Black Star Riders' Scott Gorham and Ricky Warwick have spoken passionately about America’s “ridiculous” gun laws and have called for something to be done.
To celebrate the release of Black Star Riders’ excellent new album ‘Another State of Grace’ last Friday (6th September), Ricky and Scott dropped by Planet Rock HQ for a live acoustic session and a Q&A in front of an ultra-intimate audience of competition winners.
Asked what’s their favourite track on the new album, both the frontman and guitarist concurred that it’s the hard-hitting ‘Why Do You Love Your Guns?’ - a track that melds potent lyrics about guns with searing music.
Explaining why it’s his personal favourite, Scott Gorham said: “I don’t consider us a really political band in that sense… y’know you sit in the back of the tour van and you start discussing things, especially when you’re in America, you start hearing about the mass shootings and it seems to be constantly going on on almost a daily basis.
“Ricky and I agree on this that America has to get some sort of handle on their love of guns for God’s sakes! For me I’d say ‘take the guns away’ but Ricky’s not so much that. To me it’s a song that really means a lot. I love the sound of the track, also I think everybody did a great job recording it.”
Elucidating further, Ricky Warwick, who lives in Los Angeles with his family, said: “A lot of these guys (gun owners) quote the Second Amendment. And it’s funny that they can quote the Second Amendment, but they can’t quote any other amendment. (shakes fist) ‘It’s my God given right, it’s the Second Amendment!’
In a clearly personal and emotional outpouring, he added: “Growing up in Belfast and seeing the… it’s my favourite track as well, it’s the most personal to me – (seeing) what gun violence did back then and living in America. My daughter was the same age when the Sandy Hook (Massacre) went down. I was actually back home in Belfast playing a show with Damon Johnson and we were in good spirits and we came back to my cousin’s house and my wife phoned me in bits: ‘turn on the news, turn on the news’. And we saw the Sandy Hook thing. My daughter was seven at the time and I think there was 21 little kids (who were) six/seven years old, brutally murdered. And I thought something now will be done. It has to be. If this doesn’t change (things) I don’t know (what will). Here we are seven years later and there’s been 250 mass shootings in the United States of America this year.”
Ricky continued: “I drop my daughter off at school. There’s now a 10-foot fence erected outside her middle school. There’s armed security guards, there’s policemen outside, it’s like I’m dropping her off at a prison, not a place of learning.
“My own brother-in-law who shouldn’t have had access to a gun was able to move to another state, buy a gun and he ended up turning the gun on himself.
“It’s ridiculous. You can walk in now… Walmart are making steps to change… you could walk into pretty much any store and buy a high velocity rifle and no questions are asked. It’s just like ‘there you go, here’s your potatoes and here’s your AK-47. Have a good day!’. They’re banning plastic straws, which is great, but you can now sip your Coca-Cola through your AK-47 but not a plastic straw. It’s so wrong y’know and something has to be done.”
Reflecting specifically on ‘Why Do You Love Your Guns?’, Ricky concluded: “I think writing this song was a way for me to get all that anger, and what I felt about it, out. The guys played so great on it. The song’s just everything I imagined it to be – it’s powerful, it’s meaningful. And we’ve been in touch with Sandy Hook Promise, which is the charity set up by the parents of some of the kids who were so brutally killed, about what we could do to help with this song. If it can make a little bit of difference then I suppose that’s something.”
Check out the full Q&A interview with Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham below, where they also chat about performing with new members and Chad Szeliga and Christian Martucci, their musical inspirations and much more:
Alongside the Q&A, you can also watch their Planet Rock session in its glorious entirety featuring the first *ever* live performances of 'Tonight the Moonlight Let Me Down' and 'Ain't the End of The World' in front of an audience, as well as BSR classics, 'Bound For Glory' and 'All Hell Breaks Loose'.
‘Another State of Grace’ is available on various formats right now.
Black Star Riders also head out on an extensive Planet Rock presents tour in October that brackets their massive Glasgow Braehead Arena gig with Saxon.
Special guests at all dates (except the Saxon gig in Glasgow) are Stone Broken, while Wayward Sons will open all the dates apart from Belfast and Dublin. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
See Black Star Riders at the following shows:
Bristol O2 Academy – Thu 10th
Cambridge Corn Exchange – Fri 11th
London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sat 12th
Wrexham William Aston Hall – Sun 13th
Dublin Academy – Wed 16th*
Belfast Limelight – Thu 17th
Glasgow Braehead Arena – Fri 18th (supporting Saxon)
Newcastle O2 Academy – Sat 19th
Nottingham Rock City – Sun 20th
Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion – Tue 22nd
Bournemouth O2 Academy – Wed 23rd
Cardiff University Great Hall – Thu 24th
Wolverhampton Steel Mill – Fri 25th
Leeds O2 Academy – Sat 26th
Manchester O2 Ritz – Sun 27th