Thin Lizzy Fighting Deluxe Edition Review

I’m a little sick, unsure, unsound and unstable
But I’m fighting my way back

Now I just did the TL National Stadium DVD review, but I think I should do a review of the deluxe edition of their 1975 Fighting album. There are three reasons: 1) In my dashboard I noticed that “Thin Lizzy Fighting” has appeared numerous times under the top searches. 2) Far too many dismiss all pre-Jailbreak albums. And finally 3) The reason why I didn’t review the DE version of Chinatown was because disc 2 contains mostly live performances, soundchecks, Killer on the Loose single B-side Don’t Play Around, US edit of We Will Be Strong (which doesn’t sound too different from the UK version), and a rough cut of Chinatown.

Like so many legendary bands, their early projects are only appreciated down the road, and Allmusic gave the album 4 1/2 stars. After the newly reformed Thin Lizzy with a brash Glaswegian and a rocking hippie Californian taking up guitar duties debuted their 1974 album Nightlife which did nothing to improve their standing with Phonogram, but were kicking ass and fucking groupies, they booked studio time at the euthanized Olympic Studios and spent the latter part of the spring cutting Fighting. Now Nightlife was an eclectic bag of bluesy-jazzy-cum-pop-rock, for their sophomore album Lizzy knew they wanted to go headlong in the hard rock arena. But after the battles fought with cokehead producer Ron Nevison, they were determined not to be underestimated. So Phil decided to produce the thing himself. The problem, he’d never produced an album before. Enter engineer, the late Keith Harwood.

Robbo referred to Keith as “an absolute gem. Sadly missed, I have to say. I loved the guy to death. He was just a real gentleman, and he had all the ideas. Phil hadn’t produced an album in his life before. You know, when it says, ‘Produced by Phil Lynott,’ no it wasn’t. It was really produced by Keith Harwood, with a few ideas from Phil. That’s all it was.” (Popoff, Fighting My Way Back)

Then Robbo does the real celebutard shitty-ass thing and speaks from the other side of his mouth and says in the DE liner notes: “He helped ensure  that we got the sounds we needed, and while he wasn’t a co-producer, he made life so much easier for all of us.”

Robbo, man, we love you. We know you’re an alkey, and maybe that’s why you’re such an endearing trainwreck. But ultimately that’s between you, your wife, and your son (although I can’t be sure if he’s still with wife #2). Perhaps you should cut back a bit for at least the interviews. Your fans want to think the best of you, so please avoid the Hollywood 1-D bullfuckery okay?

Getting back to the matter at hand, Fighting was ultimately the album that set the stage for Jailbreak, and while the band was in frame the picture was out of focus. But Thin Lizzy always managed to find speedbumps along the way when it came to the corporate side of things. And their troubles seemingly began with a picture.

Jim Fitzpatrick’s brilliant artwork is woefully missing for Fighting, and ironically it would be the only album to sport their official logo he designed. So to save time and moolah, the label went with photography. Rock photographers Paul Anthony and Mick Rock were given the job to capture Thin Lizzy’s sex appeal and make them look commercially available. What we got were a pair of album sleeves out of never ending fuck-ups.

How can we carry on
When you are gone my wild one

The sleeve at the top is the “official” one as it was released in the UK. The photo above was used for the NA release, Robbo called “much prettier.” Since he had a real scruffy beard at the time the photos were taken (see UK Tour ’75 liner notes for pics), the Chrises were ready to sack him unless he shaved, so he conceded and kept his post. What was bringing Phil down was that the messages he was trying to impart in the album were about post-pubescent angst and rebelliousness. Not violence and rioting (however Phil preferred his listeners to have open interpretation of his lyrics). But the Liberty Vallance image Phil constructed dogged him everywhere, and more or less nullified his intentions. Not to mention that Thin Lizzy regarded itself as a gang; fighting, fucking, hard drinking, drugging, and rocking were the rules of the road. So how else were they supposed to look other than a “thug band” with that kind of album title. Another proposed sleeve had Lizzy goofing off with prop weapons on the street until someone thought they were for real and dialed 999.

Ladies they’re lovers, not fighters.

The last proposal was thankfully dumped into the reject bin, because it was just plain motherfucking stupid. As a last resort they got a makeup artist to make them look after a typical after-show party:

Bloody hell, this sucks ass!

While this looks tame and even silly by today’s standards, get in a wayback machine and zip back 36 years and you might understand why it was thought to be in poor taste and frightening.

Okay, let’s get to the meat of this thing! Disc 1 contains the same tracks as the original release and isn’t remastered (thanks Scott!). Rosalie is best known because of Thin Lizzy’s cover, and Phil being a fan of Bob Seger (and The Allman Brothers) was surprised that he didn’t include it in his set. So he decided to give it a proper treatment and added it to the Lizzy catalog. It was issued as a single off  the album but went nowhere because the studio recording of it was simply too subdued. That said, the version on Live and Dangerous is the definitive mix. For Those Who Love to Live was unabashed hero worship of Phil’s Man U football hero and drinking buddy, George Best. It’s cool jazzy-pop with an addictive hook demonstrating Phil’s burgeoning abilities as a modern Irish bard. Who else could word paint young, ambitious men on the rough streets of Troubled Belfast dreaming of endless green pitches and glittering gold medals, wanting you to swing your hips and strike cool poses? Suicide remained a staple in the Thin Lizzy set up until the bitter end. It’s hard and heavy blues rock, and I think it helped Phil sublimate his obsession with death, openly criticizing society’s apathy in the face of tragedy.

