BLACK STAR RIDERS Guitarist Recalls Playing Ping Pong With QUEEN Frontman FREDDIE MERCURY

Kylie Olsson of uDiscover Music conducted an interview with vocalist Ricky Warwick and guitarist Scott Gorham of BLACK STAR RIDERS at Ramblin’ Man Fair, which was held July 29-30 at Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band’s new “Heavy Fire” album:

Ricky: “We’ve been together for five years now as BLACK STAR RIDERS. It’s our third record. There’s a great chemistry between us; we’ve gotten very comfortable. We’re moving forward, we’re not afraid to try different things out in the studio. Nothing is off the charts. I think we just enjoy what we do. I think that’s the secret. We want to be relevant, we want to keep writing and want to keep moving forward and writing the best songs we can.”

Scott: “I think the first one was probably the hardest one to make. It was unfamiliar ground. How does Ricky write his lyrics? How does he play his guitar? What moods does everybody get into? You get to the second album, now I know how Ricky writes lyrics. I know what he can come up with, so there’s a big trust factor. You get to the third one and it’s the same again. The fourth one we got coming up, it’s going to be even better.”

On whether the band has started writing new songs:

Ricky: “We’re always writing, we’re always working. I think that’s why we’ve been so prolific. It’s not like, ‘Okay, the album is written. Let’s go on tour for 18 months. We need to take a year to write the next one.’ We always want to keep this thing rolling around. We’re always coming up with ideas and writing as we go. We’re ready to go and record at any moment, which is great. I think we’ve all been in situations before where someone goes ‘It’s time to make a record.’ And we go ‘Uh…we better write some songs!'”

Scott: “It was way different for me. In [Gorham‘s previous band] THIN LIZZY, we would actually get in the studio and Phil [Lynott] would look at me and go ‘Do you got any songs?’ ‘I thought you had the songs.’ With this band, we seem to always be pretty well prepared. There’s a lot of ideas to walk in with and to work on, so there’s no jangled nerves walking in.”

On whether the fact THIN LIZZY had a longer time in the studio led to procrastination when the band was writing songs:

Scott: “That was a problem. I guess you could say, ‘We could burn a lot of cash here and start writing the whole album in the studio,’ which is crazy. How long do you think it takes to do an album now?”

Ricky: “Recording? What, three weeks, max.”

Scott: “It would be three months, for god’s sake. It’s unconceivable now that you would do that.”

On Warwick‘s memories of touring with MEGADETH in 1991 while in his previous band, THE ALMIGHTY:

Ricky: “[They were] great. Dave [Mustaine] is still a friend and I’m still in touch with Dave. Those guys treated us… We’ve heard all the stories. ‘Dave‘s a bit blah, blah, blah.’ They were just brilliant to us and a brilliant band. We ended up doing the U.K. with them and we went to South America with them as well. Like I said, Dave‘s still a friend to this day. A great audience for us to play in front of. The shows that we did in the U.K., it’s crazy when I think back now that ALICE IN CHAINS actually opened the shows. THE ALMIGHTY were on in the middle. So that shows just how long ago that was. That was phenomenal because you could see the whole Seattle thing happening there with ALICE IN CHAINS and how special they were and how brilliant they were. Very fond memories of that time and that tour, just great stuff. I can’t say enough good things about MEGADETH and how they looked after us.”

On whether Warwick has any stories from that particular tour with MEGADETH:

Ricky: “No. I think we were terribly behaved, as we always were back then. Every day we were up to mischief. Dave was sober at the time and I think he was very conscious he was playing a headline set every night and was being a good boy. We certainly went mad, as we always did back then.”

On whether Gorham has any stories from when THIN LIZZY toured with QUEEN:

Scott: “I had a ping pong tournament with Freddie [Mercury] in the studio. There was a ping pong table in the studio and I was playing with this guy and Freddie rolls in and says ‘Hey, can I get a game?’ I’m looking at him, thinking, ‘Really? You play ping pong? Are you any good at this?’ He said ‘Yes, I used to be captain of my college team.’ [Laughs] I couldn’t believe that one. I said, ‘All right, let’s go, best out of five.’ I kicked his butt. Well, no, it was a little closer than that. No, it was pretty even. But all the guys in QUEEN, great guys, great musicians. We toured with them, for I think, around three months in the United States back in the ’70s and I would go out and watch them on a regular basis and I don’t think I ever, ever saw him drop one bad note in all that time. These guys were really that good. I loved, and still do, QUEEN.”

“Heavy Fire” was released on February 3 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The disc was a worldwide success, reaching position No. 6 on the U.K. chart, No. 11 on the German chart, No. 91 on U.S. Current Top Albums chart.

Source: HRRL News Feed via
BLACK STAR RIDERS Guitarist Recalls Playing Ping Pong With QUEEN Frontman FREDDIE MERCURY
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