Black Star Riders

Black Star Riders

The continuation of the most recent incarnation of hard rock heavyweights Thin Lizzy, the members of Black Star Riders have embarked on an admirable mission to reproduce the distinctive approach of the early Thin Lizzy studio albums and reintroduce them to another generation of listeners. Newly appointed lead vocalist Ricky Warwick and guitarist Damon Johnson round out this largely veteran cast of musicians, although with nearly a decade of experience as members of Thin Lizzy shared between the two of them, they’re hardly amateur talents.

Prior to his entrance into the fold, Warwick had spent his career performing alongside members of The Cult and Guns N’ Roses fame in the Los Angeles-based hard rock group Circus Diablo, while being most readily recognized for his role as the mainman for Scottish heavy metal collective The Almighty. Johnson similarly developed a strong reputation for his contributions within the rock and metal communities, collaborating with such names as Alice Cooper and Skid Row, however it’s through their work with Black Star Riders that these two musicians truly come into their own.

Having released their debut offering ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ back in 2013, and subsequently embarking on an expansive run in support of the album, the members of Black Star Riders were soon prepared to return to the studio and begin work on a follow-up. The end result is their upcoming sophomore effort ‘The Killer Instinct,’ due for release via Nuclear Blast on February 20, which also stands as the band’s first to feature bassist Robbie Crane in the roster.

I recently sat down with Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson to discuss the forthcoming Black Star Riders effort, their take on respected rock groups moving forward with new members, their previous collaborations and their upcoming tour of the United Kingdom with Europe.

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William Clark: Hi Ricky, I appreciate you sitting down with me today.

Ricky Warwick: My pleasure, thank you for having me.

William: I understand that Damon [Johnson] will be joining us for the interview?

Ricky: Nope, it’s just me.

William: Alright then. Moving forward, ‘The Killer Instinct’ is the first Black Star Riders album without Marco Mendoza, however it seems you found a more than suitable replacement in Robbie Crane from Ratt and Lynch Mob. What did Robbie bring into the band as far as the songwriting chemistry is concerned?

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Nuclear Blast

Ricky: You know, they are both, in all honest truth, very different bass players. Marco has a very certain style, I think Robbie is a more aggressive bass player. He comes in with his bass slung below his knees and is certainly more attackative, which I feel – with all respect to Marco, because Marco is great – is better suited to Black Star Riders. Robbie’s whole demeanor, his attitude, the way he plays, the kind of guy he is, he just fit right in straight away. In regards to songwriting, most of the stuff was sort of written by everyone else before Robbie joined, so he didn’t bring anything to the songwriting table this time around.

But he played his ass off on the album, and Robbie’s the kind of guy where we’ll be playing the song, and he would go away, you wouldn’t see him for a day, and he’d come back and say, “I’ve got four bass lines for this song.” He really did his homework, and out of the four bass lines, all of them would be amazing. It was just a question of which was most superior out of all the other great ones. So he’s got a great work ethic, very dedicated to his craft, great guy, great guy to hang out with. He’s brought a lot of attitude and a lot of fire into the band. It was there already, but he’s made it burn even brighter.

William: Sure. I sense another presence on the line, who is this?

Damon Johnson: Hi everybody, it’s Damon!

Ricky: Oh! (laughs) I didn’t know you would be on this call! I was just telling William what a crap you were.

Damon: I was hoping I had snuck up very quietly on you boys. I was just waiting for Ricky to talk about how I was a shit songwriter, a shit guitar player and a terrible cook, which is very true. (all laughing)

Ricky: One of those is correct.

Damon: Yes, one of those is correct. Hey William, good to talk with you. I didn’t realize that this was a conference interview thing, so you guys just fire away, man. Just know I’m here.

Ricky: We literally – William had just asked me what Robbie brought into the band.

Damon: Yeah, I heard a good bit of that answer. All I could contribute is unfortunately, Robbie does not smell as good as Marco did. Marco’s half female, anyway, he’s always stopping at the perfume stand at the airport.

Ricky: That is true. (laughs)

William: Well, just so you’re aware, Damon, I have questions specifically pertaining to the both of you, and others geared individually, so don’t be afraid to jump in at any time.

Damon: You’ve got it, man.

