George Lynch (musician)

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George Lynch
Lynch in 2009
Lynch in 2009
Background information
Born (1954-09-28) September 28, 1954 (age 65)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
GenresHard rock, heavy metal, glam metal, neoclassical metal, instrumental rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1977–present
Associated actsThe Boyz, Xciter, Dokken, Hear 'n Aid, Lynch Mob, Lynch/Pilson, Souls of We, T & N, Shadowtrain, KXM, The Infidels, Ultraphonix, Sweet & Lynch, The End Machine

George Lynch (born September 28, 1954) is an American hard rock guitarist and songwriter. Lynch is best known for his work with heavy metal band Dokken and his post-Dokken solo band, Lynch Mob. Lynch is considered to be one of the most influential and famous 1980s metal guitarists. He is known for his unique playing style and sound. He is ranked #68 on "100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" by Guitar World magazine[1] and is also ranked #10 on "Top 10 Metal Guitarists Of All Time" by Gibson.[2]

Early life[edit]

Lynch was born in Spokane, Washington and made the small town of Auburn, California his home base between 1971 and 1975.[3]


Late 1970s[edit]

Great White guitarist Mark Kendall claims Lynch started two-hand tapping before Eddie Van Halen did,[4] though Lynch himself denies it.[5][6] Twice Lynch auditioned for the position of Ozzy Osbourne's lead guitarist, once in 1979 – losing to Randy Rhoads – and another time in 1982 to replace Brad Gillis. According to Lynch, he was hired for three days before Ozzy changed his mind and decided to go with Jake E. Lee. Lee, however claims that Lynch "got the gig, but only went on the road for two weeks to watch the show, and never actually played with Ozzy." Lynch looks back on the situation positively though; he has said "I won the consolation prize. Randy got to tour with Ozzy...and I got to teach at his mom's school."

Lynch played in a late 1970s band called The Boyz, working the Sunset Strip clubs in Hollywood, alongside some of their contemporaries like Van Halen and Quiet Riot. The Boyz also featured future Dokken drummer Mick Brown, bassist Monte Zufelt and vocalists Lisa Furspanker and Greg Sanford[7] and their sound and Lynch's playing were so similar to Van Halen that one of their demos was circulated as pre-Roth Van Halen recordings[8] The Boyz were to play a showcase for Gene Simmons of Kiss and his startup label. Van Halen opened the show and Gene opted not to stay and see The Boyz. After this Lynch formed Xciter before joining Dokken.

Dokken and Lynch Mob[edit]

Lynch found fame in the 1980s as the lead guitarist in the band Dokken (of which he had been a member since 1980). Dokken had a string of successful platinum albums such as Under Lock and Key and Back for the Attack that prominently featured Lynch's inventive lead guitar work. The instrumental track "Mr. Scary" on Back for the Attack contributed to his popularity among guitar players. The band earned a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1990.

In spite of the band's popularity, the group parted ways in March 1989 due to internal tensions with lead vocalist Don Dokken. Lynch formed his own hard rock band Lynch Mob, which differed from Dokken in lyrical and guitar complexity, subject matter, song structure, and tuning. Lynch then took time off and his wife had a baby girl, Mariah Lynch. In 1993, Lynch released his first solo album, Sacred Groove.

By 1994, after Don Dokken, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown reunited, they decided to bring Lynch back as well for a true reunion of Dokken. Lynch agreed to put differences aside. The reunited version of Dokken was signed to the Columbia/Sony label, and after extensive writing released Dysfunctional. The album did not do as well as expected and the band was dropped from the label. Dokken then signed on with CMC International and released an "unplugged" show performed in late 1994 titled One Live Night. By 1996 the band entered the studio and hired producer Kelly Gray who, along with Lynch, Pilson and Brown, wanted to take Dokken in a new direction, to the dismay of vocalist and founder Don Dokken, and released Shadowlife, a complete switch from melodic rock to a more alternative sound. By 1997, tensions had again flared between Don and Lynch, which led to Lynch being replaced by former Europe guitarist John Norum.

This prompted Lynch to reunite Lynch Mob members, calling up Oni Logan, Anthony Esposito and Mick Brown. The group entered the studio and demoed three songs (later released as an EP titled Syzygy), but Logan decided to pursue other projects before a full album could be completed. Mick Brown decided to stay with Dokken. George organized a short 13 show U.S. tour for Lynch Mob in 1998 with Artension frontman John West, Anthony Esposito and others.

When that lineup dissolved, George decided to take Lynch Mob in a totally new direction influenced by contemporary bands. The Lynch Mob's radical new look, new lineup and musical approach attracted a younger audience. In 1999 they released the album Smoke This. After touring in support of "Smoke This," Lynch decided to put Lynch Mob on hold for a couple years, but not until he toured with Lynch Mob's original singer Oni Logan, L.A. Guns' bassist Chuck Garric, and Bulletboys' drummer Jimmy D'Anda in late 2001.

Post-2001 projects[edit]

In early 2002 George began working with producer/engineer Sean Fodor on the ill-fated Microdot project which featured then-unknown vocalist London LeGrand. Only a few songs from that project have been released, "Bulldog Tyranny" on The Lost Anthology and three other songs George later released as The Lynch That Stole Riffness with Robert Mason taking the helm on vocals.

In late 2002, Lynch reformed Lynch Mob with original bassist Anthony Esposito and the singer from their second album, Robert Mason. Lynch Mob recorded an album of re-recorded classic Lynch songs from Dokken and Lynch Mob, updated to a more contemporary (post-2000) approach and sound.

He formed a project with former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, releasing the Wicked Underground album in 2003 under the name Lynch/Pilson.[9] That same year, Lynch put together The George Lynch Group in which he has continued to record and regularly tour. The George Lynch Group performed a marathon, 26 shows in 30 days, including a much talked about feature on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The line-up featured Lynch, vocalist Andrew Freeman, drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio), and Mårten Andersson (Lizzy Borden, Starwood, Legacy). The 2005 Furious George album is a cover album, including classic rock tunes from ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, AC/DC, and Led Zeppelin.

In 2008, Let the Truth Be Known was released under the band name Souls of We featuring the line-up of London LeGrand (vocals), Johnny Chow (bass), and Yael (drums) and a myriad of guest contributions.[10] Despite this new band and new album, in the early fall of 2008 Lynch embarked on a tour with a reformed Lynch Mob featuring original singer Oni Logan, bassist Marco Mendoza and drummer Scot Coogan. A new Lynch Mob album, titled Smoke and Mirrors, was released in October 2009 with Logan handling lead vocals.

In 2009 Lynch recorded lead and rhythm guitar tracks for seven songs that appear on the debut album of rock singer Raven Quinn. The self-published album was released March 4, 2010.

Lynch toured the spring of 2010 with Souls of We and spent the summer and winter touring with Lynch Mob. In the summer of 2010 Souls of We changed their line-up and were forced to discontinue with the name.

Also in 2010, he appeared on a tribute album, Siam Shade Tribute, for Japanese rock band Siam Shade.[11]

George currently lives near Los Angeles where he created an instructional guitar website named the Guitar Dojo.[12] Lynch also started to produce his own custom hand-built art guitars, marketed under the Mr. Scary Guitars brand, which he makes himself at the ESP Guitars USA custom shop facility.[13]

Second Dokken reunion in 2011 rumor[edit]

On November 29, 2009, during an encore at a Dokken show at The House of Blues in Anaheim, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson joined Mick Brown and Don Dokken for two songs. The "glory days" line-up being on stage together for the first time in 12 years. In early 2010, Lynch announced a reunion of Dokken's glory days line-up. The announcement was followed by a retraction on February 24. A 2011 Reunion was ruled out in late 2010, when Lynch released a statement on his website claiming that Don did not want the reunion to occur.[14]

T & N was formed from 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up of Lynch, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown. In December 2011, they announced plans for a studio album to be released in 2012.[15] The trio's original name was Tooth & Nail, but due to legal issues with another band having already trademarked the name, Tooth & Nail was shortened to T & N in March 2012. They released the album Slave to the Empire on October 31, 2012.

Recent activities[edit]

In the fall of 2011, Lynch announced plans for a documentary movie, "Shadowtrain: Under A Crooked Sky" about the destruction of the Native American community.[16] A crowd-funding campaign was launched in March 2013 to complete the project.[17] As of late 2014, the movie was still a work in progress.[18] Lynch has also put together Shadowtrain, the band, featuring documentary filmmaker and drummer Vincent Nicastro, Pueblo Native American vocalist Gregg Analla (Tribe of Gypsies, Slaviour, Seventhsign), ex-Lynch Mob bassist Gabe Rosales, and keyboardist Donnie Dickman.

2014 saw the release of the KXM debut album, Lynch's all-star project with vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick of King's X and drummer Ray Luzier of Korn. Lynch announced yet another project, The Infidels, with War rhythm section Pancho Tomaselli and Sal Rodriguez, and rapper Sen Dog from Cypress Hill.[19]

Lynch completed an album with Stryper frontman Michael Sweet, Only to Rise, released January 27, 2015 on Frontiers Records under the name Sweet & Lynch. The recording line-up features the former Pride & Glory rhythm section James Lomenzo and Brian Tichy on bass and drums, respectively.[20] The duo released a second album, Unified, on November 10, 2017.[21]

On April 25, 2016. Lynch was announced to be partnering with John Romero and Adrian Carmack to provide the soundtrack to the currently unreleased game Blackroom, which had a release date for Summer 2018.

