George Lynch: “The best that Dokken ever was, was on the Aerosmith tour”

MetalTalk TV Episode 33: 3 April 2021

Known as one of the greatest guitar players of the last four decades, George Lynch’s work in Dokken, Lynch Mob and The End Machine has captivated listeners around the world.

The guitar legend spoke to MetalTalk’s Kahmel Farahani about The End Machine’s new album ‘Phase 2’, his approach to writing music, his relationship with Don Dokken as well as his upcoming projects.

On the new ‘Phase 2’ album from The End Machine:

“The first record was a little bluesier, a little more 70’s influenced, but there was not this focused commonality throughout the last album… We decided to tighten all that up and make it more focused on the hooks this time.

“At some point you have got to give the people what they want. I mean, musicians always want to experiment and expand their horizons and that is all well and good, but I think you have an obligation and responsibility to serve the people that have served you so well and allowed you to do what you do.

“We made a concerted effort to do that on this record.”

On his approach to writing music:

“I just sit at home, practice and when I get an idea it goes on my phone and I have got hundreds of ideas saved and those all become songs.

“In the 70’s I would use a cassette and in the 80’s a Sony Walkman, so it was just different methods of recording those ideas, but the process was the same.

“I was talking to Jeff [Pilson] about this and saying “why can’t we be like real songwriters in Nashville?” [laughs].

“They write the melody first, not the guitar. Just put the guitar away. Maybe the argument is if it is not broke don’t fix it.

“Do what you do well instead of doing what somebody else does badly.”

On the highs and lows of Dokken:

“I think the best that Dokken ever was, was on the Aerosmith tour [1987]. We were trying to beat a headliner and we had been on the road for so many years everything was clicking and firing on all pistons. That was our peak, I think.

“It felt like we were ready to be a headliner and that is what we had been working towards for eight years.

“[Monsters of Rock ’88] that was the last tour of its kind really, kind of an end of an era, although nobody knew it at the time. We were billed above Metallica, who had not quite gone over the edge yet.

“The thing that I will never understand about the management, that tour and that band was that they, in their insane thinking, called a meeting days before the tour started and informed us that Don was going to be breaking the band up and then hiring us as musicians.

“If we did not agree to that he was just going to leave and keep the name. Back then I operated out of a sense of commitment, that we built this thing as a family and a band of brothers and that was really the struggle between Don and I.

“Don used people as best he could, and I am not saying it in a derogatory way. We succeeded because of him and that mentality, the way he used the world. He is able to do things that I personally could not do, I do not know if I could live with myself, but for better or worse we benefited from it.

“But it was a double edged sword.”

On future projects:

“We are writing the fourth KXM record right now and in the fall I start working on the third Sweet & Lynch record.

“Then I have got a solo instrumental record called ‘Seamless’ coming out this summer. Then I have got this industrial project that I have been working on for years called The Banishment, with Tommy Victor from Prong.

“A lot of things are in the pipeline.”

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