Previous incarnation led by John Sykes was “waste of time” says classic era guitarist on eve of solo album release

Brian Robertson

Syked out: Brian Robertson

The Thin Lizzy lineup led by John Sykes was a waste of time, says classic era guitarist Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson.

He hasn’t seen the 2011 edition of Phil Lynott’s legacy outfit, but he hopes they manage to record new material – and he says he’s glad the Sykes band didn’t.

Robbo helped forge the band’s twin-lead guitar sound before a stint with Motorhead and later Frankie Miller. After nearly two decades he’s back with his first solo album, Diamonds and Dirt.

And while he doesn’t know much about the current Lizzy – featuring original members Scott Gorham, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton alongside Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell, ex-Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick and former Whitesnake bassist Marco Mendoze – he believes it’s a step up from Skyes’ era.

Robbo tells SleazeRoxx: “I’m not knocking John here – he’s a good friend. But the thing with him was a complete waste of time. John was fine with Thin Lizzy when Phil was still there, but when he started to do it himself it went a bit haywire.

“The whole band became a heavy metal caricature of Thin Lizzy, and the diehards didn’t like it because it got so metal. John is out for John and that version of the band had more to do with him than the memory of Thin Lizzy.

“As for the new lineup, I haven’t seen them. I’ve been speaking to people and by all accounts it’s much better than what they were doing with John.

“I’d love to see them go into the studio and do something new. The way I see it, ten or fifteen years of playing the old stuff is ten or fifteen years wasted.

“Then again, if they’d gone into the studio with Sykes, would it have been worthwhile for the Lizzy name? I think definitely not. It would have turned out with heavy metal riffs and no melody.”

Diamonds and Dirt includes two reworkings of the Lizzy track Running Back, which Robbo refused to record during the band’s Jailbreak sessions.

The guitarist says: “Phil and I had a big bust-up over that. I always loved the song. We were sitting in the studio and I went over to the piano and started playing a boogie version of it.

“Lynott said, ‘That’s enough, we’re not doing that.’ I got pissed off – I told him to fuck off, he told me to fuck off, then I went to the pub. I didn’t play on the version of Running Back on that album. It’s all Scott because I refused to do it. Phil wanted to do it pop and I wanted to do it blues.”

Among Robbo’s regrets is not having caught up with Gary Moore before his sudden death in February – and he believes his old friend died of a broken heart. “It was a bad shock,” says the Scotsman.  “He was a good mate. I could have called him up but he had my number too. He was always a bit of a loner. I think he was heartbroken, to be honest. I’m not going to go into why that was, but I think he was heartbroken.”

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