Interview by Robert Cavuoto
George Lynch is one of the most recognizable names in the world of heavy metal guitar. With a career spanning more than 35 years, George has recorded scores of albums and toured the globe with Dokken, Lynch Mob and as a solo artist.
On September 8th Lynch Mob will be releasing their next CD entitled, The Brotherhood, via Rat Pak Records. The CD highlights the unique pairing of Oni Logan (vocal) George Lynch (guitar), Sean McNabb (bass) and Jimmy D’Anda (drums). Together they have created a solid offering from start to finish. There is no shortage of melodic songs with killer riffs and aggressive solos. From the heavy opening track of “Main Offender” to the melodic album finale, “Miles Away”, George once again delivered some supreme guitar playing, proving he is still at the top of its game. His playing never disappoints as he provides just the perfect amount of shredding, hard rocking riffs, and melodic solos to keep any fan of the Lynch Mob or the guitar happy. His jaw dropping playing is always rich in technique and tone.
I had the chance to speak with one of my all time favorite guitarists, George Lynch, to find out about Lynch Mob’s newest release as well as provide us with an update on his second CD for Sweet & Lynch. To pre-order The Brotherhood visit www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/lynchmob.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you more comfortable now as a songwriter with Lynch Mob than you were in the 80s with Dokken?
George Lynch: I would say I’m more complacent only because I’ve been doing it longer [laughing]. I feel like I have a set of tools, a better understanding of song structure, and what I’m trying to accomplish when I go to write a song. Back in the Dokken days, it was all a big mystery to me. I was sort faking my way around trying to figure it all out. Typically it starts with a guitar riff which dictates the tempo or beat. Everything else follows that. But that’s not always the case; it can also depend on who I’m playing with. For example, I’m finishing up a CD with Cory Glover of Living Colour called Ultra Phonics and when we write everyone is all in. With KXM it’s also everybody writing together as dUg and Ray are both throwing stuff out there. With Lynch Mob, Dokken, or Sweet & Lynch it’s more guitar driven starting with the guitar which is more of a traditional way of writing for me.
Robert Cavuoto: You recorded The Brotherhood differently than Rebel. On the new CD, everyone was present and collaborating. Isn’t that always the best approach?
George Lynch: I think Rebel was a tremendous CD. I was so proud of that CD, but we had major problems with the label distributing it. It was a really sad chain of events. I think it was a great CD; Oni and I just wrote it together. It worked well, and I’m not opposed to that approach. Throughout history, the best songwriting has been done as duos. If you look at AC/DC and Van Halen; most of that was probably written by two guys. If you have a bass player and drummer in the room and I’m doing my thing they are there to support the ideas. It’s not much different than having a drum programmer. It’s different in the sense that you are reacting in real time with human beings as opposed to interfacing with machines. There is good and bad about both ways. You can sit down in from of a computer in a studio and thinking about what it is you want to do or stand around with your instrument being caught up in a musical moment. I’m not saying either is a bad thing; one is more cerebral, and the other is a little more from the heart and gut.
Robert Cavuoto: I think my favorite track is “Until the Sky Comes Down;” it’s got a Dokken, Lynch Mob, and Van Halen vibe. Tell me about its history and creation.
George Lynch: That’s an interesting one. I have to give full disclosure and admit something; that song is borrowed from something that you would never expect in a trillion years! I don’t think it was intentional as it was subconscious. It’s from a huge Lionel Richie song. I can’t recall the name of it. We are going to have to have a contest and who ever can name the Lionel Richie song will get a free trip to Hawaii or something [laughs].
Robert Cavuoto: Working with so many singers when you are home writing a song, whose voice do you hear in your head?
George Lynch: I hear my world’s greatest singer voice in my head which I can’t do with my throat. It has a little bit of Aretha Franklin, Sly in the Family Stones, Paul Rodgers, and Rob Halford [laughing]. It’s like a morphing of all the world’s greatest singers that I have been exposed to in one imaginary creature in my head. I’m the world’s greatest singer in my mind. I hear it, I really do, and it drives me with my writing. I hear vocals in my head more than anything, even more than the guitar. It’s more of the over-riding melody that’s driving the song that I hear. That is why I keep chasing the songwriting thing. I play with a lot of different singers, and they are all different but don’t quite capture the ultimate thing I hear in my head. dUg, Don, Oni, and Corey are all great singers, and all have their thing, but there is still something out there that I wish I can obtain. What’s interesting is in the last couple of years I have been thinking I would love to learn how to sing….of course I’m probably never going to get around to that.[laughing] It one of those things like you are going to clean up your storage bin…it never happens.
