DATE OF INTERVIEW:
12th January 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: What we can expect from you on this tour?
RICKY WARWICK: You can expect me to go up there and play the songs with as much attitude and passion and energy as I put in everything I do! Lizzy is sooo important for me. It’s such a huge honour to be part of this band...it’s overwhelming. Every night is inspirational for me. I just can’t believe I am in this band! [laughs]
(Ricky Warwick reminiscing on memories of The Almighty from 1993)
"...the craziest thing I can ever remember was when we played with Metallica at Milton Keynes with The Almighty, playing in front of 80,000 people. And the next day we were to fly to America where our first show was in Boston...but this time it was a Metallica tribute band, just 40 hours after we played with the real Metallica...kind of ironic!"
Interview by Marija Brettle
Ricky Warwick, Promo Shot, 2007
Photograph copyright © 2007 Ralf Strathmann
MD: Well, you better start believing!
RW: [Laughs] Nooo, it’s so surreal. I mean, I wake up every morning with a big smile on my face going, “oh my God, I am in Thin Lizzy!” It is a fantastic feeling! Or the best feeling ever, really, although it is a nerve-wracking experience every night because there is big expectation of you, so I wanna do the best I can; I want everybody to be happy, to enjoy it, and that’s a lot of pressure!
MD: How did you get on with Scott; did you know him from before?
RW: Scott...I met him about twenty years ago and we ended up going to Donington together, hanging out and became good friends and stayed friends. And when I was doing my first solo record, Joe Elliot bumped into Scott and Scott said to him, “Joe, what are you working on at the moment?” And he said that he was just working on my new record. Scott said, “oh, I know Ricky, why don’t you call him over and play some great guitar, on a record”. And that was it; we stayed in touch ever since. And I guess when the vacancy came up when they put the band back together, my name came up and I just got call from him. He said, “do you wanna sing?”; I said, “yeah, absolutely so!” [laughs]
MD: Some would say that you were the most obvious choice to step in the latest Thin Lizzy line-up. Well, you are a brilliant guitarist, songwriter, and you have a great vocal range...and to add to all that, you and Phil are both very passionate, talented and Irish frontmen.
RW: Sure, thank you! I know that entire Irish thing was going in my favour. I know Scott wanted to get back to more of a Celtic vibe with the new Thin Lizzy...so that obviously helped. Yeah, it felt right and feels right. It doesn’t feel like I am standing on anybody’s toes...and the vibe‘s great!
MD: How do you look on your time with The Almighty?
RW: With great pride...good memories. Very, very proud of what we stood for as a band and what we achieved and what we did. Because we were really young when we started, we just used to sit in a local pub and plan everything about world domination! [laughs] We were like coming from little places up from Scotland and we took on the world and we did it on our own terms, and it makes me very, very proud of what we did.
MD: So how come The Almighty called it a day just after you finished your last album? What was the real reason?
RW: I just think that the band had gone as far as it could.
MD: Did you reach the point when, creatively, you couldn’t offer more?
RW: No, creatively we felt we reached the point when we weren’t in a band any more. We felt we weren’t pulling together in one direction anymore. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore; it wasn’t fun anymore. I felt it wasn’t as tight as it had been and I felt we just reached the end of the road. It wasn’t The Almighty anymore and all what we stood for as a band in the first place. I thought the worst we can do is just keep dragging it on. So it was right to walk away at that point.
RW: But then you reformed?
RW: Yeah, we reformed but it was out of boredom, I think, more than anything. We got really good offers to play in Japan and we couldn’t turn it down. We went and did it and had a lot of fun, and then we were asked to do another album, which we did and it was all okay for a while. Then it just didn’t feel right so I left again to start doing my solo thing. Then our bass player Pete Friesen was really sick...but thank god he bit that...
MD: When you went solo, was it liberating for you creatively?
