George Lynch talks about KXM and of course his thoughts on a Dokken reunion!
We love us some new music, and when a power trio emerges, we immediately take notice. A force to be reckoned with has unleashed a power so raw and fearsome that you will quiver in its glory. KXM is dUg Pinnick of King’s X (vocals/bass) George Lynch of Lynch Mob/Dokken (guitars) and Ray Luzier from Korn (drums). We dare you to buddy up a trio as powerful. Their self-titled debut, KXM, just released about a week ago, and is already at #31 on the Billboard Top 200. It’s about to get real for a lot of newcomers out there, because when you put something like this together, it’s practically unstoppable.
We were honored to be able to steal a moment with George Lynch to talk about his projects (including a SUPER SECRET project, AND whether or not a Dokken reunion is something to look forward to…He even graced us with a picture of his studio that day. Read on!
I’ve actually seen you live with Dokken, back when you guys were opening for Aerosmith.
George Lynch: I knew you were going to say that! I hear that so many times: “I saw you back 25-30 years ago opening for whatever huge band.” Well, I don’t remember that cause that was like three lifetimes ago. It’s funny how people remember those concerts, like I remember my early concerts, you know? I understand that it doesn’t mean anything to them. They understand you appreciate it. From their perspective, it’s just a gig we played, but for the people in the audience, it meant a lot: like the first time I saw ZZ Top. I mean, that was profound! I ll never forget that, it changed me forever. They were so loud and so massive, and I was like, “Fuck! That’s what I want to be when I grow up!”
Yeah, it was definitely a great show and I enjoyed seeing you live. One of the things I was going to say here is that you are, basically still doing it, still doing your thing, which is great. What kind of changes would you say your headspace would be from there to here? When you are working on a new album, that kind of thing?
GL: When we were doing records in the 80′s and early 90′s, really the way we operated was: we hopefully got a substantial record deal, and you had this whole machine behind you, and you were kind of on this cycle of doing a record. It took a long time and was expensive. It was every year and a half, and you went out and supported that record (let’s say six months on tour off and on). You had one band, and that was it. The label would provide everything you had (radio promotion and publicists and the marketing and the videos and the distribution.) It was simpler. Nowadays, you have to understand every aspect of the business. You have be able to do things for cents on the dollar and be much more productive; get in, get out and know what you want to do and work very efficiently. Work things smart. Not necessarily work harder, but also work smarter, and be in control and aware of every aspect of the business end to end. You also have to be aware of the process whether it’s making a record or a video and all the things that that entails, meaning booking shows, what agents do, how does the routing work, promotion of the tour, merchandise, radio airplay, marketing, design of your logo and your album cover. Who’s going to do that, you know? How does it get done? You try to be efficient in every area, and do things smarter, so you’re involved with the logistics, the accounting; you’re involved with every single aspect with making this whole thing roll. In one way, life’s gotten more complicated because you ve had to learn to streamline, to be more nimble; but it s also healthier I think. Back in the day, you’d have a burst of fame and that would flame out, and then where were you? I think with the way we work now, we’re more in control of our own destiny, and are potentially longer-lasting. I could go in and do a record, a beautiful record that I would put up against any half-million dollar record I did 25 years ago, and we ll have done it for a nickel on the dollar. Work much more efficiently, work smarter, and get better results, and I think that’s pretty healthy. I think it was very unhealthy the way we used to work back in the day, because it was very inefficient and wasteful, and, it fed and bred a lot of bad behavior. A lot of egos were inflated in those days when we had things just handed to us, and always thought that the train would continue to roll on forever, unless you’re the Rolling Stones, or Metallica.
I think it’s generally a healthier thing we do now.
GL: Not that I wouldn’t want a million-dollar record deal!
Right! Well, music videos cost a million dollars back then too, and even higher sometimes. Definitely a different world!
GL: Or a $100,000, or $60,000, right. And the new KXM video we just finished, we did for, again, I m not going to tell you what we spent on it, but it was much less than what it should have cost. We had a lot of love and friends that came in and helped us. You’re able to be smart about things, and make essentially a $50,000 project for much much less than that. Which is the way we re all rolling these days, unless you re Beyonce or KISS, I guess.
So, is there any chance KXM will be doing any touring to support the album?
GL: Yeah. We are touring, I think it s going to be in July and August (part of those two months.) The idea behind what we want to do is sort of do like an unannounced tour of specific dates all around the world which we then film and record, and put those out at a later date for people who were not able to go see the band live, to experience the band live in that context, because we are limited in the amount of time we can tour, at least for now. I like the idea of the secret, magical mystery tour I heard about Paul McCartney doing in the Wings days, when he would just show up in a van, show up at a college or a school or something and say , “Hey! I m Paul McCartney we just want to set up and play!” I think that’s beautiful. It’s not the way we’ll do it exactly, but something kind of mysterious. We create this mystique around the band where you kind of have to search and reach out and discover things about us, without having us shoved down your throat.
You’ve got Doug and Ray, both strong personalities, and bring a lot to the table from their backgrounds. How did that effect the songwriting process on the album?
GL: The songwriting process was about as equitable, and had about the least amount of ego of any songwriting process I’ve ever been involved with. It was essentially ideal. The three of us setting up, never had actually been in a room playing music together, and started making a record on that day. We wrote – could be a drum beat, could be a bass line, could be a guitar riff, vocal melody, the start of something we all liked and said, “let’s go with that.” More often than not, it lead somewhere interesting we could work on. We did that for ten days, and came out of that ten days with a record. We lived at a studio that was in a very remote place and there was basically nothing to do except live in this two-story house that had been converted into a studio. So, we ate there, slept there, and just hung out the whole week and a half, and made an album from scratch, just from jamming. It was wonderful! It was funny to watch the trajectory of the enthusiasm after the first couple of days when we didn’t know what this going to be – like we all had faith it would work, but you never know. And, as it started to work, we were like 15-year old kids. It was a great, great feeling. A great experience. One of the highlights of my musical life: those 10 days.
