By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
When I think about great Irish singers, I usually go with names like Phil Lynott, Sinéad O’Connor, Van Morrison, Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, and most importantly, Bono. All of these fantastic vocalists have made their mark in music, but I feel that there is one out there who is underrated. I am talking about Ricky Warwick, the slick frontman of The Almighty and Black Star Riders. He is one of my favorite hard rock singers who caught my ear when he became the lead vocalist for Thin Lizzy. From there, he and Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham started the Black Star Riders, a spin-off of Thin Lizzy where he truly shined. Warwick also has a successful solo career where he is about to drop his 8th release, When Life Was Hard and Fast. When I was asked if I wanted to interview him, I jumped at the chance.
My first question was in regard to the meaning behind the name Black Star Riders. According to Warwick, when they were writing the first album All Hell Breaks Loose, they could not find a good name to settle on. Then, while watching the Western classic Tombstone, he wrote some words and phrases coming from the film where he ended up choosing Black Star Riders. When Life Was Hard and Fast was created with Buckcherry’s former guitarist Keith Nelson. He told me how he hooked up with Nelson and what the process was like writing with him, especially on the first single “Fighting Heart.” I told him the song that really grabbed my attention was “Time Don’t Seem to Matter,” a tune that Warwick wrote for his daughter Pepper, who actually sings on that song. He goes on to tell me where the inspiration for that song came from. One of his favorite songs off the album was “You Don’t Love Me,” which features Thunder guitarist Luke Morley. We would go on to talk about The Almighty’s debut album, Blood, Fire and Love, which recently turned 30 years old. His album will also have a bonus CD that has covers of different songs he likes, such as Johnny Cash’s “Cocaine Blues” and Britney Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again.”
Warwick was a true Irish gentleman who loves to entertain his fans. He is a rocker who is not afraid to take certain risks when it comes to writing songs. What I did enjoy towards the end of our chat was the debate of who was the better Temptations frontman, David Ruffin or Dennis Edwards. I have heard a little bit of When Life Was Hard and Fast, and I look forward to the rest of album after hearing his joy of making it. To Ricky Warwick, I salute you. Horns up, and hit me baby one more time!!!
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