“Where are you calling from?” George Lynch asks casually. “London? Oh, I’m in Hawaii…”
As far as light-hearted wind-ups go, it’s a good one. It’s certainly at odds with the guitarist’s reputation for fractiousness – his former band Dokken were defined by Lynch’s volatile relationship with their singer Don Dokken.
Perhaps present company has mellowed him. As one third of KXM alongside dUg Pinnick of King’s X and Korn drummer Ray Luzier, Lynch has stepped away from both the tensions of the past and the MTV‑era anthems he’s best known for. Instead, KXM’s second album, Scatterbrain, is a taut slice of progressive-leaning modern rock.
People who know you from Dokken will be surprised at how heavy Scatterbrain is.
I like heavy music – much heavier music than I play. I listen to Gojira, Korn, Meshuggah. I’ve been a fan of Meshuggah since Chaosphere. This band allows me to explore that side of myself, but I wouldn’t say it’s ‘heavy’. Heavy relative to what? A death-metal band? It’s intense, sure. But then we have R&B and ska elements and other odd things in there too.
Is it true that you went into the studio with no songs and wrote the entire album from scratch?
You got it. We just allow ourselves the freedom of opening ourselves up to whatever happens, without any premeditated concepts or direction. We went into the studio with nothing – we wrote the songs from scratch in twelve days. That’s a little bit scary, because it’s like being on a high wire without a net. But when you’ve got Ray Luzier and dUg Pinnick in a band with you, it’s pretty certain that you’re going to come up with something substantial.
You are best known for Dokken, dUg Pinnick is in King’s X, Ray Luzier plays with Korn – three radically different bands. What’s the common ground between you all?
It’s probably not musical, but personal. We’re all fans of each other. We all had the same trajectory – we’ve all struggled up through the ranks and we’ve all got to a point in our lives where we thought: “This is a luxury we can afford ourselves and have fun with it.” There are no expectations. We know we’re not here to be the world’s greatest band, or the new Zeppelin or Van Halen. We just go in and see what happens.
King’s X are the cult rock band. Were you aware of them back in the day?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I was a huge King’s X fan. Their first two records, Out Of The Silent Planet and Gretchen Goes To Nebraska, inspired the hell out of me. I’ll still put on [King’s X’s fifth album] Dogman to this day. It was an influence when we were writing these two records.
What’s it like to work with a singer you actually get on with?
[Laughing] Yeah, right? He’s not the only singer I get along with. I think this works because we’re friends. Nobody’s trying to be the boss, nobody’s trying to get more money or credit, none of that silly shit’s going in. It’s hugs and handshakes. We show up, have these tremendous, magnificent bursts of creativity and energy, then we go off and do our other things. It’s beautiful.
The Six-string Interrogation: Dokken's George Lynch