William: Alright. The decision for the members of Thin Lizzy to release new material under the Black Star Riders moniker appeared to resonate well with longtime listeners. Even though if the band’s two studio albums were released under the more well known name of the two, it likely would have reached a larger audience because of that detail alone, did you two feel it was important to more or less keep the original legacy intact by branching out under a different title?

Damon: Well yeah, there was no question that it was the right thing for us to do. We were just kind of following the direction of Scott [Gorham] initially. You know, Scott has valiantly flown the Thin Lizzy flag for quite some time now, it went under different lineups. Brian Downey has been in and out of that, and of course Darren Wharton on keys was involved. There was no question about it, Scott was so passionate about putting out some new music, and I know that when Ricky and I joined Thin Lizzy, all of a sudden he had a couple of partners in the band that not only loved to perform live, but were just as passionate about songwriting.

So I think that when he was hearing some of the stuff that was starting to develop, then he really got excited, and then and only then did he really step back and go, “OK, wait a minute. Maybe we should put this out under it’s own. Maybe it can stand on it’s own.” I just spoke with someone earlier today, William, about the fact that on a business level, some people would almost call it career suicide to step away from an established name, a legacy like that. The woods are full of great bands that are out there playing not with original members, but playing the hits and the songs that people have known for over three decades.

 

The thing I love is that Scott did not want to continue to do that. He wanted to continue to grow as an artist and get that out there, so we’re grateful to him for that. You know, there was some anxiety. There were some interpretations, certainly man, but we were certainly relieved when the first album hit the street and feedback was pretty positive right out of the gate. Now here we are, a short 18 months later, two years later, and we have a second album ready to drop.

Ricky: Yeah, I’m gonna jump right into it. There was so much pressure anyway, having to record – if we were going to have to record as Thin Lizzy, the pressure was huge, but in a really strange and weird way, the pressure was even greater when we decided to change the name, because then it was like, “Shit, these songs had better be really amazing,” you know? Just because, let’s be honest here, having the Thin Lizzy moniker probably would have guaranteed us quite a few sales just out of the curiosity factor. So again, you’re kind of taking that safety net away. You’re diminishing it completely by changing the name. For one, we were probably confusing people, so there was a lot of pressure on us to deliver the goods even more so when we changed the name.

William: That leads me to another question. There are many bands who are similar to Thin Lizzy in prominence and stature, names like Black Sabbath and Van Halen, who are somewhat controversially going on with reforming the band while replacing one or two key members. Black Sabbath went on without Bill Ward on drums, Van Halen reunited without Michael Anthony on bass. Do you think from your own experience that it may have been better for those bands to go under a different name? What’s your take on that?

Damon: Well, that’s a tough question. I can respond to that as a fan of some of those bands myself. Obviously the Thin Lizzy situation is unique in that Phil Lynott has been deceased now for almost thirty years. It has been thirty years, I guess. Wait, when was it, Ricky?

Ricky: ’86.

Damon: Yeah, almost thirty years. You know… I think at the end of the day, the audience and the fans have proven consistently that the thing they care most about are the songs. They just wanna hear the songs. There’s always going to be detractives. Listen, we’re getting it. We’re getting it still right now, man. We’re putting out our second album under another name, and there’s some Thin Lizzy nutjobs going, “Ohhh. They’re trying to rip off Phil.” I mean, whatever! People were disappointed that Bill Ward wasn’t there, but I assure you that Tommy Clufetos hits the drums about a hundred times harder than Bill can, and you’re talking about the greatest heavy metal band of all time here. You need that power in there.

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Damon Johnson

It’s just… I don’t know, bro. I think for us… all of us, Scott, Ricky, myself, we didn’t really give it too much thought after that. You know, if Styx wants to go out and tour with two original guys and continue to make a living and play those songs, look man, those guys have earned the right to do that. Just like Scott had earned it, just like Eddie and Alex Van Halen, for God’s sake!

I boycotted going to the shows as a show of solidarity without Michael Anthony, because I’m a fan. I love Michael, and I don’t want to see them without Michael. But I think it really gets down to the audience. As long as people are coming, I just think bands are always going to continue to do that.

I just think now these rock bands have been around so long, bro, that’s it’s going to – you remember the old do-wop bands and the original R&B bands? The Platters and The Coasters, and there’s like three different versions of each band out there on the road? (laughs) That’s what’s coming next. You’re going to have three versions of Iron Maiden. One is going to have Bruce Dickinson, the other one is going to be Steve Harris and Dave Murray, and… (laughing) I think it’s inevitable!

