Now this gem I found quite by accident. Some in the Lizzy fanbase may disagree with me, but I think that Renegade was their weakest album. It was 1981 and (according to Putterford) the drug problems within the band were spilling over into the studio and onstage. Actually the heroin problems with Phil and Scott began while cutting Black Rose (see deluxe edition liner notes) in Paris. This isn’t to say that the entire band weren’t into all types of shit, there was a shit-ton of coke and pot being used regularly. Downey and Robertson also fessed up to dragon chasing experimentally, but dropped it quickly. During the Wild Horses tenure, Jimmy Bain was a major smackhead. Scott said that back in LA he was really getting into the heroin scene, but when he set sail for England (originally to audition for a post with Supertramp) he managed to get himself clean- if only temporarily.
Some are quick to blame Lizzy’s American contingent for getting Phil into smack, but a track on the Bad Reputation album is quite telling. Opium Trail describes a luscious trip in allegorical context, a caveat and subtly brilliant on Phil’s part. One tale that long-time Lynott pal, Bob Geldof, tells was of Phil’s epic FUBAR seduction of his ex-wife the late Paula Yates. Phil slipped Geldof what he believed to be coke, but he actually snorted a line of heroin. But Robbo describes stumbling upon a virtual opium den when dropping in on Scott and Phil at the chi-chi Welbeck Mansion flats in West Hampstead. Robbo also claims that he didn’t know what they were doing because heroin wasn’t available at the time in his native Glasgow, but London was infested with it. Robbo’s dichotomous endearing train wreck personality screams amphetamine freak, but this scene seems to interrupt the timeline. Robbo was sacked from Lizzy in summer ’78 (the last album he appeared on was Live and Dangerous, but it was the late Gary Moore who took to the right side of Lizzy’s stage for the big US tour until his departure in May ’79, and Mark Nauseef filled in for Downey who was temporarily shot down from a drug-induced nervous breakdown and was featured on the DVD Boys Are Back in Town: Live in Australia) after getting bottled through the hand protecting fellow Glaswegian heathen Frankie Miller during a drunken night of mayhem concerning the band Gonzalez, but Scott claims that it was during the recording of Black Rose in Paris (winter ’78) when heroin creeped back in.
Technically the Wild Horses started up before Robbo was sacked, but on his official site, Robbo lists the debut in ’80 when their first album came out. Wild Horses and Lizzy partied and played hard together- Robbo’s cool T-shirt from his appearance with the Horses on the Lynott-presented episode of Alright Now described Lizzy and everyone else around them perfectly: I’M INTO EXCESS. So was it after they got back from Paris, or had Phil shared a bit of his dope beforehand? Scott was Phil’s best man for his wedding. They had a special rapport whenever they took to the stage with that incorrigible, goofy chemistry. They were heroin buddies. And Scott said that he wept like a baby after his wife Christine broke the news when Phil died. How could he have not known what Phil was getting into prior to Paris? That’s something only Scott could answer, and I have a feeling that with all these revival acts he’ll have a memoir out (in the UK most probably) in the future, and it will be very candid. At 60, I don’t think he’s very shy about shit any more.
Well enough with the depressing shit, onto the funny!
Like I said I think that Renegade was the weakest Lizzy album, and the worst song associated with it is Trouble Boys. The band (with the exception of Phil) agreed. However, a West German live music TV show, Music-Box, may have changed that opinion. Take one look at Lizzy’s antics as they perform it, and it will grow on you like mold. Downey held out to the last, Phil was perfect, Darren was young and dumb, and Scott, ever the gorgeous antagonist. Even Snowy was joining in on the absurdity!
DISCLAIMER: See my last post.
00:25 Scott: Yoo-hoo! Snowy!
00:30 Snowy: (FLASHBACKS TO TOKYO HYATT PRINCESS) I took one for the team! Now leave off!
00:41 Scott: Hello camera four! Look who’s beautiful!
00:43 Phil: KRELBOW!
00:49 Darren: Ahh, Phil’s vest… so soft, creaky, and warm…
00:59 Scott: The blonde’s my bitch!
01:06 Scott: Channeling Elvis!
01:10 Phil: Then suss him out!
Scott: Fuck off…
01:17 Darren: But I want to be Scott’s bitch!
01:21 Phil: You have no future.
01:25 Scott: Yo mamma!
01:28 Scott: Cooties!
01:34 Downey: I’m just banging this crap prop kit… Anyway, Christine won’t speak to Scott. And now he’s got the gay again!
01:48 Snowy: Catch me if you want me!
01:53 Scott: C’mon! What the fuck is this? Finland?!
02:08 Scott: Hair close-up please!
02:18 Stage Manager: Get yer popcorn! Escape this rockabilly shit!
02:34 Scott: We can pwn West Germany fer sure!
02:43 Scott: Random destruction! And the best 80s hair!
02:58 Phil: CLOTHESLINE!
Scott: In your wet dream!
03:01 Snowy: A threesome or nothing’s doing!
03:08 Phil: You’re just jealous that I get the best bitches!
03:20 Downey: Hi hat win!
03:29 Phil: To all my bitches…