t know if it was true or not, that he’d been to Vietnam and he’d done his time, and he had these conspiracy theories…it was just stuff he was coming out with.

Everything was a quote. Everything was so wonderful. And I talked to him for about half an hour, and we left and I thought, ‘I’ve just got to remember this and write a song about it.’

And the last thing he had said to me was, ‘Don’t think too much ‘cause it could get you killed.’ I thought, ‘That’s brilliant! I’m having that!’ You know what I mean?

So, with a lot of our stuff I’ll write the lyric first or I’ll have the lyrics and then we’ll have the guitar riffs and the melodies and we’ll see what works with what and what fits. That’s how that song came about, we had got the bass groove going for it, with a kind of Clash guitar…stuff going on in the choruses, you know, and it just evolved from there.

TUN: That was an amazing story about the guy in the public bathroom, just showing how song ideas can just come to you from the strangest of places…

RW: Yeah, I just wished I remembered them all. That was just one of those times. Usually, you tend to forget them, but that guy was so amazing, and so…

TUN: Impossible to forget?

RW: …On fire. I don’t know if that’s the word I’m looking for.

I just walked away pretty much remembering everything he told me in our conversation.

TUN: The second single from the album is Testify Or Say Goodbye, which was previewed on the internet just a couple of days ago, and it seems to me to be an instant classic, right up there with Finest Hour and The Killer Instinct, as one of your best…

RW: Thank you.

TUN: How’s the reaction to the song been since it was previewed?

 RW: Oh, it’s been really good!

We knew it was a special song when we wrote it. I mean, I’ve always been a big fan of Northern Soul and Tamla Motown, and the whole Stax thing – the whole Detroit scene. And that was a big influence.

I wanted to write a song with that feel and that vibe musically. So I sat down to do that.

Again, the lyric I had was from a poem that I had already written. The verses were from a poem that I’d written a couple of years ago. They instantly seemed to fit in with the whole flow of the music that we were working on.

It’s a very positive song. Basically, I just wanted to write a song about standing up for what you believe in. You know – speak your piece, or don’t speak at all.

In the end I think that’s the meaning behind it. Yes, it’s a big, bad world. Yes, there’s a lot of crazy people out there, but, we’re all here – so get up, make the best of it. Try and be a good person. Try and do your thing. Try and do what makes you happy, and try to spread the love.

I think that’s what we tried to get across in that song.

TUN: That does come across. It’s got such a great vibe to it.

RW: Thank you.

TUN: You just said that you always liked Tamla Motown and similar sounds. Looking at you specifically, and your path through your career – starting off in cover bands…

RW: Yeah.

TUN: …Then you spent time in punk bands, like New Model Army, then moved into classic hard rock and some of your recent solo stuff is more acoustic, so you obviously have a very diverse range of musical tastes.

 Has that made writing easier for you? Songwriting comes easy to you, you said, is that because you can draw ideas from just about any style?

RW: Yeah, I do. And that’s why I listen to anything and everything – as long as its got some soul and its got meaning behind it, I’ll be a fan of it.

That could be dance music. That could be Slayer. That could be Discharge. Could be Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. It doesn’t matter to me, I just like to consume it all.

It’s like, ‘Why are they playing that? Why is that melody working over that bass riff?’ And I love it. I get a buzz out of it. ‘Why did they record the drums that way?’

It’s just fascinating for me, and it’s a fire in me that just never seems to go out, or wane.

TUN: If I can digress, just a little, away from Black Star Riders, your ‘twofer’ double album, When Patsy Cline Was Crazy And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues and Hearts On Trees, only came out here last year. I had it in my top ten for the year…

RW: Oh, thanks man!

TUN: …and to follow on from what you were just talking about, the title track where you talk about your dad getting you to play the 45s for him when you were a kid, I’m guessing that it’s autobiographical as it sounds too real not to be…

RW: Yeah, totally.

I’m sure you are aware that I wrote that double album with a really good friend of mine, Sam Robinson, and him and I, we’re both from East Belfast and we support the same soccer team and had very similar upbringings.

