George Lynch will need no introduction for most of our readers, a world renowned guitarist who has inspired so many to pick up the instrument.His body of work seems to grow daily and this year alone he’s responsible for two of our favourite albums by Lynch Mob and KXM. I’ve seen George play many times over the decades first in Dokken and later in Lynch Mob over four decades and on four continents. On a personal note it’s actually down to George that you are reading this – my 425th interview since we started this site 8 years ago – a site George inspired me to start up. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to talk about Lynch Mob’s new album – ‘The Brotherhood’.
Mark: Thank you so much for talking to the Rockpit today George, I know you’re just back from a long flight after playing the Hair Metal Heaven Festival in Hull UK the birthplace of Mick Ronson. What was that experience like, it sounded like a great line up but the Festival itself had a few teething problems?
George: Well I cannot speak to the Festival itself because I went there, I flew 11 hours got up onstage for a sound check in the middle of the night, went back to my room, fell asleep, then went on stage and played our show. The show got put back a couple of hours and scaled back, but it was one of those ‘throw and go’ deals. That was a lot of traveling for 55 minutes on stage (laughs). The band had only rehearsed for a couple of hours in this incarnation but we’d all played together individually or collectively in different situations, so it was a very ‘thrown together’ thing but having said all that we actually had a blast. Once we were on stage it was so fun, I think everyone sang and played wonderfully, there was a good energy and we were glad to be on stage especially with all it took to get there. Then it was the reverse to get home. I actually just talked to Brent woods who had to then fly from there to get to Australia to then go play with Dave Grohl…
Mark: That’s right, last night. (Members of the Foo Fighters just played a secret ‘covers’ show as Chevy Metal in Sydney).
George: He’d just got home right now. The thing is with this kind of work really what they’re paying for is the travel because an hour on stage is nothing, that’s the reward actually. I’d almost do that for free (laughs) the pain is the travel. But I enjoyed myself on stage it was a lot of fun.
Mark: The playing live for a lot of musicians seems to be the yin to the yang of the creative process of creating music for an album and we’ll get to the creative side later but what do you personally get out of the playing live on stage?
George: Well you know every time you walk on stage there’s always the big mystery, the question mark of what’s going to happen, you try to be consistent but because of the nature of the different projects I’m involved in, I mean I’m not Van Halen or AC/DC where we have this set thing and we do it all the time over and over again, I don’t have that luxury so it’s really an adventure, you know. I never know exactly what’s gonna happen and I like that because you know I’m a product of jam era bands that really jammed like Zeppelin, Hendrix and Cream, that’ what I grew up with and learned from and still love and I miss that. So maybe when I’m playing live I’ll bring that and maybe it will go over and maybe it won’t (laughs) I feel like a high wire act without a net and maybe the wind will come up and blow me off, but that’s what makes it exciting and not a day job (laughs).
Mark: The new Lynch Mob album ‘The Brotherhood’ is out on September 8th and I’ve been listening all week. I loved ‘Rebel’ but this one seems to be even more cohesive than that, up there with the debut. How did the album come together, I read in interviews that it was a real band effort this time, what was the writing process like?
George: Well the process of making the record changed as a reaction to ‘Rebel’ in that ‘Revel’ was written in the studio with Oni and myself alone over a very short period of time, so it was a neat process done very economically and very quickly. We were very focused and we didn’t have a lot of outside distractions – it was built in a laboratory. And I like that, it was fun and I think it’s a great record. What we decided we wanted to do with this next record ‘The Brotherhood’ was work as a band so we got to work with a couple of ideas that we had come up with on the road – so we took that as a starting point and the first two songs that we the product of those band session on the road were ‘Mr Jekyll and Hyde’ and ‘Miles Away’. They were both songs that we were developing while on tour and we’d incorporate parts of those songs into jam sessions that we’d put in our set live, so it was a lot of fun and when we got into the writing process we took those ideas and developed them. So I have a special affinity for those songs just because of the way that they organically grew out of jam sessions. The rest of the record was pretty much written like that as well but in a room not a hall, but there was a lot of trial and error and we had to work out parts. Yu know it takes a lot longer and it’s a lot more complicated writing that way because you’ve got a lot more fingers in the pie, which is good and healthy but it also sends you down a lot of dead ends (laughs).
Mark: It’s interesting that you mention those two songs, the almost ‘Pink Floyd’ like ‘Miles Away’ and the huge groove of ‘Mr Jekyll and Hyde’ both wonderful songs.
George: And I would deduce from that that the next record should all be done that way.
George: And that would be an interesting story because I’d say “Now listen guys when we go out in 2018 one of our jobs is to document all of our jams and developing ideas which we come up with at sound check”. And that happens at every sound check because someone always comes up with a groove or a beat and we go off with it just for fun. And that will become the record.
Mark: Just personally for you are they your highlights?
George: Those are my favourites absolutely, my third favourite is a song that really came from Jimmy D’Anda the drummer ‘Main Offender’ which is a stand out track for me as well, but you know me being a guitar player ad because I’ve got the guitar in my lap I normally come up with the main riffs and that so this is a very rare thing for me that somebody else came up with the guitar part to a song that I didn’t write. Sure I took it and added bits but its Jimmy song and it’s very refreshing and it makes us a stronger band and makes this a stronger record.
