An Interview with
by Dawn Belotti that took place in May 2021 and highlights his latest Album
'When Life Was Hard And Fast'
that was released on 19th February, 2021 on
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Ricky Warwick. Having been a fan since blasting The Almighty’s 'Resurrection Mutha' from a cassette deck in my car back in 1980 something, this was an amazing chance.
Before the day came to touch base with Mr. Warwick, I had listened to his latest release 'When Life Was Hard And Fast' extensively. The first time was for familiarity, the next three times was because it had become a favorite in my music rotation. As a result, I decided to write about this brilliant assortment of music as well as incorporate my discussion with Ricky.
Ricky Warwick’s has quite an impressive resume which spans decades. As I mentioned, my introduction to Warwick was during his time with The Almighty and I was fortunate enough to catch the band live in their prime. Warwick, ever the gentlemen, only had fond memories of his days opening for legends such as Iron Maiden. He explained that being a rock fan it was an amazing experience. There were no typical tour tales and Warwick remembers how well the band was treated while on tour.
When I discover a band or artist that impresses me, my next path is to learn more about them; how did they get here? This route has led me to discover artists or music I may not have uncovered otherwise. Researching Warwick led me to New Model Army. Of course, I asked him how this union came to be. Warwick explained he was a big fan of the band and sent some demos to their management. When The Army was in search of a second guitarist to perform live, magic happened. “For a twenty-year-old kid, it was a dream come true.” In addition, Warwick elaborated on his respect for Justin Sullivan “He stayed true to himself and never sold out.”
Warwick’s second solo album, 'When Life Was Hard And Fast' is guitar driven, raw rock album, combined with Warwick’s superb vocals; this is pure unadulterated genius. Warwick’s relatable lyrics are from the heart. True artists reach deep; this is the difference between a songwriter and someone who goes through the motions.
One of my curiosities is what inspires song writers; what touches them and enables them to reach into souls and tap into memories without knowing the experiences of their fan base. When Warwick was presented with this question, he said, “My lyrics are like my diary, they are my thoughts, sometimes it is political views or what is happening in the world around me.”
It was difficult for me to pinpoint which tracks to showcase; mainly because I was captivated by each song. The diversity of this release involves so many layers; each listen lead to discovering something I did not hear the first time. Warwick brings in his wide variety of influences to create magnificent sound and stories. According to Warwick his earliest influences were quite eclectic. He explains “My first influence was Top 40 music. My older sister listened to Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash” which eventually led to the discovery of a whole world of music beyond top 40.
While Ricky Warwick is front and center, he has commandeered some heavy hitter musical guests including Joe Elliot, Andy Taylor and Dizzy Reed. I asked what led to these artists offering their contributions. Warwick clarified, “They are really talented friends, and it was a matter of a phone call.”
The title track is the first taste of 'When Life Was Hard And Fast'. I have been told by many musicians, over the years, that choosing which song would become the first track is a big decision as it represents the project as a whole. Warwick chose wisely; this is a good old fashion rock and roll song. Joe Elliot’s unmistakable vocals are a perfect fit. The narrative touches upon something many of us have experienced as we grow older. Life seemed simpler when we were younger but as we change, sometimes we outgrow people and sometimes they outgrow us.
'You Don’t Love Me' is a catchy well composed tale with ripping guitar work from Luke Morley of Thunder. Warwick, again speaking to the masses who have experienced the realization that a relationship with someone who does not love you, is an empty one.
While each track has its own unique beauty, there were two that I discussed with Warwick as they peaked my curiosity. The first was the cover of Mink Deville’s 'Gunslinger' (Which was a record B-side originally). I have heard many bands attempt to add a tribute song to their selection. It can be a slippery slope in order to make the chosen number unique to oneself while keeping the integrity of the original track. Warwick achieved this flawlessly. I asked him why he chose this particular song to cover. Warwick responded, “I am a huge Mink Deville fan and B-Sides are usually better. I learn from songwriters’ styles.”
'Time Don’t Seem to Matter' is one of the most beautifully written songs which Warwick wrote for his daughter, who also sings on the track. The love between a father and daughter is a special bond. I am a daughter and I know how I feel about my father. I do not usually bring too much person feelings into a review, nor do I ask artists about their families unless it pertains to the release in question.
I am also a music fan and if I can be so affected by a song, the songwriter did his or her job. I mentioned to Warwick that his daughter has an astonishing voice and if there was the possibility of future collaborations. Warwick joked, “She is a teenager and right now she doesn’t want anything to do with me.” Then on a more serious note, “There is always music around the home, but I believe in letting kids be kids.”
'Time Don’t Seem to Matter' as well as another track or two were recorded as demos and chosen to remain as is. The concept worked but I inquired about his recording process none the less and capturing the moment with a demo versus tweaking it in a studio. “I am a firm believer of having your sh*t together before recording. If it is the best that you are going to get and couldn’t get any better.”
Before our conversation ended, I asked Warwick what his upcoming plans were. He mentioned a rescheduled 2022 UK tour with a possibility of adding more dates elsewhere later. He is also working on new Black Star Riders music.
I cannot emphasize what an honor it was to speak to Ricky Warwick. He is fiercely talented but remains modest and true to himself. With the success of 'When Life Was Hard And Fast' (which gets 10/10) and upcoming 2022 tour dates, it is going to be a well-earned great year for Ricky Warwick, and he deserves all of it.
A massive Thank You to Matt Ingham for setting up the Interview and of course
Ricky Warwick himself for his amazing revealing words throughout!