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“Lizzy were a man down…”: Pat Travers on the time he nearly joined Thin Lizzy

In 1976, Thin Lizzy were in urgent need of a guitarist and Canadian guitarist Pat Travers says he was very nearly their man



With more than 30 studio albums to his name, Canadian guitarist Pat Travers ought to be better and more widely known than he is. In the new issue of Classic Rock, though, Travers looks back over his career and says he’s at peace with his standing. “You think you can manipulate your destiny,” he tells Classic Rock’s James McNair, “but most of the time you’re just along for the ride.”

In the wide-ranging interview, he recounts one escapade that he just missed out on: joining hard-rock rogues Thin Lizzy. He was already friendly with the band, Brian Robertson having appeared on his 1977 album Makin’ Magic and Scott Gorham doing the same on his third record Putting It Straight, released the same year. “I’d seen Lizzy play in London in 1976 doing stuff from Jailbreak, and they were just incredible,” Travers remembers. “I didn’t get to roll with Phil [Lynott] much, unfortunately, but I became real chummy with Scott and Brian. Me and Scott used to play a lot of darts. Treble nineteen was his favourite shot. He’d drink black and tans and throw that dart like a harpoon.”

Travers used to frequent the Speakeasy nightspot with Gorham, he says. “It was a great place to have [adopts a Glaswegian accent] a few bevvies. We would get there pretty late, pretty well-oiled.” He wasn’t there the night that Robertson injured his left, fretting hand, though, but remembers Lizzy being in urgent need of a replacement guitarist. “Lizzy had been due to leave for a US tour the next day, and with Robbo fucking up his hand they were a man down. There was talk that maybe I could fill in for him. I even had a play with the other guys. But in the end I thought it would be too disruptive for my own career.” To read the full, in-depth feature, order the new issue of Classic Rock here.