ROCKET Interviews George Lynch
March 15, 2009
George Lynch came to fame in the 1980’s via his blistering work as the lead guitarist in the band Dokken.
Dokken scored big with multiple platinum selling albums such as “Under Lock And Key” and “Back For The Attack”, having showcased Lynch’s highly inventive lead guitar skills and ultimately earned him the status as a guitar God.
His most well known guitar solo is the instrumental song “Mr. Scary” on “Back For The Attack”, which went on to earn Lynch a Grammy nomination for the “best rock instrumental” in 1989.
THE METAL DEN’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an exclusive interview with George Lynch for TMD’s loyal and devoted following of DEN HEADZ worldwide!
Rocket: Where were you born and raised
George: I was born in Spokane, Washington. I was raised primarily in the southern California area.
Rocket: Do you come from a big family?
George: One brother and two sisters. Your basic mid-century nuclear family.
Rocket: What first drew you to playing music?
George: Charlie Bird, various classical and flamenco guitarists and the Beatles.
Rocket: Did you ever take any formal guitar lessons?
George: Yes. Initially at a few local mom and pop music shops. I eventually found my mentor teaching at a local music store named Jim “Spider” Kelley, who really kept me inspired. I recently ran into him in Tucson, Arizona after about 40 years! I also spent some time at GIT in Hollywood.
Rocket: Who are some of your biggest playing influences of past and present?
George: The big 4: Hendrix, Beck, Clapton and Page… more recently the guys from Freak Kitchen, Meshuggah and Children of Bodom.
Rocket: Your famed Skull and Bones guitar is affectionately named “Mom”. Have you ever broken it? And where does she sleep on tour?
George: I have never broken it and she has her own bunk on the bus.
Rocket: You are well known for the ‘Gothic Octave’. Can you explain to your fans in layman’s terms what that means?
George: It’s not really a true octave. It’s just a hellacious stretch.
Rocket: Is it true you started two hand tapping before Eddie Van Halen did?
George: No. We both witnessed Harvey Mandel from Canned Heat do a neo classic tapping thing at a club called the starwood in Hollywood back in the 70’s. Other people were doing it to a limited extent, Brian May from Queen dabbled… George Van Eps was doing it in the 50’s.
Rocket: You currently are endorsed by Randall amplification, correct? Can you tell us more about your involvement there? I understand that you recently participated in the design of a new George Lynch Box for their modular amp system.
George: Yes. I am very heavily involved. I helped design the original rg 100 so I came full circle, got back in bed with the company and we spent over a year designing the Lynch Mob series of amps and matching super V speakers.
Rocket: Killer. Now you just performed at NAMM 2009. Did you have a fun time with that?
George: Depends on your definition of fun. It’s a lot of work. Heavy commitments but it is enjoyable if you can keep from getting overwhelmed.
Rocket: Let’s talk about your current work with “Souls Of We” and the record you guys released late last year. How has the reaction been so far and will you be doing any upcoming touring with this band?
George: That was a project that was 5 years in the making with a ton of awesome guest artists helping me out. I don’t know if we’ll tour on it but were looking at doing a video.
Rocket: I also understand that Lynch Mob is going to possibly be recording a new album in the future. Is that correct and will it be the original lineup?
George: We are about a month away from finishing the new Lynch Mob record, tentatively titled “Smoke and mirrors”… with original vocalist Oni Logan, Marco Mendoza on bass and Scott Coogan on drums. It’s coming out amazing.
Rocket: I know that you’re currently offering a collection of 200 fine art canvases with your original handprints on them to celebrate your 30th Anniversary in Rock. What else can you tell us about that?
George: Well, it has turned into a monster project. I’ve gone a little overboard and have been adding other elements to the piece. The more I do, the more time I end up spending on each piece. They’re all unique and very very cool. I hope I get one!
Rocket: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a kid starting out with a guitar and the rock n roll dream?
George: Become diversified. Don’t just be a masterful guitarist. Become an accomplished engineer. Be a composer and lyricist. Acquire the knowledge and skills to write your own deals and contracts. Be able to negotiate the biz. Be a self sufficient renaissance man!
Rocket: Do you have any new guitar designs coming in the future at ESP guitars?
George: We’ve just released the LTD tiger 200 which is very affordable and very playable. I wish they had guitars at that price that played that well when I was starting out. I’ll also be doing crazy finishes on about a dozen ltd super V’s in the next couple months. I’m gonna shoot bullet holes in them, burn them with a blow torch, airbrush and graffiti ’em. I’ll probably offer them on my site at some point.
Rocket: You’ve got some upcoming dates in March with SIN CITY SINNERS, correct?
George: Yeah, they are all very cool guys. I’ve gone out to Vegas a couple of times and jammed with them. We have a lot of fun and the crowd loves it. We play some of the old songs and some covers. It’s very casual and then I go spend all the money I just made in the casinos!
Rocket: Thanks very much for rocking this out with me. It’s a total honor. Thanks for all the great years in DOKKEN and LYNCH MOB. Best of luck with your music moving forward. Go ahead and give a shout-out to your biggest supporters.
George: Thank you, Rocket… hope to see you on the road this year. Both with the Guitar Generation tour and with Lynch Mob. Make sure and check out the Lynch online guitar dojo at georgelynch.com.