Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 45 - Brian Robertson

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH


Interview with Brian Robertson by Sue Ashcroft.

Brian 'Robbo' Robertson is something of a legendary figure. Along with the late Phil Lynott, they were hell raisers of the highest order, had numerous spats and fall outs, but when it came to making Thin Lizzy one of the greatest bands of our time, they had the chemistry to create music that has inspired and continues to do so to this day. His first solo album 'Diamonds And Dirt' has just been released through SPV/Steamhammer to rave reviews. A collection of Sweden's finest musicians have joined him to release what I consider a serious contender for my album of the year – and it's only April! Last time I met up with Brian, he had injured his heel and ankle whilst jumping off a monitor at Sweden Rock and I ended up tending his wound and bandaging him up!


Tell me how you collected together the songs to put on the album?

A lot of them I had demoed over a number of years. The title track was all written on keyboards. What had happened was, Sören and I had driven to England in a transit van to pick up all my recording equipment and stuff and bring it back to Stockholm, so we drove over – had a nice long drive through several countries and when we got to England we started going through all the equipment and we found this bag of cassettes. Sören was going to drive back to Stockholm on his own. I didn't know what the hell was in the bag, but I just gave it to him and said "there you go, you can check these out on the way home" and never thought any more about it. He called me half way back and said "there's some great shit here you know! You should do something with this!"

What year was that?

It was 2005 I think when it all started, but it was all down to Sören because he decided he wanted to do it, so I said okay, even though I hadn't listened to any of the stuff. When I came over, we went through and listened to some of the stuff and I thought, ok, now I'm going to have to transpose it all onto guitar! We started picking tracks and whatnot and it just went from there, but the actual writing of the songs spans quite a long period of time. Some of them were songs I did with the Hellfire Club that I did with Paul Raymond and Les Warner from The Cult. We'd already done demos of that with Tony Platt actually engineering them for me. He did the Motorhead album I did and he was also the engineer on the first Lizzy album I did. We sort of went through it and picked the songs we wanted to do and over the next couple of years, started recording them. Obviously, it's quite difficult to get all the right people in there at the same time because they're all in different bands and all have our own stuff to do.

So, how did you decide on the musicians you wanted to be on the album with you?

Ian (Haughland) is an old friend, and I know for a fact that what he plays with Europe is totally different to what he's capable of. Nalle (Påhlsson) is also a friend and I know that he and Ian do a lot of session work together.

You mentioned how difficult it was to get everyone together to RECORD the album, but what are the chances of getting everyone together for gigs? Is that a possibility?

Well you see, this is another problem. To do a tour, playing every night, that's a nightmare to put together and it's really not possible I don't think. We may do some festivals, but that'll be about it I think.

I have my own personal views on Thin Lizzy with John Sykes in the band and I think he made a mockery of the whole thing, so I have to ask – what were your view on the band both with Sykes in the lineup and now, with the new lineup?

Well, with John, unfortunately, I felt that it went the heavy metal route and it lost all the charm of the band because it was widdling guitar all over the place, which doesn't fit with the old songs and even the songs he recorded with Lizzy were done in that ilk and it had taken away the sound of the band. I don't think it ever really worked with John. I'm not saying he's a bad player, because he's not, but probably the wrong place for him to be. Viv (Campbell) knows how I play and he doesn't take it elsewhere, he plays it like I would play it.

To read the full two page interview with Brian, buy Fireworks #45. Available from:

• Participating WHSmith and McColls Group stores (see Store Finder for participating stockists)
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• Here in the Fireworks Magazine Mini Store (no registration required) 
• Direct from Fireworks HQ by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , paying via Paypal. Send £6 (Inc P&P)

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