Tell us about your formative years in music . What was the one particular thing that attracted you to the guitar?
My father was an amateur audiophile and he had a wide variety of great music on records and reel to reel tape which I’d listen to ..I really started picking up on the blues , jazz and flamenco music which generated me interest in guitar. Malaguena was the first song I learned to play.
Mark Kendall has gone on to say that you started the two hand tapping long before Eddie Van Halen did . What do you have to say to that ?
That’s actually not accurate. Eddy and I were at the Starwood in Hollywood one night watching Canned Heat and Harvey Mandel played a solo that utilized a simple Bach like piece that he tapped .. we both were paying attention. I know it made an impression on me ..that may have been the catalyst that inspired him to experiment with that technique as well but I’m just speculating.
I am a big fan of your work in Lynch Mob particularly. How did Lynch Mob come about .Did you have the full authority on the song making process in the band ?
I built LM after Dokken demise in ’89. The band was obviously named after me but I wanted it to be a very equal opportunity band , so everything was shared equally including songwriting credit and money
But obviously I had the guitar in my hands so I was the primary writer instrumentally.
The Ozzy audition and tour are a thing of endless speculation. We want to know exactly what happened then ?
I was being considered as a replacement for Brad Gillis ( I had been up for the Ozzy gig twice before , getting beat out by Randy once obviously which is why I took over his teaching gig at Musonia after he got the oxygen gig over me .. that was my consolation prize I guess:)
I went on tour with band in the U.K. I was only there to watch and gorruco and played during soundcheck , then we rehearsed in Dallas Texas for awhile with Tommy Aldrich and Don Costa on bass who was brought into the band . They wanted to check out one more guy ( Jack E Lee) in LA who they obviously picked over me..I was there at S.I.R. When they hired Jack E. Jacki E would tell you that he didn’t play very well but he looked great and I had cut my hair short at the time. They did have a big problem with that.
Tell us a bit about Shadowtrain.
ST is the musical component of a larger work which is the upcoming documentary Shadow Nation. ST is a musical vehicle for the historical and political conversation encapsulated in the film . SN deals with issues surrounding the plight of Native Americans..but ultimately the issues ; inequality , racism, environmental degradation, extend to all of us.
You have worked with Michael Sweet too and things look great . But of all things i found out that the chemistry is awesome between you two .. How do you two proceed with the music ?
Micheal and I are just finishing up our follow up record to ” Only to rise” . We work remotely , meaning write and sketch out all the songs in Los Angeles , send files to Micheal and the band on the east coast where they record bass drums and vocals and send back to me to finish rhythm guitars and solos. Then I send back to Micheal to have mixed and mastered ..we’re never actually in a room together but it works out really well and the results are undeniable . James Lomenzo is on bass again and Brian TIchy is back on drums as well ..so it’s the same band as the first record and I’ve done mirrors record and tours with both Brian and James . They were both in Lynch Mob at one point as well.
Tell us about some of the gears that you use . Are you a technical guy ? Tell us about your association with Esp .
I’ve been with Esp for about 35 years. They are family to me..They also give me the freedom to build my own guitars ; Mr Scary guitars which I’ve been doing for 8 years now …as far as amps, I am an amp -aholic! I am literally all over the map with gears but I really stick with the tried and true vintage stuff for the most part ..but I’m always researching and trying and acquiring new amps. I’ve got a Trainwreck clone that I love but I’ve recently replaced that with a Metz in my touring rig.
-You do work on your own guitars right ? Give ours readers some advice on perfecting on the playing and also knowing how to work on a tone .
I think the closer you are to the machines that you use to manifest and translate your artistic vision into reality the closer you will get to recreating that ideal vision ..even if it’s a matter of setting up your action, changing your strings or swapping out a pickup or changing the tubes in your amp …controlling , creating and shaping your sound is such a huge part of the creative process for me. It’s a never ending adventure and it is a lot of fun ..I call it tone questing.
How will you define your guitar playing style as ?
I have no idea. I think that’s for others to do.
Any plans for coming to India .
Nothing concrete yet.. it’s a hell of a flight ! 😉
A sneek peak into your future projects .
I have many projects that I’ve finished or am in the process of finishing. It’s been a very prolific couple of years and I will be winding down in the studio and concentrating on touring more. I have the second Sweet and Lynch almost finished. Lynch Mob has a new record coming out in June which is a fantastic piece of work , very adventurous. We are also finishing up a project called Ultraphonix with Corey Glover from Living Color on vocals. This is basically the project Nfidelikah band but with Corey replacing Angelo Moore from Fishbone. Rhythm section is drummer and bassist from Tower of power and WAR.. sounds like a cross between early Chili Peppers meets King Crimson meets Judapriest ! It’s a super fun band.
I also have a project called the Banishment with Tommy Victor from Prong and Haze doing all the programing and engineering . It’s sort of industrialesque . Also a very interesting eclectic piece of work. I’ve been working off on this project for 5 years and Tommy is working on finishing up vox.
In addition I’ll be releasing live DVD /CDs with both Lynch and Dokken later this year or early next year.
The Dokken Cd will have a brand new studio track we write for this album plus 2 semi acoustic versions of older classic Dokken songs.
Thank you George for your time. Leave a message for your fans .
I found my first trip to India a few years ago to be immensely inspiring both musically and spiritually and I hope to return there to continue our shared journey.