One a serious note, I think I speak for Ricky and the other guys, we’re just proud and grateful that we get to be in a strong band, writing new music, recording them, having a really good infrastructure around us to get that music out there, and to have a legend in our band that has given us the green light and his blessing to not only play these songs, but to join us and tour with us and be a part of it. It’s a great place for us to be in.

Ricky: Yeah, and I think that these bands are going out and putting on a great show, and still playing great. You know, you can’t fault it. If they’re going out and it’s lame and they’re going through the motions, you can assume they’re just going it for the paycheck then, and that sucks, that’s not right. As long as it’s a great entertaining show and people are digging it, they see the band’s playing great, then what the heck, you know? Everybody’s getting older, and we’re in the first generation where rock stars are dying of old age. That’s a fact. We’re the first generation where that’s happened. We’re the first ones to have to deal with this! By the time you start, you’re 35 and you’re too old? Some of these guys are 55, and then they realize, “Well, I guess I was wrong. They’re still playing.”

William: Sure.

Damon: Yeah, and fucking Keith Richards’ in his seventies, and those guys are going back on tour! (laughs) I want to see Keith, as long as the guy’s breathing and he wants to play, I’ll go see him, and I know a lot of other people will, too.

William: Definitely. Sometimes channeling an iconic band’s sound for a debut album can be effortless when compared to doing it all again for a sophomore studio effort. What the process like while creating new material for ‘The Killer Instinct’?

Ricky: Well, it was easier. It was better, because when we writing for the first album, we didn’t really know each other. I had only known Damon about a year, we’d been through the whole Thin Lizzy thing, so we didn’t know if we could write together. We hadn’t done any shows as Black Star Riders, so there we were making an album before we played. I mean, I met Jimmy DeGrasso two days before we made the album, probably for the first time. That in itself was a funky situation all it’s own, but it also turned out really good because it was so weird. This time around we’ve done so much touring, we’ve all had a year and a half to get to know each other better. Damon and I had been writing together nonstop for almost two or three years, so there was a chemistry there that we knew that worked, and I actually find it easier, the longer that time goes on, the easier it is.

 

William: It was disappointing to see Joe Elliott step away from his role as producer on the new album, but considering his commitments to Def Leppard both on the road and working on new material of their own, one would suppose it’s understandable. That being said, was it somewhat of a relief to have a veteran talent like Nick Raskulinecz, who’s handled recent albums from Rush and Mastodon, jump onboard for the new Black Star Riders effort?

Ricky: Yeah, we love Joe. It would have been amazing to do the record with Joe, but every cloud has a big silver lining, and for Nick to want to work with us and us to work with Nick was a match made in heaven. That’s no disrespect to Joe. Once again, it worked out for the best. We would have made a great record with Joe, I think we formed a special bond with Nick. He has a special chemistry with this band that just made this record even more special. I’m sure Damon would agree.

Damon: No doubt about it, no doubt about it. You know, I can’t wait to see Joe and talk to him, because I was just as disappointed as anybody. I certainly don’t know Joe like Ricky and Scott do. The guy obviously knows a thing or two about making great records and about making great rock and roll songs, so it would have been an amazing experience, but as Ricky said… it’s like going to the dance with one hot chick, and she bailed out on us, and then another hot one was just waiting on us. (laughs) So it’s like, it worked out, man! We had a good time at the dance, now we have great photos to show our moms and dads of the night we had.

We just couldn’t have found the more perfect guy, and he just brings so much positive energy to every aspect of making the record – dissecting the songs, getting the right sound, tracking the songs, getting inside the parts and the arrangements, you know? And it wasn’t just, “Hey man, you guys just play whatever you want, and I’m gonna hit record.” No, he rolled up his sleeves, William, and got inside every part, every instrument, the lyrics. As Ricky said after they came out of the studio, “Man, I think I just made the best vocal album of my whole career.” And I absolutely agree with that. Nick brings great stuff out of everybody, so we love that guy. We’re so excited to have him in our arsenal.

