Interview By Robert Cavuoto
Photo credit: Robert Cavuoto
The powerhouse trio KXM featuring dUg Pinnick [King’s X], George Lynch [Lynch Mob/Dokken] and Ray Luzier [Korn] have returned with their sophomore release Scatterbrain due out on March 17th via Rat Pak Records. If you didn’t figure it out by now the band takes its name from the combination of the member’s other projects: K from Korn, X from King’s X and M from Lynch Mob. In 2014 the band turned the rock world upside down with their debut CD and now three years later have challenged themselves to give the fans a more powerful and progressive CD. Thematically this CD is darker but has all the characteristics that you would expect from these three talented artists – searing guitar riffs, incredible bass runs, and killer rhythmic drumming. To pre-order Scatterbrain visit RatPakRecords.com/KXM
I had the good fortune of sitting down with one of the hardest working guitarist’s; George Lynch about KXM’s Scatterbrain, the Dokken reunion, and what lies on the horizon for Sweet & Lynch.
Robert Cavuoto: I take it that you had such a great response with the first KXM CD that you, Ray, and dUg decided to do the second one?
George Lynch: We did have pretty good success with the first one all things considering as it’s not 1988 anymore. We were happy with the success and would have done the second CD no matter what happened because it was such a fun record to make. Give us any excuse to work together to make CD’s. It did afford us a little more resources to apply to the recording process for Scatterbrain. To go to an actual bonafide recording studio of our choice and spend a little more time was great. We didn’t go too nuts as we didn’t spend two months recording or bring in a producer. We wanted it to be like the first one where it was improvised and done very quickly. The difference was that now we could do it in a better environment. We had a bigger studio with great gear. Sonically Scatterbrain was step up from the last one.
Robert Cavuoto: I thought Scatterbrain had a more progressive vibe that then the first one, was that the band’s intention?
George Lynch: There was no intent and no pre-conceived ideas of what we would come up with. You’re right in your assessment that it is more progressive with some of the changes in tempo and time signatures that are not on the first CD. There are some pretty tricky breaks as well. I think that was a reaction to the first one and unconsciously wanting Scatterbrain to be an evolution. So after having lived with the first CD for a few years, we needed it to be a little more challenging to us as well as the listeners. A lot of the vibe came from Ray Luzier. I would throw something out there that was in 4/4 timing and everyone liked it; then Ray would go, let’s fuck it up a little bit. Let’s make it a little weirder and use this beat or break. The end result was that it turned out great.
Robert Cavuoto: Ray Luzier told me that the agreement between the three of you was not to come into the sessions with pre-written riffs or songs. Was that challenging as a guitar player in the limited time frame you had in the studio?
George Lynch: Not for me, that’s where I live. I am very comfortable with that and actually thrive off it. I would say the reason for that is when I was growing up, that’s all we did. Everything was a jam we didn’t really have songs. We would just show up and play whether it was at rehearsal, in a bar, a battle of the bands or just a big party down by the river with generators. We would just improvise. That’s just the kind of animal I am and don’t really know why.
Robert Cavuoto: When we spoke in 2014 about KXM touring there was a possibility of Bay Area residency, will you tour for this CD and how long will it take the band to get up to speed as the songs are quite complex.
George Lynch: Yeah and there are now two CDs worth of material! [Laughing] Just from a practical perspective it would take 10 days of prep to do any amount of shows. That’s the problem when people offer you a sum of money to play a one off show like a festival; we have to tell them whether it’s 1 or 100 show it’s the same amount of prep work. It’s not really worth it unless there are a reasonable amount of dates to invest in that amount of pre-planning and rehearsing to get it tight. So the challenge is to find a reasonable amount of time for us to go out there and make it worthwhile.
Robert Cavuoto: What guitars did you use to track Scatterbrain and did you use any from your line of Mr. Scary guitars?
George Lynch: I didn’t; because I never built myself one! [Laughing] What happens frequently when I build guitars for people is they loan them back to me when I come to their city to use on stage. It’s special for them to have me use it and I enjoy it too because I get to play something I built. That’s happened like half a dozen times. I didn’t build myself one until last week, I was building it for a customer and didn’t want to give it up. So I bought it back from him. I’ll build him something even better for a lot less money. I’m going to take really good care of him. A lot of guitars speak to me put this one I had to hang on to.
I used a lot of different guitars on Scatterbrain. Surprisingly I used my ESP Super V, which is not a well know signature model. The guitar sounds incredible. It’s well made with a fixed neck and all mahogany body. It plays and sounds like an old Gibson, very warm. I did a lot of overdubs with my ESP Haji guitar [aka Skulls & Snakes] with the Sustainiac. I also used a Heritage Gibson Les Paul 06 Custom Shop for the other side of the rhythm.
I had about 6 or 7 heads in the studio. I can’t remember exactly what I used as I was switching things up quite a bit. I remember my three anchor amps; one was a mid-80s vertical input JCM800 modified by Reinhold Bogner, a clone of a Ken Fisher Trainwreck Limiter Amp, and an 88 or 89 Soldano SLO100 which I used on Lynch Mob’s Wicked Sensation record.
I had a Ken Fisher Trainwreck in the very mid 80 or early 90s and I didn’t like it. I sent it back. More recently I saw that same amp demoed in a New York music store with three other Trainwrecks’ and mine sounded the worst. The only thing I feel bad about selling it is because now it’s worth $35,000 and paid $1300. Sonically I don’t regret it.
Robert Cavuoto: How did the Dokken reunion tour go?
George Lynch: It went surprisingly well. It was interesting; for all the time that has passed, we realized that we are all the same people we were from back in the day. [Laughing] The same personalities just a little older. We were making fun of ourselves because we are the old men that we said we would become someday; but still kids at the same time too. It was really nice the way we joked and interacted.
Robert Cavuoto: Was the chemistry still there when playing live?
George Lynch: It was, we didn’t have enough time to really explore that as much as we would have liked too. It was a whirlwind gig to fly out to do seven shows, but we still have it. Just like with KXM, you put us together and we are a certain animal. When you put the four of us together from Dokken you just can’t help sounding like Dokken.
Robert Cavuoto: Can you give us an update on the new Dokken song that you were all working on and did you play it live?
George Lynch: We never played it live because it would be out there and bootlegged. We didn’t have the time to work it up. I can say it’s a super fun song and sounds like a slightly more modern day Dokken. It’s not us trying to reinvent ourselves or pretend we are in the 80’s. It has the elements that are obviously Dokken and will be on a new live CD/DVD that we are working on. It will also include two or three semi-acoustic versions of older Dokken songs like “Will the Sun Rise.” I was playing electric with a small amp and kind of backed off a bit. I was using a 1952 Gibson 275 through a Vox AC 30.
Robert Cavuoto: Can you give us an update on the status of the new Sweet & Lynch CD.
George Lynch: You will see a new CD. It will be finished by April, I’m not sure of the release date. We are getting together back east in March. I have been writing and working on songs in between touring. I’ll finish up the writing here in the next two or three weeks.