Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci is making sure his calendar remains full: he just accepted an invitation to join Black Star Riders. The veteran band, made up mostly of former Thin Lizzy members, was in need of a new guitarist after Damon Johnson decided to exit the group.

Johnson stated, "Three excellent albums in six years with this great band is one of the proudest achievements of my career, and it has been glorious. My family and I have decided to focus our efforts into growing my solo career and I'm excited to be home more to take advantage of working and writing in Nashville. Though I'm moving on from BSR, I will continue to work with Ricky [Warwick] in Warwick Johnson, and plan on being a part of any Thin Lizzy commitments in the future. Much love and continued success to the entire band and to the incredible Black Star Riders fans worldwide."

Black Star Riders' Ricky Warwick said of the Martucci addition, “Christian Martucci is a sonic force of nature, an insanely talented guitar player and a wonderful human being and I’m delighted he has become part of the BSR family. His musical pedigree speaks for itself. He will be an amazing addition to Black Star Riders, bringing a new edge and dynamic presence to the band. I eagerly look forward to writing, recording album number four and touring the world with him, Robert, Scott and Chad. The best way to predict the future is to go and create it. The best is yet to come!”

Scott Gorham added, “I am really looking forward to sharing the stage with Christian. He is an amazing player and an awesome addition to the Black Star Riders family," while Robert Crane offered, “Much like seeing Chad Szeliga playing our songs for the first time, we all knew from the first chord that Christian was the guy ... Straight up, he’s a badass! Let’s go!"

Martucci said, “As a fan who’s been inspired by their music, it’s an honor and privilege to be a part of Black Star Riders. I’m really looking forward to this!”

Martucci will become the official lead guitarist for the group on Jan. 1, 2019. The band will conclude their 2018 activities with dates in South America and the U.K. Johnson is not expected to be with the band for these shows, but Thunder guitarist Luke Morley will sit in for the band during these dates.

As for Stone Sour, it's expected that Corey Taylor will return to Slipknot in 2019, leaving Martucci free to play in Black Star Riders without conflict. Black Star Riders expect to hit the studio early next year to record their fourth studio album. Read the band's full statement on the exit of Johnson and the addition of Martucci here.

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