Lynch Mod Release Their Incredible New Album, Babylon. Winter 2023
Gate Of God
Lynch Mob are back with a new studio album, Babylon. I think the key phrase here is that ‘Lynch Mob’ the name is back. This was something of a surprise – a very pleasant surprise – given that back in August 2020 guitarist and band leader George Lynch made the decision to no longer tour or put out any more records under the name Lynch Mob due to the belief that it held some negative connotations. For the 30 years, many fans have associated the name with friends, brotherhood and ‘family’ – it’s George’s family name after all – and it’s therefore no surprise to witness their delight that the Lynch Mob name is back in business. We catch up with George at his California home to discuss Babylon. As he sits noodling on a Guitar our conversation begins…
Babylon is a wholly exceptional album. Surely this is a release you are incredibly proud of?
Well, sometimes it’s hard to tell what you’ve got with a record until you get the feedback from the community and the fans and the critics, and see how well accepted it is both financially and commercially, and then you go ‘Oh, okay!‘. I’ve done many records over the years and every record you do is your baby. You don’t know if it’s good or bad because you are just so inside of it - you can’t really have an objective perspective. And to finish up these records and it’s your record and you’re very proud of it, you’re beating your chest and you’re showing it off to people and you want everybody to hear it… and then it goes out into the world and it bombs (laughs!) And then all of a sudden everything changes within the band. All of the people who are scrambling for credit are scrambling to get away from it and trying to distance themselves from it. It’s so funny! I’ve had that happened to me probably half a dozen times: “No, I wrote everything! It was my vision!” and then it bombs and it’s like “It’s your fault! You fucking wrote that shit and it’s fucking terrible! I’m never going to let you write a record again!” (Laughs!) “Wait a minute, you said you wrote it?’”, “No, no…”. The point being is that bringing out the body of work is affected by what people think about it in the real world, post-release. Because right now, when I did the Lynch Mob Babylon record I wasn’t really sure what to think of it to be honest. With most records I do. I’m getting off on it and I get goosebumps and I’m like “Oh man, wait till people hear this! But I wasn’t sure if it was going to be accepted or if it was even good. I didn’t know!
That’s interesting. Do you think that’s because you have become very close to it, you’re living with it and you are in the trenches with it without any outside influence so you perhaps generate your own relationship with music?
That’s true of every record, but a lot of records I come away from them, especially a record which is straight-up what you’d expect from an 80s legacy guy - like an The End Machine record. The End Machine records are very Dokken-esque but a little more modern and harder edged and than kind of stuff, but you still know what it is and it’s easier to quantify. But on the complete other end of the spectrum there would be like a Project Nfidelikah record or a Banishment record and other records that I’ve worked on that are hard for me to quantify in the lens of the type of music that I’m known for. So that’s what makes it harder to quantify. I’m not sure how people are going to accept it. And I’m not saying that the Lynch Mob Babylon record is like a strange, outlier record of anything. It’s a rock record but it’s come out different than I expected it to that’s primarily because we have a different singer. We don’t have Oni Logan we have a Gabriel Colón which I think is a wonderful thing but I’ve been known to be wrong. He is a wonderful singer - I’m not arguing that - but whether people will accept him as what I question.
Well let’s talk about Gabriel. He is a phenomenal vocalist, such an amazing voice, and he fits the Lynch Mob mould beautifully. How did Gabriel come to join the band?
He was very persistent! He did not let up, he just kept putting himself in front of me and I really appreciate that he did that because I found in this last bunch of years that I’ve found it much more difficult to focus and really stay on top of everything. It’s very disconcerting because I never used to be like that. I would be laser-focused on getting things done, of all the elements, being aware of everything and all the moving parts. It’s become much more difficult for me as I’ve gotten older, my life has got more complicated and I have more projects than I’ve ever had. And I have a guitar business and I have other businesses and then I’m living in multiple places and then there’s family stuff and all these different projects. It’s very hard to keep it all managed. And so in the midst of all this over the past few years he’s been put in front of me – him and other people have brought him to my attention and said “You’ve got to get this guy!”. I hadn’t even spoken to him but for some reason I just kept forgetting about him and I don’t know why and it is to my own detriment. He could’ve been the singer a couple of records ago but I kept screwing up. Obviously this last time around it worked and despite my own lack of focus I was able to focus enough to get on the phone with Gabe and we had a constructive conversation and we actually made a plan which we followed through on and he ended up driving up and coming to my house. We sat right here in the living room with the drummer and the bass player. We did a bongo and acoustic jam for two hours and he sat on a stool and blew our minds! It was like “Okay, there’s no argument here, it’s pretty obvious you’re awesome. So let’s do this!”. He is very, very shy and introverted and sweet. He is just a wonderful person. He is the opposite of the stereotypical 80s, LSD singer kind of guy. He is the opposite of that. I was hoping he didn’t feel uncomfortable and there was a period of time where he felt a little like he wasn’t a part of the band because he was new and because he was shy. That’s not the case anymore! He’s come out of his shell and all we do is have fun, joke, work hard, kick ass and we all love each other and it’s a wonderful thing. I was concerned about live too and this was the other element I wasn’t sure of. The lead singer needs a certain amount of ‘ego’, whatever that means - that self confidence, David Lee Roth, control the stage and control the audience. At first he was very shy on stage, and again he was doing music that wasn’t his normal bag, you know!? He’s more of a metal guy but I found that I really loved doing this kind of music where there is the craftsmanship of the composition, books and audience participation and dynamics and and all this other stuff, but still with some heavy elements as well. And I think for a singer that’s a lot more gratifying. He was getting more mature in his outlook about his craft and he could implement those things and explore those things with this band because we do a lot of different styles of music and go a lot of different places. Some at this point, he has completely come out of his shell and he has these two personas now which I love. So he has the ‘we’re just hanging out together, we’re driving from city to city or travelling or hanging out of the hotel or backstage and we’re all just joking around and having fun and it’s just great’ and then he gets on stage and he’s a fucking wolf! He’s a lord! He’s animalistic! Not in a comical silly way or disingenuous way. He just very genuinely goes deep and sort of transcended and he focuses. It’s intense! He’s a very intense singer!
