As a founding member of The Almighty, guitarist/vocalist Ricky Warwick has rocked stages worldwide, paying homage to the music that came before him.
Speaking of music that came before him, during a time when he felt musically lost, a light shined down on Warwick when the members of Thin Lizzy asked the Northern Irish rocker to join their ranks. In the years since, Warwick has served as Thin Lizzy’s frontman dutifully, paying tribute to the late, great Phil Lynott.
Once fronting Thin Lizzy, inspiration was afoot for Warwick, seeing the veteran axe-slinger founding both the Black Star Riders in 2012 and the Fighting Hearts in 2014. The former has proved especially pivotal, and to that end, the Black Star Riders’ latest effort, Wrong Side of Paradise, is a stunning affair. The band Black Star Riders have released five studio albums., Their debut album was released in 2013 entitled All Hell Breaks Loose. The band released their sophomore effort in 2015 called The Killer Instinct. In 2017, they released Heavy Fire which was filled up by Another State of Grace in 2019. Their new album called Wrong Side of Paradise will be released this Friday, January 20, 2023.
As he prepares to support Wrong Side of Paradise, Ricky Warwick dialed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to run through his creative process, approach to the guitar, and the secret sauce that keeps Black Star Riders moving forward.
Tell me about the writing and recording of Wrong Side of Paradise.
Wrong Side of Paradise was predominantly written and demoed in 2020 except for two songs, “ Better Than Saturday Night “ and “This Life Will Be The Death Of Me,” which I wrote prior to recording in late 2021. The drums and bass were recorded at Foo Fighters 606 Studios in Los Angeles. The guitars were recorded at Christian Martucci’s studio in Bend, Oregon, and the vocals were recorded at our producer Jay Ruston’s studio in Los Angeles.
What songs and recordings mean the most to you, and why?
No one song means more or less to me than another. The songs are like a diary; my head, heart, and soul are statements of intent and opinions on love, life, politics, and death. The lesson I have learned is that I need to write songs continually.
Break down the division of labor in the studio these days.
I do most of the writing; demos are sent back and forth between band members, suggestions are made, and parts are added, subtracted, or not changed. We then get into preproduction and work on arrangements and dynamics. We try to record as live as possible, capturing the energy and spontaneity that comes from playing together in a room.
What was your approach to the production side of things?
With Black Star Riders, we always look for big sounds in all departments. Everybody in the band is well-rehearsed and knows their parts. We write big, bold, anthemic rock n roll songs and strive for an overall production befitting that.
How do you view your role as a guitarist?
I have no desire to shred. The song over everything else; that’s it. I see myself as a songwriter and a guitarist – which I love, too – I see my role as a support system within the band. The guitar has to work within the confines of the song, or else it won’t work at all.
What guitars, gear, pedals, amps, and effects are you using, and why?
I use a Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Classic, Gretsch Duo Jet and Gretsch Broadkaster. I mostly used a Marvin guitar with Filtertron pickups for the new album. I play through a Marshall JCM800 through a Marshall 4×12 1960AX Cabinet. I use a Boss Super Overdrive Pedal and a Boss Tremolo Pedal.
What are your most immediate goals, and how do you plan to make them a reality?
The release of our new album and to go on the road and tour it as much as possible. Reach fans, and play the music we love, hopefully, for fans who love it, too.
What has changed most for Black Star Riders since the band’s inception?
The fact that the band has been going for ten years, this is our fifth album, is amazing, and I’m extremely proud of that fact.
What makes the current lineup the band’s strongest to date, and what’s next?
We have been blessed with amazing personnel in this band over the years, and everyone who has come in has added to the DNA of the band in their own way. It’s all about the quality of the music and songs, that’s our lifeblood, and as long as that continues to flow, the band will continue to grow. As for what’s next: we plan to keep on keepin’ on!
Black Star Riders – “Riding Out the Storm” from the new album Wrong Side of Paradise
Ricky Warwick: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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