It sure has been a busy year for George Lynch.
In January, he teamed up with Stryper guitarist Michael Sweet for a new project called Sweet & Lynch. This summer, he released “Shadow Train,” the musical project for his forthcoming documentary, Shadow Nation.
On August 21, Lynch—along with vocalist Oni Logan—released a new Lynch Mob album called Rebel. It comes 25 years after the band's debut album, Wicked Sensation.
Rebel features strong performances by Lynch’s former Dokken bandmate—and current Foreigner bassist—Jeff Pilson, plus drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Slash).
Whether it’s the infectious qualities s of the triplet-paced “Automatic Fix," the tasty goodness of “Jelly Roll” or the vintage, in-your-face sound of the Mu-Tron octave divider heard on “Testify," Lynch proves once again that he’s at the ready whenever the cosmos want to send down riffs that stick in your head long after the song is over.
I recently spoke with Lynch about Rebel, his career and a few of his other projects.
GUITAR WORLD: What was the genesis of Rebel?
Inspiration. It’s almost like a cyclical thing. Like, you’re subconsciously trained to start thinking about a new album every year or so. When inspiration strikes, you’ve got to be ready to respond, and Oni and I felt the need to relieve ourselves of these creative impulses. We’ve put our hearts and souls into this album and have been getting a lot of positive feedback about it.
What was the songwriting process like for Rebel?
It’s very similar to working on a Sweet & Lynch album or with Jeff Pilson. For Rebel, pre-production was done with just Oni, myself and an engineer. Unlike being in a band, fleshing things out in a rehearsal room, this was a very closed situation that was very intense and self-contained. Usually I’ll come up with the primary architecture of a song and then I’ll look for feedback and ideas. That’s when Oni might make a suggestion or and ask me to try something. From there, I’ll find something and flesh it out. The musical/instrumental inspiration usually comes from me, and the lion’s share of melodies and lyrics come from Oni.
What does the band's touring schedule look like?
We’ve done about 50 dates so far this year. We’ll be playing the western part of the country and the mountain states, which includes hitting California pretty hard.
What made you decide to start wanting to playing guitar?
I’m really not sure. I just had an urgency to play. I remember being 10 and listening to the music my father had. It was really just something I wanted to do.
Is it true that you auditioned for Ozzy’s band after he left Black Sabbath?
"Audition" is kind of a weird word for it. I was actually up for the gig on three different occasions, including prior to Randy [Rhoads]. I was already in Dokken at the time and took a short hiatus to pursue the Ozzy thing and then came back. Even though I didn’t get the gig, it worked out OK for everyone.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Dokken’s Under Lock and Key. When you look back to that time, what comes to mind?
At that point, we had really matured as a band. You could really see the evolution of our writing from Breaking the Chains and Tooth and Nail. Under Lock and Key sounded better than our previous albums. We were really polished and at the top of our game.
What’s your live setup like these days?
I’m always mixing it up. My days off on the road are usually spent crawling around pawn shops and mom-and-pop music stores looking for jewels. Right now, I’m playing through my Randall Headhunter, which is my new signature head that'll be coming out soon. We’ve been working on it for about three years now. It’s an amazing amp.
What other projects are you working on?
Other than this new album, the project I’m deeply involved in right now is the Infidels. It started out with myself and Pancho Tomaselli from Tower of Power. We’ve also got Angelo Moore on vocals and Chris Moore on drums. It’s a very unorthodox record and has really expanded my abilities as a player. We’re very excited about it.
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming guitarists?
Everyone goes through phases. When you’re young, you’re full of testosterone and want to rule the world by chasing the dragon and being the fastest and best guitarist and creating the soundtrack that’s in your head, and that’s great. As a player, you should always want to try certain things and learn from others. But eventually, try to develop your own style and create a space for yourself. Because now you’re no longer competing against anyone else. Now you’re only competing with yourself.
For more about Lynch, visit georgelynch.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.