Death & Mortality: Ricky Warwick

Does the thought of dying scare you at all?

Well I don’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking: “Shit, I’m getting older. How much more time have I got?” I’m more concerned about whether my family will be okay without me.

Have you had any brushes with death?

I was on a pretty scary flight to Brazil with The Almighty back in the day. An hour outside of JFK the plane was hit by lightning and dropped a thousand feet. It’s the only time Stumpy [drummer] ever held my hand. When the air hostesses are in tears, you know it’s serious. Luckily it wasn’t our time.

Have you ever used a ouija board?

No. I know someone who had a very bad experience with one. That really put me off. But I do believe in spirituality and life after death. There’s somewhere else that your soul goes on to.

Do you have a preferred way of departing this earth?

Probably having sex, or doing something pleasurable. Poor old John Entwistle [who died of a cocaine overdose after a Las Vegas hotel room encounter with a stripper] was the way to go.

What was your first experience of death?

Losing my grandmother at the age of four, and not really knowing what that meant, is among my earliest memories. I recall the house being dark with the curtains closed and my father being really upset.

In Thin Lizzy you replaced a dead man. Living up to that, whether viewed through rose-tinted spectacles or not, must have been extremely tough.

Oh, absolutely. Phil [Lynott] was such an icon. I’ve often said that I felt like I know him because I’ve knelt at the altar of Phil for the last four years. I’ve talked to Scott Gorham and Brian Downey about his lyrics and I’ve spent time talking to his mum Philomena about him. Even from beyond the grave he’s helped me so much. Not many people know this, but each time we finish a set, as Thin Lizzy or Black Star Riders, I turn to face the drum riser, raise the mic stand in the air and blow Phil a kiss. That’s something I will continue to do.

Have you ever seen a snuff movie?

Nope, and I have absolutely no interest in doing so.

Out of everyone you know who is no longer with us, who would you most like to speak to?

Tommy Tee, The Almighty’s first manager [who died in 2008]. It would be lovely to spend a little more time with him.

Do you ever think about what your legacy will be when you’re gone?

No, but I’m proud of what I’ve done and I hope the music will live on. If it helped to look after my family once I’ve passed on, that would be great. I’d like to think that people will remember me as being a pretty decent person. That would be enough for me.

What will it say on your gravestone?

‘Fuck it, why not?’

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.