George Lynch

June 30, 2004

What inspired you to play guitar?

One word. The Beatles. That was a good time. I was just born at the right time and got to cut my teeth on the world's greatest bands. I was very fortunate to be emerging at a time when music was just exploding with all this originality and cool stuff. The Beatles were my first influence at the time that inspired me to get a guitar. I wanted to be like George Harrison.

I always felt lucky to be born in the late 60's and grow up in the 70's and early 80's. Music was really cool at that time.

Right, I think so. I was thinking maybe younger people think that about these days because they don't have anything to compare it to. I know. I have a 14 year old daughter and she's completely caught up in every single new band that's out there. Her and her friends. Which of course is changing every three months. They have a new favorite band but it's just how we were back then too. Always discovering new artists, getting excited about it, and of course once everyone knows about them then they're not cool anymore. You have to go find the next cool thing.

With me it was Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and KISS.

Those were the biggies. Then after that came Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Cream. Bands of just huge magnitude. Historical giants. For those to be your early influences I think is just priceless.

I did an interview with Randy Pratt and he's working with some of the artists you covered on your CD like Captain Beyond and he's also working with some artists like Vanilla Fudge and Blue Cheer. He has a studio and he actually got some of these bands back together and they're recording studio albums.

Is this in Los Angeles?

Actually he's up in New York.

Did you say he got some of the Captain Beyond guys together?

He wants to work with Captain Beyond. He said something about them being his next project. That he had already worked with Vanilla Fudge.

If that ever happened you have to let me know. That's the coolest thing I've ever heard.

I was totally amazed when he was talking to me about this.

I would be curious to know how much of the original band would be intact. It was Rod Evans the original lead singer for Deep Purple, Rhino on guitar which was from Iron Butterfly, and then I believe the bass player was somebody known. I can't remember who it was now. Then the drummer was from Johnny Winter's band I believe. It was this pretty amazing group. I don't know if that's going even to be close to any original members. That would be unbelievable.

He said he had gotten a few guys together and I think he also mentioned Cactus when we were doing the interview. I thought it was awesome because he was talking about all these really early bands that were the beginners of heavy metal.

Captain Beyond was one of those bands that influenced a few of us out there. They were really kind of a find. Nobody really knew about them. They didn't get a lot of recognition but they have an amazing album that was released on a limited edition hologram. I have two copies of that. I'm sure it's some kind of a collector's item. I wanted that record because it was a precursor to prog rock in a way. Not really a progressive rock record but it had interesting time signatures. It wasn't just simple basic rock like a lot of the bands were playing like Savoy Brown and Spooky Tooth and Cream and everybody else. It was great stuff but these guys were making it a little more interesting. Making it more technical.

Do you think covering some of these bands will cause people who listen to your CD to get off their asses and find the LPs and CDs of these guys?

Like the originals? I'll tell you what would have been interesting. If I had gone with my first instinct on this record and done the really obscure stuff that I wanted to do, then that would have been an interesting exercise because it would have been bands like Groundhogs, Boomerang, Tempest, Spooky Tooth, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, The Incredible Alex Harvey. Stuff that you don't really hear about that much. These were bands that were big for me when I was growing up. Just great guitar players. Really, really cool. I didn't go with a lot of these bands because they were so obscure the label thought nobody would even know what I was talking about. That would have been an interesting exercise. I don't know if this stuff is even findable anymore, maybe on imports and things. I think a lot of this stuff that I ended up doing was pretty accessible. We're talking Hendrix, Zeppelin, Beck. Not very obscure. Deep Purple, ZZ Top. Stuff is pretty easy to find. Grand Funk. Maybe Montrose is a little less known but still pretty well known. The only thing that I think is a little bit obscure is Captain Beyond.

One of my most recent discoveries was Deep Purple. I didn't really know much about them when they were big but a few years ago I heard a CD of theirs and I loved it and now I think I have all of their stuff.