An interesting note on King’s Vengeance, it was covered by 21 Guns and Tommy La Verdi did a pretty good job. But honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. It was penned by Phil and Scott, and while the music is your typical 70s feel-good sound (almost folky), the lyrics puzzle me and feels a bit unfinished.

Down and out in the city
Won’t you give a boy a break
Juvenile on trial before committee
Taken all he can take

But the king shall have his vengeance
Especially on the poor
Some say preaching to convert him
Me I’m not too sure

Spring she comes and spring she teases
Brings summer winds and summer breezes
Blow through your hair till autumn leaves us
When autumn leaves us, oh how winter freezes

And the child is still breathing
With the beating of a heart (with the beating of the heart)
Some say we are equal
Some a million miles apart

Oh my god
Oh my god

But the king shall have his vengeance
While the Queen she represents the innocent
And the child so dependent
But the seasons conquer all

Spring she comes and spring she teases
Brings summer winds and summer breezes
Blow through your hair till autumn leaves us
When autumn leaves, oh how winter freezes

But the king shall have his vengeance
Especially on the poor
Some say preaching to converted
Me I’m not so sure

Morbidity and drugs come to mind for Spirit Slips Away. The track opens with this ominous guitar overture mixed over howling wind on a dust-swept steppe. I believe this demonstrated Phil’s philosophy as to why musicians use was to take creativity to the edge- and over- hence the verse,  And when the music that makes you blue/Unfolds its secrets, the mysteries are told to you. Jerome Rimson said Phil never wanted to grow old, he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, and Gary Moore said that right before the end Phil admitted he had difficulty accepting adulthood which supersedes his addiction to the celebrity lifestyle. You can argue whether or not this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the vibes here are eerie and uncomfortable. My favorite track is the Irish history lesson wonderfully disguised as a love ballad, Wild One. This song should be played at every Irish wake, and should be highly appreciated for the twin guitar lead. It’s sentimental, not soppy, and neatly fits in with the youthfulness of the album (whereas Sarah was cute but definitely filler for Black Rose– they were one track short).

Now Fighting My Way Back can’t be called a title track exactly, but it successfully gets Phil’s anarchic message across. He wrote “by hook or by crook”, and by God was he going to get to the top that way as well. Nothing is worth starting if you can’t finish it, and Whiskey wasn’t going to have Thin Lizzy tossed into the one-hit wonder bin, but reinvention is never easy. So if a song can scream “I’m pissed to fuck, mad as hell, and if ya won’t get outta my way I’ll kick your ass” any louder to the Phonogram execs, I don’t know what could. Silver Dollar is a funky bluesy-country number about love on the rocks. Now there are two things that musicians know: 1) music and 2) women. They fuck women in droves, they marry a bunch of times, and they “fall in love” weekly (with women half their age). But there’s always The One That Got Away. It’s a tried and true cliche, but I think Robbo’s feeling a bit too sorry for himself on this one.

On the weird King’s Call promo, a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. flashes on the screen behind Downey. Phil said of growing up black in Ireland was as easy as “having cauliflower ears,” but by the time Thin Lizzy were bonafide rock stars the Irish social landscape was changing. Nevertheless, Freedom Song was the universal theme for racial equality and support for Sinn Fein. Political commentary, nothing new here. Sounds like someone was pretty pissed when writing Ballad Of A Hard Man, and in this case it was Scott. Scott was the pretty face with the gorgeous hair that kept up a supposed flawless image, and while he wasn’t a badass, he has a lot of attitude. Maybe his time in the clink and being crazy stoned in LA influenced this. It’s interesting enough, and could have a place on a 70s blaxploitation flick’s soundtrack.

Now disc 2 has a few, shall we say, recycled bits. Half Caste (Rosalie single’s B-side) Phil’s foray into reggae, made two previous appearances, the first being on the TL CD set/coffee table book Vagabonds, Kings, Warriors, Angels on disc 2, and Lizzy’s eleventh John Peel session (Thin Lizzy At The BBC disc 3). Also taken from session eleven was Rosalie and Suicide. Like We Will Be Strong, Rosalie’s US mix doesn’t deviate too far from its UK counterpart, so what was the point? Try A Little Harder was on VKWA, but at least this was a true alternate mix with different vocals, a nicer fade out, and 40 seconds longer. Ballad of a Hard Man and Song For Jesse were instrumentals, but Ballad had a couple of false starts giving it a grittier feel. Another instrumental was Wild One, and should have been on the B-side of the single! Yeah, it’s that good. The Leaving Town instrumental had an acoustic replacing the electric guitar, and it sounded like the boys were having an intimate afternoon jam with friends at the Speakeasy. Blues Boy, written by Robbo, is a mellow affair with simple (yet rocky) lyrics could have him going head-to-head with Snowy. Dig that fucking solo!

Leaving Town‘s extended take was nearly… six… minutes… long… Okay I admit I got a little bored with this track. This isn’t January Stars, and I think only Clapton (until the very end of the 90s) could get away with this kind of self-indulgent shit. I don’t think ditto marks are appropriate for Spirit Slips Away extended take four. Brian’s Funky Fazer (Robbo’s first name was misspelled as “Bryan” on the sleeve and booklet) must’ve been the working title for Silver Dollar (and I’m glad they changed it). This was yet another instrumental only 10 seconds longer than the vocal. Very nice, but nothing to write home about.

