For a guy who has put out four albums in about two years, Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick is remarkably energetic. The band's second album, "The Killer Instinct," is scheduled for release on February 24, 2015, and Warwick's passion and excitement are contagious as he discusses the album and upcoming tour. In addition to the Black Star Riders albums, Warwick also released two solo albums last year, and his creative drive is still going strong.
When asked where he gets his drive and discipline, Warwick admitted that being raised in Ireland as a "working class boy" taught him those attributes from a young age. Early on he learned that you have to work hard for what you want, as he studied his family members who worked "from sun up to sun down." It's a refreshing approach and one that he acknowledges has matured with age and with the responsibilities of supporting a family. He counts himself lucky to make a living as a musician and reminds himself to never take for granted the opportunity to get up every day and be creative. While he states that "home will always be Belfast," he now lives in Los Angeles.
Black Star Riders (a reference to the outlaw gang in the film "Tombstone") was formed when members of the touring incarnation of Thin Lizzy decided to form a new project, and they released "All Hell Breaks Loose" in 2013. After a year or more of touring and the departure of bassist Marco Mendoza, the group recorded "The Killer Instinct" in Nashville. Warwick cites the time spent touring together as having allowed him and co-writer Damon Johnson to evolve as a writing team, and the band itself now feels more like a solid team. While he admits that "you never know" if a band lineup is going to stick, he is happy with the current crew and knows that they all believe in the album and are proud of what they have created together. After Warwick's friend Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) became unavailable, Nick Raskulinecz (known for his work with groups like Rush, Foo Fighters, and Alice in Chains) stepped in to produce the album, and Warwick cites the producer's pedigree, ideas, and passion as strong influences which elevated the quality of the work.
The result is a driving, vibrant rock album, full of vivid narrative storytelling. From the radio-friendly "Finest Hour" to the Celtic-tinged "Soldierstown," this is a solid recording, ready to be performed live. While Warwick admits that the songs are primarily autobiographical as he always needs a degree of realism in order to be able to deliver the songs, "Blind Sided" was inspired by watching people milling around a German train station during the last tour. For his sake, it's good to know this one wasn't from personal experience, as Warwick envisioned a character who changed his life for a woman only to have her stand him up at the station.
Now, it seems the only thing left is to share the Black Star Riders' latest creation with the rest of the world. In March, the band will co-headline a tour of the U.K. and Ireland with the band Europe, and the rest of the year will include concerts in the U.S. and Europe. Of course, the guys will throw in some of the classic Thin Lizzy songs, but the emphasis will be on the new material. Oh yeah, and somewhere in there, Warwick is also going to try his hand at acting, as he and Elliott have both signed on to take part in a film. Whether it's a Killer Instinct or just old-fashioned determination, Warwick has a powerful momentum going for him, and he is not looking back.