Friday, September 16, 2011

An EXCLUSIVE Interview with GEORGE LYNCH



By Stephen SPAZ Schnee

     With his distinctive guitar style and his chameleon-like ability to embrace and transcend any genre, George Lynch has been one of Rock’s most respected guitar players ever since he debuted with Dokken three decades ago. While many musicians are content to play it safe and stay in their comfort zone, George has made a career out of taking chances and expanding his musical horizons.
     Since he left Dokken for the first time in the late ‘80s, George has worked heavily with his own projects Lynch Mob and Souls Of We as well as his own solo work and numerous collaborations. In between all of this, he found the time to rejoin Dokken for a few years, which resulted in an upsurge in popularity for the band.
     Through it all, George has never been one to live solely in the past. While not ashamed of his yesterdays with Dokken, his vision is firmly focused on today and tomorrow. He may not always stray from his Hard Rock roots, yet it is plainly obvious that he is a musician unafraid to go where his instincts take him.
     While putting together a new Souls Of We album, circumstances steered the proposed album in a new direction. Powerman 5000 drummer Adrian Ost came on board for a majority of the project while Cinderella drummer Fred Coury joined in as well. While Souls Of We frontman London LeGrand was scheduled to be the sole vocalist on the album, it evolved to include guest vocals from a great variety of Rock singers including Will Martin (Earshot), Marc Torien (Bulletboys) and Keith St. John (Montrose). The resulting release, Kill All Control, is an album that embraces every aspect of Lynch’s musical past while also standing firmly in the here and now and gazing into the future. In short, it ROCKS!
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to catch up with George to discuss the album and his past, present and future…

SPAZ: Kill All Control has just hit the streets. How are you feeling about the album and things up to this point?
GEORGE LYNCH: Well, any artist is always optimistic and hopeful about their newest project. These records are not easy to make. You create what you think is this masterpiece out of thin air. Really, the reward is watching your creative effort evolve into something tangible. Commercial success is important as well, not because the artist wants to be a billionaire but because you truly believe people will appreciate the results of your efforts.


SPAZ: You’ve got a great set of vocalists on this album. Did you write the songs with these particular guys in mind or did you choose the best voice for each song once the songs were in the can?
GEORGE: The whole thing was one giant happy accident! (Laughs) London was the sole vocalist on the record initially. He had to bail from the record due to personal reasons and over the next two years, we had a parade of wonderful singers who came and went and left wonderful contributions in their wake. We edited the various vocalists’ performances to match the songs. The one exception is Will Martin's tracks which he worked very hard on and which remained intact.

SPAZ: How did you come to choose these vocalists in the first place?
GEORGE: I've always loved Will's voice and writing and have approached him in the past to collaborate. The timing just worked this time around. Marc Torien was subbing for Oni on some Canadian Lynch Mob dates and came in and knocked out a few tracks. Keith St. John and I have been friends and he offered to fill in the gaps and finish off the remaining songs.

SPAZ: When writing songs for Kill All Control, were any of these songs earmarked for a new Lynch Mob album or was the songwriting approach a bit different?
GEORGE: No. This was intended to be a completely different animal from Lynch Mob. We (the core band; Adrian Ost and Nic Spec) wrote all the songs instrumentally over a 10 day period then tracked it all in 14 days at Slate Studios. Getting the vocals done took almost another two years!

SPAZ: Listening to the album, it’s definitely a George Lynch album, but still sounds relevant and modern. Is it easy to keep things fresh without sacrificing your style?
GEORGE: It all depends on who you're playing with. I'm very much a musical "Zelig" and am highly influenced by my environment and the other musicians I surround myself with. If I'm jamming with Fusion or Blues cats, that's what I become.

SPAZ: The industry is a much different beast than it was back in the day with Dokken and early Lynch Mob. Has the recording process changed drastically along with everything else?
GEORGE: Yes, of course. You have to be prepared to do everything yourself and squeeze out a lot of bang for your buck. Some of my records have been self-funded in recent years. You have to replace a lot of capital with sweat equity these days.


SPAZ: Hard Rock and Heavy Metal have so many subgenres these days. Where do you think Kill All Control fits in? It’s a great Rock ‘n’ Roll album, first and foremost…
GEORGE: I'd say it belongs in the Modern Rock genre. But who knows? I hate pigeon-holing and categorizing art. That's what were forced to do to be able to market it but I don't think of the music I help create when we're creating it; which isn't very smart business-wise.. But I'm a lousy businessman.

SPAZ: While the album has an aggressive, dark tone to it, it successfully steers clear of the utter hopelessness that many bands these days specialize in. What do you want the listener to walk away with when they listen to Kill All Control?
GEORGE: I think this record's statement is all about hope and being cautiously optimistic about where we are going forward. And I think this record is opening a door to a new chapter in my writing efforts ... Taking a socially conscience tack going forward.

SPAZ: You’ve always moved forward musically. Does it frustrate you that there are still people out there that only want to see you back with Dokken?
GEORGE: Well, that's human nature. Those songs represent an era and personal history in those listeners’ lives that defines them. I understand that. And the fallout from that is that recognition allows me to create what I consider more personal and important music... To continue to chase the ideal that resides in my imagination.

SPAZ: Have you ever wanted to put out an album completely different than what people expect from you? A George Lynch bluegrass album doesn’t seem like such a bad idea...
GEORGE: All that! Of course. And not just to be different or throw a curve at folks but because I genuinely love other styles of music and that fire burns in my belly. There's is a Blind Lemon Lynch record in the pipeline! (Laughs)

SPAZ: Coming from a vinyl-based era, do you have an opinion on the whole “vinyl vs. CD” debate?
GEORGE: By law, all releases should be required a certain percentage to be released on vinyl. In my new country, Lynchtopia, it will be mandatory.(Laughs)

SPAZ: Is there any music out there that inspires you today? If so, what helps your creative juices flow?
GEORGE: Everything. Jam bands, the classics, Blues, Texas guitar guys, new Metal There's great stuff everywhere.


SPAZ: What’s next for George Lynch?
GEORGE: Working on what was to be the new Lynch Mob record, probably be going into studio early winter 2011…working on a project called Tooth And Nail with Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown from Dokken; two CD set. One CD is all new original songs; the second is re-recordings of classic Dokken songs. My biggest passion at the moment is this native American music/politico documentary film I'm working on called Shadowtrain ( http://www.shadowtrainmovie.com/). I'm also building and selling my own hand-built guitars, Mr. Scary Guitars. There's a website for that as well. (http://mrscaryguitars.com/)

SPAZ: What do you currently have spinning on your record, CD and DVD players?
GEORGE: The new T-Bone Burnett compilation and some old Uli-Jon Roth.

Thanks to George Lynch
Special thanks to Kevin Farrell, Anthony Balboa and Ryan Rainbolt













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