Whew! Done and done! This review took a few days, but I’m glad it gave me the chance to really digest the CD. I hope whoever reads this GOES OUT and picks up a copy of Fighting, and maybe thumb through some music Simon Cowell isn’t brainwashing you to buy? With the announcement of Colony Records’ closure, it brings the end of the independent record store era. And here in NYC small music, movie, and book shops were essential threads that helped weave our pop culture fabric. Now with iTunes, Amazon, and big box stores vacuuming that into a black hole, I’m becoming more depressed at the giant strip mall my city’s destined to be. Hey White, you’re not the only one who’s a limey!

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Thin Lizzy: Live at the National Stadium Dublin DVD Review

I was a bit reluctant as to what to post next since life has been chaotic this summer (and I don’t think this coming rough winter will look any better), so I decided to do another Thin Lizzy review to take my mind off shit!

It’s been a busy year for the TL organization what with touring and re-releasing albums for the next generation of rock enthusiasts. Scott Gorham (the de facto leader) has cracked his businessman’s whip mightily and threw open the old flightcases clearing away the cobwebs and panties to serve up some Lizzy goodies previously seen only on You Tube (especially for NA fans). The deluxe editions of Nightlife and Fighting were great, but I favor Fighting as it has better liner note contents and pics. Also on my list is another up-and-coming TL book co-authored by Scott and music journalist Harry Doherty this November by Omnibus Press (they also published Putterford’s biography). Before I get stuck into this I’d like to thank ThinLizzyFanpage and Blacksabfan (amongst other dedicated fans) who originally put up the video clips featured on this DVD.

Still in love with you Philo.

Live at the National Stadium is actually a collection of European TV Thin Lizzy specials spanning 1976-83. The videos are fully restored (or as restored as they could be with our current technology) with 5.1 surround and the clever animated title menu used the Still in Love With You performance in the Johnny The Fox sleeve art motif (I hope Fitzpatrick got his royalties). The two documentaries and TV concert run just about an hour each, and the bonus features which are from RTE music show (so obscure virtually nothing comes up on the Google radar) 6/5 Live and the promo video Old Town, a track from Phil’s second solo album. While there’s multi-language subtitles (English, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and European Spanish), you’re shit out of luck on the lyrics. Also good to note that there are chapters laid out like a setlist for the TV concert.

Thin Lizzy’s appearance on On Stage at the Stadium was packaged in 1976 and broadcast in two 30-minute blocks, on January 21 and July 12. But lucky us we get the whole she-fucking-bang that includes guitar tuning, everyone high and/or drunk off their tits, Phil’s bass fucking up during Suicide, and just before Rosalie Scott had to pseudo-banter because Big Charlie had to come out and tweak Phil’s gear. The campiest bit was during Downey’s showcase of Sha-La-La where Phil donned a wolfman mask, collapsed, and had to be drug off stage à la Elvis by Big Charlie (also in a wolfman mask). The strobe lights in the drum riser were 70s high-tech fun, but the roadies fucked up on the smoke machine cue when they started to pump arbitrarily between For Those Who Love To Live and Showdown. Another interesting tidbit (especially for those with a soft spot for the Brians) you can’t help but notice that Scott gets a lot of face time when the camera isn’t panning on Phil. This phenomena was also apparent on Lizzy’s first TOTP spot miming Wild One (there are two takes, but the one widely seen is on their Greatest Hits DVD). One of the big problems Thin Lizzy suffers from is that their sound on CD (or vynl back in the day) can’t capture what they put out on stage. I know Robbo hated playing the “old stuff” (pre-Jailbreak and from what some say truly got him fired for), but when you see the attitude, charisma, rawness, and power even in these early performances where the kids had to be subdued by security these are unique individuals doing something that had quite the ripple effect in pop culture. I like the young Lizzy, rough and unshaven using Fairy washing-up soap for shampoo with everything to prove, and nothing to lose.

But by 1982 all the swashbuckling was turning to self-parody, the Renegade album failed, and the tour was a disaster where the after show party was becoming more important than the show. Phil was a smart PR guy and he knew he had to rev up public interest so he consented for RTE to produce the short rockumentary Renegade: The Philip Lynott Story. It was shot between London and Ireland over six weeks that was staged as a friendly afternoon tea between presenter David Heffernan and Phil, Lynott entourage member and Irish blues musician Brush Sheils, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, and Darren Wharton. This is the first in-depth look at Lizzy’s formation, influences, and some of Phil’s background in Dublin. It includes promo videos Waiting For an Alibi, King’s Call, and Killer On The Loose; an impromptu jam session in Phil’s Kew Road studio/garage (and the last time Snowy White is seen with the band); a gig on one of Phil’s solo band tours at St. Francis Xavier Hall in Dublin, and a performance of Are You Ready at the ’78 Australia festival tour featuring Mark Nauseef and Gary Moore. It was a sweetly whitewashed affair, and whether or not it was Phil’s stellar showmanship but any evidence of marital and professional problems he had simply didn’t exist. In fact Phil quipped, “No girlfriends of mine. Got the wife here.” It’s a bit like a Chinese lunch special, you pay the $6 but you feel like you ate $4.50 worth of food. If they went the distance for 90 minutes, and did away with the promos, musical montages, and that awful Yellow Pearl TOTP intro it would seem less like a commercial. What also was so obvious was the palpable anxiousness of giving something away (with the exception of Downey). Phil didn’t look so hot during the jam, despite his asthma, he was a chain smoker, and he sounded very congested. But heroin can do that as well.

