Damon Johnson has announced that he’s parted company amicably with Black Star Riders.
The guitarist has issued a statement to say that he’s made the decision in order to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his solo career.
Johnson says: “Three excellent albums in six years with this great band is one of the proudest achievements of my career, and it has been glorious.
“My family and I have decided to focus our efforts into growing my solo career and I'm excited to be home more to take advantage of working and writing in Nashville.
“Though I'm moving on from Black Star Riders, I will continue to work with Ricky in Warwick Johnson and plan on being a part of any Thin Lizzy commitments in the future.
“Much love and continued success to the entire band and to the incredible Black Star Riders fans worldwide.”
Fellow guitarist Scott Gorham says: “I just want to thank Damon for being part of the band and three great records together and I wish him all the best. For BSR it’s onwards and upwards!”
Frontman Ricky Warwick says he respects Johnson’s decision and adds: “Damon Johnson is my bro and I love him. It’s been a wonderful journey for the last six years writing, recording and playing live with him, moulding, building and making Black Star Riders into the formidable force that we have become. He will always be family. I will miss him.”
Bassist Robert Crane reports that he’s thankful to have “shared this amazing musical journey” with Johnson and adds: “I’m hopeful our paths cross again one day. Love and respect to D.J. and his family.”
The band have moved quickly to replace Johnson, and have brought Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci into the fold.
He says: “As a fan who’s been inspired by their music, it’s an honour and privilege to be a part of Black Star Riders. I’m really looking forward to this!”
Warwick calls Martucci “a sonic force of nature, an insanely talented guitar player and a wonderful human being” and reports that he’s delighted to welcome him to the band.
Warwick adds: “His musical pedigree speaks for itself. He will be an amazing addition to Black Star Riders, bringing a new edge and dynamic presence to the band.
“I eagerly look forward to writing, recording album number four and touring the world with him, Robert, Scott and Chad. The best way to predict the future is to go and create it. The best is yet to come!”
Black Star Riders, meanwhile, will return to the studio in early 2019 and before that, have live shows planned throughout November and December in South America and the UK.
Black Star Riders 2018 tour dates
Nov 02: Santiago Pista Atletica Solid Rock Festival, Chile
Nov 04: Buenos Aires GEBA Solid Rock Festival, Argentina
Nov 08: Curitiba Pedreira Paulo Leminski, Brazil
Nov 10: Sao Paulo Allianz Park Solid Rock Festival, Brazil
Nov 11: Rio de Janeiro KM Hall, Brazil
Nov 14: Belo Horizonte Expominas, Brazil
Nov 28: Buckley Tivoli, UK
Nov 29: Southampton Engine Room, UK
Nov 30: Leamington Spa Assembly Rooms, UK
Dec 01: Trecco Bay Planet Rockstock, UK
Dec 02: Holmfirth Picturedrome, UK
Dec 03: Sheffield Corporation, UK