Ricky Warwick

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Ricky Warwick
20170617-209-Nova Rock 2017-Black Star Riders-Ricky Warwick.jpg
Ricky Warwick with Black Star Riders at Nova Rock 2017
Background information
Born (1966-07-11) 11 July 1966 (age 52)
Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active1988–present
Associated acts The Almighty, New Model Army, Circus Diablo, Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders, Stiff Little Fingers
Website www.rickywarwick.com

Ricky Warwick (born 11 July 1966, Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Irish musician and songwriter, and the lead singer with Black Star Riders and Thin Lizzy. He is also the frontman for the Scottish hard rock band The Almighty, with whom he achieved chart success in the UK throughout the 1990s, although the band is currently on hiatus. Warwick has released several solo albums and performed with a variety of other bands and artists, and also fronts his own band, The Fighting Hearts, to showcase his solo material.

Newtownards town, townland and civil parish in County Down, Northern Ireland

Newtownards is in the middle of the world

County Down Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

County Down is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, in the northeast of the island of Ireland. It covers an area of 2,448 km2 and has a population of 531,665. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland and is within the province of Ulster. It borders County Antrim to the north, the Irish Sea to the east, County Armagh to the west, and County Louth across Carlingford Lough to the southwest.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".


Early life

Warwick spent his formative years in Northern Ireland [1] and got his first guitar at 14 years old. [2] He was soon playing along to songs by various rock and country acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. [2] [3] Warwick quickly migrated to the music of more harder-edged acts such as Motörhead, MC5, Stiff Little Fingers and The Clash. [2] [4] He later reminisced that "Those artists gave me a voice", adding that "...when no one would listen to a fourteen year old boy, they gave me something important to say." [2] A year after he moved with his family to Strathaven in Scotland. [2] [1] It was at his new school in Scotland that Warwick first met his future bandmates Stump Monroe and Floyd London. [5]

Bruce Springsteen American singer and songwriter

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, nicknamed "The Boss", is an American singer-songwriter and leader of the E Street Band. He is recognized for his poetic lyrics, his Jersey Shore roots, his distinctive voice, and his lengthy, energetic stage performances.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

Johnny Cash American singer-songwriter and actor

Johnny Cash was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. Although primarily remembered as a country music icon, his genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.


Warwick got his first break in the late 1980s, when he was invited to join New Model Army as a rhythm guitarist on their Ghosts of Cain album world tour. [2] He states that he learnt a great deal about songwriting and stagecraft during his time with the band. [3] Warwick then left New Model Army and formed The Almighty in 1988 with guitarist Andy 'Tantrum' McCafferty and Warwick's former school-friends, drummer Stump Monroe and bass guitarist Floyd London. [6] [2] [5] [7] Warwick was the lead vocalist and played guitar in various formats of the band. Although all four founding members had a strong background in punk rock music, The Almighty took a more heavy metal/hard rock orientated musical direction. [8]

New Model Army (band) English rock band

New Model Army are an English rock band formed in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 1980 by lead singer, guitarist and main composer Justin Sullivan, bassist Stuart Morrow and drummer Phil Tompkins. Sullivan has been the only continuous member of the band, which has seen numerous line-up changes in its 39-year history. Their music draws on influences across the musical spectrum, from punk and folk to soul, metal and classical. Sullivan’s lyrics, which range from directly political through to spiritual and personal, have always been considered as a key part of the band’s appeal. By the time they began making their first records in 1983, Robert Heaton, a former drum technician for Hawkwind, had replaced Tompkins.

Rhythm guitar guitar technique; part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section

In music performances, rhythm guitar is a technique and role that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section ; and to provide all or part of the harmony, i.e. the chords from a song's chord progression, where a chord is a group of notes played together. Therefore, the basic technique of rhythm guitar is to hold down a series of chords with the fretting hand while strumming or fingerpicking rhythmically with the other hand. More developed rhythm techniques include arpeggios, damping, riffs, chord solos, and complex strums.

The Almighty were a hard rock/heavy metal band, from Glasgow in Scotland who formed in 1988. Three of the founding members, Ricky Warwick, Stump Monroe and Floyd London were friends who met at school. Although the band members musical roots were in punk, The Almighty adopted a more heavy metal/hard rock oriented musical direction in their early years. Later albums saw the band's musical style move towards the band members' original punk roots.