Let’s talk about the music because ahead of the release of Babylon, you’ve already released a couple of tracks, Time After Time and Caught Up. Firstly, focusing on Time After Time, this just has the most infectious guitar intro, crunching rhythms throughout the verse and a beautifully melodic solo. I was instantly inspired and all I wanted to do was pick up my guitar and play along, and it made me wonder, when writing music, how important is it for you to give something specifically to the guitarists out there? Do you ever write for ‘guitarists’ or is it always first and foremost about the song?
It’s both. I’m constantly aware of my place in the guitar pantheon and I have an interest in serving that and addressing that. In my mind, I’m being judged by my contemporaries at the same time I’m writing music for my fans. It’s not the main driver or inspiration for what I do. I’m not playing to impress anybody most of the time – but sometimes I am and I afford myself that luxury when I take care of the more fundamental things in the song structure. After I’ve served this song and written the best song I think I can write for that particular range, then I think whether I can make this interesting for both myself and the guitar audience. Because there is both a guitar audience and a more generic audience who just like Wicked Sensation and Dokken songs which are not particularly guitar orientated necessarily.
Let’s pick up on the video for Time After Time is fantastic and hilarious! (A film by Devix Szell) We see you getting ambushed by reporters, stylists, clock-watching, and it’s all very Groundhog Day until it’s showtime when everything is good in the world! How did this concept come about and how much did you enjoy making this video?
Well, I’ll go back and explain that that was down to the director, Devix Szell. He had directed a video for The Banishment (Got What You Wanted – Ed) which was fantastic. I mean, that video blew me away. I don’t know how we did it quite honestly with the budget that we had to deal with and on the resources that we didn’t have. We had horror prosthetics, we had full crew, we had locations. We had every single resource that you needed to make a great video and it was really just incredible. My response was “Hey man! If you ever want to do any more videos just let me know because I love what you did!” And he agreed to do the Lynch Mob video. It was a massive undertaking. I think it was over written, that would be my only criticism of it because I think if you try to cram too much into a short period of time… I have a hard time following it! I really don’t understand how to make sense too much of the video but I understand what he’s trying to do. So I think we should’ve been less ambitious, but again he’s an ambitious guy and he’s trying to cram 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag. So I can’t fault him for that! (Laughs!) But it is campy and it does kind of remind me of some of the Dokken 80s videos a lot. That’s what I felt like when we were filming, especially when they ask you to act! It’s really painful for me to watch it because I should’ve known better and I’ll never do that again! ‘Act surprised!’ or ‘pretend to beat up this guy!’ or ‘run away!’. I’m just like ‘I can’t do that – I’m a guitar player!’. Acting makes me feel so very self-conscious. It probably would’ve been better if they’d had somebody else in the band do that because I think anybody else would’ve been better at it than me because I’m horrible at that! (Laughs!) But I haven’t heard too many complaints. I think people get its tongue-in-cheek and that we’re just having fun.
Well, I think it’s really interesting to hear you say that because I think you’re much better than you think you are! Any hint of being self-conscious, you hid it very well!
I think I probably do but that’s a mistake. I don’t want that because then I run the risk of people thinking that I think I’m good! That I think I’m a good actor! I don’t want people to think that I think that! (Laughs!)
Turning to Lynch Mob in a live setting, fans have already enjoyed some of the new material over the summer with tracks such as The Synner being played but I’m guessing that the 3 US dates you’ve just played at the end of September will have seen you introducing more tracks from Babylon. What has the audiences’ reaction been to the new material?
Well as you mentioned, we’ve been playing The Synner for quite a while now. I don’t know how many months but it’s been in the set for a while, and so has the Time After Time, and the reaction has been very, very good. That’s promising because when you’re playing live it’s usually not a good idea to play anything people don’t know. They want to hear the stuff they know and love and that’s why they are there. And I get that! So to throw something in that’s on an album but hasn’t even been released that nobody’s heard is crazy, but it worked and that kind of blew my mind! It was really shocking and took us a couple of gigs for it to settle in that this was actually working because I was expecting it not to. I was expecting people to be like ‘Okay, well that’s cool, now get back to the songs that we know’ and scratching their heads, you know, looking at their phones or whatever. But no, they were actually giving the best response of the night with a new songs and that’s continue to be the case. That’s another good indication that maybe we wrote the right record.
The great thing is you’re also going to be playing some dates in Florida and in Talk Shop Live over the next week, but the show I want to ask you about is the record release party show at the Whiskey a Go Go in Hollywood on the 25th of October. This sounds very special. What can fans expect from this show?
Well we’re going to be doing more songs for the new album, Babylon, of course. We’re also going to do a stripped down part of the set where is not electric, acoustic guitars in that kind of thing – so an unplugged component of the set. And we’ll do an autograph thing and just hang out with everybody and try to make it an evening. We’ll be out there all day and we are thinking of doing something out on the street, doing some filming. There’s a few different things planned. It’s about connecting with the whole town. This is where we started and this is home. It was 45 years ago when I was playing The Whiskey and here we are again so that’s pretty cool!
Lynch Mob’s Babylon is out now. Check out www.georgelynch.com for more information and in the meantime enjoy the video to Time After Time below.