When most people discuss potential supergroups, the last combination of artists they toss around are Michael Sweet of Stryper and George Lynch of Lynch Mob, Shadow Train and Dokken.
Yet these two masters of shred have joined forces for Only to Rise, the debut album from their new project, Sweet & Lynch, that will be released January 27.
Joining the Sweet & Lynch adventure are bassist James Lomenzo [Megadeth, White Lion] and drummer Brian Tichy [Whitesnake, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne].
From the opening notes of the “The Wish” to songs like “Dying Rose,” “Love Stays” and “September," it’s evident the blend of Sweet’s unmistakable voice and Lynch’s signature guitar tone has yielded exceptional results.
I recently caught up with Lynch to find out more about Only to Rise and get an update on the new Lynch Mob record, Sun Red Sun, and his Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band projects. Lynch also puts to rest any rumors of a Dokken reunion.
GUITAR WORLD: How did the collaboration with Michael Sweet begin?
Lynch Mob and Stryper share an agent, and we’ve done a few tours together. During a few of those dates here and there, Michael and I would hang out and casually start talking about the idea of working together. We enjoyed each other’s company and had mutual respect for each other musically and as people. It was a good fit. So when the opportunity from Frontiers Records came along to do this record, it was an easy decision. Just a handshake and off to the races!
How would you describe the sound of Only to Rise?
There are so many elements to it. Even though we're both legacy players who have influences that go so far back, the album doesn’t sound dated. At the same time, we've also matured as writers, and that really comes out in our music. If you can construct really great songs, it doesn't matter what era or what genre it's from. In the end, a good song is a good song.
One of the examples on this album is “Dying Rose,” which has a country-esque, Nashville element to it. I could hear a modern country outfit do it as well as a rock band. It's a beautiful melody and chorus with a nice hook. There's also some showing off and old-school metal kind of stuff on this album as well.
Did you approach the songwriting process for Sweet & Lynch differently than some of your other projects?
Michael and I talked a little about it. His idea was to take the Eighties thing and make it sound more modern. When I write, I'm always aware of who I'm writing for and in what context. But as far as direction, I tried not to think too hard about it and just went in and had fun. I'm very happy with the sound of this record.
Do you have plans to tour as Sweet & Lynch?
We're kicking around a few ideas right now. Since we share the same agent, there's even been talk about possibly doing a Lynch Mob/Michael Sweet thing. If that happens, one of our bands would play and then I would come out with Michael's band or vice versa. But we'll be playing in some context next year.
What can you tell me about the new Lynch Mob record, Sun Red Sun?
Sun Red Sun is a record we started more than two years ago. It was from the last incarnation of the band, which is a great version. There are also four bonus tracks on there as well. We're also just finishing up the music for another new Lynch Mob record that will be coming out next spring. Jeff Pilson is playing bass, Brian Tichy is playing drums along with Oni Logan (vocals) and me. It's a very trippy record.
Can you give me an update on the Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band project?
We're looking to release the film later in 2015. It's going to be a double CD soundtrack that's very eclectic. We did the first record with Vinnie Nicastro on drums. It was a different style, which was something a little cooler and mellower. The second record has Jimmy D'Anda on drums and is a little more focused and heavier. The second record is more of what the band is about.
The last time we spoke, you mentioned the long-shot possibility of a Dokken reunion and record. Do you have an update on that?
We tried for the umpteenth time to get that together as best we could because it made sense on so many levels. We thought we had triangulated all of the issues and finally agreed on things. But everything just blew up with the last few communications from Don. We gave it the old college try, but at the end of the day, it's just not going to happen.
For more about Sweet & Lynch, follow them on Facebook.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.