In 1983 Thin Lizzy was ready to call it a day, and with John Sykes taking to the right side of the stage, a silver record under their belts with Thunder and Lightning #4 in the UK charts, they were going out in style. RTE and David Heffernan were re-enlisted to produce another rockumentary on the demise of a long-standing touring band featuring, not so much Thin Lizzy, but their treasured road crew. The Sun Goes Down was filmed during one of their final Belfast gigs and their final two gigs at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), and although there was mixed feelings of both relief and sadness at Lizzy’s imminent split, no one thought it would be permanent. The band resumed the devil-may-care attitude that shot them to stardom in order to die in a blaze of glory. Darren Wharton was still that cherubic Manchester innocent that joined up at 18, John Sykes stayed cool as a cucumber in his little Van Halen-esque bubble, and Scott hammed it up for the camera. Isn’t it cool that it’s a requirement to show up for work drunk and stoned? The entire balls-out storming gig was edited to span the track Cold Sweat, and closed with The Sun Goes Down from one of the RDS shows (I think this is the second show that was used for the Thunder and Lightning concert video. Phil’s voice was shot to hell as he turned up early, got drunk and high, and the rest is history). I know there were a few negative comments on YT with fans getting frustrated that TL wasn’t on camera until the end, but I don’t believe that the band had anything new to add on the matter, without divulging their addiction problems.

The final three treats are two performances on RTE’s 6/5 Live and The Philip Lynott Album’s promo video Old Town. The Founding and Lost Lizzy lineups mimed Are You Ready and Whiskey in the Jar, but Phil’s vocals were live. It was 1980/81 and Lost Lizzy were crackin’ with Snowy joining in on the fun throwing shapes and taking part in the macho goodness. Phil pulled faces at the camera and stuck his tongue out at Scott who was wearing the show’s black muscle shirt. Eric Bell was kind enough to join Phil and Brian for Whiskey seemingly picking up where they left off. Old Town was an old fashioned ballad starring Irish actress Fionna McKenna as The Girl and immortalized the Ha’Penny Bridge into the annals of rock. It was filmed over two days and Phil was completely in his element mooching and flirting on Grafton Street (where he took a cute chick for a turn), but the scene in the Dublin bar (where he had his aperitif of double brandies) had him looking bloated and weary.

Regardless, it was a fine way to wrap up this DVD of Thin Lizzy specials. Buy it for the On Stage gig and try not to get too frustrated at the bits that do tend to drag.

Thin Lizzy Chinatown review

Before I begin this review, I’d like to give a big shout out to Mr. Martin Popoff for writing the amazing Fighting My Way Back: Thin Lizzy ’69-76. I always pop over to www.thinlizzyguide.com (the most comprehensive Lizzy fansite on the net, so much so the band gave them a thank you credit on the recently released Thin Lizzy At The BBC box set) to see what’s cooking, and there Popoff’s book just jump kicked me in the face, and the next thing I knew it was sitting on my doorstep. It’s a bitingly forthright account of Phil Lynott’s first years as a rocker in Dublin with Skid Row all the way to Lizzy’s smash hit record Jailbreak. It features yesteryear and current interviews with the band, management, crew, friends, producers, A&R, and the kitchen sink- basically, whatever the fuck that made the Lizzy three-ring circus go, so it’s rock n’ roll histrionics straight from the horse’s mouth, and I can’t wait for part two! BUY IT NOW MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

ThinLizzy-Chinatown(HQ)-Front

In Putterford’s book, The Rocker, longtime Lizzy manager Chris O’Donnell called Chinatown “Absolute garbage, and when Phil brought in a keyboard player for Renegade, that was it for me,” he groans. “A once brilliant band was turning into a pile of crap before my eyes.”

You can’t blame his brutality. Renegade was such an abysmal failure Lizzy was bankrupt at that point, the album reaching #38 on the UK charts, no promo videos made, the singles went nowhere (especially the infamous Trouble Boys cover that was dropped from the album altogether), Scott Gorham collapsed in Portugal due to heroin withdrawal and was forced back home, and Snowy White and O’Donnell bailed by the conclusion of the tour.

BUT the luck of the Irish chimed in for Chinatown, going #7 in the UK charts, racking up Lizzy a nice silver record, the single Killer on the Loose slotted in at #10 on the UK charts, and two promo videos were shot both directed by David Mallet (director of The Kenny Everett Video Show where both Lizzy and The Greedy Bastards made appearances). The silver record was highly deserved, three stars out of five. Why so harsh? Consider the conditions it was recorded under: heroin abuse by Phil and Scott for the past year-and-a-half, Phil’s lyricism was faltering due to constant touring stress and abrupt lifestyle change (marriage to Caroline Crowther on Valentine’s Day ’80 that quickly produced two daughters while Phil philandered), the mellow blues guitarist Snow White’s assimilation into the band, simultaneous production of Chinatown with Phil’s solo album Solo in Soho by novice producer Kit Woolven (an unsung hero during the Bad Reputation, Live and Dangerous and Black Rose eras as he served at Tony Visconti’s engineer), and Phil’s abject laziness when recording his lyrics.

