George Lynch is one of the most prominent guitarist to emerge from the 1980s heavy metal scene as the original lead guitarist for Dokken. But the majority of his career has come since he split from the band in 1989 and formed Lynch Mob, a group that has crafted a brand of metal that has remained relevant throughout the various trends that have come and gone in the world of hard rock.
On Friday, Lynch Mob will release its newest studio album, "Rebel," the group's eighth full-length effort and a quick follow-up to 2014's "Sun Red Sun" - below, you can view the official music videos for the new album's first two singles, "Automatic Fix" and "Testify."
The core of Lynch Mob is Lynch and vocalist Oni Logan, the band's original singer who has been back in the fold since 2009. Rounding out the lineup on "Rebel" are Jeff Pilson, Foreigner's current bassist and a former member of Dokken and Dio, and drummer Brian Tichy, whose credits include Whitesnake, Billy Idol and Slash. For the band's upcoming tour, Lynch and Logan will be joined by drummer Jimmy D'Anda (drums) and Sean McNabb (bass), both of whom are former Lynch Mob members.
While Lynch Mob has been Lynch's primary musical outlet, the prolific guitarist has been involved with a slew of diverse projects as of late, including Sweet & Lynch, his collaboration with Stryper singer Michael Sweet which released a debut album in January; the "Shadow Nation" documentary film and its recently released companion album; and two new bands, The Infidels, featuring Angelo Moore from Fishbone, and Uni-mog, an industrial music outfit.
We recently spoke with Lynch about the process of putting the "Rebel" album together, his and Logan's writing partnership, the challenge of deciding what songs to play in concert and the stories behind his aforementioned various projects.
How did "Rebel" come together?
To be quite honest, the process of creating an album for me has been the same. I go in the studio and come up with the instrumental basis for the record, the leads and all the guitar parts and so forth, and then we start the process of recording, depending on the situation. In this instance, there was less of a band situation and I really wanted to own it myself in the studio, creating this stuff without a band. It was a little bit different, just sitting there programming drum beats and playing bass and guitar and sitting there with an engineer and just crafting songs that way, which is different than being in a room with a bunch of guys and writing the songs that way; that's a different kind of a record.
You and Oni have been working together since 1990. What's your writing process like with him?
We first started writing together, as you mentioned in 1990, 1989 even. I would pretty much write everything instrumentally, and he would do his own thing on his own, and it worked. In recent years it's kind of morphed into us sharing more of the responsibilities for everything - the arrangement, where the parts will go, the flavor of the song, the direction of the song, little changes and things like that - and he'll be in the room a lot of times and with really good suggestions, which I appreciate, and sometimes vice versa I have input on melodies or lyrical content or things like that. It's not that it can't work the other way, it's just we sort of learned to work together a little bit better (laughs). I like working with other people. I don't really like working alone because I think the end result is better when you have more heads in the room, to a certain extent; it can out of hand if you have too many opinions. Two is a good number to have. There's good chemistry there.
You have a bunch of concerts coming up. With so much material to choose from - old Lynch Mob songs, the new album and material from your other projects - how do you craft a setlist?
Yeah, and we do Dokken songs as well. So it is a challenge to come up with a setlist, that's for sure, because there's that struggle that I think all bands have, especially bands with a lot of history, they really want to play the stuff that's most recent because it's more exciting, it's fun, and you want to get it out in front of people, but people recognize the old stuff. So we try to balance that, but it's tough because we have the new record coming out and we have to include at least one or two songs from that album, we have another pretty recent album that we'll still play songs off of - "Sun Red Sun," it came out last year - and "Smoke And Mirrors" was a legitimate record that did pretty well, we haven't been playing anything off that unfortunately, but when you figure in the "Wicked Sensation" songs, which was obviously the biggest record we had, and you add in some Dokken songs which you want to do and the crowd wants to hear, you're already at a full set. In then you start adding in the new material. How do we pull this off? ... It's really challenging to figure out what songs to throw out and what songs to add in the set.
How is your relationship with your fans? You've put a lot of different types of material for many years, and they seem to have stuck with you.
There's all kinds of different people out there. I can't really say I sit here and study the demographics. I would just put it in a much broader sense that this is what I do and have a compulsion to do and I really don't have any alternative and I need to do this at the best of my ability - writing, recording, playing and all that stuff, playing live, saying new things, or saying the same thing in a different way - and I'm just not built to do the same thing over and over again. I don't know why, but I just couldn't do that. So if they like that, great, if they don't, I'm sure I'm disappointing some people and I'm sorry about that, but like you said, there's a large body of work out there, so when I do some project, like the Sweet & Lynch project which I think really harkened back to kind of an '80s-ish formula for a lot of people, there is that, and hopefully that will allow a certain segment of the fanbase to go "well, he gave us something that's a throwback, and that's cool and we appreciate that, so now we're maybe a little more open and receptive to what else you're doing." So maybe they'll have a bigger ear for something like the Infidels project that I'm working on right now, which is completely off the map as far as anything I've done in the past, playing with Angelo Moore, the singer from Fishbone; Pancho Tomaselli, the bass player from Tower of Power. We're recording in this old kind of r&b-soul-funk studio, old equipment, [recording] right to tape, old microphones, all the gear is circa 1975, and it's like walking into a time capsule. It's lo-fi and real and we all play at the same time and the music is all over the map, from obviously rock, but it's got elements of funk, stoner rock, progressive music. I think we're calling the record "Dark Circus."
