Revealed: Scott Gorham Secret Artistry Showcased In Exclusive Soho Exhibition

Best known for his flowing locks and incendiary fretwork with Thin Lizzy, 21 Guns and Black Star Riders, it seems like Scott Gorham was also hiding another rather large light under his bushel, that of an artist. Having started drawing in the mid-70s when away on tour with Phil Lynott and company, he spent the hours between shows pouring out his talents in this new direction, the distraction and time out from their endless touring a warm embrace into a different world. 

Now, some five decades later and at the pressing of wife Christine, who had only recently discovered his artwork, the world can see what occupied all that downtime on the road.

Launching his collection at the Iron Maiden-connected Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, Scott Gorham was able to, at last, reveal these creations for the world to see. 

The creative mind of Scott Gorham - Pain
The creative mind of Scott Gorham – Pain

In a room packed with friends, family and music press, the evening was introduced by Planet Rock’s Paul Anthony, who passed the mic to a longtime friend of Scott, actor Philip Glenister, as the latter, in turn, brought the main man up to the raised platform where the two would talk. 

The two worked perfectly together, the obvious mutual respect giving an opportunity for the conversation to flow freely, both sparking off each other with great humour but never afraid of digging deeper.

Despite many years onstage playing to massive crowds, Scott Gorham admitted that this was probably the most nervous he had ever been, the thought of displaying his work outside of his closest circle a thing of abject terror. 

Scott Gorham, Black Star Riders. Norwich UEA. 15 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Scott Gorham, Black Star Riders. Norwich UEA. 15 February 2023. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

He needn’t have worried, though, as the prints framed around the walls showed a very different side to the famed six-stringer, one that may have been darker but showed a tremendous imagination and a keen eye for detail as each was packed with central themes that wove ornate tapestries in pen and pencil. 

Initially inspired by seeing an art exhibition when on tour with Lizzy in Amsterdam, the hours spent on those initial drawings were a catharsis and therapy that was particularly powerful on his long journey from the grip of addiction a few years later. 

The fact that such pictures have now come to light is a cause for celebration. This unexpected peek into the creative mind of Scott Gorham is a fascinating journey. 

The creative mind of Scott Gorham - Curiosity
The creative mind of Scott Gorham – Curiosity

Each frame contained a slice of life, his vivid memories and imagination shaping his work, and with pieces like Curiosity, born from a childhood trip to see Sci-Fi classic The Forbidden Planet. Curiosity was created “around the time of the Chinatown or Black Rose albums,” Gorham said. 

“Everybody sees eyes in this picture, so I called it Curiosity,” he said. “I started drawing it in a hotel room on the road, and, like most of these pictures I probably finished it back at home. No one ever saw these drawings. If Phil [Lynott] or one of the guys in the band came in, l would have probably hidden it under the pillow. 

“We were so focused on the music and the performance on tour that drawing became a way to pull myself out of it. Even just for a couple of hours.”

Apocalypse is a view of a bleak world coming to a slow, painful end. These outpourings may share a more shadowy view of life, no daffodil or poppy filled scenes of sunlit fields here. But each are rich in detail and striking in style and execution.

The creative mind of Scott Gorham - The Missing Link
The creative mind of Scott Gorham – The Missing Link

Asked to describe himself by Glenister, Scott Gorham smiled and modestly replied, “a low-life scumbag guitarist who likes to draw,” to peals of laughter from the packed room. 

Far from just a vanity project, the talent on display was one that may have been a long time coming and the climax of a painfully protracted period stemming back five decades. 

From not wanting to show his bandmates in those early days until now has certainly been a journey but a necessary one. “I do wonder what Phil would have thought,” Scott says. “But on tour, these drawings were me taking myself away from the music for a few hours.” The intervening years have produced a rich array of pieces bound to absorb and capture all who see them. 

With the works available to view at the hotel and prints available online at scottgorhamworld.com, the world can now see these treasures, hidden away for so long but now rightly revealed. 

Mingling for the following hours with those gathered, Gorham was certainly heartened by the response and the smiles all round told their own story.

The creative mind of Scott Gorham - The Fanatic
The creative mind of Scott Gorham – The Fanatic

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