Snowy White in Alan Byrne’s Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune: “A lot of the Chinatown album was made up in the studio, especially Phil’s lyrics. He used to leave his lyrics until the very last minute then light up a spliff and head for the vocal booth and sing off the top of his head. Because he was such a perfectionist he was always changing things and thus it was very time consuming, delaying the album release even more.”

Jerome Rimson: “I watched him record most of the Chinatown and Solo in Soho albums standing at a microphone and making up the words as he went along, and while he was singing there was a full blown party going on in the control room. Just think of it fifteen or twenty people in the control room raging while he’s in the vocal booth trying to rescue these albums.”

The album was recorded between April and August 1980 (a whopping FIVE fucking months before surfacing in October ’80!) at Good Earth Studios in Soho near London’s Chinatown. No doubt dragon-chasing and eating take-aways had some influence on Phil. The sad thing was, Lizzy was back on the grinding tour treadmill in May to break in Snowy as soon as his Pink Floyd contract was up and the quiet introduction of Darren Wharton for the band’s new keyboard section. Not to affront Darren, but I don’t think he was/is suitable for Thin Lizzy. I know Midge Ure played a role in that (him being part of the preposterous Lizzy lineup when Gary Moore split in July ’79 during the disastrous American leg of the Black Rose tour) considering he was a member of the prissy synth-pop band Ultravox (Vienna was single of the year at the ’81 Brit Awards making Ure a kajillionaire. Then he and Geldof teamed up for ’85’s Live Aid that made them media moguls but hasn’t done a damn thing for Ethiopia proving you shouldn’t give to “charities” that add to the problems of third world countries where corruption and and war are endemic, and poverty is ingrained into the culture- oh yeah, and they didn’t invite Thin Lizzy or Phil because according to Geldof “they weren’t that big”) but keyboards just didn’t give any real texture to Thin Lizzy’s sound, and at times I found them quite annoying, in Thunder and Lightning particularly. I know Phil was trying to change with the times, but he was failing at it. And NOBODY had the balls to give it to him straight (or were high out of their fucking heads). Another problem was the release of Lynott’s Solo in Soho album one month prior to Chinatown. This could’ve been the catalyst for Lizzy fans’ cool reception of the new material, and after listening to it on You Tube, I can’t blame them. The only (Lizzy-like) song I liked was Dear Miss Lonely Hearts (co-written by Jimmy Bain). Whatever the Phonogram A&R guys were smoking was probably responsible for the thought that King’s Call would be a hit. Now I’m not a real Dire Straits fan, but Mark Knopfler is too much of a straight man to play off Lynott’s rocker personae. If I were around at this period, I wouldn’t know what to make of shit either. Soho put a big fucking damper on the hard rockin’ hellraiser myth Phil created for himself. I’m not against musicians branching out, but not when your current award-winning formula is still being marketed. Cases in point, the Kiss solo albums being quite crap, and Freddie Mercury’s Mr. Bad Guy didn’t sell to me either.

Now we all need a good rock anthem as part of the “soundtrack of our lives” (Dick Clark, aren’t you dead yet? UPDATE: Dick Clark, November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012. He lived up to his name), and We Will Be Strong is a hell of an anthemic rock song! What I will not accept is it being compared to Do Anything You Want To. The lyrics are weaker, and it’s just plain telling of the tragedy that would unfold over the next six years. I feel that Johnny the Fox was playing Philo’s mind and he was sticking to the script for image sakes. What I conjure up is a prematurely aging man shaking his fist to the heavens, thunderously proclaiming his last stand as his friends drape his arms around their necks to drag his broken, bleeding body away from a street fight that wasn’t meant to be won.

Now the album’s title track was hella slammin’! Thanks to Snowy, this blues rock riff-filled track has monster White hot licks that lash out. While Byrne describes Phil’s lyrics going between the “banal and lunatic”, I think he needed to delve into that sinister part of himself (and Thin Lizzy)- and if he visited it more often he might be still with us today. The promo is shit hot, but you could tell scary things were going on behind the scenes. Phil put on a few pounds, was stubbly-cheeked (as was Scott- for dramatic affect), and sweating like fuck! I know the band spent ten hours on the specially built set at Molinare Studios, and you melt under those hot-ass lights, but his menacing look fit the ambiance of the song. Brian Downey blasted away on those drums working them for all they were worth. Scott waved the Lizzy flag with gusto sexually assaulting his audience with a siren wailing solo, ushering in his brand new ’80s stage act that I dubbed “The Scott Gorham Russian Knee Dance Piss Take.” Don’t believe me, go watch their Rockpalast performance on You Tube! The only drawback was Snowy. Poor Snowy. For the playback (what a bitch!) “performances” that I’ve seen of Chinatown, he pushes himself too damn hard, and at times appears woefully wooden. I can’t help but think that that (along with time constraints) played a part in the too-early fade out on Lizzy’s usual TOTP stop.

Sweetheart is my guilty pleasure. Think of the thickest, heaviest, syrupiest slice of ice cream cake splattered on your plate at your best friend’s birthday cookout in 90-plus degree heat, ruining that Baby Phat blouse that was screaming at you in Burlington Coat Factory. It’s the kind of pop that almost doesn’t want me to murder Bon Jovi or those Irish jokes known as Bob Geldof and Bono. The thing is, I just don’t know what the fuck Phil is talking about. If you could decipher this, drop me a line in the comment section.

