THIN LIZZY's JOHN SYKES: 'PHIL LYNOTT Had The Presence Of A Thousand Men'

November 15, 2007

Mike Elliott of recently conducted an interview with THIN LIZZY guitarist John Sykes. An excerpt from the chat follows: I know it's always been said that you guys won't do an album. Is that still the case?

Sykes: I don't feel it's right. This incarnation of the band is more about remembering Phil (late LIZZY frontman Phil Lynott),and paying respect to his music and legacy. That's really what it's about, it's not about doing new music. It's about his legacy and his music being timeless, and what a great gift to all of us, through his music and song witting. Phil was a one-off sort of giant, if you ever met him he had the presence of like a thousand men. He was a born rock star. Not something I had the privilege of doing.

Sykes: Trust me, he was a one off. I've been the game for a long long time, and I've never met anyone like him. The fact that we go out today, and there's a lot of youngsters in the audience. I say to them, 16 or 17 year old kids, how did you get turned onto THIN LIZZY, and a lot of them say we grew up with it with our parents. It's amazing to see the younger audience come out and be so into it. It's a testament to how great Phil's songs are and how timeless they are. I think it must be testament to how good a job you guys are doing with keeping that legacy going.

Sykes: We go out there and give it our all, it's definitely 100% every night. We enjoy doing it, and I love playing with Scott and there's lots of great guitar parts. It's interesting all round for us. Was it ever something you were ever worried about, stepping into those mammoth shoes.

Sykes: How it actually started was, I was in Japan doing a lot of solo stuff, working over there for a lot of years, and they kept saying to me, is there any chance THIN LIZZY are going to get back together. And I said how could there be without Phil. And they just kept asking and asking. I'd done a live album, and I think I'd done "Cold Sweat" or something, and they kept asking and asking. Finally on the off chance I called Scott [Gorham, THIN LIZZY guitarist], and I'm like Scott, I know it sounds crazy, but these Japanese guys keep asking if we're going to get together and play again, so I kinda explained to him what was going on. And he said, send me the CD and let me check it out, and he listened to it, and said yeah it sounds pretty good. Next thing he called Brian Downey and the ball started rolling and everyone agreed to it, I think that was 1992 or something, early Nineties. That was the thing that really go it started. I would never have dreamt we would ever have done it again, but we got such a good reception, and then we started getting asked to play in different areas. And one thing kinda led to another. Phil's music almost seems to go from strength to strength. These days, the newer music today, it doesn't seem to have that sort of depth or weight to it, that the old Seventies stuff does. It's funny because when we were growing up in the Seventies, we didn't know that all these bands from the Seventies, like BLACK SABBATH were going to become the icons of today, they're the godfathers of metal.

Read the entire interview at

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