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  INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT GORHAM OF BLACK STAR RIDERS/THIN LIZZY

Tony Conley

tony conley

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scott gorham

"I think we kind of have a point to prove here. We want to get away from the twelve day thing, just to see what we can do given the chance to go in and make a proper album - the way we were used to making albums, right?"
Scott Gorham on recording the next Black Star Riders album in the Fall with Def Leppard's Joe Elliott

At a very young 63-years-old, Scott Gorham still has things to prove. While many of his contemporaries have decided to pack in making records, and doing anything but greatest hits shows on the road, this California native is in for all intents and purposes new band, writing songs for a new album, and touring America under a brand new banner.

Black Star Riders used to be called Thin Lizzy, before they decided not to record new music without founder Phil Lynott. When they decided to become their own entity, veteran Lizzy members Brian Downey and Darren Wharton took their pensions, and the band took their songs to the West Coast of California to record their first long player under the guidance of producer Kevin Shirley.

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While the album, 'All Hell Breaks Loose', turned out great, the band was less than thrilled with Shirley's production line, one song a day tactics. This year, the band is headlining shows for the first time, and they're busy writing what will be their second record, which will be recorded in Dublin, Ireland by longtime friend of the band, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott.

I caught up with Gorham in the banquet hall of a luxury hotel before the band's show in Sacramento, California, and we had a great chat - some of it won't be printed given to its irrelevance (who really wants to know about my skills as a new father, and my talents at changing diapers?), and some can't be printed to avoid embarrassing anyone (sure, we talk some shit, but we're gentlemen, we don't print it).

The point is that Gorham never mails it in - he answered every query with great interest, energy, and charm. Like I said, he still feels he has something to prove, and he left no doubt later that night as his band electrified the audience, and left no one wondering as to who were the Black Star Riders.

It was especially worth noting that I stood almost directly in front of Gorham at the show, and when he made a point with his playing, or something someone in the band did that proved a point he had made earlier, he'd give me a glance that said both, "See?" and "Did you get that - that's what I was talking about?" His hard work, efforts, and his striving to still up his game at 63 are inspiring.

Scott Gorham: "We're just trying our wings out here in America to see how the Black Star Riders name goes down.

"That's why you come out here and do these things. You know, we don't expect huge crowds right now, because people can't associate the Black Star Riders name with anything yet, so you have to get out there, and take some hard knocks, it's a big country. You get as much out of it as you can in this six week period. We're hitting a lot of cities - in five days we jump over to Japan! We have a few shows over there, and from there we'll be hitting the East Coast."

I asked what if any difference he had observed in fan reaction since the change of names from Thin Lizzy to BSR:

Scott Gorham: "The only size is the actual size of the audience! And that's what I'm talking about, you know? As far as the reaction? No. The people who know who we are and where we come from, the whole Thin Lizzy thing - they expect us to play the Thin Lizzy songs.

"Most of the people also have the Black Star Riders album, so they've got the lyrics down, they know what parts of what songs are coming when, and all that, so everybody seems well versed.

"Now, it's just spreading the gospel as far as we can on this trip."

Going back to 'All Hell Breaks Loose', I asked the guitarist if the album would have turned out differently if it had been called a Thin Lizzy record:

Scott Gorham: "Well, maybe a little bit of the outcome of the album, because we initially started to write it thinking we were going to keep on with the name Thin Lizzy, so you're kind of racking your brains trying to keep going down that same trail.

"But amazingly, as soon as we decided that that wasn't the right thing to do, it started to open up a bit. The writing style became a bit different after that, because you could do that, where if we kept the Lizzy name, you'd always be thinking about, 'Well, what are people going to expect to hear from us.' This way, it's like we don't think anybody's going to expect anything after this point."

'All Hell Breaks Loose' was an auspicious debut album - it carried the Lizzy flag, but it also went well beyond the legend and into the territory of one very interesting new hard rock band. Frontman Ricky Warwick, and guitarist Damon Johnson contributed heavily to the album's writing, and I asked Gorham if by not using the Thin Lizzy name, the pressure on them, as well as on himself may not have been lessened:

Scott Gorham: "Oh yeah, obviously!

"I think it took a lot of pressure off all of us, really. The main reason we changed the name was, myself in particular, I was feeling uncomfortable with recording under the name Thin Lizzy without Phil. Everything that was recorded under the name of Thin Lizzy - Phil had always been there, so to do it again without Phil just wasn't sitting right, particularly with me.