It’s wonderful when it can work out like that! From a guitar standpoint, I’ve seen a lot of people that used to have somebody like Bob Bradshaw build an entire rack for them, and I’ve noticed a lot of guitar players are scrapping those kind of thoughts and going back to pedals. I was just curious, when you are working especially live, what kind of things do you prefer?
GL: I don’t have any set rules and I’ve never become calcified in any one approach. I’m a total quester and you know I’m just a gear whore. I mean hardcore! I love gear and I love changing stuff up, just because of my interest in gear itself and what it can do; because I’m so dependent on it to translate my ideas – like the sounds I’m hearing in my head. And so, one part of me is sort of static, where I know I have my go to stuff that works for me. My basic rig most of the time is my Randall Lynch (100 watt amplifier). I use a matching cabinet. It’s a specific design that I built with Randall with a split baffle board. It’s got Lynchback speakers which are high powered Greenbacks*; and before I load them in my cabinet I loosen them up physically. I don’t run a tone through them. I just, kind of, play with them for a little bit so that it loosens up the paper and the voice coil. I think that actually really helps a lot. I like brand new speakers, but I like to wear them in a little bit.
And then I usually use& on the other side I always use another amp. So it could be a Friedman Dirty Shirley, or my 68 (Marshall) Plexi, or my old 88 Soldano I used on Wicked Sensation or a number of other things that I am constantly changing out. And then, for a third amp, I put out sometimes an old vintage combo in there. Right now I m using an old 62 Magnatone.
And then, as far as my pedals, I m sort of fifty/fifty rack. I got a rack effects switching system. And then I sometimes, half the time I’ll use that then the other half I’ll just go to pedals on the floor; depending on my situation.
I like the sound in Human Friction, I thought the verse had a really interesting tone, was that through experimentation pretty much on creating that?
GL: Always. When you’re working quickly, that’s one of the things I regret: I couldn’t take a lot of time to explore a lot of different sounds. You do it very quickly. I’m working on a project right now in the studio. I’m working outside the studio and we’ve been working on this project with some industrial programmers and engineers that worked with Nine Inch Nails and Zombie and bands like that. But, it’s really interesting because it’s very pedal-dependent sounds that are going on, I should send you a picture of the floor of the studio? I’ve literally got pedals laying everywhere. Everything from old echo effects, weird old things that were handmade contraptions. It s unbelievable, it’s really awesome!
What is that project? I hadn t heard about it.
GL: It s kind of a secret thing, not that anybody cares. It’s hard to describe. There’s no name for it right yet. In the 90s and early early 2000s I was a huge fan (I am a huge fan) of industrial-style music. That’s one thing I always missed, and I thought I could do in that context: I’d never heard done what I thought was the right kind of guitar. And, I mean, I love The Prodigy and Crystal Method and Lords of Acid and other stuff like that, Cannibal Brothers. We’re doing kind of that now, and it s a completely different approach for me, which is very healthy and making me think in different ways, which I like. Challenging, learning to be more economical, think of song structure differently, and the recording process differently, but it’s coming out. We actually just finished, well we’re not finished, but we ve got a band right now with about six songs that we’re working on. This is chapter one of this session, and then we’re going to do chapter two and finish the record next month. I don’t know what it is, quite honestly. We’re just creating music and we’ll figure it out later.
Sometimes it’s even better that way
GL: Yeah, we’ll do the work first and then sort it out.
Any kind of chances, and this is just a strange one off the wall here, but I know you’ve basically worked with all the members of Dokken, minus one member. Everybody is pushing for nostalgia. Is there any likelihood that there would ever be a Dokken reunion?
GL: Well, it’s always a possibility. What it really comes down to is Don being agreeable to doing equal splits financially. That’s been a stumbling block all along. Despite all the other obstacles that we have for a reunion happening, that is actually the 800-pound gorilla problem. He feels he’s entitled to special financial treatment if we do that, which is ludicrous and was never the way the band was built. The band was always built as a shared band, and I think that’s one of the reasons it survived as long as it did and why it worked. The only person who ended up not liking that arrangement was Don and it is really heavily why the band broke up. We were up for re-negotiating our contract with Elektra in the late 80′s, which is a wonderful position to be in (that’s when you get paid and you’d kind of be set for life). But we all worked many, many years to get to that point, and Don decided, ”Well, you know what? I gotta take a chance here, and I want it all.” He wanted us to be hired guns, and he would get the multi-million dollar re-negotiated deal. That’s what it was all about. And that’s still what it’s about. So, unless he can come around and say, “Hey guys! We’re all important. We all worked equally hard. There’s enough money to go around – don’t need to be greedy here, just split it up equal, put that aside, put it in the file cabinet. Let s go to work and make a good record.” I have aspirations, but I don’t have any sense that it’s really going to ever happen. I wouldn’t be opposed; I would like to see it happen. But honestly, just to have some nice closure, make a nice bookend to our career, and make the fans happy and make a little bit-a-dough, it would be nice to see it work in a healthy way after all we’ve been through, but I m not holding my breath.
To read more and the complete above interview please visit Rock Revolt Magazine
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