We wanted to write an album about where we’re from and the influence it had on us, and about the people we knew. Not specifically about ‘the troubles’ – honestly, that’s been done to death – but more about the people at the heart of ‘the troubles’, and the places, and the times, and the sounds, and the smells.

I don’t know what it’s like in Oz, but in Northern Ireland they’ve always had a huge love of country music and, no matter where you went, there was always a Patsy Cline album in somebody’s house when I was a kid.1000x1000

The song is true. That’s what our dads did. They were working class guys.

Our dads would finish work at the end of the week, have a flutter on the horses and, if their horse came in, their mates would come over, the whiskey would come out, and the cards would come out.

Being eight or nine years old, you’d just be in awe of these big men sitting around the table having worked all week, and they’d all be cursing and swearing and playing cards. And your dad would be going, ‘Go on – put that Elvis record on’ or, ‘Put that Johnny Cash record on’, or, ‘Put that Patsy Cline record on.’

They were magical times, and it was our first introduction into music. That experience was my first real taste of what music was all about. And what a great way to start.

TUN: Yeah, exactly. My heritage is Welsh, before my family emigrated to Australia, and my dad’s hero was Chet Atkins, so we heard country guitar at home all the time…

RW: Oh, fantastic!

TUN: …and he’d get his mates around and if it wasn’t Chet it would be Welsh choirs or Django Reinhardt…

RW: Aw, beautiful stuff! And that would make you appreciate your heritage as well. I don’t think you realise that so much at the time.

Certainly, as time goes on and you start to look back, you do. For me, and I know for Sam when we co-wrote that song, we now know what a huge part that time played in shaping us and our lives.

TUN: Well, another solo track of yours, Tank McCullough Saturdays – I probably played that track more than anything last year –  even though I know it was about a local football legend, or inspired by him, it had that chorus: ‘For everyone I ever needed / For everyone I ever believed in / I won’t cry no more’, and it seemed so apt in 2016, because we were losing so many people who had been so important to people in their formative years…

 RW: Absolutely! It is.

You know, I lost my father in January of last year – it’ll be a year next week since I lost him quite unexpectedly. He was a fair age but he was in fairly good shape until he passed suddenly – and you know [that song] now becomes even more relevant.

Sam also lost his dad a few years ago too, but there we were just writing about being eight or nine years old, and going to the football with our dads: the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the characters…and the whole thing that went on back then on a Saturday morning; the excitement of going to see your team play.

We just wanted to try and capture that in a song as best we could.

And ‘Tank’ McCullough was the centre-half for Glentoran, you know, and he was a local legend. Hence, the song title…

TUN: I have to compliment you, because that song transcends regionality and really strikes a universal chord…

RW: Oh, thanks for saying that! And that’s really important that you said that, because we were very aware when we were writing it that we didn’t just want people to go, ‘Well, what are they singing about? I don’t know these places, I don’t know these people. Why is that relevant to me?’

So we were very careful to make sure that, whilst we were writing about what we knew, that somebody like yourself, on the other side of the world, could go, ‘I can identify with that.’

I think we achieved that, and the fact that you’re saying that now means a lot. That’s really, really cool, you know.

TUN: The solo album took two years to be released though, so what was the cause of the delay? It had an initial limited release a few years back…

RW:  I did it originally through the Pledge campaign [a crowd-funding site]. So it first came out towards the end of 2014 for everybody who had pledged and helped fund the actual making of the album.

So when that was done, and we had closed the pledge period down, I then did a licensing deal with Nuclear Blast to actually re-release it properly on a worldwide basis. That obviously took a bit of time to negotiate and put together, so that really accounted for the delay in getting it out there.

TUN: Well, I’m glad you did!

RW: Thank you.

TUN: Let’s get back to talking about Black Star Riders – even though I could continue talking about your solo album a bit longer, I better not!