"So yeah, I think pressure-wise, it took quite a bit of a load off Ricky, although he loves to sing the Lizzy songs - he just loves doing those."

Following in the footsteps of Phil Lynott is at the very minimum a very daunting task, but Ricky Warwick happens to be one of rock's finest writers, and he certainly made his bones on the band's debut:

Scott Gorham: "Absolutely!

"When you read into Ricky's lyrics, he's just a kick-ass lyricist. What's strange is when I got out there, and I asked Ricky to join the band as the frontman, nobody got that!

"Nobody understood, because where he had come from, and the other bands he had been in. But I had been in the studio with Ricky a couple of years before that, on his first solo album. I was up front and personal with what he was doing, and how he had evolved - what he was writing about, and his writing style. And it so fit with what we were doing with the sort of Lizzy campaign that it was a real easy mix.

"So, I knew before anybody else what kind of guy Ricky Warwick was, and what he could actually do with a song."

Gorham is no stranger to criticism when it comes to managing and maintaining the legacy of one of rock's greatest bands (Why the hell aren't Thin Lizzy in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?). In fact, he had been through it when he had decided to replace John Sykes after the mercurial guitarist resigned his post in 2009. However, he again beat the rock 'n' roll odds, and in lieu of going for the easy, sleazy money, Gorham did as he has always done and he proceeded to fill the band with top shelf talent - one thing that can, and should be said is that there has never been a version of Thin Lizzy that Lynott would have disapproved, and that is all to the guitarist's credit:

Scott Gorham: "Well, when John Sykes left, I knew that a lot of people were saying that the whole thing was getting too Metal, and I had to agree with that - so really, the split there wasn't too wrenching at all. It was just, 'Do I want to keep going with this, or if I don't, where do I go? The third question was, 'How long is this going to take me to put this all back together, to glue all the pieces back together?' Getting the right people involved.

"That, to me, was probably more daunting than anything - how long does it take to get the right people, and where are all these right people? Because I wanted to get it absolutely right this time.

"The funny thing? When I did get this together with Ricky and ultimately, Damon - the percentage of those critical people shrunk down so small that it was almost negligible. Someone would come on the Facebook page, make a complaint, and twenty people would jump on them and shred them a new ass.

"You could actually see the tide turning. People wanted to hear those songs, they did not want to see this thing go away, which was really gratifying for me."

True enough - I first saw Thin Lizzy in 1978, and I have never lost the desire to see the songs performed live - the world didn't want Phil Lynott to go away, and should not be punished by his songs somehow becoming sacrosanct. And the world seems to agree with this point - intact, with the advent of YouTube and Facebook, it would seem that the band's popularity has only grown over time:

Scott Gorham: "Well, to be honest, I was always of the mind that when we broke the band up the first time in 1983, I figured, 'Well, they'll play the albums, or the singles on the radio for X amount of time, they'll write about it in the magazines and papers for X amount of time. Then, in the natural order of things it will disappear, and then every once in a while a disc jockey will pull out an album and blow the dust off of it, and play a couple of tracks, but it never happened that way.

"It's almost like it never went away at all! I was pretty surprised by that - I was amazed by that. So, I have to admit that putting it back together was pretty daunting. You just don't know what reactions are going to be."

I offered my view that it had always been well received because Gorham had always done it right:

Scott Gorham: "The big reason for this is because the people that have always been in the band are name people, who, like yourself, grew up with Thin Lizzy and were huge fans. And now, all of a sudden they're in the band - kind of living the dream that they always had. I find that amazing.

"It's like a criteria for me - if you weren't really a fan, and a great player at the same time, well, I'm going to move on to the next guy. Because I do feel that it is a responsibility to present this thing in the right way, or don't do it at all."

Since reforming the band in 2009, a virtual who's who of hired guns have filled the shoes of Thin Lizzy guitarist, stage right. First it was Vivian Campbell, then Guns 'N' Roses veteran Richard Fortus, and finally a permanent member was found in Damon Johnson of Alice Cooper's band. The thing all these great players share is that when it came to Thin Lizzy, they were all always true to the parts and the hearts of the classic Lizzy catalogue:

Scott Gorham: "Yeah, I think a big part of that is that they grew up with the songs, they played them for probably most of their lives, so when they get to the stage as a member of Thin Lizzy, it just becomes natural for them. It's kind of in their blood, which is really cool! It sure makes my job a hell of a lot easier, hahaha!

"Even the question of how do you figure out who's going to take what solo? That part of being in this things was probably the easiest.