Yeah, Machine Head was an unbelievable album. Burn is amazing. I really like Stormbringer. I think that's a pretty cool record. Not as well known. Made In Japan is great. I like all the stuff that Coverdale is on. I'm always championing Captain Beyond. People make fun of me for that. I guess they're a goofy band but I think they're cool. I think if people ever get a chance, go out and buy Dancing Madly Backwards. A good record. I think it's got a Deep Purple vibe but a little bit more progressive. Great guitar tone. Cool group. Interesting time signatures. It's dated in a way but it's interesting, especially for musicians.

I don't really view music as being dated. There's some music that was good shit back then and is still good shit now. It stands the test of time.

I think what dated really is, the vocals. They're kind of dramatic, operatic and that kind of bugs me. I just ignore the vocals.

How did you go about putting the band together for this CD?

Actually it kind of worked that way. I got my band together as a byproduct of doing this record. The label helped find these players and put it together and made me aware of these guys. Actually I was playing with a bass player already and the drummer and I cut a deal to play together and do a tour and the record at the same time. Then the singer was pointed in my direction by the head of the label and also ironically by Don Dokken who was working with him at the time and singing his praises and telling me about this good singer he knew so I said okay I got to check that out and that's basically how I became familiar with Kelly Keeling as a singer. Through working with him on this record and the other guys on this record, we got to do a tour and a tour with Yngwie got lined up and everybody wanted to do it. We jumped right from the record to the tour and we hope to do an original record next year if everything works out.

You've been out on the road with Yngwie.

Yeah, that ended a couple of months ago. It was about a two month tour and very inspiring to be able to watch this guy play. I had to be in top form to go out and open up for this guy. It was humbling and inspiring.

So you're going to do an original record next?

Well, I can't say for sure but I hope to. I've got a couple of other things in the pipeline that I'm working on towards the end of this year. I have a couple of trips to China. I'm going to Japan. I'm going to Europe. Once or twice by the end of the year. We've got a Lynch Mob DVD coming out that's going to be a CD audio. I have a double CD called Lost Lynch coming out which is basically just knickknacks and lost things and cool things throughout my career from the first 45 I ever played on when I was 15 to more recent stuff I've done in the last few years that has never been released. Projects that never turned into records that are really cool and should have and everything in between. Thirdly I've got another CD that I'll probably just be putting out on my website that I think is real interesting which is a band that I was in called Xciter before I was in Dokken and a lot of the Xciter material turned into Dokken material. It was a really, really good band. We were up there with Van Halen and Quiet Riot and all these other bands that were just getting signed in the Hollywood scene at that time. We were considered one of the best bands in the L.A. area. We were definitely on fire and poised to rule the world at that point. Really good songs, a really good band. Deserves to be heard. Putting all this stuff out and then hopefully between that and touring and all my other commitments to my endorsers, I'll be able to go out next year and start thinking about doing a brand new band oriented original album and hopefully it'll be with this present band. Kelly Keeling on vocals, Jeff Martin on drums, and Marten Andersson on bass. He's been playing with me for the last few tours but he's not on this record. That's what makes the band so fun. We have this interesting mix of personalities which seem to conform to the general stereotype of bass players being the bubble headed, unemotional foundation guy. Well tempered and even keeled. Then we've got a singer who is very eccentric and idiosyncratic. Lead singer disease. Not egotistical in any way but just very eccentric. He can be strange at times but in a very cool way. Very unassuming. Then we've got a drummer who is a wild, crazy guy. The life of the party and wild and boisterous. He's always the drummer and then the guitar player is what they are. We fit the classic mold.

Talking about Don Dokken earlier, you guys seem to crack heads together a lot but you also seem to have this wonderful chemistry when you play together. Do the clashes fuel the chemistry or does it detract from the chemistry?