If I was to stand in a general election
Would you tell me about your close inspection
And how I never stood for detection
Or would you take another man?
If I told you I had the solution to starvation
All the nations would be their own salvation
And those that lead us lead us not into temptation
Or they pick another man?

Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
Sweetheart
Do you detect in me
A sacred sweetheart

If I told you about my plan would you believe me?
This is my body, my blood, would you receive me?
Or would you be the first to deceive me
And take another man

If I told you that I’m not the man to worry
Would you believe me when I said I was really sorry?
Or would you rush off in a hurry to take another man?

Sweetheart
Disconnect from me
Sweetheart
You have got no respect for me
Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
My sacred sweetheart

And when you’re troubled and when you’re ill
You know I’ll help, I always will
And when you’re troubled and really down
You know I’ll always be around
And when you’re troubled and really broke
There is hope, there’s hope, there’s hope

Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
Sweetheart
You’ve got no respect for me
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
My sacred sweetheart
Sweetheart
Disconnect
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
My sacred sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart

Killer on the Loose… am I the only Thin Lizzy fan that hates this song simply for the fact that it and it’s video is stupid? Now pop culture has been the scapegoat for society’s ills since time immemorial. The bunch of bitchy church ladies who get their rocks off of minding everybody else’s business condemning the song and Lizzy as proponents of serial killer Stuart Sutcliffe’s reign of terror have got to hop off the coke spoons for a bit. I disagree with Scott when he said it was tasteless on Lizzy’s part, but it was bad timing. Just to give the church ladies the finger, I would’ve kept it in the set. I don’t know why so many Lizzy fans hail this as the album’s best track, because when you read the lyrics it does dip into the nonsensical end of the pool (although nowhere near as bad as Yellow Pearl). Phil’s train of thought was starting to come off the rails on this one, and how clever Woolven muddied the lyric I’m a mad sexual rapist in the mix, because as an afterthought he knew Philo was treading dangerous waters with that one.

“I’ll be standing in the shadows of love
Waiting for you
Don’t unzip your zipper
‘Cause you know I’m jack the ripper
Now don’t wail, don’t…”

The voice warping was utterly cartoonish, Lizzy was reaching on that bit. The video harkened the band’s death knell. Everybody looked strung out, moody, and bored. The models couldn’t dance or emote, and weren’t pretty. They were anorexic freaks, and the makeup artist should’ve been drug out in the street and shot. The whole pickscraping solo made Snowy seem more awkward, Scott could give a shit, and Downey was clearly looking to clock out. They should’ve saved the money on that one and put it to making a promo for Hollywood.

Now Phil’s surreptitious nod and wink to coke (or smack depending on the slang you use) Sugar Blues is a great showcase for Snowy’s talents. It slows you down to get you down. But not too down because I’d rather do something else while listening to this track…

The last four tracks are nothing but filler fluff. The worst offender is the highly hooky Having a Good Time. Lazy-ass soundcheck is correct! Slapping some words together that rhyme while describing your off-stage antics with the Lizzies doesn’t make a song Phil. Genocide is a cousin of the Wild Horses’ Reservation, and a revisit of Massacre:

At a point below zero
There’s no place left to go
Six hundred unknown heroes
Were killed like sleeping buffalo

What makes shit more disturbing were the war cries Phil lets loose during Rockpalast. Didn’t I was a super-saturated ballad about “the one that got away” that dragged on for four minutes. Were the harpsichord and strings-sounding synth section necessary, I wonder? Not to mention certain verses sounding reminiscent of Toughest Street in Town. Closing out the album is Hey You, a little diddy about Phil feeling sorry for himself. You know, doing what he swore he’d never do that during the interview on that Irish chat show?

Forget all these backslappers
You don’t stand a chance
Why don’t you go home?
Go right back to where you come from
Don’t get involved in this masquerade
This big city is going to eat you up
All the backslapping
Hey you, you’ve got it made

Don’t we wish he would’ve taken his own advice?

P.S. I know Scott’s birthday is on St. Paddy’s Day, so I’ll wish him a happy 61st today because I’ll be too fucking wasted to post on the day. Happy B-day Scott! You rock! I love you!

P.P.S. And now for your aural/visual enjoyment, I give you the Lizziest track on the Solo in Soho album: Dear Miss Lonely Hearts!

Thin Lizzy playback conversations

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…

Thin Lizzy photo caption games!

DISCLAIMER: The following photos were ripped off from other sites- regardless of whether or not they are watermarked! In other words, THEY AREN’T FUCKING MINE!!! I take NO CREDIT for these shots, and anyway I was born in 1980 as the Chinatown album was being cut. Also, I’m a huge Thin Lizzy fangirl so I mean no offense to the band (regardless of lineup), their families, or other fans. I’m just bored and having a little fun. And one more thing, can we quit the Snowy White effigy burning? The Isle of Wight native isn’t responsible for the weakening of our Lizzy (and he’s a kick-ass blues/rock guitarist, he’s just not a rocker). For more proof read Mark Putterford’s biography Phil Lynott: The Rocker, and the liner notes of the 2011 deluxe edition albums of Vagabonds of the Western World, Jailbreak, Johnny The Fox, Live And Dangerous, Black Rose, Chinatown, and the (recently released) updated import of Bad Reputation. Loving the added tracks and photos for that one! The updated edition of Fighting will be released this November (I know I pre-ordered mine). You can’t find gold like this in Best Buy or Target, they sell complete and utter bullshit (I think I saw one Whitesnake album but I can’t be sure if John Sykes was in the lineup). Nope these are pressed in Germany and sold online for Americans with sense (I miss HMV and Virgin Mega with a bitter passion).