Robert Cavuoto: I’m going to brush up on my Lionel Richie songs after we are done [laughing].
George Lynch: It was a huge hit. It’s a song everybody on the planet has heard 100s of times. Every part of “Until the Sky Comes Down” is borrowed from that Lionel Richie song. I should go figure out the name of the song.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you typically improvise your solos or is that something you work on after the song is written?
George Lynch: They are all off-the-cuff.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you ever have trouble recreating what you improvised during a live performance?
George Lynch: Absolutely! I haven’t even figured out all my Dokken solos from 30-35 years ago. It’s funny and sad at the same time but true.
Robert Cavuoto: Did you ever have to go to You Tube to see how people are playing it?
George Lynch: No, I never tried to figure out my stuff that much. I’ve occasionally sat down to try and pick it apart, but I don’t take it that seriously, maybe I should.
Robert Cavuoto: Almost every song on this CD has its own unique tone, how do you go about picking the gear for each song or is it more a happy accident?
George Lynch: When I’m recording, I try to make sure I have a lot of options as far amps, guitars, and effects. I need a heavy rhythm base which is a guitar going through a Marshall on one side and then a different guitar and amp on the other side. I now have my two stereo tracks, and that’s my basic rhythm to build on. Maybe I have to lift the chorus a bit, and that’s where the experimentation comes in. Here is where I need to go after something and ask myself, “How do I accomplish that?” I want the tone to hold its own space in the mix and not compete with the vocals. I may hear something melodically in my head, and I’ll follow that. Fifty percent of the time I don’t hear anything, so I plug something in to see what happens. I’ll ask myself, “What haven’t I plugged in lately or what is this weird pedal?” or “Let’s do something strange with a ring modulator, an octovite, and sustainiac; that’s gotta sound cool right?” [laughing]. So there are two ways I go about adding what I like to call “ear candy” or “atmospheric parts” to a song other than solos and basic rhythms.
Robert Cavuoto: Your guitar playing is so identifiable no matter what band you are playing with, do you that consider that a gift or a curse?
George Lynch: I’m fine with it because I don’t think I’m limited with it in my vocabulary. I’m not saying that to blow smoke up my own ass, but I still listen to other styles and know I can push myself further outside. I’m not going to continue and default to the same lick over and over again. Not to say that hasn’t happened, but the challenge is to continually push myself beyond what I have done in the past. To expand my thinking and creative horizons yet stay true to who I am while not copying anybody or doing something to prove a point. It’s a balancing act, and I try to keep it interesting to myself as well as the listener.
Robert Cavuoto: On the CD cover for The Brotherhood; you and Oni are either super cold or someone is shooting over your heads in the background? What’s going on in the photo?
George Lynch: It was really cold. We shot all day out in the high desert. It was Spring time; its fine during the day but that was the last photo at the end of the day. We were up at 3,500 to 4,000 feet, and it was windy. Once the sun started to go down, it was bone chilling.
Robert Cavuoto: What can you tell us about the next Sweet & Lynch CD? The new single “Promised Land” is quite heavy. Is that song indicative of the rest of the CD?
George Lynch: That’s one of the heavier tracks, and there are a few of those. It’s a song I wrote for Lynch Mob, and they rejected it. It was a Lynch Mob left over from The Brotherhood CD. This new Sweet & Lynch CD is similar to the first one with a lot of diverse songs. I didn’t deviate from my writing; I tried to create that balance of old school while being updated. It has a mix of heavy, middle of the road, a few dirgie heavy song, and some ballads. I just tried to keep focused how we defined the first Sweet & Lynch CD and to work within those parameters. There are some beautiful songs on there.
Robert Cavuoto: What else can we expect from you from in the future?
George Lynch: Ultra Phonics is coming out January of 2018. The Dokken Live CD/DVD with new studio tracks will be out early next year. I also have The Abanishment with Tommy Victor of Prong; it’s a trippy sort of industrial CD coming out, so there are all kinds of reason to chat again.