Sunday, February 3, 2013

THIN LIZZY : Greater than Guiness

I was asked, why the bands so far on the blog? is the answer,....There are few among us who can say that they have seen all their favourite bands...I cant, BUT I have seen a few, and they are bands Ive stuck loyal too, I was trying to figure out why, then it occured that all the bands I like, for the most part, visited aussie in the mid 70's, so it must be a case of "if you can be bothered to pop in and say g'day, then your on my list of best bands...simple really...... a band Ive seen twice....Thin Lizzy ......Seen them at full roar, on the steps of the Sydney Opera House in 19 and 78  with 30, 000 of my closet mates and then saw them in Holland in 2010, just after Ricky Warwick took up the microphone, and a good job he does [just quietly]...In '78 at the Sydney Opera House ( or the steps thereof anyway ), Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham and Gary Moore bashed us liberally about the hearing equipment for a couple of hours and rest assured, a good time was had by all that afternoon.....

.the first time I heard Lizzy was the 45 they released of Whiskey in the Jar...quite the homage to Eire if there ever was one, and still one of, NO, my favourite Lizzy Tunes...most of the world got onto the boys when the famous "Boys are back in town" was released...

After playing in bands like the Black Eagles and similar, Phil, Brian and Eric Bell, hooked up, and Eric while reading Eric Claptons favourite comic The Beano, found a female robot called Tin Lizzie and with a couple of tweeks, they had a band name they all agreed on..

.they gigged around Eire for a bit, got signed by Decca and packed up and left Ireland, but they landed in London to a massive wave of who gives a crap...UNTIL....they put Whiskey on vinyl, that was and they were off and running...they gigged around for a while on the strength of the album, BUT after a few stinks with Phil about his perfectionist attitude and after downing massive amounts of whiskey, beer and hash, Eric decided to pull the pin and go home and dry out...and just quietly it was probably a good thing otherwise he woulda been the first Lizzy casualty.

Gary Moore sat in for Eric for a bit but split and Lizzy toured Germany with two guitarists then their Decca deal ran out after releasing "Vagabonds of the western world" and the single "The Rocker" this stage Brian Downey had a proper case of the shits and retired, Phil begged him to come back,  Phil proposed the idea that two guitarists has to better than one RIGHT?" and if one leaves we would still have one that knows the stuff, Downey agreed, so 17 year old, mad as a hatter, Glaswegian, Brian "Robbo" Robertson joined and, just before his work visa ran out, tall, yanky guy Scott Gorham auditioned on a piece of crap guitar that clearly got the point across and he joined the group...this line-up released "Nightlife" and toured the States with Bob Seger and Bachman -Turner Overdrive.

The boys released "Fighting" which actually charted in the U.K, then after doing a multi band tour as support to Status Quo, Lizzy released "The Boys are back in town" and "Jailbreak" both stunning successes, the lads toured the state again with Aerosmith, Rush and REO Speedwagon, then Phil did a Brian May in America and got Hepatitis (what is it about pommy (or irish) muso's and hepatitis when touring the states?, can
anyone smell conspiracy)

While he was crook, Phil wrote 90% of Johnny the Fox, releasing the single "Dont believe a word", they were getting ready to tour America again with Queen this time, when the night before leaving, instead of packing, Robbo had a stink at the Speakeasy in London and nearly lost a finger in a glassing incident, hardly good news for a axe slinger...Phil was filthy with Robbo and called Garry Moore to plug into the stack,  Phil
asked Moore to stay but he had Colosseum II going and didnt hang around, Lizzy toured Canada as trio after Moore left, then hit the studio to record what would become "Bad Reputation" ...Scott did all the guitar parts for the first month, then Robbo showed up, but unsure of his position, told people he was only a session player, Phil said he was a guest, the single "Dancing in the moonlight" was released and the album hit # 4, the boys headlined Reading in '77 (Robbo included).

Then came 78 and the release of Classic Rocks magazine GREATEST LIVE ALBUM EVER...Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous, with Robbo, Scott, Phil and Brian giving it some welly, there is a dispute by Tony Visconti that everything was overdubbed, well, not the audience, BUT I for one dont fkn care, its a great album.

Anyway, Robbo split to form Wild Horses with Jimmy Bain (of Rainbow), speaking of which, Lizzy hooked up with Jimmy, and Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook to form a "Super "group called Greedy Bastards....WHERE WAS I...oh yeah, Robbo "left"  and Gary Moore once again plugged in and they toured the states and also crossed my path on the 78 tour of Aussie and En Zed, except Brian, he had pneumonia....rockin gig it was.

When they got back home they re-grouped and recorded "A Black Rose" with the resulting 45's "Waiting for an Alibi"and "Sarah".... it was about this time that some serious "class A "narcotics started fucking with Phil and Scott, Garry had enough and pulled the pin mid-tour, he said later he could of done it differently, but he had to get out of the situation.