The early 1990s saw The Almighty tour extensively throughout the UK and Europe as support to major rock acts such as Motörhead, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden and Metallica. [9] [7] [6] The band also later toured as headliners in their own right. [7] Five studio albums and one live album were released by The Almighty during this time, which were well received by rock fans throughout the UK and in Europe. They were, however, unable to break through in the United States despite touring there in 1993. [9] That same year, Warwick also performed with The Stiff Little Fingers at a gig at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. A live album showcasing that gig from March 1993, Pure Fingers , was released in 1995. [10]

Motörhead English rock band

Motörhead were an English rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member, guitarist Larry Wallis and drummer Lucas Fox. The band are often considered a precursor to the new wave of British heavy metal, which re-energised heavy metal in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Though several guitarists and drummers have played in Motörhead, most of their best-selling albums and singles feature the work of Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums and "Fast" Eddie Clarke on guitars.

Megadeth American heavy metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

Alice Cooper American rock singer, songwriter and musician

Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.

In 1996, disillusioned with the direction The Almighty were taking Warwick moved to Dublin where he formed a new band called (sic) with Ciaran McGoldrick (bass) and Gary Sullivan (drums). [9] [11] The band's one record - I Feel So Lonely I Could Die - was only released in Japan, although a four-track EP came out in the UK. [11] (sic) broke up in 1999 and then Warwick returned to The Almighty. The Almighty then released two further albums before again disbanding in 2001. [6]

After the second break-up of The Almighty, Warwick admits he felt like quitting performing altogether. [5] Instead, he went on tour in 2002 as a solo artist and, taking on board his fondness for country music and Americana, he played acoustically. [5] [2] The tour reinvigorated Warwick's love of music, and he began writing songs for a new album. [5] [2]

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

Americana is an amalgam of American music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions that make up the musical ethos of the United States, specifically those sounds that are merged from folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel, and other external influences. Americana, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is "contemporary music that incorporates elements of various mostly acoustic American roots music styles, including country, roots rock, folk, gospel and bluegrass resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band."

Acoustic guitar type of guitar

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound acoustically by transmitting the vibration of the strings to the air—as opposed to relying on electronic amplification (see electric guitar). The sound waves from the strings of an acoustic guitar resonate through the guitar's body, creating sound. This typically involves the use of a sound board and a sound box to strengthen the vibrations of the strings. In standard tuning the guitar's six strings are tuned (low to high) E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.

Warwick's first solo album, Tattoos & Alibis, was released in October 2003. Almost entirely acoustic, it was a marked departure from the raucous hard rock of The Almighty. [2] [4] A follow-up album was released in January 2006, Love Many Trust Few, which was similar in style to his solo debut although slightly more hard-rock orientated.

In January 2006 The Almighty reformed with their 'classic' line-up of Warwick, Stump, Floyd and Pete for benefit shows. Later in the year, they appeared as headliners at the 2006 Bulldog Bash [12] and then undertook a 5 show tour of the UK in December 2006. [13] During the same year, Warwick also joined the band Circus Diablo, along with Billy Duffy (of The Cult). The band recorded one album and performed at Ozzfest during 2007, but are no longer active. [9]

He has in the past toured the British Isles and throughout Europe supporting Bob Dylan, [14] Sheryl Crow and Keith Caputo. [15]

Warwick will make his acting debut in an independent film written and directed by Bobby Field. Entitled The Bridge, filming is set to begin in mid 2017. The cast features several other rock musicians including Joe Elliott, Al Jourgensen (Ministry) and Joey Santiago (The Pixies). [16] [17]

In April 2009, Warwick released his third solo album, Belfast Confetti, continuing in the largely acoustic guitar based approach of his previous two solo albums. [2]

Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

In September 2009, Warwick was invited to join the latest lineup of Thin Lizzy and joined them as lead vocalist and guitarist. Warwick took part in Thin Lizzy's 2011 European tour commemorating 25 years since the death of original frontman Phil Lynott. In December 2012, he co-founded the Thin Lizzy spin-off band, Black Star Riders in order to release new material largely composed by Warwick with guitarist Damon Johnson. [18] Black Star Riders' first album All Hell Breaks Loose was released in May 2013. [19]

In 2014, Warwick recorded a second album with the Black Star Riders. Titled The Killer Instinct , the album was released on 20 February 2015. [20] [21] Alongside his touring commitments with Black Star Riders in 2015, Warwick toured the UK with his bandmate Damon Johnson, performing acoustic sets of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders songs, plus various covers and selections of Almighty and solo material. He is also recording an album of covers titled Stairwell Troubadour, again through PledgeMusic. [22]

