Underkill TV conducted an interview with BLACK STAR RIDERS frontman Ricky Warwick at this year's Steelhouse Festival, which was held in Aberbeeg, South Wales, United Kingdom. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the recording process for BLACK STAR RIDERS' forthcoming "Another State Of Grace" studio album:
Ricky: "We recorded it in February of this year in Los Angeles. Obviously, it's the first record we've made with the new lineup. So that was a big change there. We used a different producer, different studio, two new guys, so it was quite a lot of changes going on behind the scenes. It was a very enjoyable experience. If I'm being brutally honest, I think it's the most fun I ever had making an album in 30 years of making records. The vibe was fantastic. The studio was amazing. Working with [producer] Jay Ruston, the whole thing was a lot of fun. There's just a cohesion about the band at the minute, with no disrespect to [former members] Jimmy [DeGrasso, drums] or Damon [Johnson, guitar]. I think it's even better than we had before. Chad [Szeliga, drums] and Christian [Martucci, guitar] are so chill and positive. It just kind of radiates around the whole band. We're in a good place with BLACK STAR RIDERS at the moment and long may it continue."
On whether he found writing the new BLACK STAR RIDERS album without Johnson to be "challenging":
Ricky: "Listen, I did. Damon is a wonderful human being, an amazing guitar player and a great songwriter, but I don't really need to write with anybody. I've written a lot of songs on my own. I'm not being facetious by saying that. I'm a songwriter and that's what I've done for 30 years. But I like being in a situation with other writers where I can go, 'Hey, I've got this. What do you think of that?' And that's what I did with Damon. I would write a lot of the guitar riffs and get it so far, give it to Damon, he'd put the sparkle on it, and go, 'Hey, why don't you try that?' So, this time around, that didn't really change a great deal. I just went to Christian who is again a great songwriter, and said, 'Here's where I am with this song.' I went up to his place in Oregon and we worked on his demos together. This record, there are about four songs I did write on my own because I hear them, I heard them finished, I hear where they want to go. I took them into the guys and the guys really loved them, so we ended up cutting them. And Scott's [Gorham, guitar] brought in a couple of killer songs. Scott brought in a song called 'Underneath The Afterglow' right at the 11th hour, he had a finished demo of music. He handed it to me, I was, like, 'Great, we're starting recording tomorrow. Thanks, Scott.' I listened to it and it was amazing. I stayed in that night and I wrote lyrics for it. That's made the record. Robbie's [Crane, bass] brought in a couple of really cool ideas as well. Chad, we sent Chad the demos and he really did his homework. A lot of the drums and bass on this record are one and two takes."
On whether he feels "Another State Of Grace" is the "best" BLACK STAR RIDERS album:
Ricky: "Yeah, I think just everything is aligned. Things weren't great with Jimmy, then it became clear that Damon wanted away, but not in a bad way, but Damon being the great guy that he is, gave us plenty of warning. It wasn't, like, 'I'm leaving the band' and he left next week. He was, like, 'Guys, I want to leave, I want to do other things, but I will stay until you get something sorted out.' And that's what he did. He gave us plenty of time. We'd known for ten months before he left that he was leaving, so we had plenty of time to go, 'Okay, what are we going to do? Who are we going to get?' We were ready to move on."
"Another State Of Grace" is due September 6 via Nuclear Blast. The follow-up to 2017's "Heavy Fire" was recorded in February 2019 at Sphere Studios in Burbank, California with Ruston (STONE SOUR, ANTHRAX, URIAH HEEP). The album will be made available on CD, vinyl and vinyl picture disc, limited-edition boxset and limited edition light green vinyl.