Anlässlich unseres großen THIN LIZZY-Specials in Rock Hard Vol. 334 schrieb Danko Jones für Rock Hard eine Kolumne, in der er sich mit der irischen Band und ihrem verstorbenen Sänger/Bassisten Phil Lynott auseinandersetzt. Hier könnt ihr den englischen Originaltext lesen.
The denigration and derision that has been levelled at Rock N’ Roll over the years has more to do with how it has presented itself than its music. In an effort to mirror its bombastic sound, like an annoying carnival barker yelling at passersby, the genre has relied heavily on frivolous surface appearances, treating any sliver of substance as an afterthought.
To pre-teens, teenagers and the easily dazzled, whose lives are mostly filled with frivolity and revelry, the music doesn’t need to be any deeper to find its mark. Lack of life experience isn’t an obstacle when comprehending smoke bombs, pyro, laser light shows and flashy costumes. It’s an easy sell that often treats the music secondary.
I can understand both sides of the fence. Being lured at an early age to Rock N’ Roll through bands like Kiss, Motley Crue and Wasp, I was initially won over by their stage theatrics, wild make-up and scowling faces. When we all eventually acclimated to their presentation, I found out, unlike my other friends, that I genuinely loved the music and stayed, enduring unending teasing by “cool” people who thought Rock music to be silly.
As much as I understood the music lacked depth, I revelled in it. I loved the too-catchy choruses, ridiculous guitar solos and the puerile lyrics. Still, I wished there was a band that could bridge the gap and prove that this Rock N’ Roll thing had substance without losing any of its sheen and bite.
Cue Thin Lizzy.
Thin Lizzy, hailing from Dublin, Ireland, upon first glance, were seemingly encased with every Rock N’ Roll trapping one could find. These were conclusions made by those who only made cursory glimpses. When one looked longer and deeper, what they found was astounding - a band of immeasurable depth and emotion wading in this supposed shallow trough of Rock music.
The crown jewel, of course, was lead singer/bassist, and principal songwriter, Phil Lynott. Lynott, being of mixed race, didn’t look like the quintessential Rock Star, a long way from a Steven Tyler or David Lee Roth, but he harnessed an equal amount of magnetism. His songwriting went deeper than the standard “chicks and drinks” crowd could understand. Songs like “Angel Of Death”, “Got To Give It Up” “Black Boys On The Corner” and “Genocide” broached subjects that most Rock bands didn’t think about twice.
The music itself was beyond the usual “hack and slash” thump of their peers. Melody was paramount in every song but cleverly didn’t fall prey to hackneyed pop drivel. A good heaping influence of their Irish heritage in song helped eschew these trappings as well as what became their signature dual guitar interplay between whichever pair was at the helm (Robertson/Gorham, Gorham/Moore, Gorham/White, Gorham/Sykes).
Even if all of this failed to connect with an audience, what was undeniable was Lynott’s voice. It remains one of the most recognizable voices in Rock N’ Roll. It was Lynott’s tone and timbre that simultaneously conveyed yearning, despair, heartache and honesty while managing to still remain cool and collected. It was a celestial voice heard once in a blue moon. Thank God he recorded it down onto tape for all of us to hear over and over again.
I must admit, as much as I was familiar with “Boys Are Back In Town” and “Jailbreak”, I didn’t pay them much mind growing up until I grew up a bit. When I felt the cruel sting of the real world, Lynott’s voice and words began to sink in and make sense. When I had my heart broken for the first time, I realized Lynott was both the comforting painkiller and the warm shoulder I needed.
In all aspects of life, things that make profound impacts don’t necessarily hit you over the head. They burrow and nestle; they’re patient and subtle. And when they finally dawn, like the widespread roots of a tree, they will slide in deeper than you are even aware. As much as I love all the bands that grabbed me when I was younger, Lizzy’s protracted embrace continues to constrict while burrowing deeper.
January 18, 2015
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