SCOTT GORHAM Is Focusing On Making New 21 GUNS Album After Leaving BLACK STAR RIDERS
June 5, 2022
Scott Gorham says that he is focusing on making a new 21 GUNS album after exiting BLACK STAR RIDERS last year.
Gorham was in BLACK STAR RIDERS for nearly a decade, having formed the band in 2013 with other THIN LIZZY members after deciding to write and record new music under a new moniker. BLACK STAR RIDERS' original lineup was completed by vocalist Ricky Warwick, guitarist Damon Johnson, bassist Marco Mendoza and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso.
BLACK STAR RIDERS announced Gorham's departure last September, with Warwick saying in a statement: "We are very sad to see Scott go, but we discussed a very heavy world touring commitment on the new record and Scott decided he wanted to concentrate just on THIN LIZZY — and being the legend he is, none of us can blame him."
Gorham discussed his decision to leave BLACK STAR RIDERS in a June 1 interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Ricky and I, we had done it for 10 years. I think we had done maybe five albums, I wanna say — but at least four. So that's a pretty good glop of time. I just felt it was time. Here's the pandemic; everything's coming to a standstill. This is probably the right time to kind of let that side of my life go. Let Ricky and the boys go ahead and keep it going. And it frees me up, really, to do other things. If I wanted to go out and do the THIN LIZZY thing again, I'm freed up to do that, no problem. If I wanted to go out — which I'm really seriously thinking of doing — is going in and doing a third 21 GUNS album, which is pretty near and dear to my heart. So I've been writing songs for that project there. So hopefully by the end of the year I'm gonna be able to get into the studio with [bassist] Leif Johanson, who's my partner in 21 GUNS, and go over to Oslo in Norway and get that thing going. So we'll see what happens on that one."
Reflecting on why 21 GUNS failed to make more of a mark when it was originally active in the 1990s, Gorham said: "We got kind of crushed — and I'll admit it — we got crushed by grunge. [Laughs] It was almost like the month we finally got that [first] album ['Salute'] out [in July 1992], PEARL JAM and all these bands came out and just kind of swept the boards with everything. And anything that was just a nanosecond behind was kind of dusted. So it was a case of really bad timing. If you go back and listen to that album, I love it; I just think it's a great album. For me, it was a great album but really the wrong time to bring it out. So hopefully [laughs], hopefully our timing will be a little bit better this time."
Circling back to BLACK STAR RIDERS, host Eddie Trunk asked Gorham if it was frustrating to hang in with a project for so long where he couldn't "get it to the next level and over the hump" in terms of commercial success. Scott responded: "Well, of course it is. But I love these guys so much — I love playing with them, I love writing with them, going out on the road. All of our personalities just jelled to a tee, so that makes everything that much easier to hang in there. And I thought we actually wrote some really cool songs, we recorded some good albums. But every band needs that bit of luck — THIN LIZZY needed it, every band out there, you need that — right song at the right time with the right people listening and buying. We just didn't have it at that point, and I'll be the first one to admit that. It just didn't quite work; we were just kind of a little bit of a nano's hair away from it almost working. It seemed like every album we put out, it would get in the Top Five of every rock chart. And so you think, 'Well, okay, we're on our way. That's great. That's really good news.' But you need those national charts. The rock charts are great, the indie charts are great, but what really matters is those… Are you really reaching the mass public? So you need to write those songs that are going to appeal to a mass audience.
"Like I said, we missed the mark a little bit with BLACK STAR RIDERS," he admitted. "'Cause I love Ricky to death and all the guys — I really do. I hope they go out and make 10 million dollars apiece and have multiple Number One albums; I think that would just be the greatest thing. So I'm kind of looking towards the future for me with the whole 21 GUNS thing. And with the LIZZY thing, we'll see what happens down the road."
Gorham said in a February 2022 interview that THIN LIZZY's lineup will continue to include Warwick and Johnson, with the drummer and bassist positions yet to be filled.
BLACK STAR RIDERS said that they would not seek a replacement for Gorham and would instead carry on as a four-piece, with Ricky handling a lot of the guitar parts alongside Christian Martucci, who joined the band after album number three in 2018.
BLACK STAR RIDERS entered the studio in Los Angeles last October with longtime producer Jay Ruston (STONE SOUR, STEEL PANTHER, URIAH HEEP, ANTHRAX) to record the follow-up to 2019's "Another State Of Grace". The as-yet untitled fifth album will arrive in early 2023, and dates are booked to start within a couple of weeks of release. Los Angeles drummer Zak St. John joined BLACK STAR RIDERS to track the new album.