For some bizarre reason, maybe it was the smack, but Phil had Midge ure from Ultravox play with the band on tour, dont get me wrong, I like Midge.. BUT WHAT THA?...Come 1980 and while Lynott searched for the second axe, he recorded "Solo in Soho" with various ex-lizzys and a Thin LIzzy band album "Chinatown", the 45 Killer on the Loose was released on the same day that "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe got pinched (can anyone say IRONIC), much shite publicity followed.....

ANYWAY... Snowy White from Pink Floyd got the spot as second axe slinger....trouble is Snowy always felt he was only a session player...a greatest hits package was released in 1981 called "The adventures of Thin Lizzy"...then came the "Renegade " album, but,  its been said that Phil wasn't listening to any opinion by this stage and kept releasing songs he only liked, and to be fair there is some dross on the album.

Comes 1982 and Downey had enough and Scotty collapsed from smack induced exhaustion....Phil  carried on regardless, Snowy left and John Sykes took up the axe, and along with Sykesy released "Thunder and Lightning" a cracker album to be fair...the resulting tour would be the farewell tour although Sykesy wanted to keep going.....Lizzy had a bad tour of Japan, due to the lack of available heroin in the country...they got
back to the U.K and played their final gig on Sept 4 1983 at the Reading Festival...word has it that the set sucked badly, shame really...Scott faded away to get clean and play golf, Brian took a break from everything music related , Sykesy started working with Coverdale and Phil did various solo projects, some good, like Grand Slam, and the Out in the Fields "song with Gazza Moore....some, not so much.

Phil's health started to go sideways and his ever faithful mom, Philomena got her boy to hospital, he started looking good then took a sudden and fatal turn and Phil passed into music history on January 4th 1986.


There have been many a tribute for Phil since then and even a band with Downey and Robbo and a couple of mates calling themselves Thin Lizzy -A tribute to the music of Phil Lynott (long fkn name) in 1991.

In 1996 John Sykes on lead vocal, got the band going again with Downey, Gorham and Darren Wharton coming back with Marco Mendoza playing bass...they recorded a live album called "One night only"......Brian left after a while and Tommy Aldridge took up the drum seat, this line-up lasted till 2000 when Mendoza nicked off to play with Nugent.

2000 -2003 :
Scott left to play with his band 21 Guns and Sykes released a couple of solo albums

2004 - 2009: Scott and Sykes brought in Randy Gregg and Michael Lee with Mendoza and Aldridge flitting in and out, they played supporting Deep Purple and did a couple of tours of their own, Scott said that Phil still got the loudest cheers of the night, anyway after a few accidents and what have you, they pulled the pin

2010 - 2011

in '10, Scott reformed Lizzy with Brian, Darren Wharton and Vivain Campbell on guitar and Ricky Warwick...then came a slight re-shuffle Viv went back to Leppard and and the band carried on with a variety of second guitarists ....then in 2011, the band decided to pull the pin, Ricky Warwick said that this doesnt mean that Lizzy would be gone for good....Ricky and Scott still play together as The Black Star Riders.

When I'm in England, I say I'm from Ireland
Whem I'm in Ireland, I say I'm from Dublin
When I'm in Dublin, I say I'm from Crumlin
When I'm in Crumlin,I say I'm from Leighlin Road
When I'm in Leighlin Road, I say i'm a Lynott

Band members

Current members
Brian Downey – drums (1969–83, 1996–98, 2010–present)
Scott Gorham – guitar, backing vocals (1974–83, 1996–2001, 2004–present)
Darren Wharton – keyboards, vocals (1981–83, 1996–2001, 2010–present)
Marco Mendoza – bass guitar, backing vocals (1996–2001, 2005–07, 2010–present)
Ricky Warwick – lead vocals, occasional guitar (2010–present)
Damon Johnson – guitar, backing vocals (2011–present)

Former members
Phil Lynott – bass guitar, lead vocals (1969–83; died 1986)
Eric Bell – guitar, backing vocals (1969–73)
Eric Wrixon – keyboards, backing vocals (1969–70)
Gary Moore – guitar, backing vocals (1974, 1977, 1978–79; died 2011)
Brian Robertson – guitar, backing vocals (1974–78)
Midge Ure – guitar, keyboards and backing vocals (1979–80)
Dave Flett – guitar, backing vocals (1979)
Snowy White – guitar, backing vocals (1980–82)
John Sykes – guitar, lead and backing vocals (1982–83, 1996–2001, 2004–09)
Tommy Aldridge – drums (1998–2001, 2007–09)
Randy Gregg – bass guitar, backing vocals (2004–05)
Michael Lee – drums (2004–07; died 2008)
Francesco DiCosmo – bass guitar, backing vocals (2007–09)
Vivian Campbell – guitar, backing vocals (2010–11)
Richard Fortus – guitar, backing vocals (2011)

Thin Lizzy (1971)
Shades of a Blue Orphanage (1972)
Vagabonds of the Western World (1973)
Nightlife (1974)
Fighting (1975)
Jailbreak (1976)
Johnny the Fox (1976)
Bad Reputation (1977)
Black Rose: A Rock Legend (1979)
Chinatown (1980)
Renegade (1981)
Thunder and Lightning (1983)

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