Scott Gorham

Lizzy and Black Star Rid­ers gui­tarist Scott Gorham on tri­umphs, Tweets and res­ur­rect­ing Phil Lynott.

Classic Rock - - Contents - Words: Henry Yates

Scott Gorham still re­mem­bers the bad years. Which helps him to now ap­pre­ci­ate the good ones. “When Thin Lizzy ended, I thought that was gonna be it for me,” he re­flects. “Back then I prob­a­bly thought I wouldn’t still be do­ing this at sixty-seven years old. But I well and truly love what I do with Black Star Rid­ers.”

What’s the best thing you’ve seen this year? This sum­mer we were out on a ma­jor festival run and Prophets Of Rage were play­ing. These guys fuck­ing crank it up, and right from cho­rus one I was ab­so­lutely hooked.

Have BSR faced any chal­lenges this year?

Well we’ve had a mem­ber change. Be­cause our base is over here in Europe, Damon [John­son] feels he’s miss­ing a lot of his fam­ily life. But we’ve gained this re­ally tal­ented gui­tarist, Chris­tian Mar­tucci.

What are the best and worst things about liv­ing in 2018?

The best thing is the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Prob­a­bly the worst thing is YouTube. I re­mem­ber as a kid you had to buy a ticket to see what a band looked like. Now it’s just ab­so­lutely in­stant and it’s taken away the mys­tery. I miss that.

What would Phil Lynott have made of things like iPhones and YouTube?

I think he’d have jumped all over it. He’d have had a ton of YouTube stuff go­ing on, prob­a­bly his own Twit­ter ac­count with a cou­ple of hun­dred thou­sand fol­low­ers. I think he would have ab­so­lutely fallen in love with it. We had Bo­hemian Rhap­sody this year.

Would you con­sider do­ing the same for Lizzy? We’ve al­ready had a few direc­tors and pro­duc­ers who wanted to do the Thin Lizzy story. You re­mem­ber the black guy out of CSI [Gary Dour­dan]? He got my itin­er­ary and flew into Lon­don specif­i­cally to meet me about him play­ing Phil. I looked at him and I thought: “Yeah, this guy could ac­tu­ally do it.” He was tall, thin, al­most had the jaw­line. But ap­par­ently the script was not up to scratch.

Roy Or­bi­son played ‘live’ as a holo­gram this year. Would you ever do that with Phil?

We thought about that about six years ago. It was one of Phil’s an­niver­saries and we were go­ing to do this – un­til we found out how much it cost. At that point it was ex­tremely pro­hib­i­tive, and we just couldn’t get that tech­nol­ogy up and run­ning on our stage.

Next year is forty years since Phil is gone, or some sort of an­niver­sary, so we’re go­ing out do­ing six or seven shows as Thin Lizzy. We’ve got a ster­ling line-up we’re get­ting ready to an­nounce. I think peo­ple will be sur­prised at who’s go­ing to be get­ting up there on stage with us.

What do think of the state of the world in 2018?

Ac­tu­ally, it feels pretty ter­ri­ble right now. You watch CNN and BBC News and see how di­vi­sive so­ci­ety is be­com­ing. We’re go­ing down to South Amer­ica, and they’ve just elected this mega-right-wing pres­i­dent [Jair Bol­sonaro] down there. That seems to be hap­pen­ing quite a lot over the world. It’s crazy with, y’know, pipe bombs be­ing sent through the mail. Ev­ery­thing seems a bit frac­tured now. I think all of us have to tread a hell of a lot lighter, watch their step these days. There’s more mass shoot­ings than ever be­fore. What the hell’s go­ing on?

Do you fall out with other mu­si­cians over your pol­i­tics?

Well in our camp it’s all anti-Trump. You go on these fes­ti­vals and it’s all anti-Trump. It’s the proTrump guy that’s in the smaller camp, so he’s the one that doesn’t open up his mouth.

When Clas­sic Rock first came out in 1998, Thin Lizzy had re­cently got back to­gether. There was a lot of emo­tions go­ing through me at that point. I so wanted to play the mu­sic again. I hadn’t played it for a fair few years. I also won­dered: “Does any­body even like Thin Lizzy mu­sic any longer? When we walk on stage and Phil is not there, what’s the re­ac­tion go­ing to be?”

Had your per­sonal life calmed down by 1998? Yeah. I had a clear head. All of a sud­den you’re play­ing guitar bet­ter. You’re mov­ing more grace­fully, in­stead of stum­bling around the stage. And you want to show every­body: “I’m this changed guy, check it out.” That’s 1998. As op­posed to 1985. The drugs in­jured me in a huge way, men­tally and phys­i­cally, and re­ally I kept that guitar case closed for about three years. And I didn’t know if I was ever gonna open it up again.

What ad­vice would you give your forty­seven-year-old self ?

I’d al­ready stopped the drugs, so I think I’d al­ready said it to my­self. But I’d have said: “You just gotta get out there and do what you gotta do. You’re no good at bag­ging gro­ceries at Sain­bury’s. Keep your head down and keep go­ing.”

And I kept go­ing. God for­bid any health is­sues crop up. I’m do­ing good on that side of it. Men­tally I can still re­mem­ber my name and some of the songs [laughs].”

Gorham (sec­ond right) with Black Star Rid­ers.

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