"When you write the song, the song kind of dictates who's going to take the solos, right? And, I don't think there has ever been a version of Thin Lizzy where people were fighting over a solo bit. There's plenty to go around - it's why it's so cool to be in this band, it's such a guitar based thing. It's just not a big deal."

The band is going back into the recording studio in October to lay down their second long player - this time around they are going with Joe Elliott as their producer, after recording their debut with renowned boardsman Kevin Shirley. I asked about the experience of recording with Shirley, and why they decided to make a change this go around:

Scott Gorham: "Recording with Kevin was good!

"Kevin is a great record producer - the only thing that kind of threw me for a loop was to do it all in twelve days. I wasn't expecting that. I had never done an album like that before. It was fun, it was different, but we won't do one like that again.

"This time, Joe Elliott from Def Leppard, and their engineer (longtime Leppard sound guru, Rohan McHugh). They came to us - they knew we were doing a second album, and they pitched for the job. I've known Joe now for over 35 years, we're great friends. So, it'll be kind of like taking this little family/community thing over to Dublin - to make the bitchingest album we possibly can."

Elliott had previously worked with Gorham on the Thin Lizzy re-mix, remastering project - I asked about that experience:

Scott Gorham: "That was fun!

"If it hadn't been for Joe, I would have gone a lot crazier! Let's do this, let's put on more overdubs, this is what I always wanted to do - and Joe's going, 'No, no, no, let's keep it more to the original'. Because my idea was to experiment with the songs, just to see what would happen if we went fucking nuts on the whole thing. Maybe not completely nuts, but to throw a lot of things on it - you know, back then it was pretty basic production, what we had originally. I just wanted to ramp it up a bit. In the end, I like what we came out with.

"It was a lot more solid, we got a few more parts into the songs that weren't there the first time around. The production is a lot better."

One question I had to ask, simply because I had never heard the story told,, was the genesis of the arrangement of one of rock's greatest anthems, 'The Boys Are Back In Town'. Scott answered this graciously, almost as if he hadn't been asked about it a thousand times previously:

Scott Gorham: "It really started out to be about a guy coming home from the war. The original working title was 'G.I. Joe', which is kind of a crap title, right?

"But it wasn't long after that that Phil came up with the basic chord structure. He'd say, 'We need some sort of guitar part here.'We'd go, 'Guitar bit, what does that even mean?' Well, that became (Gorham sings the famous guitar figure).

"Brian Downey then put his drum groove down, and it became more this kind of shuffle deal. Robertson came up with a really basic two note guitar part, then I came in and said, 'Why don't we make it a more rolling thing (sings the final part).

"It was just one of those songs - it wasn't written instantly, it just sort of evolved. In the end, I said, 'Let's just keep stepping it up, until it reaches a crescendo sort of thing'.

"Phil had a total re-think of the lyrics at some point. He didn't want it to be an anti-war song, or about a guy coming home from the war. Now, it was about just a gang of guys going out on a Saturday night, fucking chicks, getting drunk, fighting, the whole deal. He turned it into more of a party song.

"I'll tell ya, I had one guy in Germany - he had based his whole interview on this one song, 'The Boys Are Back In Town'.

"He said, 'I know exactly what Phil was thinking on this song - this was an IRA song.' I went, 'No, no, no, this has nothing to do with the IRA, it's just a party song, you know, Saturday night'. After that, he had nothing - he was going to base the whole interview on how he had cracked the code, hahaha!"

Going back to the topic of Ireland, I asked what he expects out of going to Dublin to record the new album:

Scott Gorham: "This time around, instead of twelve days, we'll probably spend around three and a half weeks in the studio.

"Also, we'll be going into rehearsals for 7-10 days, working out guitar parts, harmonies, the drum parts. I felt bad for Jimmy DeGrasso on the last one because there's a couple of songs he was hearing for the first time in the studio, so he's trying to work out his drum breaks with no memory of the song - he's working it out on the spot.

"A lot of people think of Jimmy DeGrasso as Megadeth - and I did, too!

"Jimmy is the one guy in the band who I didn't hand pick myself. All the other guys picked him. When Brian Downey said he didn't want to go out and do a new project, everybody else said, 'You've gotta get Jimmy DeGrasso'. So, there's no way I could say fuck that, and besides, I didn't even know the guy.

