Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 60

GEORGE LYNCH

Mr. Scary: Hair-Raising Metal Monster
By Wolf Marshall

G

eorge Lynch emerged in the hair-band
scene of the 1980s, and persevered into
the '90s and new millennium with a
potent approach to hard-rock guitar. Today, he
remains one of the genre's most revered players.
Born in Washington and raised in California, Lynch began playing guitar at 10. As
a teen, he paid dues with a number of bands
in his hometown of Auburn, then moved to
L.A., emerging epicenter of the burgeoning
hard-rock movement. There, he formed
two bands, The Boyz and Xciter, and began
building a reputation playing the competitive
Hollywood circuit alongside Van Halen and
Quiet Riot. The Boyz auditioned for Gene
Simmons' label, losing by default to Van Halen
because Simmons left before hearing them. He

was nonetheless a contender on the scene. By
1980, Lynch had joined Dokken with vocalist
Don Dokken and bassist Juan Croucier (who
joined Ratt and was replaced by core member
Jeff Pilson in '84), and drummer Mick Brown.
At first glance, Dokken was just another L.A.
"hair band" seeking to reconcile the imagery
and coiffure of glam with the histrionics of
heavy metal and shred. However, they rose
above the pack and gained international
exposure and pop success thanks in part to
an audience-friendly presentation and Lynch's
guitar work; with his graphically flamboyant
guitars, the newly coined term "guitar hero"
fit like a glove.
Dokken recorded Breaking the Chains in
'83, introducing the band's catchy pop-metal

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60

January 2018

songs, distinctive vocals, and impressive guitar
playing. Tooth and Nail (1984) was a morefocused effort and is considered classic with the
new power-ballad form highlighted in "Alone
Again." Under Lock and Key (1985) reached #32,
went platinum, spent 67 weeks on the charts,
and saw the band stretching into power-pop
territory with two singles, "The Hunter" (#25)
and "In My Dreams" (#24) which made the
Hot 100. Back for the Attack ('87), Dokken's
highest charting album (#13), was also its most
polished and mature work. It remained on the
charts for 13 weeks, yielding pop-rock singles
"Dream Warriors" (#22), used as the theme
song for Nightmare on Elm Street 3, "Prisoner"
(#37), and "Burning Like a Flame" (#72). It
also featured "Mr. Scary," an extended Lynch
instrumental that placed him in the guitar-god
pantheon with Vai and Satriani. In the late '80s,
his stature rose considerably when he guested
on Tony MacAlpine's Maximum Security and
earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock
Instrumental in '89.
He wrapped the decade of Dokken with
Beast from the East (#33, 1988), a collection
of live tracks from a Japanese tour with the
single "Walk Away."
After Dokken's run, Lynch began a succession of solo and band ventures. He formed
Lynch Mob, made two albums, and mounted
two tours; Wicked Sensation (1990) was an
impressive effort that highlighted the growth
of his writing and playing. Yet, despite receiving gold status, the debut and its eponymous
follow-up failed to resonate with a grungeinfatuated audience. An outlet for Lynch's
band aspirations, Lynch Mob reappeared
sporadically in various forms.
In the early '90s, Lynch took a hiatus from
band projects to craft his first solo album,
Sacred Groove, a diverse collection of rock
songs and instrumentals ranging from mood
metal to the Latin-tinged "Tierra Del Fuego,"
and varied hard-rock and power-pop tunes
sporting contributions from Glenn Hughes,
Ray Gillen, Mandy Lion, and the Nelsons.
Dokken and Lynch reunited in '95 with an
acoustic-oriented concert set of Dokken classics and covers of the Beatles "Nowhere Man"
and ELP's "From the Beginning." The band
then crafted the aptly titled Dysfunctional
with a surprisingly serious single about addiction, "Too High to Fly." The album failed to
connect with the public as the Seattle grunge
scene and alternative rock had replaced the
melodic-metal sound. In an effort to address
the au courant, Shadow Life (1997) showed a
greater embracing of the angst-driven side of
alternative rock and was the last Dokken album
with its original lineup. Lynch returned with

George Lynch: Sebastien Paquet.

COLUMN Fretprints


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