Legendary English guitarist John Sykes (TYGERS OF PAN TANG, THIN LIZZY, WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, SYKES) will release his first album in 19 years later this year via Golden Robot Records. The as-yet-untitled disc (its previously announced title of "Sy-Ops" has now apparently been scrapped) is expected to include such tracks as "Dawning Of A Brand New Day", "Believe In Yourself", "My Guitar" and "Out Alive".
Speaking to Reality Check TV at this past January's Hall Of Heavy Metal History event in Anaheim, California, Sykes stated about his long-awaited new LP (see video below): "They're talking about an early summer release, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to getting out on the road and playing again. I kind of go underground and stay there for a while. I don't know, man. Sometimes I just take off and shut it all down. But I'm getting the itch, I've been having the itch to get back out and play, so I'm looking forward to that."
Asked about the musical direction of his new record, Sykes said: "It's kind of got flavors of old and new. But I think it'll be pleasing to a lot of people to hear it. I think it'll touch a fair few people if they check it out. It's a good, solid album — it's not just a couple of tracks and a load of fillers."
Sykes also talked about what it was like to join THIN LIZZY in 1982 at the age of 23, filling the spot left by previous guitarist Snowy White. He participated in the recording of the band's final studio album, "Thunder And Lightning", deemed by many music historians to contain some of Phil Lynott's best compositions in years.
"It was a real true honor and privilege to be picked by Phil Lynott to play in THIN LIZZY," John said. "Phil is a legend, and just the fact that he picked me, as a young kid, to play guitar in that band. He could have got anybody."
According to Sykes, it was a "mindblowing" experience to get a chance to collaborate with Lynott. "He was a big hero of mine before I met him," John said. "Just getting to be around him and working in the studio with him and watching him and the way he worked was a real thrill for me. I really loved the guy. I lived at his house with him for quite some time and spent a lot of time with Phil. We hung out a lot. He was a mentor for me and he looked out for me and we had a lot of great times together. He'll always be in my heart."
Sykes's band for his upcoming tour is expected to include his onetime BLUE MURDER bandmate Tony Franklin (bass) and Fred Boswell Jr. (drums), both of whom are pictured with John below.
John's best-known work was when he joined WHITESNAKE and co-wrote the band's self-titled seventh studio album, released in 1987. It produced a major power ballad hit, "Is This Love", along with the No. 1 hit "Here I Go Again". The album was a major crossover hit, eventually selling over eight million copies in the U.S. alone.
Sykes announced his departure from THIN LIZZY in July 2009, explaining that "I feel it's time to get back to playing my own music."