"But because I trusted these guys so much now, this guy Jimmy DeGrasso, he's in the band, right? And the first time that I heard him, and that he could do all the Lizzy songs, and how he played them.... Once again - Jimmy was a huge fan of Thin Lizzy, and he keeps trying to get us to do these really deep cuts off the Lizzy albums. Jimmy - I love ya, buddy, but we can't go that deep because nobody's heard these songs!

"But that just goes to show you how into it Jimmy DeGrasso is. He can play all the swing beats, the shuffles, and all that stuff - and when it's time to get really hard, like on 'Bad Reputation', the fucking guy just lets it rip. He's amazing - a really great drummer!

"So when we were doing the record, Joe Bonamassa was going in next after us, and he was doing his record in four days! It's like, what the fuck? I guess a guy like Joe can do that. I guess he's got everything so worked out in his head. The guy is a fucking great player, I love that guy."

Another relative newcomer to the band is guitarist Damon Johnson. The tale of how he came to the band and what he's contributed is a sterling example of what everyone in the band brings to this gig:

Scott Gorham: "When Damon got in the band, and it felt like a permanent thing, that's when I started taking it seriously, 'Yeah, we should really record a new album, because there's so many great writers in the band at this point, and what a shame it would be to not do a new record at this point'.

"The idea of doing an album hard been bantered around for a few years now, right? And it really was a fan driven, press driven thing - every interview I did it was always in the three top questions. 'When are you going to write new material and record a new album?'

"I'd always just go, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're working on it, we've got new songs,' and we really didn't. I was just trying to keep the question at bay. I was still having a problem with doing that as Thin Lizzy.

"So yeah, it was when Damon got in the band that we became serious about doing a new album.

"We were doing a few shows with Alice Cooper, we had Alice out on the golf course, and Damon came out with him. He was so shy, I don't think he said ten words to me, but I remember at a couple of shows I had mentioned that Richard (Fortus), he's got a day job (as a guitarist for Guns 'N'Roses), and he's going to have to be going back to that, and we're going to be looking for another guitar player. I said, 'If you could throw me out a couple of suggestions,' and of course, Damon's going, 'What the fuck, I'm right here!'

"He didn't say that, but you could see that he was thinking that - 'How do I say, I'm the next guy?'"

"So, I think he talked it over with his wife, and she told him, 'You know you want to do this, you gotta go do this.' So, he threw his name into the hat, big time - I'm going, 'Well, this is fucking great!'

"I actually tried to talk him out of it. I said, 'Damon, you're sitting here with this kick-ass job - you're playing guitar with Cooper, and the guy does 300 fucking shows a year, you're making a great living, why would you want to give that up?'

"'Because I always wanted to be in Thin Lizzy.' Well, I got no answer for that. You understand what I was trying to do for him, right? I don't want to be responsible for screwing up his life. I said, 'Tell ya what - talk to your wife about it, and get back to management tomorrow and let us know what you want to do. One hour later, it's like, 'I'm in.'"

Since reforming Thin Lizzy in 2009, Gorham has had the fortune/misfortune of having had three great guitarists move through the band - first there was Vivian Campbell, followed by Richard Fortus, both of whom had regular gigs that would eventually force their returns and end their tenure in Lizzy. Damon Johnson quit his day gig to take the job, and ended the rotating doors, and he's another great foil for Gorham, who in addition to writing some of the most memorable guitar parts and songs in rock history is also one of the finest practitioners of the art of rhythm guitar playing:

Scott Gorham: "Man, I love playing rhythm guitar! I love laying it down behind somebody, and then having them lay it down behind me.

"It's gotta be there - with any band, it's gotta be there. You've got to hold up the other guy, you've got to hold up your end while he's doing the top end thing. You've got to keep it full the whole time."

Holding it all together is a long and treasured tradition in Thin Lizzy, going back to the underrated bass playing of the late Phil Lynott:

Scott Gorham: "Oh, absolutely! He used to tell everybody he was crap.

"But I know for a fact how hard he worked at it. He would meticulously pick out the notes he was going to play on any particular song. He would work that out like you wouldn't believe. Yeah, he may not have been like a Billy Sheehan, or a Marco Mendoza, there was no bass soloing going on, but man - when he laid it down, he fucking laid it down.

"He had a big, deep tone, we used to call him the King of the One Noters. Every once in a while, he'd stop playing to work on getting the crowd going, and the whole bottom would fall out. 'Phil, don't stop fucking playing!'"

Getting back to the recording of a new Black Star Riders record, at a time when many of Gorham's contemporaries have thrown in the towel on new recordings - many are now saying it doesn't make sense to make records:

Scott Gorham: "You know, I've been saying that for a long time!

