NI rocker Ricky Warwick on dynamic duo Warwick/Johnson
Black Star Riders leader Ricky Warwick and guitarist Damon Johnson bring their acoustic project Warwick/Johnson to Belfast on Sunday. We quizzed the Northern Ireland-born former Almighty and Thin Lizzy frontman about re-visiting the duo's greatest hits in an 'unplugged' style on home turf.
HI RICKY, are you looking forward to playing with Damon at The Limelight on Sunday and what can people expect from the show?
Yes, very much. It will be the first time Warwick/Johnson have played Belfast.
Two hours-plus of career-spanning material and more is what folk can expect.
You both play together in Black Star Riders, but how did the idea of doing acoustic gigs together first come about?
We had a few days break in our European festival schedule a few years ago. It didn't make sense to fly home to the US and back so I booked a solo show at The Diamond in Ahoghill.
I invited Damon to come and stay with me at my family's place in Comber and come to the show – and if he wanted get up at the Diamond show and play a song or two... well, two songs became eight songs, the place went mad and Warwick/Johnson was born.
What is your favourite song to play from the ‘Damon side' of your set and which of your own tunes are you particularly enjoying at the moment?
Damon has a great song from one of his solo albums called Pontiac which I love playing on.
You've been playing the occasional few shows as a duo for a couple of years now – any plans to make a record of new original material together under the Warwick/Johnson name?
We have certainly talked about it. It's just finding the time and we don't want to clash with BSR.
BSR will be touring again in November and the third album has done really well. Yourself and Damon have made solo records recently too, so would it be fair to say the levels of creativity within the band are fairly high at the moment?
Yes, being in BSR is very inspiring – we are never short on ideas or direction.
The band are heading out to the US with Judas Priest and Saxon next year, which is quite a line-up. How does it feel to be touring such NWOBHM legends?
Thrilled, it's fantastic to be part of such a legendary line-up.
Will you continue to do the odd Thin Lizzy show now and again?
It's really Scott's call on the Thin Lizzy shows but I'm sure there may be a few more at some point.
Next year will mark The Almighty's 30th anniversary and 25 years since the Powertrippin' LP was released. Any chance of some Almighty shows to celebrate?
Unfortunately not. But very proud of that time and that album.
Heard any good music recently?
Yeah, I really dig our very own The Petty Youth!
Finally, who/what did you dress up as for Halloween this year?
:: Warwick/Johnson play The Limelight 2 on Sunday November 5.