Mark: There’s so much more to talk about I’m constantly amazed by how involved you are in so many other projects – there’s the upcoming ‘Sweet and Lynch’ album; hopefully we’ll get to hear ‘The Banishment’ project I’m not sure if that’s coming out this year?
George: Yeah, with Tommy (Victor) that’s gonna be next year. I mean that’s all finished and recorded it’s just that Tommy has to finish the vocals and he’s incredibly busy touring all this year I think all the way through November. Just hard to find the time to finish it but we’ll get it done.
Mark: And the other interesting one for me is ‘Ultra Phonics’ featuring Corey Glover from Living Color, is that likely to be out this year?
George: Oh that’s all done and coming out I believe in January it’s on Odell Records, it’s in the can, it’s been delivered and we’re working on the videos. We have quite a few other bits to that. In mid-October we’re getting back together, we’ll hire a Church or something and set up a live recording situation and we’re gonna record an improvised record.
George: Yeah, just purely were gonna spend a couple of days and we’ll just go off on trail bikes and do what we gotta do, little bits here and there, Corey can do some vocals, pretty much it’s gonna be a live jam session. So we’re gonna record that and release it as well along with this record as a bonus with a couple of videos and all that.
Mark: Some good old ’proper’ improvisation rather than a jam band thing?
George: Yeah I just, I don’t get that. I’m a huge fan of you know the audience experiencing the creative moment along with the musicians versus the re-created moment you know. When bands call themselves ‘Jam Bands’ like Umphrey’s McGee and this band and that band, all awesome bands, but that’s like calling Zappa a ‘Jam Band’ you know! That’s not jamming, jamming was Hendrix and Cream and even maybe zeppelin at time you know, or Miles Davis, a lot of jazz.
Mark: Yes Zeppelin, especially in the early days. There’s another Project from a few years back I was interested to see if you had any updates on: the movie ‘Shadowtrain: Under A Crooked Sky’ which was floated back in 2011 originally, how’s that progressing?
George: It’s been incredibly frustrating not really knowing the movie business at all I just made a project of love from the heart and ended up making a lot of mistakes. At this point the film has been finished for years and I just don’t know how to negotiate the industry and the business end of it. I’ve had some help, I’m not completely alone on this but every path we’ve taken has led to a frustrating dead end and I’m just not sure how to get it out there. But we do have a plan and we are continually working on that plan behind the scenes. It’s not fun but were all dedicated to making sure it will get out there one way or the other. It will be out in 2018.
Mark: Well I so hope you keep persisting in that because it’s a very important piece of work and I’d love to see it out there.
Mark: Way back in 2008 in Australia Lynch Mob toured with Faster Pussycat and I was chatting to you before the show telling you how disappointed I was that there was no real media out there to support the sort of music I loved and you suggested that I stop being disappointed and start my own website. We’ve been going for 8 years now so I’d just like to thanks you for making me set the wheels rolling.
George: Every now and again I give good advice (laughs) well maybe every ten, fifteen years! Well congratulations I’m glad it’s been around that long. I’m glad I could play a small part.
Mark: You’ve already released one of my favourite albums this year in the second KXM album which I thought was great and it’s wonderful to hear you play music of that type. There’s a huge amount of depth to KXM is that something you find fulfilling and something you’d like to do more of? I know Lynch Mob keeps us fans more than happy but KXM seems so stretching musically, so much of an adventure?
George: And I feel the same way although there would be a caveat to that in that there are also many interesting and challenging aspects to Lynch Mob as well, but I see what you’re getting at- KXM is more of a ‘you don’t know what you’re gonna get’ project (laughs). It’s a ‘crap shoot’ but yeah, I’m very much looking forward to doing another record and it looks like we’re going back into the studio in December or January to start KXM 3 and the other idea that we’re very excited about is possibly touring, now that if we’re able to pull it off will be at the worst time of year which is how were getting the time as no one else wants to tour at that time – you know February or March, not a great time to tur, but we’ll take it (laughs). So if things line up we may be able to pull off a limited number of shows along with a new record.
Mark: let’s hope the stars align for that one.
Mark: Traditionally we always close every interview with the same question and I’m particularly interested in your answer – ‘What is the meaning of life’?
George: Well in a nutshell in its simplest form I would say to do no harm. And I don’t want to give such a simple answer to what is potentially such a profound question. But I think the most truthful honest things are simple as opposed to let’s say religious dogma or political dogma which can be complicated or convoluted. And I think honestly that truthful things are the most easily understood by the most amount of people and feel inherently true. So I would say most simply to do the least amount of harm possible is the best that we can do and that would be the most exemplary way to live life and if your life’s work is dedicated to that proposition then you are probably doing the right thing.
Mark: That’s a great answer. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk today George it’s been a pleasure for me.
George: Well Mark congratulations of the site’s longevity and continued success with that, and I hope I can be involved in some small way going forward and I hope we can meet again. I’d love to work my way down to Australia again one of these days, I’m way overdue.
Mark: Let’s hope so George, you’ve been a personal inspiration for me by kicking my ass into gear and getting me to do something, and I’m still doing it!
George: Talk to you again soon I hope.