Thin Az Lizzy in 1995. This was the beginning. At 25, he met Paul Owens from Clare. Paul and Johnny starting writing songs together. He was still inspired by Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. Remember, from earlier in his life, he wanted to be Phil Lynott. Johnny felt the time was right for him to start his own band. Thin Az Lizzy was born. This was the time before tribute bands had taken off. In May 1995, he invited Philomena Lynott and Smiley Bolger to a Thin Az Lizzy gig. They were so impressed that Philomena said that Johnny’s voice and bass guitar were as close to Phil’s you can get. He was chuffed. That gave him the motivation to develop the band. He met Jake Walshe who became the manager of the band. It was decided to run it like a business. Jake took care of business, the lads took care of the music. In 1995, Thin Az Lizzy only did four gigs. In 1996, they did 30. 1997 was a 100, then from 1998 for the next six years or so, they did 150 per year. They were touring all around Ireland, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. They bought their own van, all their own equipment like sound, lights and so on. They also had their own sound and lighting engineers. Early in the life of Thin Az Lizzy, Johnny joined another band called Elmer Fud, while he was trying to get TAL on the scene. Elmer Fudd was made up of Johnny, Bobby Robertson on guitar and Gene Beril on drums Johnny, Willy , the Lizzy Boys (Japan) with John Irish, Earle. The year is 1991Now, I have to ask you to please forgive my next comparison. Some years ago, I wrote a four piece article on The Beatles. You can get it here. In 1957, they started life as The Quarrymen and through a whole series of changes became The Beatles that we know today. It’s a fascinating read and is full of their videos too. But, back to my point, The Beatles developed a strong work ethic during their time in Germany and their long hours. Thin Az Lizzy also developed a strong work ethic doing over 150 gigs per annum. Let’s talk work ethic with Elvis too. Over his 24 year career, on a per annum basis he did 1.4 films + 2.04 albums + 0.66 TV specials + 74 US concerts. In his final seven years, he did an average of 140 US concerts pa, nearly three per week. Thin Az Lizzy 2016. Johnny, Flash, Willy and EamonAround 2004, Johnny wanted a change of music, so he slowed the band down. He took a break from it, went back to it, took another break. That final break continued until late in 2016, when he decided to re-form the band. During the busy TAL period Johnny did sucessful Monday nights in Newry's Q Club with Bernie Loughran, his brother Davy on guitar and Joe Balance on drums. They were legendary gigs. He has surrounded himself with new management, a new marketing and internet team, almost the same band members who have proven themselves over the years, a new business approach that is adapted to suit the changing markets, new backroom staff members to suit new technologies, choreographers and stage/show professionals. Thin Az Lizzy are recognised as being the best Thin Lizzy tribute act in Ireland. There is no doubt to that. His next goal is it bring Thin Az Lizzy to the point of being the Best Thin Lizzy Band in the world. This will be achieved though the new team that he has amassed. Whatever has to happen to achieve that goal will happen. Johnny admits that “the better the audience is the better we are on stage”.
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