"But this thing was going to happen, right? With everybody wanting free music - all you're doing is pulling money out of your own pocket to make these albums, and you're never going to get paid back for it.

"Yeah, you can go on the road, and make your money that way, but unless your king of 'up there,' you're not going to be making your money back because everything isa so expensive on the road. So I can see why there are guys out there going, 'Uncle! I give up, this is bullshit.'

"I think we kind of have a point to prove here. We want to get away from the twelve day thing, just to see what we can do given the chance to go in and make a proper album - the way we were used to making albums, right?

"Ricky has lyrics for days - he always does, on any given subject. He's kind of a phenom that way. You'll write a riff, and he'll go, 'I've got a lyric for that!' Really? Already? He's great that way.

"Damon's always got something cooking back there, and I've got a fair few things that I've been working on for the last few months. Riffs, chord patterns, and all of that - so yeah, we'll be ready by the time we get in there."

I thought we'd wrap things up by talking about guitarists and guitar gear, so I asked Scott to extemporize on some of the legendary guitarists he partnered with in the earlier iterations of Thin Lizzy, starting with Gary Moore:

Scott Gorham: "Gary was an amazing player! Kickin'!

"But, there was appoint where you realized that he didn't want to be in anybody's band. He found that too constricting, he wanted to be The Lone Ranger. Not to say that he was a selfish guy, but you just knew that was going to happen.

"He was good enough to pull that off - he had different ideas of how things should go, and sound. He wanted to sing. Whenever there was a background thing, he'd be the first one up to the microphone. So, there were a lot of things that Gary wanted that he wasn't going to get out of Thin Lizzy.

"I think that's the main reason he left - well, it is a reason why he quit! I think the other reason was that Phil and I were doing so many fucking drugs that he couldn't take it, haha!"

Without question, the guitarist who served in the band for their greatest successes, and is perhaps a member of what must be called the classic Lizzy lineup was Brian Robertson:

Scott Gorham: "Robbo. I've always loved Robbo.

"He is his own worst enemy. He always will be until the day he dies, he will be his own worst enemy. But he was the guy who made me realize that I had to step up my fucking game here - if I'm going to last at all, I had to step it up.

"When I met Robbo, he was 18 years old, and he was a fucking great guitar player at that point. I had so many laughs with Robbo in the first three years. When you're crying, your face hurts, and your stomach is killing you because you're laughing so hard. And, we played some kick ass gigs together - where you walk out and go, 'Fuck man, that was amazing!

"I was always trying to keep Brian in the band, and Phil was always trying to kick him out. I was always the mediator. The last example was on 'Bad Reputation'. It was Phil, and I, and Brian Downey - Robbo was out of the band, Phil had said, 'Fuck it, we don't need another guitar player, we'll just do the thing ourselves.'

"But, I knew in the back of my head, 'Sure, we can do this album, but we've got to go out on the road, and this is a two guitar band. We've got 4, or 5 other albums that we've got to play onstage, and there's a shitload of harmonies. 'Phil, this is a two guitar band.' Phil, 'Yeah, we'll get someone else in....'

"But, you know, I was always a big believer in the magic circle - once you broke the magic circle, the whole thing was broken, right?

"Finally, I talked Phil into it - I said, 'Listen, there are two tracks here with no lead guitar,' I'd done that on purpose. I had done all the harmonies, did all the rest of the stuff, but purposefully left two tracks open. I said, 'Phil, these are perfect for Brian - he's going to kick ass on these, we'll get him over here, and he'll take it from there.' Phil said, 'Alright, but it's your fucking fault if it doesn't work!'

"So we few Brian over, and I took him off to the side, and said, 'Brian, just keep your fucking mouth shut, and don't say anything to anybody.' He just grumbled, hahaha!

"And he did it. With each track, I think the most he took was two takes. Stormed back into the control room, and just sat there. And that didn't last long.

"He did something else and fucked it up all over again. He got in a fight in a club. Some guy smashed a bottle on his hand, and that was it - 'You're done.'

"You know, we're going out on this world tour, and you go and do that - 'Fuck you, you're out of here forever.' And that's when Gary came in as a permanent guy, and we went on to do the 'Black Rose' album. But like I said, I was always trying to keep the guy in the band!"

Finally, I asked about the last co-guitarist in the Phil Lynott era, and later the band's frontman, John Sykes. I mention to Gorham that I've talked to at least two of Sykes past band mates in the last year who have told me that they've worked on tracks with Sykes in recent times, but they don't have much faith that the tracks will ever see the light of day (a great shame, as Sykes is almost missed on the hard rock guitar scene as much as Blackmore):

Scott Gorham: "Well, I don't know what goes through John's head - I didn't really know him very well. "When we were in Lizzy, it didn't last very long. I know it sounds kind of weird, but it was only one European tour, and a trip to Japan - I don't even think we got to America with John, did we?

"Everybody was too fucked up at that point, we already knew the band was breaking up - that was the farewell tour. I'm not sure if John even knew that - he must have, though. So, I was in too much pain, and too fucked up in my own world, and so was Phil. I was glad to have him in there at that point to prop my ass up. It was good to have that kind of guy with all that talent over there - 'Go ahead, take all the load you want - do whatever you want, I'm good with that."

Scott had mentioned being in pain, so I asked about his back condition, and his use of Gibson's Axxess Les Pauls:

Scott Gorham: "I finally found out that it's a thing I was born with - the first four vertebrae, I don't have any pads between them!

"Gibson did a really great thing, they chambered my guitars for me so that they are a lot lighter, and it's funny - I was just talking with Billy Gibbons about this, and he said, 'Yeah, I got the same thing, bad back, so they chamber mine, too!

"However, there's one guy who still likes them like cement sacks, and I really admire him, but I could not believe how heavy all of his guitars were, and that's Zakk Wylde! They're like lead guitars. Zakk will not make his life easy, but he plays the shit out of them!"

Almost a big a change to Gorham's musical surroundings is the presence of Engl Amplifiers where for many decades Marshalls had sat:

Scott Gorham: "We were playing some shows with Deep Purple a few years back, and my guitar tech got seriously ill, and we were in a panic to get a guy over to my side, and this little Italian guy came highly recommended - so, there we were at Wembley Arena, it's completely sold out, we're doing soundcheck, and I have four Marshall heads - all customized, but somehow the guy fucked up the voltage on everything, and bam! All four heads go down, right in order.

"Now, the guy who does Steve Morse's guitars is named Michael Berger, and he's the Engl rep! For three weeks he's been trying to get me to try these Engl Amps. I kept saying, 'No, I've been with Marshall for 35 years, right?

"So here's his chance - he sees all my amps are fried, and he goes, 'Shall I?' And I go, 'Yeah.'

"Hahaha, we've got 45 minutes before we go on, so he plugs me in, goes, tweak, tweak, tweak, and I hit a chord and went, 'Shit!' It was instant. So, I played a few lead things, some harmonies, and it worked out. The little Italian guy says, 'Hey, I got your amps back up,' and I said, 'Nah, I'll try these tonight.'

"For me, that was a really brave thing to be playing in front of 14,000 people with a new rig, but I liked the sound, and I liked what it was giving me instantly. I became an Engl guy right on the spot. And Michael Berger knew it, he knew this was going to happen!"

Scott and I chatted for another fifteen minutes, but it was all about point and shoot cameras (he was taken by my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 that I use to record interviews, a fab piece of gear), the plights of my recent introduction to fatherhood, and a funny story about a band who hired a guitarist, only to find that the new hire had to be taught the songs by their replacement, who had to be flown in to do so at considerable cost. In short what I could talk about isn't interesting, and what is interesting is something that should remain private.

Like I said way back at the top somewhere, Gorham never mails it in - I mentioned this interview to a pal who has been writing about the guitar business almost for as long as I've been reading about it, and my friend implied that Gorham's charm was less than sincere, and to take all he said with a grain of salt.

I found almost the opposite to be true - sure, Scott's done this a million times before, and he probability didn't lose any sleep due to excitement over our chat, but he was the consummate professional, he was charming and engaging, and he handled our talk much like he did the gig later that night.

He approached it like he still had something to prove, and as a fan of the man for close to forty years, I'm damned glad I wasn't too jaded to see that he's proving it - the man is a certified legend, and he's far from through.