RW: No, hey, that’s cool! I’m happy to! It’s no problem…

TUN: Do you think, three albums in as Black Star Riders, that the brave decision, I thought, to change the band’s moniker from Thin Lizzy to Black Star Riders, has now been vindicated? Do you feel you are now an entity in your own right, and that people look forward to going to see Black Star Riders, and are not disappointed that they are not hearing the Thin Lizzy repertoire?

RW: Yeah, I know for a fact that that is the case.

As time’s gone on, and we’ve toured, there have been less and less Thin Lizzy songs within the Black Star Riders set.

In fact – by the time we came off the road at the end of 2015, after being on tour with Def Leppard and Whitesnake, we were only playing, I think, three Thin Lizzy songs in the set.

And I know, that now with over thirty songs at our disposal, and with the band being so established, we’ll probably only do one or two Thin Lizzy songs in our set on our next tour.

To be in that situation, and to be dismissive of such an amazing, wonderful, iconic, influential band is nothing short of a miracle.

We knew that people would say to us, ‘Yeah, we get it’ when we went, ‘OK, we are not going to record under the name Thin Lizzy’.

But people thought that was just the end of that, and that we would just keep touring as Thin Lizzy. But obviously we had written songs that we believed in and we wanted to move forward. So we said to people that we were going to change the name and they were all saying, ‘You’re mad. You’re crazy. Nobody will get it.’

We didn’t know what would happen – we were terrified with All Hell Breaks Loose too, you know – were people really going to care? Were they going to get it? Or were they just going to want us to get back out there playing as Lizzy?

So, the fact that we’re four years into the band now, and that I’m sitting here talking to you about our third record, is just testimony to the people out there for supporting us, and, I think, to ourselves for sticking to our guns – and it was absolutely the right decision to do it.

I mean, one hundred percent the right decision.

Even more importantly, looking back now, the idea that we briefly considered recording new Thin Lizzy material without Phil [Lynott] horrifies me.

Playing those wonderful songs live, and keeping them alive, and bringing in people who had never seen Lizzy, and spreading Phil’s gospel, as I call it, bringing the Thin Lizzy sound to new people and to people who want to go back and relive those songs again and hear them live, that’s all one thing. That’s totally cool, and it’s great – it is what it is.

But, I think, to record without Phil would have been a travesty in my opinion.

And changing the name and moving forward was I feel, a hundred percent the right thing to do.

TUN: I agree with you. And it helps that you have got such strong songs that actually sound like a natural evolution from the Lizzy sound.

RW: Cheers, I appreciate that, thank you.

TUN: I love your voice, but one of the secrets of the success of the band, is that whilst lots of bands have lost their original singers and tried to replace them and failed – Queen and INXS come to mind – your voice, whilst not being Phil’s voice, just seems to have a natural, complimentary quality to it.

 You have the phrasing that just seems to fit so well. So when you first joined the band – was that your natural voice? Or did you tailor it a little bit to fit the Lizzy sound more closely?

RW: Well, first of all, credit must go to Scott Gorham for recognising that I am me. I mean, I’ve known Scott for a long time and when Scott offered me the gig I think he knew how much of a Lizzy fan I was, and I think he knew I could do the songs justice.

But when Scott went, ‘You’re the new lead singer of Thin Lizzy’, suddenly that changed everything.

How was I going to replace someone who, to me, was the greatest rock and roll frontman in the world?

Well, you can’t replace him.

So, OK, I thought, ‘He’s irreplaceable – what do I do?’

I always say I couldn’t stand in his shoes, so I’d try and stand beside him, as best I could. And that’s what I tried to do.

I immersed myself in it. I knew that people wanted to hear the songs as close to the way that Phil would have delivered them as possible, but not in a tribute band, cheesy kind of way.

 TUN: Yeah, exactly.

RW: So it was trying to walk that line of: ‘OK – Phil was edgy. Phil was aggressive. Phil was passionate. Phil was a great frontman.’

I think I’m edgy. I think I’m passionate. You know, I think I’m a pretty good frontman. I think I am – I believe in myself.

I believed that I could put my own slant on the role without being disrespectful, and without tarnishing the legacy. And so that’s what I tried to do.