During 2016 and early 2017, Warwick and Thin Lizzy performed a small number of shows to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the band's breakthrough hit album, Jailbreak and the 30th anniversary of Phil Lynott's death. [23] Black Star Riders' third album, Heavy Fire , was released on 3 February 2017 and reached #6 in the UK album charts. [24]

The Fighting Hearts

In February 2014, Warwick launched a campaign through PledgeMusic to launch two albums later in the year, one comprising acoustic songs with the other being a hard rock record. [25] The two albums, Hearts On Trees and When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues), were released at the end of 2014 to those who contributed to the PledgeMusic campaign, and on general release as a double album in February 2016 on the Nuclear Blast label. Guest musicians on these recordings include Damon Johnson, Joe Elliott, Andy Cairns, Billy Morrison, Nathan Connolly, Ginger Wildheart, Richard Fortus and Jake Burns. [26] Warwick assembled a band named The Fighting Hearts to tour behind the album, featuring Gary Sullivan on drums, Black Star Riders bassist Robbie Crane, and ex-Mission guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite. Ricky Warwick and The Fighting Hearts supported Stiff Little Fingers on a full UK tour throughout late February and March 2016. [27]

The Fighting Hearts undertook a second UK tour in November 2016, supported by Vice Squad. Filling the bass guitar role on this tour was Richard Vernon. [28]

Ricky headlined the very first WinterStorm festival in Troon in 2016

Personal life

Warwick met Vanessa Young, presenter of MTV show Headbangers Ball, in 1990, during his time with The Almighty. They married in 1991 and divorced in 2000. [29] He is now married to Christina, and the couple live in Los Angeles with their four children. [30] [31]

Warwick is good friends with singer Joe Elliott, [5] having performed backing vocals on Def Leppard albums, [32] whilst Elliott has returned the favour recording on and producing Warwick's solo albums. [5] Warwick also served as Elliott's Best man at his wedding in 2004. [33]

Warwick is a fan of Northern Ireland football club Glentoran, [34] and in 2010 he released a three track DVD in aid of the Spirit of 41 campaign to save Glentoran from extinction. [35] In December 2014, he performed an acoustic benefit show in Dundonald (a town east of Belfast) to raise funds for the Glentoran Community Trust. Warwick wore a specially commissioned one-off Glentoran football strip for the show. It featured the logos of all his bands, including The Almighty and Thin Lizzy, and was auctioned to help raise further funds for the Trust. [36]


Related Research Articles

Thin Lizzy Irish rock band

Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott led the group throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums, writing most of the material. The singles "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak", and "The Boys Are Back in Town" were major international hits. After Lynott's death in 1986, various incarnations of the band emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey.

Phil Lynott Irish singer-songwriter and musician, founding member of Thin Lizzy

Philip Parris Lynott was an Irish musician and songwriter. His most commercially successful group was Thin Lizzy, of which he was a founding member, the principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist. He was known for his distinctive plectrum-based style on the bass, and for his imaginative lyrical contributions including working class tales and numerous characters drawn from personal influences and Celtic culture.

Scott Gorham musician, songwriter

William Scott Gorham is an American guitarist and songwriter who was one of the "twin lead guitarists" for the Irish rock band, Thin Lizzy. Although not a founding member of Thin Lizzy, he served a continuous membership after passing an audition in 1974, joining the band at a time when the band's future was in doubt after the departures of original guitarist Eric Bell and his brief replacement Gary Moore. Gorham remained with Thin Lizzy until the band's breakup in 1984. He and guitarist Brian Robertson, both hired at the same time, marked the beginning of the band's most critically successful period, and together developed Thin Lizzy's twin lead guitar style while contributing dual backing vocals as well. Gorham is the band member with the longest membership after founders Brian Downey (drummer) and frontman and bass guitarist, Phil Lynott.

John Sykes musician, songwriter

John James Sykes is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who has played with Streetfighter, Tygers of Pan Tang, John Sloman's Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder. Sykes shared composing duties for all songs on Whitesnake's 1987 self-titled album with David Coverdale. Sykes is also a successful solo artist.

Brian Downey (drummer) musician, songwriter

Brian Michael Downey is an Irish drummer, best known as the drummer and a founding member of the rock band Thin Lizzy. Along with Phil Lynott, Downey was the only constant member of the hard rock group until their break-up in 1983. Downey also co-wrote several Thin Lizzy songs. Allmusic critic Eduardo Rivadavia has argued that Downey is "certainly one of the most underrated [rock drummers] of his generation".

Darren Leigh Wharton is a British keyboardist, singer and songwriter. He has fronted his own band, Dare, since 1985, but first came to attention as a member of Thin Lizzy.