10.6.14





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michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Zē DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

black star riders BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE NEW PRODUCER FOR SECOND STUDIO ALBUM
Nick Raskulinecz replaces Joe Elliott at the desk for the 2015 release. "His resume is staggering, his reputation is stellar and his enthusiasm for our band and our songs is incredibly exciting..."

suzi quatro SUZI QUATRO TO RELEASE 'THE GIRL FROM DETROIT CITY' - A CAREER SPANNING 4 CD BOX SET
No sign of slowing down for Suzi as she also embarks on a massive live tour with plenty more to come...

paul rodgers HAMMERFALL REVEAL FOURTH ALBUM TRAILER FOR FORTHCOMING ALBUM '(r)EVOLUTION'
In the latest installment the guys discuss being back after a two year break...

paul rodgers PAUL RODGERS BRINGS 'THE ROYAL SESSIONS LIVE' TO THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL ON 3rd NOVEMBER 2014
Paul's soulful and exceptional voice teams up with some of Memphis's finest...

flying colors FLYING COLORS RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'MASK MACHINE'
The track is the first from the upcoming album 'Second Nature'. Members of the virtuoso band include Steve Morse and Mike Portnoy...

von hertzen brothers VON HERTZEN BROTHERS SET TO WORK ON ALBUM NUMBER SIX WITH "TOP-OF-THE-LINE" TEAM
The band are working with Grammy-nominated Canadian producer Garth Richardson and Juno Awards-winner mixer Randy Staub...

iced earth ICED EARTH'S JON SCHAFFER POSTS UPDATE FOLLOWING RECENT OPERATION
"We are forging the attack as I am recovering from surgery. The boys and I are ready to get back out there ASAP to lay down the Metal..."

coheed and cambria COHEED AND CAMBRIA ANNOUNCE LONG AWAITED VINYL REISSUE OF 'IN KEEPING SECRETS OF SILENT EARTH: 3'
This classic album fuses elements of hardcore punk, indie, pop, Metal and prog in a distinctive sonic universe...

blackberry smoke BLACKBERRY SMOKE 'LEAVE A SCAR: LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA' OUT NOW IN EUROPE
The outstanding live performance of Blackberry Smoke is now available for repeated listening...

babymetal BABYMETAL BRING THEIR WORLD TOUR 2014 TO THE UK
The Japanese phenomenon return to the UK in November to finish off a year of touring...

hawkwind HAWKWIND RELEASE 'SONIC ATTACK' SINGLE FEAT. BRIAN BLESSED ON SEPTEMBER 1
It's the musical collaboration we never knew we needed, until now...

magnum MAGNUM'S DECEMBER UK TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
The legendary British melodic rockers take acclaimed album 'Escape From The Shadow Garden' back on the road...

nashville pussy NASHVILLE PUSSY ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR OCTOBER
Southern US Hard Rockers will tour in the wake of rave reviews of their 'Up The Dosage' new studio album...

les fest wildfire WILDFIRE FESTIVAL LAUNCHES KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
The festival with a track record of successful events is offering festival goers a unique opportunity be part of making Wildfire even bigger and better...

wovenwar DEBUT WOVENWAR ALBUM LANDS ON NUMBER 36 ON THE BILLBOARD TOP 200
See Wovenwar live at their debut UK appearances on the current European tour...

evile EVILE ANNOUNCE NEW GUITARIST - EX- FALLEN FATE GUITARIST PIERS DONNO FULLER
After months of auditions and rehearsals the band are confident that they have found the perfect man for the job...

darkest era DARKEST ERA ANNOUNCE HEADLINE SHOWS IN BELFAST AND DUBLIN
These two dates are in addition to the already announced seven date UK tour in support of their latest album, 'Severance'...

buckcherry BUCKCHERRY SAY FUCK IT AND RELEASE THEIR NEW EP ON AUGUST 18TH
The EP is simply titled 'FUCK' - six songs that unapologetically rattle the speakers as much as they will the censors..."

orphaned land ORPHANED LAND LAUNCH VIDEO FOR 'LET THE TRUCE BE KNOWN'
"The tragedies we see in the Middle East are down to the fact that no negotiations, nor peace conventions, will ever help us achieve peace as long as hate, revenge, and self-victimisation are used as excuses for war..."

demonic resurrection PRO-FILMED FOOTAGE OF DEMONIC RESURRECTION AT WACKEN IS REVEALED
The band can be seen performing three numbers: 'The Demon King', 'Trail Of Devastation', and 'The Unrelenting Surge Of Vengeance'...