RW: Yeah, that’s why for all selfish reasons for some time I didn’t wanna be in a band. I don’t wanna be arguing with anybody. Just the fact that you’re up there on your own just with your acoustic guitar, having fun. There is not added pressure of not having four more people there to back you up or feed off. I make a record that I want to make. It was a vastly different thing to anything that I have done ever before. And Joe Elliot helped me in doing that. I always will eternally be grateful to Joe for that, because he gave me confidence and respected the vision I had to make those two solo records. So yeah, its liberating, the whole solo stuff. It’s just a bit challenging…nerve-wracking. I tour with this acoustic guitar and it’s really simple; really stripped down and easy. Very different from all I did before. With The Almighty it was all different...just a whole of volume, and there are three/four guys playing their hearts out onstage.
MD: I like the video of your single, ‘The Whiskey Song’...did you shoot it in Belfast?
RW: The song is basically about all those Irish strong workers working on those shipyards in Belfast…the heavy industry that surrounded the river Lagan was powered by all those hard working, hard drinking whiskey chasers at the end of a long working day. When I was growing up, the pubs around the shipyard in the east part of the town were always filled with all those hard drinking artisans who sought solace in drinking a pint and a whiskey. It is a very iconic thing in Belfast - the shipyards...towering cranes. When I was a little kid I always wanted to be up on top of one of those cranes. [laughs] So when we started shooting the video for this song we got the camera on one of those cranes; we got permission to shoot the video. We got a great view of Belfast in the background...it was kind of revisiting some part of my childhood.
MD: What was the biggest highlight for you during The Almighty?
RW: Ohhh my God, that must be Donington! Just an amazing, unbelievable experience! Just another dream come true. Actually, beyond our dreams...playing that day in front of some 80 thousand people was mind blowing.
MD: Well, you were huge then and had a pretty impressive fanbase as I can remember.
RW: It was a huge thing for us at that time. Everything was going great with the band.
MD: Tell me more about your work with New Model Army?
RW: That was a pretty short period. It was only a year. Still a very important period for me musically as it was my first taste of being on the stage and on the road...my first proper paid tour that I did. That was amazing. I learned a lot from those guys. Justin is a fantastic songwriter. I’m still very good friends with all of them. In fact, Justin came along to see me down in Leeds.
MD: Looking back to your entire journey in music, are there any regrets or some moments when you feel like doing it differently?
RW: You know, I wish I had more of a business head in the early days of my career…wish I kept a close eye on what was going on a business side of it. And, believe me, lots of bands made the same mistakes...we were as guilty as anybody. I have no regrets at all! I been able to live the dream for 25 years; able to support myself, my family and you can’t ask for anything more than that.
MD: As your UK tour started with great success, are there any plans to spread touring further, like USA or Japan?
RW: Yeah, there is some talk about going to America. We’re talking about Australia, Japan , so this is just the start. I hope so, because I am loving it! [laughs]
MD: Here is one clichéd question - being for so many years in this business, is there anything crazy happened to you or have you got any amusing stories to share with us?
RW: Yeah, there is always something crazy and stupid happen when you are on the road. [laughs] I mean, the craziest thing I can ever remember was when we played with Metallica at Milton Keynes with The Almighty, playing in front of 80,000 people. And the next day we were to fly to America where our first show was in Boston. We were playing with Metallica again but this time it was a Metallica tribute band, just 40 hours after we played with the real Metallica...kind of ironic! [laughs] There are always some road stories but these days I don’t party much any more like I used to do in a early days with The Almighty. These days I am behaving very well like any other good man.
MD: I should think so, having a beautiful family...
RW: Lots of stuff happens when you are on the road, believe me...and I don’t even go there right now.
MD: What is your favourite Thin Lizzy song?
RW: ‘Do Anything You Want To’...a very relevant song of what I was thinking before I joined Thin Lizzy. Here I am tonight, playing with one of my favourite bands.. the band that once inspired me! Yeah, playing on stage with four brilliantly talented guys, having a blast! I still kind of get a shock when I look at Scott on stage or Darren and Brian next to me. And that’s why I am happy tonight and every night! And to top it all, everybody else is having a great time! There is not much more I can ask for!
Thin Lizzy Official Website:
For comprehensive Thin Lizzy discography, visit:
Thanks to Jen Normandale for arranging the interview.
Rick Warwick Official Website:
Rick Warwick Official MySpace:
For Ricky Warwick solo discography, visit: