‘Do It Till We Drop: The Brian Robertson Story'
It's not the first time in the history of rock music that coincidence led to the discovery of hidden treasures: a carrier bag full of music tapes (note: tapes!) turned out to be the basis for 'Diamonds and Dirt', the first solo release by Scottish guitarist/composer BRIAN ROBERTSON, just-released on SPV/Steamhammer.
"I thrust the bag into my friend Søren's hand and said: 'Why don't you listen to these some time when you're bored. They're a number of my previously unreleased compositions.'" Søren Lindberg from Sweden happens to be one of former Thin Lizzy/Motörhead guitarist BRIAN ROBERTSON'S closest friends and frequently works as his driver when he has equipment which needs transporting. "He had plenty of time to listen to that pile of tapes in his truck on the way back to Scandinavia," ROBERTSON remembers, "and he called me as soon as he reached Stockholm: 'BRIAN, there's some brilliant stuff on those tapes. We should make an album of them!'"
The result is a superb album at the interface of hard rock with definite blues elements and gritty mainstream, wonderfully melodic and full of excellent guitar arrangements. In terms of compositions, the album presents a number of outstanding Robertson numbers, such as the driving title track, the truly intense 'Passion,' 'Texas Wind' with its wonderfully atmospheric beginning, and the powerful 'Devil In My Soul' with its awesome wah-wah guitar solo.
The album is rounded off by tracks from Robertson's extremely successful collaboration with Phil Lynott during their Thin Lizzy days in the years 1974 to 1978 and his fellow-countryman Frankie Miller, with whom he recorded 'Dancing in the Rain' in 1986, among others.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Brian Robertson and discussed his new CD, his time spent in Thin Lizzy, his working relationship with Søren Lindberg and, of course, ... Penguins!
Taking it from the top and just why has it taken this long for you to release a solo album? What was always the one thing stopping you from doing so over the years? "I've been too busy working with other artists."
Being that your debut solo release is entitled Diamonds and Dirt, of all the tracks on the album, which (to you today) shines the brightest, and which (to you today) was buried deepest in the dirt - before becoming revealed? "Brightest would be '10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road' as it's just a great song to play or listen to. And darkest is the title track because it's all about my relationship with women."
Indeed, you culled these tracks together from a series of cassette tapes that you had put down musical thoughts on, before handing over to your friend, Soren Lindberg. How long was it in-between Soren got the bag and this album coming out? "Obviously it took some time before we picked the songs, band, studio and other stuff together, so I'll say a couple of years."
And why was it Soren chosen to delve through this pot luck bag of tracks? "Because he drove the truck back on his own to Sweden and I wanted him to have something to listen to."
It's also noted that Soren enlisted the band members to work with you on the album too - man, he did a lot for you on Diamonds and Dirt! "I would have come up with the same names on my list, that's just how we work together."
Your debut album also contains reworkings of collaborations you did with Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) back in the mid-'70s. Which songs are these and in what way have you reworked them? "'It's Only Money' is just updated and 'Running Back' was done in a more bluesier format than the original. One is swampy Little Feat style and the other rock'n'roll in the vein of Rod Stewart and The Faces."
And the album also contains the never-before-released Lynott/Robertson song, 'Blues Boy.' Why did that song never get on a Thin Lizzy album back in the day though? "It was never finished in the first place."
Indeed, with Thin Lizzy being one of my all-time fav groups, what were your four years like in that band, and which memory still today stands out as your fondest as a band member? "We had a great time building up for success the first two-three years and that's when we had a great time together as a band."
To this day, which Thin Lizzy song, that you were involved in is one you crank up on the radio - and which is one that, perhaps, you turn the channel over on - and why? "I'd crank up 'Don't Believe A Word' anytime and I'd turn down 'The Boys Are Back In Town' as much as I can!"
Being that there is also a folk singer called Brian Robertson (let alone the infamous, if not manic B.A. Robertson), are you worried that people will buy your CD thinking they are in for some folk music, perhaps?! "I think people who would want to buy my album would know where to look. Who knows? The next one might be a folk album."
Do you have any tattoos and, if so, and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, which was your latest one and where is it located?! "I've got two and my last one is on my left shoulder. A heart with the inscription I Love Liny."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "I absolutely love penguins! Just had one with french fries and processed cheese!"
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
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