William: Damon, I’m putting you on the spot here. Those who are familiar with your previous work with Alice Cooper and Sammy Hagar won’t necessarily be surprised with your effort on ‘The Killer Instinct,’ however you do a particularly exceptional job at maintaining the distinctive dueling guitar work alongside Scott Gorham that is so prominent throughout Thin Lizzy’s catalog. During the making of this album, did you ever find yourself revisiting albums like ‘Bad Reputation’ or ‘Jailbreak’ and studying Brian Robertson’s approach for inspiration, or was it more or less effortless working alongside Scott?

Black Star Riders

Black Star Riders

Damon: Well you know, with this being our second album it was leaning a little towards the effortless side this time. The thing about me is that those albums, those Thin Lizzy albums are so ingrained into my personal DNA that it’s almost… man, it’s hard to describe.

It’s like, depending on the song that we’ve written and that we’re recording at that moment, maybe I sort of intuitively go, “Yeah, that is kind of the vibe that Brian Robertson would have played on the ‘Johnny the Fox’ album somewhere.” And then I might kind of do something that is in the vibe of that. Man, I am never going to play like Brian note for note, or Gary [Moore], or Eric Bell for that matter, but those albums, those recordings, those guitar sounds, they’re just the foundation of my whole electric guitar career.

I know Ricky can remember when we made the first album, there were absolutely a couple of moments, man, where we were a mixture of goosebumps and almost tears of joy when Scott and I would be standing up, working on a part together. (laughs) I remember Kevin Shirley looking at us, going, “Holy shit. There it is. Right there. That’s what we’re looking for.” Just an incredible experience, man! It’s just so great to be experience that with a group of people that you love to play with and that also share that love of this music that Scott’s been a part of and so many of us have loved for decades. You just never could have scripted something like that.

William: Sure. Ricky, you similarly provide a solid vocal performance throughout the new Black Star Riders album. While there have been many lead singers who upon being introduced to the lineup of a prominent rock group, similar to how you were welcomed into the Thin Lizzy roster, who try and throw in their own assortment of influences into the mix in an attempt to “standout,” however that scarcely works out. In contrast, you manage to toe the fine line between paying homage to the late Phil Lynott and maintaining your own identity. Did you feel it was important to remain authentic to Phil’s singing style through new material?

Ricky: Thanks for those words. Um, absolutely. It’s something that when I was offered this and I accepted it, I couldn’t fail, because of what it was and what it meant to me. It’s just, failure wasn’t an option. I was determined that no matter what it took – blood, sweat and tears, and it did take blood, sweat and tears – I was going to make this work, and I was going to do it in a way that people would get it and understand it, and that would be respectful and honorable to Phil. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it, I absolutely wouldn’t have done it.

You know, when I got confirmed as the singer and it was all set in stone, I went about… I have always been a massive Thin Lizzy fan, a huge fan, but I went about reading anything and everything I could about Phil, watching even more YouTube videos of the man, reading his poetry. Not that I wanted to copy him, but I wanted to know those songs inside and out, try and feel what he was feeling when he wrote them, when he sang them. I made sure I could understand exactly where he was coming from, what each lyric meant. It was almost like… I keep making a joke about it with Ricky, but I’ve never learned so much from a dead man in my life, and that’s the truth. I still am.

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Ricky Warwick

You know, Phil changed the way I perform. He changed the way I sing, he changed the way that I play, and every day I would be learning from him. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the greatest frontman of all time. He had it all, from the looks to the way he played to the songwriting, his singing style, his lyric writing, everything. The complete deal. So, I’ve been thinking that way for four years, so it’s part of me now. It’s ingrained with me, it’s part of me. It’s part of who I am now, that style. It’s not like I put it on, you know?

Certainly when we started playing with Thin Lizzy live, I wanted those songs to be as close to the way Phil sang without Phil actually being there, so that when people… nobody wants to hear Thin Lizzy with some guy singing the songs the way he wants to and it’s totally different. You want to hear those songs as close as you can get to the original, and I guess just part of that has been engraved in me. It’s just a natural thing that I do. I try and inject as much as myself into it as I can, there’s a fine line but it’s a happy mix now. Phil will always be an influence, and I guess he’s more a great influence than anyone ever was, you know?

Damon: William, if I can jump in here just one second. Your audience is going to love hearing the answer to that question, because look, I’m in the band with this guy. We live together, and I love hearing those answers to that question! That was epic, Ricky! Well done, that was fantastic.

William: Absolutely, well said.

