eric bell

Thin Lizzy’s founding guitarist opens up about the early days, his exit from the band, and his new solo album, Exile.

On the phone from Carrowdore, Ireland, a small town just east of his native Belfast, Eric Bell is laughing down the line about one of his earliest memories of sharing a house in Dublin with Phil Lynott. “We had two single beds in one of the bedrooms,” he recalls, “and every morning, I’d get up or Philip would get up and make a cup of tea for the both of us, and then he’d roll a big spliff and we’d smoke it and put on Astral Weeks. And it was always on, you know? We’re both lying there stoned, drinking cups of tea, and listening to Astral Weeks.”

Plenty of friendships have gelled over the music of Van Morrison, but for these two lads, their connection was more literal. Just several years earlier, Bell had spent a few months on tour as the guitarist in Morrison’s group, Them. Van himself had recruited Bell at the ultra-hip Crymbles Music Shop in Belfast. Lynott, for his part, was a budding poet, lyricist, and frontman, and Morrison was one of his idols. With songs that always seemed to find a universality in tales of romance, breakups, street fighting, and hard living, sung with a voice that could peel paint or melt hearts—well, there was a quintessentially Irish lean to Morrison’s art that moved Lynott to distraction.

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