KISSFAQ Interview With George Lynch
George Lynch sits with KISSFAQ.com to talk about his current projects, Dokken, & of course a little about KISS & Gene Simmons.
CHRIS : Hello George. Thank you for your time. It’s a pleasure to have some time with you. Before we get into your current projects, let’s start out by going back to the 70s. At that point you were playing with The Boyz. As the story goes, The Boyz had a showcase set up to perform for Gene Simmons with the hope that he would take an interest in the band. However the opening act that night happened to be Van Halen and Gene ended up focusing on them instead. First of all, how did you guys get that showcase for Gene set up, and to your knowledge is the story about Gene not staying to see the show after Van Halen’s performance true?
GEORGE : Well actually, Gene saw our band The Boyz or Exciter, I can't remember which, at Gazaris, expressed interest in the band and we made plans to talk at our next show which was at the Starwood with Van Halen. We had an OK show. Van Halen tore it up as usual. At the end of the night the party was in VH's dressing room.
CHRIS : It has been said that during an exchange that you had with Gene that he recommended a name change for you because he believed that the name George Lynch wouldn’t work. What can you tell us about your discussions with him at that time, and did you ever actually consider making the change at any point?
GEORGE : He did yes. I'm supposed to be John Lynx. We ended up coming up with names for everyone in the band. Trevor Roxx, Nikki Thunders, Adam Wolf. We ended up doing a joke side project called the Hollywood Glam Dolls using those names and we all switched instruments.
CHRIS : While Dokken were at their height, a part of your promotion was openly talking about the feuds between certain band members. It was actually a focal point of various articles about you in the metal magazines back then, and was even dramatized on the cover of Hit Parader magazine with a shot of you and Don back to back with pistols. Obviously there certainly were issues there, but at the time how much of what was presented publically was reality and how much of that was promotional hype?
GEORGE : It was pretty much all promotional hype which then fed on itself.
CHRIS : Dokken managed one reunion during the 90s before splintering again. Since then there has been talk off and on every few years that another reunion is possible and then something breaks down and it never happens. You are doing your thing, Jeff is busy with Foreigner, & Don continues on with new members under the Dokken banner with Jon Levin on guitar and Mark Boals on bass. In this business most people will say “never say never”, but do you think it is getting close to the point where you think another reunion will be off the table for good?
GEORGE : We had a shot at putting back together earlier this year, but it fell apart in the 11th hour.
CHRIS : Dokken ended up playing a handful of dates with KISS on their Animalize tour. This was while Dokken was just starting to hit big with mainstream attention from radio and MTV. Any funny tales from those shows or do you have any other tales of dealings with the various KISS members over the years?
GEORGE : Paul Stanley invited Jeff Pilson and I up to his hotel room to write songs after one of the shows. We were very excited, knocked on his door pushing our recording rack on wheels that we toured with. He let us in wrapped in a towel and soaking wet. He suggested we put on towels too and jump up and down on the beds to get our creative juices flowing, which we did, but then we never wrote any songs. That was weird.
CHRIS : Here’s an odd story that I just want to bring up while I have you for a moment. Back in 2004 you were touring with Yngwie Malmsteen. You played a show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey and I happened to be there in the front row. You seemed to be having some troubles that night either with the sound guy or perhaps your guitar tech. Regardless of what the issue was, multiple times you seemed to have an exasperated look and would glance over towards your tech. Finally, during your last song of the night you glanced down at your guitar and threw your hands up as if to say “I give up” and then unstrapped your guitar (which was the skull and bones guitar from the Dream Warriors video). You then went to the front of the stage and handed the guitar to me in the crowd. My wife looks at me and says “Whoa, he just gave you the guitar!” What a prized souvenir that was going to be for me! Needless to say after the band finished the song one of your roadies came running over to us from behind the stage, jumped down into the front by me and said “Please, I have to get that guitar back” with a look of terror on his face, so I reluctantly handed it back to him. But I’ve always kicked myself because I could have had that guitar hanging up in my house today if I had split with it before he came to ask for it back. Obviously it is yours so it is in the right hands, but for a moment there I thought I was going to have a hell of a memento from that show. I’m not sure that there is a real question here, but it’s just a funny story that I wanted to share since I have a chance to talk to you about it ten years later.
GEORGE : Yeah. I probably shouldn't have done that. Sorry about that. Yngwie is infamous for cockblocking and sandbagging opening acts. No sound check, no stage room, no lights, minimum PA, etc. It's really unfair really. People pay money to see both bands and by artificially handicapping the opening act I believe you’re ripping off the audience. I guess throwing the guitar into the crowd was my way of saying "I've given you everything I've got but I know it wasn't what you expected, so here's a free priceless guitar!”
CHRIS : You have been keeping quite busy in recent years with numerous projects including solo work, T&N (with Jeff Pilson & Mick Brown), & KXM (with Dug Pinnick & Ray Luzier). Now you have a new Lynch Mob disc titled “Sun Red Sun” that just came out on December 9th in a number of different formats (Digi-Pak EP, Jewel Case Deluxe Version with bonus tracks, & a limited edition autographed version). Our readers can check out all the different variations of “Sun Red Sun” here at http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/lynch-mob.
