George Lynch of Lynch Mob: The Interview

George Lynch Interview

Feature Photo: by Frances Axsmith

After briefly ditching the “Lynch Mob” name and going by “Electric Freedom”, guitarist George Lynch has opted to return to his band’s original moniker in time for their eighth studio effort overall, Babylon, which is released on October 20, 2023, via Frontiers Music. And although only Lynch remains from the original Lynch Mob line-up (that debuted in 1990 with Wicked Sensation, shortly after the guitarist had exited Dokken at the peak of their popularity), as evidenced by the album’s lead-off single/video, “Time After Time,” the sound/approach you’d expect from the band remains very much intact.

Speaking with, Lynch was up for chatting about the current Lynch Mob line-up and what each member brings to the band, what made him decide to shelve the Electric Freedom name, and the “incestuous” LA scene of the early ’80s.

Let’s start by discussing the new album, Babylon. How is it similar or different to previous Lynch Mob LP’s?

Lynch: Well, we didn’t start out preparing ourselves…or the effort of writing and recording this record with the first or second album – Wicked Sensation or the self-titled. We just jumped right into it as if we were a brand-new band, I would say. And just sort of, “Let’s see what happens.”

So the songwriting was more of a collaboration?

Lynch: It was definitely a band collaboration. I come up with the riffs and it just grows from there. We all pitch in and get an arrangement. It’s just your typical, old-school band writing session – everyone just throwing ideas in and the best ideas win. And that’s what we went with.

For those who may not be aware, who is in the current Lynch Mob line-up?

Lynch: Besides myself, the band is really built around the singer, Gabriel Colón He’s from Puerto Rico, originally. He really comes more from the metal world, so this style of rock music for him is not his normal thing. Which is pretty cool – because he sort of discovered that he loves this as a singer. It’s not that we can’t be a little heavy sometimes, but of course, it’s more of a song-based, blues-based hard rock with a twist, I guess. It’s not Iron Maiden, y’know – which is what he was doing before.

And at first, Gabriel was very shy and reserved. Wasn’t sure of his place in this situation and on stage and so forth. So, it took a gradual sort of coming out of his shell to become who he is. And that we’ve been a band and touring regularly and now have an album under our belt, he’s really come into his own and is confident. And is a very unique singer – which I think is important too, for us. And as is everyone in the band, just a wonderful person. So, it makes it drama-less and fun.

Our bass player, Jaron Gulino, was in a band called Tantric for many years. And was really the core of that band, and really the guy that sustained that band on all the practical/pragmatic ways. Basically, running the group – from what I’ve learned. And I’ve said this before, but you couldn’t have designed a more perfect person to be in the position that he’s in, in this band – playing bass and doing just about everything else that say, a road manager would do. He interfaces with the agents and the merchandise and the travel agent and just everything. He’s the guy that’s the glue that picks up the slack – naturally – and does everything that needs to be done. Which is a lot. The band wouldn’t run without him.

And he would also come to a lot of our shows – just on his own. He’d be in the area or he’d fly out to Vegas or this city or that city and he’d just watch us. And hang and we got to know him. I wasn’t sure why, I wasn’t sure who he was or why kept seeing this guy who is very, very nice, very sweet, and just seemed like genuinely a huge fan. But he was grooming himself to be the next bass player in the band. He felt it was his life’s mission to be that. Sounds pretty odd, but he’s a very level-headed guy – very smart and funny as hell. And of course, he IS the perfect bass player for this band.

There was a point where Rob DeLuca was playing bass with us from UFO and he was our regular bass player. Rob’s sweet and we love him, and he had to go do a UFO tour in Europe…and that was Jaron’s moment. They asked Jaron if he would sub…and he’s never left.

And Jimmy D’Anda on drums. Jimmy D’Anda and I have been together for decades on and off – mostly in the context of Lynch Mob. We’ve played in other projects, as well. So, we’re “the older guys” in the band. There’s two different camps. I mean, everyone gets along and all we do is crack up, have fun, work hard, and we kick ass – but Jimmy and I are the older guys, and Gabriel and Jalon are the younger guys. So, that’s pretty much the lay of the land of the band.

What made you decide to go back to using the Lynch Mob name?

Lynch: It always has been a problem – probably it sounds like more for me than for anybody else on the planet. But I need to sleep at night and I want to have a good conscience. So, it really got the best of me – especially through the pandemic and the George Floyd murder and hundreds of other incidents like that in history. And just the reality of it, it got to the point where even if I suffer business-wise or financially, I just have to do this. So, we did it…and it didn’t work.

And I got so much negative feedback from making that change. Which is very surprising to me that I’ve gotten very little negative feedback from having the name in the first place. But I got a TON of blowback from changing the name to Electric Freedom. Partly because my old name was something that people were familiar with and can hang their hat on it. They know what it is. Then you throw them a changeup and call it Electric Freedom, and they don’t even know what that means.

So, it’s a combination of probably not the right replacement name, plus something wasn’t broken, so don’t fix it in the first place. So, the writing was on the wall – we just went back to it and everything was fine.

Why do you think the ’80s and the LA area gave us so many great guitarists during that time? Because off the top of my head, I think of you, Warren DeMartini, Jake E. Lee…

Lynch: Well, partly because you had a lot of people in a small space that were all seen by each other and reacting – they were all reacting to each other, and being influenced by each other. We all sort of knew each other – or were at least aware of each other. So, you talk about Randy, Eddie, myself, Warren, and some of the lesser-known guys – but equally as good at the time. Y’know, the guy from Stormer, the guy from A La Carte, Terry Kilgore from Reddi Killowatt – he was insane. So, there were all these guys bouncing around, we were all playing in the same clubs, we were running into each other, were in the dressing rooms with each other, watching each other’s shows. So, there was this highly-competitive scene.

You just mentioned Warren – did you cross paths often with Ratt when you were a member of Dokken?

Lynch: Oh yeah, we were extremely incestuous! We actually lived with each other. Bobby Blotzer and I actually shared a room with Don Dokken. Juan Croucier was my bunkmate when we lived in Germany – before the first album, when we were over there for six months. Juan Croucier was our bass player, then we toured quite a while with Juan and did the record, and we replaced Juan’s bass with Peter Baltes from Accept, and then Juan joined Ratt. But we played often.

And when I did the Ozzy gig, Warren tutored me and helped me learn all the songs. He would come to my apartment every day and hang out or he would come to the music store where I taught guitar lessons, and he would hang out and help me learn how to play these songs for my Ozzy stint. He was in Dokken for a second – because he replaced me when I went to do Ozzy. And when I came back, I was in Ratt. And then we were rehearsing in the same building, so we just met in the hall and were like, “What the hell are we doing here? Why don’t we just go back to our respective bands?” And we did that.

We all rehearsed in Burbank at this place called Priscilla’s. We rehearsed at a couple of other places in South Bay and so forth. A lot of the Southern California bands practiced there – Quiet Riot, and the who’s who. It was just the convenient place to practice. But that was the epicenter of the scene. A very incestuous kind of thing – members would kind of come and go.

That’s the thing that I think the new crop of metal guitarists are missing – that a lot of the guitarists you just mentioned from LA at the time had their own unique style.

Lynch: That was absolutely the case. Everybody was completely unique. Well, Warren I thought he and I had very similar styles – I’m not sure why. Not completely similar – but we were close. Kind of in the same ballpark. But everybody else had their own thing.

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