It's farewell – but not goodbye – from a rock band with an emotional legacy
When Scott Gorham leads his Thin Lizzy cohorts out on stage at Exeter University's Great Hall tomorrow it could be the last time the band are seen under that historic banner for some time to come.
For more than 15 years guitarist Scott and a progressive line-up of top musicians – currently including original drummer Brian Downey – have been treading the boards to celebrate the precious musical legacy created with the late, great singer and songwriter Phil Lynott, who died aged just 36 in January 1986.
In the last year or two, with Scott, Brian, Ricky Warwick on lead vocals, Darren Wharton on keyboards, Marco Mendoza on bass guitar and Damon Johnson on guitar, the line-up has gelled to become stronger than ever, delivering a powerful and emotional setlist of adored songs like Whiskey In The Jar, Boys Are Back In Town, Dancing In The Moonlight, Jailbreak and Sarah.
"We have become so solid, a real band of brothers, a rumbling, travelling tornado."
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Along the way something else rather special has been happening. Together the ensemble have been writing what they consider to be an excellent collection of 16 or 17 new songs that are begging to be recorded and released.
They just haven't known how to approach such a project... until now.
"In recent years the top question we have been asked in interviews is whether there is going to be a new Thin Lizzy album," says Scott.
"We have all been writing in different little groups then getting together and brainstorming; it's been pretty good fun and the songs have been getting better and better.
"Then Brian and I sat down and had a discussion and realised how uncomfortable we would be to release these new songs under the Thin Lizzy name," he explains.
"Having written and recorded with Phil in the past we felt it was best to leave that history as it is. We love those songs and we love playing them, so it's best to draw a line in the sand and walk away from Thin Lizzy for a while.
"So we're going to record the new material and release it under a new band name, which is under wraps at the moment."
"But I've been associated with Thin Lizzy practically my whole life, and I can't imagine a time when I could give it up altogether," he adds.
With a fiercely loyal fanbase, Scott says he is happy that 90 per cent of the feedback about the proposed new project has been positive.
"We always knew a new record was a touchy subject with some people But most people support and respect our decision, and that is good to know," he says.
At the end of the current tour, the band head to LA to start recording with Kevin Shirley, before a final fling as Thin Lizzy supporting Kiss in Australia.
Thin Lizzy play The Great Hall at Exeter University on Saturday, December 1. For tickets visit www.theticketfactory.com or call 0844 338 0000.