How far along are you into that recording?
The music has all been recorded, we're just finishing up the vocals.
Do you have a release date?
Not a date. Basically with all of my projects what I'm trying to do is stagger them so they're not on top of each other. Unfortunately sometimes record labels will play games and try to jump on the coattails of another label's release and that's very unfortunate, so I'll have to do a better job of policing that, so I'll have consecutive releases and unfortunately it's happened twice in the last three years. It's not a good thing because it confuses people. This will most likely be out this year. It should be done by September.
How did you get involved with the "Shadow Nation" project? (You can watch the trailer below.)
It's a pretty long story, which is in the liner notes of the record. Vinnie Nicastro and myself - he's a drummer and an environmental and social and economic justice activist and has been for most of his life - we became friends and started working on something. We weren't sure what it was, but it started with music and ideas. We'd talk into the night and come up with all these grandiose plans to save the world and change the world (laughs) with the power of our music somehow, but it led to sort of just a little handheld camera documenting what we were doing, going around to reservations in California and doing these impromptu jams.
So that was fun but it was all kind of a mess and we had to bring a generator and amps and a little camcorder from Best Buy. It went from that to we got Gabe Rosales in the band, who was with the "Smoke This" version era of Lynch Mob in 2000, a fantastic bass player and also a heavy-duty activist and sort of evolved into that in recent years. ... Lastly we pulled in Gregg Analla, a singer from New Mexico, who understood the ideology behind the music and an unbelievable singer. We started this musical thing at first and then we started documenting what we were doing thematically, and then we thought let's put this whole concept into play and we believed this could be a documentary. We didn't have a clear idea of what it was about. ... What it is really is an explanation of human nature through the lens of the Native Americans. It really could be any indigenous group. So we spent a lot of time traveling to reservations and playing music and discussing issues and talking with talking heads, everyone from American Indian leader John Trudell to Noam Chomsky to going down to Texas to talk to Ted Nugent, not that he shares our ideology but he had some affinity for Native Americans and primal things and things like that. So the film's done, we're working on getting it distributed. The record "Shadowtrain" which just recently came out is kind of the soundtrack to the film, although there are other music in the film that we didn't put on the record.
It certainly sounds like you have more than enough on your plate right now with "Rebel," The Infidels and the "Shadow Nation"/"Shadowtrain" project, but are there any other projects you're working on?
Yeah. I've been working for about a year and a half on this project called Uni-mog, which is industrial-esque, I'd like to call it, I wouldn't call it real industrial music. With me on it, obviously, playing heavy guitar within the context of that. I love that kind of music, I've been listening to it since it's been around. Like for me, it would be insane if someone said, "George, you could pick any band you wanted to be in and they couldn't tell you know," Prodigy would probably be one of those bands, or Nine Inch Nails. There are others as well, but I could see myself doing that. So obviously I don't get to be in Prodigy, but maybe I can create, I mean it's not exactly that, it's something other than that, but it's just myself and a programmer named Hayes, who has worked with those bands, Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, people like that, as an engineer and programmer. What we've been trying to do when I can find time is get singers in and get them to contribute to the tracks. It's very challenging to find the singer that you want, all of these guys are really busy and it's hard to nail them down. It's tricky. I've got my A list for quite a long time, but we just keep plugging away. I'm not in any super rush because I got so many records out there (laughs) so this probably won't come out until next year then possibly another Sweet & Lynch record.
LYNCH MOB TOUR DATES
Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Grill & Bar 08/21/15 Lynch Mob with Quiet Riot
San Leon, TX 18th Street Pier Bar & Grill 08/22/15 Lynch Mob
San Antonio, TX The Korova 08/23/15 Lynch Mob
Salt Lake City, UT SKY 08/28/15 Lynch Mob
Golden, CO Buffalo Rose 08/29/15 Lynch Mob
Moorehead, MN The Garage Bar 09/11/15 Lynch Mob
Fort Yates, ND Prairie Knights Casino & Resort 09/12/15 Lynch Mob with Slaughter
Ramone, CA Ramona Mainstage 09/18/15 Lynch Mob
Corona, CA M-15 09/19/15 Lynch Mob
San Jose, CA Rockbar Theater 09/24/15 Lynch Mob
Los Angeles, CA Whiskey A Go-Go 09/25/15 Lynch Mob
Las Vegas, NV Count Vamp'd 09/26/15 Lynch Mob
Norcross, Georgia Farm Rock Atlanta 11/07/15 Lynch Mob, Warrant, L.A. Guns more
Monsters Of Rock Cruise: Shredders From The Deep 02/22/16-02/26/16