Also, a big shout out to a certain dedicated Lizzy fan who so wonderfully put a series of nine torrents of Lizzy music porn for us to drool over. Although it took me a few days to download only the first of them (a compilation of performances, vids, and interviews from ’74-’81), I’m hoping someone could seed the hot stuff in part two from ’81-’83. The fan will remain nameless because I don’t want the SS or the rest of the Nazis shutting his shit down. But there’s one particular piece I’d love to see. Back in ’75 after the release of Fighting, Lizzy made a TV appearance on The London Weekend Show starring Janet Street-Porter, the most asinine looking and sounding presenter I’d ever seen. The episode was entitled Shoes, and Lizzy simply rocked with It’s Only Money, but they edited out the interview! All I saw was the camera panning out from Scott and Janet sitting at a set table after the interview was concluded, then the tape cut to Rosalie. I’d really love to see a young Lizzy in their early days (of course Philo being there is the best treat) and high as a squadron of kites (when didn’t Scott have pretty gray stoner eyes?)! If anybody has this (or knows what the fuck I’m talking about), could you put it up on YT or somewhere to download. I’d really appreciate it!

Now on with the Lizzy funnies!

Robbo: Charlie! There’d better be a fresh bottle of Johnny Walker on my cabinets! Phil: Kitties and puppies with waggly tails… Scott: The joke? I just smoked a pound of primo Buddha Thai! Everything’s funny, man…

Robbo: I still dunno what the fuck happened last night… can somebody tell me! Phil: I got this! See the knife? Got the badge? This pose is so ME. Downey: I need a bigger budget for the white kit… I have plans for those floor toms. Scott: Man the sun can’t get any brighter this… maybe in Montecito. Now what the fuck happened last night?!

Scott: Note to self: kick the shit outta the wind! My hair is flyaway! Robbo: Clogs are comfy and roosters are sexy… Downey: I am so fucking fat in stripes! Phil did you pick this out on purpose?! Phil: *SMIRK*

Scott: Studs, gold spangles, and THIS hair? Ladies, I’m the perfect man! Phil: Dennis The Menace ‘fro, police tape tie, and just slippin’ on this glove here… Gary: I know I’m ripping off Jagger, but I’m just better than him. Downey: Soon those floor toms will reach their purpose…

Phil: I match my gold records in this gear. Scott: I will rock this shirt into the 80s! Where the fuck are we?!

Phil: Who’s your daddy? Downey: Tiny and tough, and I can pose too goddamn it! Scott: Mom, for the last time, I’m not wearin’ the mouse ears…

Phil: About the track “Dealer”… Scott: Yeah, let’s NOT talk about Arkansas. Phil: Fair play to whoever that was… I really thought it was a woman.

Scott: I’m tellin’ you Snowy, white shoes + tight pants = chick magnet. Snowy: And what does Christine have to say about it? Scott: I’m workin’ on that… Snowy: She’s been avoiding you again.

Scott: No offense to the kid Phil. But do the words “filler twee” mean anything? Man, I need some Visene…

Scott: I’m so hot, I’m on fire right now! Chrissie honey, c’mon and fuck me! Christine: STFU Gorham! >_< Phil: Darren said he’s totally going gay for you.

Crazed fan: PHIL! SCOTT! BLESS MY TOWEL WITH YOUR SWEAT! LONG LIVE LIZZY! DEATH TO NEW WAVE ROMANCE! Phil: Got a pile of “Vienna” singles you could burn…

Phil: Now show your uncles the little Lizzy cheer Da taught you, Catie darling! Robbo: Ginger hair is best, I say. Midge: Did ya have to go burn all my singles, Phil? Scott: Now what does this put you in the mood for, Chrissie baby? Christine: For the love of fuck Gorham… -_-;

Phil: I wear ties MY WAY. Downey: A gong is next on the list. And its purpose is essential to the plan… Robbo: Fuck glasses! I do it the old fashioned way. Scott: Pucker up! ‘Cause I’m beautiful!

Downey: Now the drum riser must be fully-equipped to execute the plan… Phil: I’m the man… I’m the man… I’m the man- ooh it’s a puppy! Robbo: The stair is wedged into my ass!! Scott: Adieu Sweet Marie… hello Sexy Chrissie! Christine: Fuck you Gorham…

Scott: Thanks for the aerodynamic hair Dad! Bill Gorham: O.O

Downey: At long last! The plan’s coming to fruition! Snowy: 1/1000, 2/1000, 3/1000… Phil: HA HA HA!!! It’s Chinatown! Get down Snowy! Scott: Muscle tees and silk shirts! Scottie G for the 80s! BA-RING IT BABY!