I think it does both. I think also it's a myth that just because you have this friction, it means that you have a certain amount of positive chemistry together. It percolates down into your creative world. I don't think that's necessarily true. I think that bad chemistry can just be damaging. I don't think honestly, not to take anything away from Dokken but I don't know if there was really all this magic chemistry that people talk about there. I think if there was any chemistry it was between myself and Jeff. We did the lion share of the writing and had the lion share of the vision. I think Don just fit himself in or we fit him in as best we could. Don had his own kind of idea of how things should be and it really never jived with what we did. I think pretty much our vision of the band and the songs prevailed despite him during our most successful period like during Tooth And Nail and Under Lock And Key and Back For The Attack. The body of those records were created by Jeff and myself with Don and Mick as well. I think if anything, that was the chemistry. Between Jeff and I. Jeff and I did a record a couple of years back called LP, Lynch-Pilson. I think that same chemistry is evident on that record. If you listen to it I think you'll recognize how the two of us work together and have the light and dark and the shadows and the lights. I think they kind of work together. The heaviness and the harmonic content, lyrical content, that made the Dokken chemistry what people thought was great about Dokken and it's evident on this LP record.

When I talk to musicians they always tell me how being in a band is like being in a family or being married. You have your good times and your bad times. You have your good relationships and you always have that one knucklehead in the band.

Sometimes you have a whole band of knuckleheads.

You were in a band called The Boyz in the '70s.

The Boyz were me and Mick Brown. I've basically played with Mick all my career before we were signed. He was the drummer in Dokken and Lynch Mob. Michael White was the singer and he now has a band called The Whites which is a big Zeppelin tribute group out of Canada. They do pretty well. He's very Robert Plantish. He was our first singer initially. And then a friend who was the bass player gone to other things. We were a funny group. We were sure that we were going to rule the universe with our music and we're God's gift. Totally confident in ourselves and very cocky. Not quite as developed as we needed to be obviously in that time frame but it's funny because I was just talking to Michael yesterday and talking about some of the old things that happened to us. Some of the things that we would try to do to add to the show, the production aspect of what we did, was hilarious. He would try to mimic Gene Simmons and blow fire and he'd wear these see through spandex pants with no underwear and thigh high platforms and play the flute. He wore this little cape. We'd all wear matching lightning bolts on our outfits that our moms made and we had all these homemade bombs that would go off and constantly blowing ourselves up. We'd catch on fire in the middle of the show and the guy didn't have any underwear on and he was playing the flute and blowing fire. Crazy. People took it seriously which is even funnier. I wish I had a video of that. The Darkness would be opening up for us. The original Darkness. We weren't tongue in cheek. We meant it.

You have to be over confident and cocky in a way or you never would make it in the music business.

Well, because you're ignorant and that's great because you don't know how bad you are which you need to learn. All fueled by ignorance and self-confidence. That's wonderful but as soon as you get older and you've been through it you realize your limitations. I think that's not a good thing. You're aware of your limitations and that's kind of a self-imposed limitation. People sense that and people feed off your confidence. I've always tried to maintain that. It's not even an effort thing. I've always believed in myself. That I'm capable of much more. Until I genuinely don't believe that anymore I guess I can try.

Do you think you'll do another CD like this?

Maybe down the road in a couple of years I might do Furious George 2 or whatever it's called but it would be much more obscure material. Stuff I talked about earlier that didn't get included on this record that I originally intended to include. Some of the real early influences I had, a lot of people won't recognize unless it's the obvious big name bands.

That would be really cool because there are gems out there that people don't know about. Maybe if they hear you cover them then they'll feel the need to find these bands.

I think that would be the idea. Bands like Groundhogs, Boomerang, Utopia, Incredible Alex Harvey Band, Tempest, Focus. Stuff like that in there that people are not that aware of.

You have to do that because now I'm curious.

Who knows? I haven't listened to that stuff in a long time either. Maybe it actually sucks. I don't know.

Well I think we've covered everything.

Wonderful. Thanks for taking the time. One of these days we'll have a beer.

George Lynch