In May 2010, Thin Lizzy lead guitarist Scott Gorham announced the latest incarnation of the group, which had toured sporadically with various line-ups since 1996, after the death of band leader Phil Lynott in 1986. This marked the return of the original drummer Brian Downey and longtime keyboard player Darren Wharton, joining Gorham, bass guitarist Marco Mendoza, and vocalist and occasional guitarist Ricky Warwick.
The other lead guitarist role was initially filled by Vivian Campbell, then by Richard Fortus, before Damon Johnson joined the band in August 2011. As the band toured throughout 2011 and 2012, they composed new material for possible release as a Thin Lizzy studio album, and demos were recorded in June 2012.
Releasing the new material under the Thin Lizzy banner proved to be a very contentious issue and eventually did not happen. In October 2012, it was announced that the new material would NOT be recorded under the Thin Lizzy name, and that a new band name would be used for the new songs.
According to Gorham, this was "out of respect to Phil Lynott and the legacy he created", though he confirmed that the new material would feature the classic Thin Lizzy sound. He later confirmed that the decision was taken by himself and Downey, with the support of the other members of the band, and that the Thin Lizzy estate (controlled by Lynott's widow Caroline) had also been uncomfortable about new Thin Lizzy studio recordings.
Warwick has acknowledged that a significant portion of Thin Lizzy fans were also against the idea of Thin Lizzy studio recordings without Lynott. He later confirmed that he had been troubled by the idea of using the Thin Lizzy name, and that as a fan, had the band recorded an album under the Thin Lizzy name with another singer, he would have been against it.
As the new material was being written, it became clear that Downey and Wharton would not be involved when the final recordings were made. Downey required a break from the heavy touring schedule, and Wharton wanted to return to his own band Dare, and to work on a film project. Warwick confirmed, "Brian and Darren just don't want to be on the road 150 days a year, and that's completely understandable. But we do."
Gorham has stated that Thin Lizzy will still perform as a band in the future: "Thin Lizzy isn't gonna die," he said. Many question that this will actually happen, though.
With reference to the much-publicised Lizzy "farewell" tour in late 2012, Warwick confirmed, "All that 'farewell' meant is that we're not going to do 150 Lizzy shows a year... those were just the last shows for a while." Thin Lizzy completed a short tour of Australia in March 2013, with Downey and Wharton as part of the line-up.
Damon Johnson has revealed that Gorham was against any name for the new band that was related to Thin Lizzy, "because this band has to stand on its own". In the end, Warwick named the band after a gang of outlaws in the 1993 western film Tombstone, and the new name was announced on 20 December 2012.
In 2013 Black Star Riders released an album "All Hell Breaks Loose" which won over many of the skeptical Thin Lizzy fans. In 2015 they released their 2nd album "The Killer Instinct" which was also quite well received.
As a musician and songwriter myself, Thin Lizzy appealed to me on several levels. As a listener, I loved their sound, particularly the way they could blend "soft and pretty" with "hard and heavy", all in the same song (Cowboy Song for example). As a guitarist, I was very impressed with their implementation of the dual lead guitar sound. Rather than have two guitar personalities battling each other for the spotlight, Thin Lizzy's guitarists performed with the grace of a synchronized swim team.
As a songwriter, I was often touched by the emotion Philip Lynott could capture and convey through song. I appreciated his sense of humour and wit, and his ability to "play with words" to get just the right sound or effect, even in such serious songs as Got To Give It Up. His sense of humour was often heard in his chat between songs in concert, or in radio and TV interviews.
For an insight into Philip and Thin Lizzy in his own words, as well as those of his mother, Eric Bell, Scott Gorham and various other people who knew or worked with him, be sure to check out I Am Just A Cowboy.
As evidenced by the incredible number of high quality THIN LIZZY web-sites and Tributes around the world, all these years later, Philip Lynott and the band THIN LIZZY have been and still are a major influence on other bands, and on music lovers the world over. Click CLICK here for some of the books by and about Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy.