George Lynch (musician)
September 28, 1954 |
United States, Washington, Spokane
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal, glam metal, neo-classical metal, instrumental rock|
|Associated acts||The Boyz, Xciter, Dokken, Lynch Mob, Lynch/Pilson, Souls of We, T & N, Shadowtrain, KXM, The Infidels, Sweet & Lynch|
|ESP George Lynch signature series|
George Lynch (born September 28, 1954) is an American hard rock guitarist and songwriter. Lynch is best known for his work with 80's "hair metal" band, Dokken, and his post-Dokken solo band, Lynch Mob. Lynch is considered to be one of the most influential and famous 80's 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 and is also ranked #10 on "Top 10 Metal Guitarists Of All Time" by Gibson.
Lynch was born in Spokane, Washington and was raised in the small town of Bakersfield, California. Great White guitarist Mark Kendall claims George started two-hand tapping before Eddie Van Halen did. 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 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 he formed Xciter before joining Dokken.
Lynch came to fame in the 1980s through his work 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 and cemented his reputation as a bona fide guitar hero. The instrumental track "Mr. Scary" on Back for the Attack contributed to his popularity among guitar players. The band earned a Grammy nomination for the Best Metal Performance in 1990.
Lynch Mob and Post-Dokken
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. After spending a few years with his family he got back to work. In 1993, Lynch released his first solo album, Sacred Groove.
Reunion with Dokken
By 1994, after Don Dokken, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown reunited, they decided to try to bring Lynch back into the fold as well for a true reunion of Dokken. Lynch agreed to put all differences aside to give it a go once more. The reunited version of Dokken was signed to the Columbia/Sony label and after extensive writing, released Dysfunctional. Unfortunately 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 the band performed in late 1994 titled One Live Night. By 1996 the band entered the studio and hired producer Kelly Gray. Gray 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 which was a complete switch from melodic rock to a more alternative sound. Lynch still found time to appear at guitar clinics for ESP guitars and attend the annual NAMM Show. By 1997, tensions had again flared between Don and Lynch which led to Lynch being let go from Dokken and replaced by former Europe guitarist John Norum, who had played on Don Dokken's "Up From The Ashes". According to Don, Lynch wanted to destroy Dokken and referred to a quote Lynch had made in regards to Shadowlife being the perfect album to destroy Dokken, more or less.
Reuniting Lynch Mob and after
This prompted Lynch to call his former Lynch Mob members Oni Logan, Anthony Esposito and Mick Brown for a reunion of Lynch Mob. The group entered the studio and demoed 3 songs (later released as an EP titled Syzygy). However Logan decided to leave the band 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 himself then decided he wanted 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. In early 2002 George began working with a producer/engineer named Sean Fodor on the ill fated Microdot project which featured then unknown vocalist London LeGrand. Only a few songs from that "lost" project have ever seen the light of day. "Bulldog Tyranny" on "The Lost Anthology" and 3 other songs George later released as "The Lynch That Stole Riffness" with Robert Mason taking the helm on vocals. Then in late 2002, George Lynch decided to reform Lynch Mob with original bassist Anthony Esposito and the singer from their 2nd album Robert Mason. Lynch Mob then recorded an album of re-recorded classic Lynch songs from Dokken and Lynch Mob albums, updated to a more contemporary (post-2000) approach and sound.
He also formed a project with former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, releasing the Wicked Underground album in 2003 under the name Lynch/Pilson. 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 Marten 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. 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 unsigned 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. Fan members of the Lynch website are being asked to think up a new name as the project itself would be continuing with a new name and musicians.
George currently lives near Los Angeles where he created an instructional guitar website named the Dojo. 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.
Second Dokken reunion in 2011 rumor
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.
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. 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.
In the fall of 2011, Lynch announced plans for a documentary movie, "Shadowtrain: Under A Crooked Sky" about the cost of the destruction of the Native American community. A crowd-funding campaign was launched in March 2013 to complete the project. As of late 2014, the movie was still a work in progress. 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 released 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 also announced yet another project, The Infidels, with War rhythm section Pancho Tomaselli and Sal Rodriguez, and rapper Sen Dog from Cypress Hill.
Lynch has completed work on a new album with Stryper frontman Michael Sweet. Only to Rise is slated for a January 27, 2015 release on Frontiers Records under the name Sweet & Lynch. The recording line-up also features the former Pride & Glory rhythm section James Lomenzo and Brian Tichy on bass and drums, respectively.
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. 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
- Charvel Dinky Tiger (main guitar until about 1986)
- Kramer Baretta (also used periodically in Dokken's early days)
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 Screaming 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.
George 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,and Yngwie Malmsteen as being part of his musical influences.
- MelodicRock.com Interviews: Great White's Mark Kendall
- "L/P Spitfire Bound!". BraveWords.com. December 2, 2002.
- David Iozzia (March 12, 2009). "George Lynch Lets The Truth Be Known". AllAccessMagazine.com.
- "Foreign rockers create SIAM SHADE tribute album". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
- "NAMM '11 - Mr Scary Guitars: George Lynch Interview". PremierGuitar.com. February 14, 2011.
- "George Addresses The Dokken Reunion, On The Record". GeorgeLynch.com. December 8, 2010.
- "Current And Former Dokken Members Launch Tooth And Nail". Blabbermouth.net. December 15, 2011. Archived from the original on December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- "George Lynch co-directs 'Shadowtrain – Under A Crooked Sky' documentary; watch trailer". MarshallOfRock.com. October 6, 2011.
- "George Lynch Launches Crowd-Funding Campaign for 'Shadowtrain' Documentary". GuitarWorld.com. March 28, 2013.
- Steve Patrick (December 20, 2014). "George Lynch Talks about Shadowtrain: Under a Crooked Sky". HardRockHaven.net.
- Damien Cousins (April 4, 2014). "From KXM To Shadow Nation: Talking With George Lynch". AmpsAndGreenScreens.com.
- "Sweet & Lynch — Featuring Michael Sweet and George Lynch — Announce Debut Album, 'Only to Rise'". GuitarWorld.com. November 10, 2014.
- Ed Roman. "J Frog Guitars – Ed Roman Guitars". EdRoman.com. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "Dean Markley 8823 Super V Light Electric Guitar Strings: Shop Accessories & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend". Accessories.musiciansfriend.com. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "George Lynch – Live in Florida : George Lynch : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. March 10, 2001. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- Official George Lynch website
- Official Mr. Scary Guitars website
- Official George Lynch Facebook fanpage
- Official Lynch Mob Facebook page
- Official KXM Facebook page
- Official Shadowtrain Facebook page
- Official Dokken website
- George Lynch Fan Forum
- 2015 George Lynch Interview on Guitar.com
- NAMM Oral History Interview January 26, 2013