I mean, I’m a fan. When I close my eyes and think of Thin Lizzy, I see Phil Lynott. I don’t see Thin Lizzy with me singing. I see it with Phil – and that’s the way it always should be.

I’m just carrying the torch. I’m just keeping those songs warm and bringing them out there.

So, the long answer to your question is – I studied the band for three years. I studied Phil’s lyrics. I studied the man more closely than I ever had. I read stuff about him, I read his poetry.

You know, for six months, I didn’t listen to anything else.

My wife works in the music industry and she’s always bringing stuff home, you know, ‘Hey check this band out’, and what have you. And I said, ‘No’. All I would listen to was Thin Lizzy.

I had lyrics stuck on the fridge. I had them stuck on the stairs. I’d be taking my little girl to school and we’d be singing Lizzy songs in the car.

So I totally consumed myself in Thin Lizzy and I think that changed the way that I sing.

I think, as I’ve got older, my voice has developed more as well, which helps. In The Almighty I just shouted. And that was fine – I just tried to shout in tune. Being aggressive and being loud, that was what The Almighty was all about.

When I started doing the solo records it was actually [Def Leppard’s] Joe Elliott going: ‘You know, you can sing. I’ve heard you – you don’t have to shout to get your point across. Why don’t you just try singing?’

And he was right. He really coaxed me into developing a singing style, as opposed to just shouting. So, I give him credit for that.

And my voice has just matured, I mean, studying Phil and Lizzy during the time I was first in the band – well, now it’s just engrained in me. I think that’s just part of who I am now, do you know what I mean?

TUN: I do.

RW: That was a very long-winded answer to your question. (Laughs) I’m sorry! (Continues laughing)

TUN: No, that was a great visual of the lyrics being displayed around your house stuck on your stairs, and on your fridge…

RW: Yeah, yeah…you know it is funny.

I’ve got a great story I’ll tell you about my little girl.

She’s nine now, but when I first had the Lizzy gig she was only three. And I was taking her to day-care, and we were driving along and singing The Boys Are Back In Town, a song which she loves.

It gets to the bit that goes… (Hums a guitar lick)

You know that part in the song?

 TUN: Yep.

RW: And I was singing along with the dual guitar hook, and when it gets to that bit at the end, all I can hear from the back of the car is, ‘Elmo. Elmo’s bedtime!

So, I’m like, ‘Great!’ And now every time we play the song live I’ve got this vision, when we get to that part, of Elmo’s bedtime! (Laughs)

 Nothing like a three-year old to bring you back to earth and take the wind out of your sails!

TUN: If I could ask you a couple of quick last questions – I know that we are running out of time…

RW: Go for it.

TUN: According to the internet, you are actually making an independent movie with your good friend, Joe Elliott and Al Jourgenson from Ministry as well as Joey Santiago from the Pixies. What’s that all about?

RW: Well, I was asked to be in it by the young fellow who was making it. He was trying to put together a crowd-funding campaign. I don’t really know what happened to it.

That all started two to three years ago and there was a lot of fuss about it, like it was going to happen.

I don’t know if the funding came through…it kind of just went dead in the water. I’m not stressing over it.

I mean I got a phone call – ‘Would you like to be in a movie with Joe Elliott, Al Jourgenson and Joey Santiago?’

I know Joe and Joey, and Al Jourgenson from Ministry, well, obviously, great band… so I said, ‘Yeah! Fuck, that sounds great!’ but, that was the limit of my involvement in it.

[I said], ‘You know I’m not an actor, what do you need me to do?’

He said, ‘You will play an Irish drug dealer.’ And I thought, ‘Well I think I can actually do that!’ (Laughs)

But then it just went quiet, unfortunately, and I never heard anything else about it. And I haven’t heard anything else about it for a year, or year and a half now. So I don’t really know where the guy is up to with the project.

TUN: And as time goes by, the logistics get too hard don’t they, so it might not eventuate?

RW: Well, that’s it. People start getting busy, and tours get booked…I think I’d be a terrible actor anyway, so maybe it’s all for the best!