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL ANNOUNCE UK CO-HEADLINE TOUR WITH MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
"A melting pot of darkness, adrenaline, sick rock Metal and goth atmosphere is going to embrace you all soon..."

blackwolf tour PLANET ROCK PRESENTS BLACKWOLF, THE BREW & FIRE RED EMPRESS UK TOUR
Catch this sparkling line up on five dates this coming September...

mr big MR. BIG CONFIRM DETAILS OF NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

neal morse NEAL MORSE LAUNCHES VIDEO FOR 'HEAVEN SMILED'
The opener from 'Songs From November' sees Morse in classic singer/songwriter mode...

hrh prog HRH PROG 3 ANNOUNCES RICK WAKEMAN TO HEADLINE NEXT SPRING'S EVENT
The Prog icon heads up an exceptional bill, with more to come...

billy idol BILLY IDOL ANNOUNCES UK LIVE DATES IN NOVEMBER
As well as the live dates, a new album and an autobiography will also be released this autumn...

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY TO JOIN BIGELF FOR UK/EUROPE TOUR
Portnoy has also contributed his drum work and arrangement skills to the band's latest album, 'Into The Maelstrom'....

martin barre MARTIN BARRE ANNOUNCES STUDIO ALBUM FEATURING TULL CLASSICS
'Order Of Play' is the studio version of the acclaimed show performing Tull classics with his talented live band...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL THIRD TRAILER DOCUMENTING NEW ALBUM 'BLIND RAGE'
Wolf Hoffmann talks about the ingredients needed to write a great song, as well as mentioning the guitarists who have influenced his playing...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD UNVEIL NEW TEASER FOR 'WAKING THE FALLEN: RESURRECTED'
"We have left no stone unturned in our quest to bring you the archived footage, rare and early recording and demos and live performances of the madness which set the pace for the Avenged Sevenfold we are today..."

hammerfall HAMMERFALL REVEAL THIRD ALBUM TRAILER FOR FORTHCOMING ALBUM '(r)EVOLUTION'
Watch for a sneak preview of the band's upcoming video for the track 'Hector's Hymn'...

tryptikon TRIPTYKON UNVEIL NEW VIDEO CLIP
The clip is an ominous visualisation of 'Aurorae', one of the most poignant and personal songs on 'Melana Chasmata'...

absolva BREAKING NEWS: DAN BATE LEAVES ABSOLVA; FURY UK LINE-UP REUNITED FOR EUROPEAN TOUR
"Although we're more than a little shocked at this turn of events, the situation has been entirely amicable and we have nothing but good to say about Dan..."

california breed CALIFORNIA BREED LINE-UP IS RE-ASSEMBLED
Bonham Out, Joey Castillo In - Bonham: "I wasn't going to be bullied into touring"...

wacken 2015 SAVATAGE TO REUNITE FOR WACKEN 2015 WHICH ALSO FEATURES TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA AND RUNNING WILD
The Savatage reunion gig will mark the band's first live performance in over a decade...

gus g GUS G. LAUNCHES NEW VIDEO FOR 'BLAME IT ON ME'
There are also videos of guitar tutorials and a recap of the recent European tour...

hammerfest HAMMERFEST ANNOUNCES HRH DOOM
It's an afternoon of Doom on Friday 13th March with a specialist stage...

persian risk PERSIAN RISK TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'WHO AM I'
The NWOBHM band, who reformed in 2012, are back with their third album...

the agonist THE AGONIST SET TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'EYE OF PROVIDENCE' IN NOVEMBER
The follow up to 'Prisoners' sees the debut of vocalist Vicky Psarakis...

sixx am MÖTLEY CRÜE'S NIKKI SIXX RELEASES NEW SIXX:A.M. ALBUM
Sixx:A.M announces long-awaited third album, 'Modern Vintage', with the first single available on August 4th ...

wolf cover WOLF PREMIERE VIDEO FOR 'SHARK ATTACK'
The video is taken from the album 'Devil Seed'. "No story, no acting, no bullshit - just full throttle velocity of in-your-face Heavy Metal..."

hammerfest 2015 HAMMERFEST ANNOUNCE MORE ACTS FOR MARCH 2015
Candlemass, Devilment, Raging Speedhorn, Hell, Hirax & many more join the event in Wales...

les fest wildfire LES-FEST ANNOUNCES FIRST DOZEN BANDS FOR 2015 AND A NEW NAME
Les-Fest-Wildfire is back in June 15 with Tygers of Pan Tang revealed as the first headliner...

striker STRIKER RELEASE PREVIEW TRACK FROM UPCOMING 'CITY OF GOLD' ALBUM
"It's about Heavy Metal and a good time. If you're having a party at your house, then put our CD into the player and drink some beer..."

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS 2ND 'CASUALTIES OF COOL' VIDEO
The haunting video for 'Flight' is available to watch now. The long awaited stock of physical CDs of 'Casualties of Cool' have also arrived...
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