Jimmy Bain Page 4
by Martin Popoff

Making music with Phil...
"He did things really sort of differently. What he would do, is he would just kind of give you an idea of what to play. For example, the song 'Solo In Soho', I played the melody line on mini-Moog. There were no drums on it at all, just kind of a click track. And he had no idea what he was trying to do, but he had it somewhere in his head and it just kind of developed as it went along. And on 'Girls', we had finished it, and the drums that guy from Supertramp played, went on dead last. So the whole track was completely done with vocals and a basic, very simple drum machine, and then they brought the drummer in at the end to play on it. So the whole track was almost complete and then we put the drums on last. It was kind of like 'woah!' You would play something to him that you kind of thought was really mediocre, you'd just be pissing around, and he would pick up on it. That song 'Ode To Liberty' was just one of my throwaway songs that I happened to play for him. And he loved it; he thought it was just great. So it became a song through his development. So he made things happen. You see Thin Lizzy were very structured in how they recorded. Phil was very much in control of it, but they had a producer to deal with, and the management were there and whatnot. With his own stuff, it kind of gave him a chance to play with whoever he wanted. And he encouraged people like Midge Ure and the guy from Visage, and all these kind of a new music people who were in London at the time that he was hanging with. Near the end, Lizzy became less of a priority for management because of all of these bands and people Phil had turned them on to that they subsequently ended up working with, and I know that bothered him."

Phil, the "big softie"...
"I mean, you'd go over to his house and he'd have Sid Vicious sitting there and Billy Idol. He was such a nice person, a nice guy, that he just attracted people. I guess when he was growing up in Dublin, he was one of very few black Irish people, so he took a lot of shit for that when he was growing up. It made him really tough but you couldn't hide the fact that he was a big softie actually. I mean, I saw him stick a few guys out, and it was no problem at all. He knew exactly how to take care of them. And he was a big guy too. But he was such a nice guy, and I was destroyed when he died. And I think about it even to this day. Every so often I would hear 'The Boys Are Back In Town' on the radio, and I would think, 'God, I hope you're having a good time up there, man.' Because I really miss the guy. You know, at the end too, he played me some stuff he had done in a small studio and he was really writing some good stuff and wanted to work together. I don't know whatever happened to it, but he was back on a really positive musical avenue just before he died. It was so sad. Drugs just took over and Phil died. He was "Big Phil" on the outside but all his organs were in rough shape. I'm fortunate to have lived through it. Phil wasn't. In terms of my own recovery, I've been trying to keep regular. I've been clean for about a year. They encourage you to do regular work which is a good thing. I've been spoiled all my life, really."

The Dio years...
"We were doing Wild Horses in a recording studio in Dublin, and Sweet Savage was doing stuff in the morning so I introduced Ronnie to Vivian Campbell. Viv was interested despite doing the demos with Sweet Savage. Viv and I shared an apartment together. The first album was really raw. Ronnie was producing and we had this really great engineer who was a big part of the sound. Towards the end of Dio it got to be too much though, with the stage show and the spiders and the guitar that shot lasers. When we first started on Holy Diver, playing with half a drum kit and all, we just knew it was magic. I had stuff from Wild Horses, Viv had Sweet Savage stuff, we were all writing. I wrote a lot on the first two albums but it just got harder and harder to come up with stuff. We all thought Last In Line was a bit smooth, although I liked everything about it, the cover, everything. By the time Sacred Heart happened, I looked at that monster on the cover and thought, he's laughing at ME now! Touring was always a blast. I was famous for being lit up and still being able to play. I even fell over a few times. It was like it was part of the show. Ronnie and I got pissed together a few times but I always got carried away and had to be carried to the limo and stuff. But as long as I played live and was creative and wrote songs, it didn't matter. Toward the end, Ronnie was having fights with Viv, and you get to a point where you just think you've got it, and you think you can bring in keyboards and play with the arrangements. I always thought we had such a unique sound, we could just be Dio. We didn't have to try write like anybody else."