In 2018, Lynch teamed up with Living Colour vocalist Corey Glover to form the side project Ultraphonix, which released the album Original Human Music.[22]


Prior to 1986, Lynch used Charvel and Kramer guitars, most notably the tiger stripe guitars. Lynch has endorsed ESP Guitars since 1986. His unique "Skull and Bones" guitar (affectionately named "Mom") that appeared in the late 1980s was designed and hand-crafted by artist John 'J. Frog' Garcia.[23] Since George was contracted by ESP at the time, an ESP decal was applied to the headstock. Several George Lynch signature guitars have been produced by ESP Japan:

  • The Kamikaze model, based on his first ESP guitar
  • The Tiger model, a homemade Strat constructed from a stock of parts George bought from Charvel in the 1980s
  • The Skull & Snakes, a design later used for the Lynch Mob "Wicked Sensation" album artwork
  • The Flame Boy, based on an ESP Forest design
  • The New Super V, which includes distressed hardware and features and a new "Super V" pickup
  • The Ultra Tone, the first ESP guitar that George designed himself
  • The Serpent, an ESP model released and used in the 1990s

Lynch briefly endorsed PRS Guitars in the early 1990s. He can be seen using 2 different colored Custom 24 models. He also endorsed the hand-crafted Yamaha L-Series Acoustic Guitars, and used these on the Asian 'Unplugged' Clinic tour May/June 2006.

Lynch is presently signed with ESP Guitars, which has resulted in ESP's creation of the Lynch Jumbo acoustic, featuring graphics designed by Stephen Jensen.

Lynch's use of Marshall, Soldano, Bogner & Diezel amps and effects units to achieve his famous tone is well documented in rock guitar circles. His rig changes with each successive tour. While on tour in 2005, Lynch used the Randall Dragon (non-master volume) tube head for the majority of his sound, the design being similar to the older Marshall Plexi heads he used early in the Dokken era. Lynch is a long-time endorser of Randall Amplification, and participated in the design of the George Lynch Box for Randall's modular amp system.

Seymour Duncan created the Screamin' Demon guitar pickup (SH-12 and TB-12) for Lynch, which is featured on all the ESP Lynch signature guitars. Seymour Duncan also recently designed the new Super V pickup to be featured in the Super V model.

He also uses a Morley A/B box called the Tripler, and a limited edition Robert Keeley GL Time Machine boost. In 2008 Zoom released the G2g George Lynch Pedal.

Lynch has designed a new high-nickel content string through the Dean Markley company, with his name on the packaging.[24]


Lynch has cited Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhoads, Jeff Beck and Michael Schenker, along with Eddie Van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, Jan Akkerman, Christopher Parkening, Al Di Meola, Roy Buchanan, Albert King, Frank Marino, Muddy Waters, Gary Moore and Yngwie Malmsteen as being part of his musical influences.[25]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Brothers". Auburn Journal. December 27, 1987. pp. 19, C1. Retrieved July 24, 2020. George, a native of Los Angeles, lived with his family in Auburn intermittently between 1971 and 1975.
  4. ^ Interviews: Great White's Mark Kendall
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Xciter on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Google Groups". Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "L/P Spitfire Bound!". December 2, 2002.
  10. ^ David Iozzia (March 12, 2009). "George Lynch Lets The Truth Be Known".
  11. ^ "Foreign rockers create SIAM SHADE tribute album". Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "NAMM '11 - Mr Scary Guitars: George Lynch Interview". February 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "George Addresses The Dokken Reunion, On The Record". December 8, 2010. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "Current And Former Dokken Members Launch Tooth And Nail". December 15, 2011. Archived from the original on December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  16. ^ "George Lynch co-directs 'Shadowtrain – Under A Crooked Sky' documentary; watch trailer". October 6, 2011.
  17. ^ "George Lynch Launches Crowd-Funding Campaign for 'Shadowtrain' Documentary". March 28, 2013.
  18. ^ Steve Patrick (December 20, 2014). "George Lynch Talks about Shadowtrain: Under a Crooked Sky".
  19. ^ Damien Cousins (April 4, 2014). "From KXM To Shadow Nation: Talking With George Lynch".
  20. ^ "Sweet & Lynch — Featuring Michael Sweet and George Lynch — Announce Debut Album, 'Only to Rise'". November 10, 2014.
  21. ^ Blabbermouth. "SWEET & LYNCH Featuring MICHAEL SWEET, GEORGE LYNCH: Fifth EPK For 'Unified' Album". Blabbermouth. Blabbermouth. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  22. ^ "Ultraphonix - Corey Glover, George Lynch, Pancho Tomaselli, Chris Moore - To Release Their Debut Album "Original Human Music" Worldwide on Earmusic On August 3rd, 2018" (Press release). earMUSIC. May 16, 2018.
  23. ^ Ed Roman. "J Frog Guitars – Ed Roman Guitars". Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  24. ^ "Dean Markley 8823 Super V Light Electric Guitar Strings: Shop Accessories & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend". Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  25. ^ livetojam (March 23, 2011), George Lynch Discusses Early Guitar Influences Dokken - Lynch Mob Guitarist, retrieved December 23, 2017

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