Ricky: You know, it’s never been lost on me what an honor and a privilege it is to… Scott Gorham called me up and he gave me the keys to the world. I was doing OK, I had a pretty decent career with everything that was going on. The dream we all dream when we’re kids is you want to be in your favorite band of all time. Scott Gorham gave me that opportunity, and believed in me that I could carry on the legacy of his band. There’s no fucking way that I was going to fail. There just wasn’t, that wasn’t an option.

William: Because Black Star Riders are essentially a continuation of the Thin Lizzy sound, only under a different name as to preserve the legacy left behind by Phil, was there ever any pressure when crafting new material to try and get as close to that original sound as possible?

Damon: I don’t think that there was any pressure, we just knew the task. That was the task at hand. As Ricky said earlier, we’d already been out touring the world for two or three years as Thin Lizzy, so for those of us who weren’t original members, we had as great of a blueprint or an owners manual as you can fathom. I mean, we had the man sitting right next to us, you know? Along the way… one thing you’ll find interesting is that before we made the first album, more than once Scott would make a comment. “Well, man, I don’t really know what it means to sound like Thin Lizzy.” And we would just laugh, it’s like, (laughing) we know what it means to sound like Thin Lizzy, and we’ve got you in the band!

So in that respect, we knew that we had the tools that we needed. It wasn’t like we felt that we couldn’t do it, but we had so much respect for the history of the band and certainly for Phil’s genius and talent that, as Ricky said several questions ago, we knew we couldn’t fuck it up. We had to deliver something quality. So again, I can speak – related to Ricky and myself as songwriters, we just knew that we had put in the study, we had put in the time, and we certainly had the love and respect for those songs and that sound. Then it was a matter of just leaning on the experiences that we’ve had on our own as songwriters and band members, and go, “Look, we’ll do the best job we can, and we’re going to roll the dice and let the chips fall where they may.” That’s really been the relief, and almost the pleasure of making ‘The Killer Instinct,’ because we didn’t have any of those doubts anymore, man.

We absolutely know now who we are as a band, and we still got this great history kind of riding shotgun beside us, and saying, “Yeah, man. We’re going to be a part of this with you.” The fans know that. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now with you, William, had the first album not only performed well, but spoken in a way that the fans embraced it and supported it. Just today, I’m blown away. Just the comments that we’re getting on the message boards right now, you know. The single is out, people are hearing the song, “The Killer Instinct,” and… wow, man! This is still really exciting to find ourselves in this place. So yeah, not as much pressure this time, for sure.

 

William: Briefly turning away to your previous efforts. Damon, over the course of your career you have contributed to studio albums by Alice Cooper, Skid Row, Queensryche, Ted Nugent, Santana and Stevie Nicks, to name a few, however I would like to briefly focus on one effort in particular – Damn Yankee’s unreleased third studio album, ‘Bravo.’ How did you first become involved with that project, and what can you say about the material that was generated?

Damon: It’s interesting that album has come up, that’s kind of mind blowing. Yeah man, that thing kind of happened really fast, and somewhat organically, Brother Cane had just broken up. I had written a batch of material for a possible solo album, and those demos had found their way to John Kalodner, the famous A&R man. What I didn’t know is at that very moment, John was talking with Jack Blades and Ted Nugent about the new Damn Yankees record that Tommy Shaw had just stepped out of, because Tommy and J.Y. had just acquired the rights to the name Styx.

They were going to need to basically focus on that, get on the road and make that happen. So he’d given the guys his blessing to find someone else if they wanted, and go ahead and make another Damn Yankees record, and that’s what happened. We spent about three months together, we had a lot of fun, wrote a lot of great songs, we recorded it… and in the eleventh hour, when the mixes started coming in, none of us were blown away with how the thing was sounding. The timing of it all kind of wound up at the end of spring time in 2000, and Ted was about to head back out on the road with his solo commitments, Jack was just about to rejoin Night Ranger and go play some dates.

Everybody just took their focus off it for a while, and we all said, “Hey, we’ll reconvene probably next year sometime,” and everybody stayed busy! (laughs) We never got back together. But there’s some cool stuff there, man. A couple of the songs have seen the light of day on solo albums, like Jack Blades put a song that he and I wrote together on one of his records, as well as Ted. There was a song that we had all collaborated on that he put out. So we’ll see, man, we’ll see what comes out from some of that stuff.

William: Alright. Ricky, your commitments to Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders are certainly the priority as far as any upcoming efforts are concerned, however what are the odds that we’ll see a new album from The Almighty hit the shelves in the distant future?

