There are not enough rockers these days who can just plug in, square up to the mic and punch you in the mouth. Thank God we’ve still got Ricky Warwick.
Warwick earned his stripes early fronting punk bands like New Model Army and The Almighty, the latter of which enjoyed ten Top Forty singles and four Top Twenty albums in the U.K. during the late 80’s/early 90’s. In the years after The Almighty, after relocating back to his native Ireland, Ricky both fronted rock legends Thin Lizzy for a reunion tour and formed another band, Black Star Riders.
While the Black Star Riders are still alive and well, Warwick is simultaneously maintaining the solo career that he launched back in ‘02. Recording that debut album with Joe Elliott of Def Leppard’s handling production duties, Warwick discovered a new direction for his music. For the first time in his career, he began to strip back the wall of sound to a degree he was so accustomed to and let his vocals lead instead of them riding along screaming guitars and amps turned up to ten. In addition to a musical step in another direction, this project was another mile marker in his decade’s long friendship with Elliot as Warwick has provided backing vocals on Def Leppard albums in the past.
These days, Warwick is in the final steps of readying his fourth solo album entitled When Life Was Hard & Fast. With throaty vocals that straddle the line between gravelly and melodic, Warwick made a conscious decision to create an album made up of simplistic melodies charged with fury and voltage. Think Social Distortion meets Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers meets Johnny Thunders.
While the album features contributions by a number of Warwick’s buddies including Andy Taylor (Duran Duran & Power Station), Dizzy Reed (Guns n Roses) and the aforementioned Lep frontman Joe Elliott, the most recent single “You Don’t Love Me” is highlighted by the guitar of Luke Morley of Thunder. Co-written by himself and the albums producer, ex-Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson, the song is all the rock you might think those names could produce.
“I had the main guitar riff around for a while but lyrically and melodically I felt I was struggling to do it justice,” remembers Warwick, “…until I simplified the lyric and the approach.
“It’s written with a simple message saying, “You don’t love me … and I don’t care.” The song was recorded in Stagg Street Studios Los Angeles with the full band, I think we nailed it in the second take. Vocals and guitars were overdubbed after.”
Referring to Morley’s performance as “…demonstrating why the invention of the electric guitar was the turning point in the history of western civilization,” Warwick is not shy in his who he thinks will find themselves drawn to “You Don’t Love Me.” It might be the message but then again, it might be even simpler than that.
“This is a song for anyone in love with the purity of rock n roll and the persuasive power of loud guitars!”
“You Don’t Love Me” is out now while his When Life Was Hard & Fast album is slated for a February 2021 release.