Marco Mendoza musician, songwriter

Marco Mendoza is an American rock musician who is the bass guitarist for The Dead Daisies and the reformed lineup of Thin Lizzy, and a former member of the Thin Lizzy spin-off Black Star Riders.

Billy Morrison British musician

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Damon Johnson American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter

Damon Rogers Johnson is an American guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, currently a solo artist and member of Thin Lizzy. In the 1990s he co-founded Brother Cane, and later joined Alice Cooper's band as lead guitarist. He was also the lead guitarist and co-songwriter for hard rock group Black Star Riders from 2012 to 2018. Johnson has also released several solo albums and his songs have been recorded by many artists including Stevie Nicks and Carlos Santana.

Still in Love with You (Thin Lizzy song) 1986 single by Bobby Tench

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Mark Thwaite British musician

Mark Gemini Thwaite also known as MGT is a British musician, and has been the guitarist for a number of rock bands and artists over the last two decades, including The Mission, Tricky, Peter Murphy, New Disease, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mob Research, and Canadian band National Velvet plus various live and recorded appearances with Gary Numan, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Roger Daltrey of the Who, P.J. Harvey, Alanis Morissette, Primitive Race, Ricky Warwick of Thin Lizzy, Ginger of The Wildhearts, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, Franz Treichler of The Young Gods, Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff, Ashton Nyte of The Awakening, Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst and Porl Thompson of The Cure and Ville Valo of Finnish band HIM.

Angel of Death (Thin Lizzy song) song by Thin Lizzy

"Angel of Death" is a song by rock band Thin Lizzy featured on their Renegade album, released as a single in the United States. The tune peaked at No. 38 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The song was a collaboration between band leader Phil Lynott and Darren Wharton who had joined the band as a keyboard player in 1980. Angel of Death was premiered live in August 1981 when its lyrics were rather different from the later released versions. The opening number of Thin Lizzy's live set during the Renegade world tour of 1981/2 when it heralded the band on stage with the sound of air-raid sirens, Angel of Death was also an integral part of the Thunder and Lightning live set in 1983.

<i>Belfast Confetti</i> (album) 2009 studio album by Ricky Warwick

Belfast Confetti is the third solo studio album by Ricky Warwick, the frontman for The Almighty and Black Star Riders. It was released in May 2009 on DR2 Records, and was produced by Warwick, Tim Boland and Tom Vitorino. It takes its name from the slang term "Belfast confetti", referring to the large screws, bolts, and metal shop scrap used by rioters.

Black Star Riders band

Black Star Riders is a hard rock band formed in December 2012. The band is fronted by Ricky Warwick, and features lead guitarist Scott Gorham, and bass guitarist Robbie Crane. Drummer and founding member Jimmy DeGrasso left the band in March 2017, and was replaced a few weeks later by Chad Szeliga. Another founding member, lead guitarist Damon Johnson, left the band at the end of 2018 to be replaced by Christian Martucci.

<i>All Hell Breaks Loose</i> (Black Star Riders album) 2013 studio album by Black Star Riders

All Hell Breaks Loose is the debut studio album by hard rock band Black Star Riders, released in May 2013. Black Star Riders evolved from the touring version of Thin Lizzy, assembled by guitarist Scott Gorham after the death of Thin Lizzy's leader Phil Lynott.

<i>The Killer Instinct</i> 2015 studio album by Black Star Riders

The Killer Instinct is the second studio album by hard rock band Black Star Riders, released on February 20, 2015. Black Star Riders evolved from the touring version of Thin Lizzy, assembled by guitarist Scott Gorham after the death of Thin Lizzy's leader Phil Lynott. The band's first album, All Hell Breaks Loose, was released in 2013.

The Amorettes Scottish band

The Amorettes are a hard rock band formed in Scotland in 2009. They have performed in support of Black Star Riders, Europe, W.A.S.P., Ash, The Dead Daisies, Black Stone Cherry, Gun and Thunder among others, and have toured across the UK, and performed in several countries throughout Europe.

<i>Heavy Fire</i> (album) 2017 studio album by Black Star Riders

Heavy Fire is the third studio album by hard rock band Black Star Riders, released on February 3, 2017. Black Star Riders evolved from the touring version of Thin Lizzy, assembled by guitarist Scott Gorham after the death of Thin Lizzy's leader Phil Lynott. The band's first two albums, All Hell Breaks Loose and The Killer Instinct, were released in 2013 and 2015 respectively.


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