TUN: Now, I’ve got one Thin Lizzy question that has been bugging me for years…

RW: Go for it man, go for it…

TUN: There was a snippet in the newspaper, I don’t know, maybe about five or so years ago, where it was reported that an old colleague of Phil Lynott had came forward and said that he had a cache of Thin Lizzy recordings that were the equivalent of something like seventy new albums worth of material…

RW: Yep.

TUN: And then Scott Gorham was reported as saying the band were working through the material and they would be putting out a box set at some stage, but I’ve heard nothing about this since.

 And of course, as a Lizzy fan, it is like, ‘What’s going on? When are we going to hear that stuff?’ So do you know anything about that?

RW: Yeah, there’s this Swedish guy called Perls, a great guy, a lovely man, and he was a very close friend of Phil’s.

He had a lot of stuff that Phil left him – recordings and demos and stuff like that.

I know he’s working through all that and trying to put something together, and has been for some time.

I mean, I think it was touted about there was something like three hundred songs, blah blah blah…There’s nowhere near that amount, but there’s certainly a lot of stuff. He’s got early demos of The Boys Are Back In Town with different lyrics, which is kind of amazing, and uncanny when you hear it.

The guy’s played me some of it.  I think he’s even got some of the demos from – I don’t know whether you know this, but Phil went and did some recordings with Huey Lewis & The News when he was working with them in America – so he’s got stuff like that.

It’s not really my business, so I don’t know where it will get to. But as a fan – like yourself – as a huge Lizzy fan, I wanted to hear that stuff, so he very kindly played me some of it when I was in Sweden last year.

I think he’s working with Universal to try and put something together, and I don’t know if it will be one album, or two or whatever, but it is definitely being worked on.

TUN: I’m glad it hasn’t disappeared into the ether, because it certainly got me salivating when I read that stuff was out there…

RW: Oh, there’s definitely some good stuff there, but certainly not in the kind of amounts that everybody was bandying about. But there’s definitely some very interesting stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day yet, and I think it would be great if people could hear it. I mean, why not?

TUN: OK, last question – and it has to be asked.

 It is going to be a busy year for you guys, touring a new album, but is Australia going to be on the itinerary at anytime in the near future?

RW: Listen man, we would come there in a heartbeat.

You know, it’s the old thing. It’s financial – you’ve got to make it work. And obviously, we were there three – no, four – years ago with Thin Lizzy and we had a wonderful time.

It’s a country I love very much, and so yeah, absolutely.

I know we are trying to talk to promoters and see if we can come down there and play because we’d love to. It’s a no-brainer for us.

 TUN: Well, if it does come about – beg them to put Adelaide on the itinerary because we get left off far too often…

RW: Yes, that would be good, eh? It would be very good.

I mean. It’s been awhile. As I said, four years since we were there last time, and my first time was way back in 1991 with The Almighty when we toured with The Screaming Jets. I think my liver is still trying to recover from that one!

We did six weeks with those guys. It was just the best time. We had such a laugh! Obviously it was our first time, and obviously we were a lot younger back then but we got to go to crazy places like, you know, Broken Hill, and Wagga Wagga and all those places…

TUN: The classic Australian pub touring circuit…

RW: Dave Gleeson’s got a radio show now, I believe, is that right?

TUN: I heard that he had – but I haven’t heard his show myself. He’s still playing gigs and being pretty active…

RW: Oh that’s cool. Good stuff.

TUN: Thanks so much for giving me so much of your time…

RW: No man – thank you! It was great. Great questions, and I’m really happy you like the solo album so much. I’ll actually pass that on to Sam Robinson over in Belfast. He’ll be delighted to hear that someone on the other side of the world is vibing on our stuff. That’s great.

Black Star Riders’ new album, Heavy Fire is released worldwide through Nuclear Blast Entertainment on February 3.

 Ricky Warwick’s paired solo albums, When Patsy Cline Was Crazy And Guy Mitchell Sang the Blues and Hearts On Trees are out now, also through Nuclear Blast Entertainment.