Ricky: Listen, I never say never about anything, but I think there’s more of a chance of the Beatles reforming than there is a lineup of The Almighty getting back together. (laughs) You know, I still play those songs when I do solo gigs, I love the time I had in that band, but there’s no desire really – certainly from me and any of the other guys in the band at the minute.

Everyone’s sort of doing their own thing or different things, thankfully nobody’s really hurting financially, which is a godsend. So there’s no desire, there’s no need, you know? It was a long time ago, and I just feel that we should just let the memories be memories. I don’t know if we could do it justice, being brutally honest.

William: That’s alright, because it seems that in two months time, you two and the members of Black Star Riders will be out on tour of the United Kingdom alongside Europe, both with new albums under your belts. What are you looking forward to about the upcoming run, and are there any plans to bring that tour over to the United States?

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Ricky Warwick

Ricky: Yeah, just going out there, playing the new songs, seeing their reaction to them live and getting back on the road again. We plan to tour this album as much as we can, more dates are being put together as we speak. As long as we can stay out there and promote it and tour it, we will. That’s what we do.

Damon: It’s going to be great to play with the guys in Europe, as well. You know, I just wanted to add that in there, William. We’ve become pretty good friends with those guys, they are huge fans of Scott and certainly the Thin Lizzy legacy, and now both bands share the same management. As Ricky said, it’s going to be great to see the audience’s reaction. It’s a great night of music, it’s a great package. Absolutely, we’d love to bring that lineup over to the States and maybe do some shows, man. That would be fantastic.

William: Are there any plans for an onstage collaboration during the tour, maybe for the encore?

Damon: There is talk of Ricky playing the bagpipes on “The Final Countdown.” (laughs)

Ricky: You know, I’d actually pay to see that, myself. (laughs) We haven’t discussed anything, but that’s not to say I won’t play the bagpipes on “The Final Countdown.” When we get out there on the road with the guys, something might happen. Who knows? It might be a little cliche as well, but we’ll see. The bagpipe thing was funny.

Damon: Yeah, we should actually write that one down. You can bet, man, the guys would love to have Scott back. Scott has sat in with Europe a couple of times, I know they played “Jailbreak” together at the Sweden Rock Festival a couple years ago, and that just went down huge. We really dig those guys, not just as musicians but as people. They’re great guys, John [Norum] is a monster guitar player. It will be a lot of fun, man. I can’t think of a better way to launch our new album. It’s going to be a great night of rock and roll, for sure.

William: Once you return from tour, what’s next on the agenda for the two of you, both as a member of Black Star Riders and outside of the band?

Damon: You go ahead and start, Ricky, because you’ve already got two records under your belt, man.

Ricky: Yeah, I have a couple solo albums that I might try and do some dates for at some point. I want to go out and make [Black Star Riders] album number three, we need to keep this thing rolling. None of us are getting any younger, and while we’re all so creative and there’s so many good things going on, let’s get into the next record, you know? I’ve never been a fan of disappearing for a couple of years. So, let’s keep it going. I’d like to get out album three as soon as we can.

Damon: I would echo those sentiments, William. The thing about a band like ours, we’ve got five guys that are basically decorated veterans of this business. It’s flattering, and it’s a lot of fun. You know, the phone will ring with invites to be involved with different things… I just know for all of us, unless it’s something that’s a one-off or related to some solo performances, I think we’re unified in that we’ve found our home. I’d love for Black Star Riders to be together for twenty years, man. We’ve got such a good thing, it’s a great hang, everyone gets along well. There’s minimal drama, and I agree totally with Ricky, I’d love to get a third record under our belt in another twelve, eighteen months, and just keep hitting it. We’re having a great time.

William: Not ones to enjoy the luxury of free time, it seems like?

Damon: I think it’s both a blessing and a curse, the life of the artist, you know? (laughs) Sometimes even the time off, it’s like, just a little bit goes a long way, and then the wheels and the brain start spinning. You start hearing songs and melodies and lyrics, and you’re just ready to get back to it. That’s been the most fulfilling thing to me, man, being part of this band. Getting to play guitar with Scott Gorham, and getting to perform and write songs with Ricky, it’s… I’m just very fulfilled artistically, creatively, being here. So yeah, man. Onward and upward, for sure.