NEW MUSIC: Black Star Riders guitarist Damon Johnson announces new band and album
Internationally renowned guitarslinger, vocalist, songwriter, Damon Johnson announces the release of his new album Battle Lessons, due January 22, 2021 via Double Dragon Records. The collection was made possible with the assistance of an Indiegogo pre-order helping to support the recording of Johnson and his new trio, The Get Ready (Jarred Pope on drums, Robbie Harrington on bass).The forthcoming Battle Lessons was recorded in Damon’s adopted hometown of Nashville, produced and mixed by multi-platinum producer/mixer, Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Evanescence, Rush, Stone Sour and more). The title track and debut single from the project, “Battle Lessons”, was released in late September, reaching #13 on the Classic Rock Chart.
Stream the first single, Battle Lessons, here.
Rock fans know Johnson’s name from his years of scorching stages as lead guitarist in the Alice Cooper band, and later with Thin Lizzy and the Lizzy-offshoot Black Star Riders in addition to fronting the potent ‘90s Southern rockers Brother Cane. Johnson’s songs have been recorded and sung by stars like Stevie Nicks and Steven Tyler.
With Battle Lessons, Johnson returns to his original hard-rock sound, feeding that fire he first discovered as a teenager playing Van Halen and AC/DC covers while in garage bands. Featuring nine newly written songs, the tracks are just as much about clever lyrics and sticky melodies as eyelash-searing guitars. “These are as good of songs as I’ve been a part of creating, ever in my whole career,” Johnson says. And that’s saying something – as singer/guitarist, and frontman of Brother Cane, the Birmingham, Alabama rock band who notched a string of ’90s rock hits, including “Got No Shame,” “I Lie In The Bed I Make” and chart-topper “And Fools Shine On.”
Battle Lessons is anchored by a searing title track. The song “Battle Lessons” casts Johnson’s gutsy vocals and razor riffs over presto grooves by The Get Ready drummer Jarred Pope (Tom Keifer) and bassist Robbie Harrington (Steve Vai.) Expectedly, there’s a supersonic guitar solo ripping through the cut. Johnson elite six-strings supercharge the entire Battle Lessons album. But the guitars always serve the songs and never just for flash.
It all started for Johnson when he became an instant fan of Thin Lizzy attending a concert back in 1979 in his home state of Alabama. At 15 years old, he had gone to the concert to see Ted Nugent, he didn’t even know who the opener was. Instantly a fan, Johnson bought the entire catalog and learned every song he could. Fast forward years later to 2011, while on tour as Alice Cooper’s guitarist, Johnson received a call from Thin Lizzy founding guitarist Scott Gorham, inviting him to replace their temporary guitarist on their current tour. A dream job, and with Cooper’s blessing, Johnson leapt at the chance. He continues to tour with Gorham and Thin Lizzy as well as release his own solo albums.
In 2019 Johnson released Memoirs of an Uprising, a solo project that is both fierce and diverse. The first single, “Shivering Shivering” became an instant Top 10 Rock track. Immediately following that albums release Johnson spent the remainder of the 2019 on a series of dates crossing North America including several shows with The Winery Dogs (a supergroup of rockers featuring Richie Kotzen, Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan), a run of shows supporting Clutch, and the U.S. leg of the UFO tour.