Scott: What you’ve heard is true. I can run in heels. Robbo: Fuck you, I’m not losin’ the shades! Frankie Miller got me into something last night, and NO, I’m not tellin’ you! Phil: Yes, I’ve got a bit of a bad reputation… hey! That’s a great album title! Downey: I wouldn’t lean too close to the floor toms mate… John Alcock: TAKE THE PICTURE AND GET ME THE FUCK AWAY FROM THESE CRAZIES!

Scott: Yes, these are my teeth. Y’know LSD-coated Malteasers were a great idea! Phil: And as you can see my friend here has quite the sense of humor. In fact I’ve nicked all his beer and he still hasn’t caught up yet.

Scott: I love this fuckin’ job! I can’t feel my legs, but I love this fuckin’ job!

Scott: You lend a guy a silk shirt, and he drools all over it! Snowy: Can I stand by my amp now? I’m going insane…

Scott: And the method to my madness is… I don’t tell, I SHOW!

Scott: Check this out Snowy. We might be able to increase our Asia sales if we make subtle references to THAT. I hear Japanese high school girls cream their jeans over it! Phil: It’s time to take one for the team, Snowy. Snowy: …

Scott: Strike a pose Gaz! Gary: You mean throwin’ shapes? Yeah, I had that covered long before you Mr. LA Glamour Boy. Phil: I SO regret not buying those shoes…

Scott: The earth moved and spoke to me…

Scott: Beer, best for the hair. Phil: Yes, but do they know you actually wash your hair with it?

Retarded Danish fangirl: Tee-hee! I’ll take him home to Mummy! Scott: MY EYES! MY EYES! Phil: You’ll live in a gingerbread house and have 18 kids!

Gary: Wah-wah pedals, things of beauty. Scott: Hey Vicki! Tell Bob-o that Supertramp may have sold 50 mil, but can he get away with murder? I don’t think so…

Phil: Lockets are too a manly thing! And so is sporting a pair of leather studded belts. Gary: Ah, polka dots, my current fetish… Scott: But we know what your TRUE fetishes are, don’t we Gary?

Scott: DOWNEY IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD! I’M ON STRINGS AND THERE’S A ROCKET LAUNCHER ON MY BACK! I’M NOT FUCKING WITH YOU!

Scott: Ladies, in my right hand is… Fangirls: A guitar pick. Scott: And behind my left hand is… Fangirls: The stairway to heaven.

Gary: Lookin’ sexy there, Gorham! Scott: I’m so fuckin’ high, I’m ready to consider it…

Scott: NOW THAT’S A PICK SCRAPE MOTHERFUCKER! YA LIKE THAT?!

Phil: Note to self: buy more studded leather vests. Scott: RETURN OF THE AERODYNAMIC HAIR! HELL YEAH!

Phil: Renee Descartes was a very clever man… Scott: He said ‘I am zinc, therefore I’m a pram.’

Scott: A cig, some OJ, all is cool with the world. But are these shoulder pads too much?

Gary: High? Who’s high? (kicks a bottle of ‘ludes away) Scott: Are we still in Paris? Delivery man: Package for Brian Downey! Downey: Just put it behind the floor tom. Phil: Hey Brian, what does ‘WMD’ stand for?

Scott: Yeah, about this album Phil… what’s up with the rhyming lyrics? Phil: It came to me in a dream. Besides, it was either that, or haiku.

Scott: Look Ma! Playin’ the back of my head! Phil: And ya nicked me silk trousers… I’ll have Gary fix you boyo.

Sykes: Age before beauty… Scott: Fuck you! Watch me kick, stretch, and kick!

Sykes: I’m the brand new pretty boy! Scott: *SNAPS CAT O’NINE TAILS* What was that, bitch?

Scott: I’m not bad, I just rock that way. Now shut up and kiss me… and don’t forget the tongue. Christine: Impossible man!

Darren: Are we there yet?! Are we there yet?! Snowy: Note to self: re-read contract. There’s got to be an end in sight to all this… I know it… Downey: And to think we paid that much for the kid to turn in his v-card… Scott: Yeah, honey, the hotel management said we’re gonna have to foot the bill for the bed. Christine: And you owe me a nightie. Scott: Nothin’ like good old-fasioned American sexy violence.

Scott: Originally I was gonna wear the red outfit from the “Lonely Hearts” video, but I decided that the focus of this shot should be the hair. ALWAYS. THE. HAIR.

Scott: I’m a closet perv, who does the preppy thing. Okay? O-fucking-kay? Chrissie, defend your man! Christine: I’m still trying to work out what tree you fell from Gorham…

Scott: No, I’m not playing with myself. But if I don’t do this, Phil will punish me…

Sykes: A phallic thing? Whatever could you mean? Scott: Little bitch, I had the whole guitar-fucking thing locked down way before you! Phil: Think he needs a reminder? Scott: Charlie! Get me the thorn lash!

Darren: Look, Scott, I dunno why you have to feel uncomfortable around me. I know Sykes is your bitch… Scott: You wouldn’t get it, piano boy! Sykes: I don’t enjoy it… I don’t enjoy it… I don’t enjoy it… Phil: I may have to spill the beans on you and Gary, mate… Downey: The final stages of the plan will commence here…

Scott: Ladies and gentlemen… introducing, SCOTT GORHAM’S HAIR!

Scott: Hey-y-y-y Brian… ya ever wonder what it’s like to roll around naked on a shag? Downey: Shit! Phil! Did ya have Phyllis make those “special brownies” again?