What can you tell us about “Sun Red Sun”, the plans for another Lynch Mob album next year, and if you are planning any Lynch Mob tour dates to support it?
GEORGE : Well, Oni and I are back together again and it feels good and pretty solid so far. No major hiccups. Sun Red Sun is the record we were working on a couple of years ago with Brian Carlstrom with Scotty Coogan on drums and Robby Crane on bass. We had worked long and hard on that record and the band fell apart before finishing it. It was a frustrating thing. It's taken us over two years but we were finally able to finish it up properly. I think it's also an important record that commemorates Brian's legacy and genius. He passed away within a year of tracking.
CHRIS : Do you see yourself continuing on with numerous different projects or at some point would you prefer to settle into one gig on a more full-time basis down the line? I’d imagine that the freedom to jump from project to project is quite appealing to you at this stage.
GEORGE : I like the idea of doing both. Lehigh is what I'm doing I guess. Lynch mob is my legacy mainstay group that I can actually tour with. We will be touring in 2015, but I keep busy doing other musical projects which I won't necessarily tour on. Sweet & Lynch, KXM, The Infidels, Uni-mog , T&N, and Shadowtrain are other projects I have lined up with new music pending.
CHRIS : Gene Simmons has been quite outspoken recently claiming that “rock is dead”. As someone who continues to make his living in this industry to this day & regularly releases new material from numerous different projects how do you feel about his comments?
GEORGE : I assume that comment has to be taken in context. I haven't read the article. As a cultural force, sadly I think he might be right.
CHRIS : Have you ever listened to any of the Dokken albums that were done without you? If so what are your thoughts on them?
GEORGE : I've heard a little bit here and there. Stuff sounds good. John’s a monster player.
CHRIS : You have had a long career and been a part of numerous different projects. With that in mind, what do you look back on as a moment that is a specific career highlight that is still special to you to this day?
GEORGE : I think the Shadow Nation doc film project is a personal highlight because I was able to mate my music with a message, which I've struggled with most of my career.
CHRIS : Is it possible for any more archive Dokken releases to see the light of day down the line? A retro live DVD perhaps, or maybe a box set to include some of those tracks that never saw an official U.S. release on a full length album like “Back For The Attack”, some of the demos with Jeff on lead vocals, or perhaps the tracks from the Beast From The East album that were left off of the U.S. compact disc due to time constraints?
GEORGE : We tried to release the Back For The Attack tracks with Pilson singing on them but Don has threatened an injunction so we shelved that idea. Stuff was a lot of fun to listen to though. Very interesting versions of the songs which were better sounding in some ways. Less polished for sure, a little more off the cuff and raw, had a different energy that Jeff and I really liked. Hard to put my finger on it.
CHRIS : Do you have any other current or even future projects that you know are coming that you’d like to share with us?
GEORGE : The Infidels. Pancho And Sal from WAR and myself. Heavy funk rock. Very groove oriented with a dose of Band Of Gypsys, all improvised in the studio. We have a seventeen minute song that's just a big fat acid jam. So fun. I love playing with Pancho and Sal. They are the REAL deal. We’re going to start releasing a song a month on iTunes only starting in the spring of 2015.
Uni-mog. Sort of quasi industrial music. Just myself and a wonderful programmer/engineer/mixing genius named Haze. The music is all finished and we're working on getting various vocalists paired up to specific songs that fit their style. Not sure when this will be finished.
Shadow Nation / Shadowtrain. We've been working on this independent film doc for 5 years and it's pretty much wrapped up. My band in the film and on the soundtrack is Shadowtrain. Gregg Analla on vocals. Really an amazing talent. Jimmy D'Anda and Vinny Nicastro on drums. Gabe Rosales on bass from the infamous “Smoke This” Lynch Mob record, and Donnie Dickman on keys. We've got a 2 volume CD soundtrack that will be coming out when the film is released, hopefully in the fall of 2015.
T&N. Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown, and myself will be finishing up some material we had been working on on the previous T&N record. We've got an interesting plan of attack but I don't really want to spill the beans yet.
Sweet & Lynch. This record is phenomenal. I'm pretty sure it will make a lot of people very happy. It's coming out late January 2015 and we are talking about possibly touring.
Lynch Mob. Oni and I have written and recorded a whole new full length record to be released next spring. We've got Brian Tichy on drums and Jeff Pilson on bass. This thing is a fucking monster. If people don't eat this one up I'll go back to flipping burgers at Dairy Queen!
CHRIS : George, thank you very much for your time. It has been a pleasure, and I still wish that I had that guitar. Best of luck in the future with all of your projects, and I hope “Sun Red Sun” does well for you. Fans can catch up with you at any of the following sites and get some more information on what you are currently up to. Thanks again.
Here is the Sun Red Sun teaser clip. Enjoy.
Or click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa2eSfIhd_I
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