In 1989, legendary guitarist George Lynch parted ways with his former band Dokken. In the days to follow, he would go on for the Lynch Mob and join forces with one of rock’s most unique voices, Oni Logan. 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of Lynch Mob’s debut release “Wicked Sensation,” which is the band’s most popular work to date achieving gold-selling status. However, it isn’t like Lynch and Logan to rest on their laurels. Lynch Mob is back once more and stand ready to unleash their eighth studio album, “Rebel”, on August 21 via Frontiers Music Srl.
From the blistering album opener “Automatic Fix” to the album closer “War,” Lynch Mob is back to show fans why they are one of the most-loved rock bands. The Lynch Mob line-up on “Rebel” is comprised of namesake George Lynch on guitars, Oni Logan on vocals, Jeff Pilson on bass and Brian Tichy on drums. Songs like “Testify,” “Sanctuary,” and “Dirty Money” showcase Oni Logan’s trademark vocal ability while putting his diverse lyrical content on full display. The album was produced by George Lynch collaborator Chris “The Wizard” Collier.
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Oni Logan to discuss his life in music, his early memories of joining forces with guitar legend George Lynch and the rise of the Lynch Mob, the main of their new album, ‘Rebel,’ and what the future may hold for him musically.
Music has been a huge part of your life. What are your first memories of music and what drove you to make your passion a career?
Music is such a powerful thing. There were several things that impacted me musically as a kid. There were albums like “Frampton Comes Alive” to Led Zeppelin’s first two or three albums to Rush’s “2112.” For me, music was a way of relating to my friends. It was something we all shared together. Looking at the album art and listening to them were an amazing experience. I can remember looking at the album art for Van Halen’s first record and hearing it for the first time and being blown away. At a very age, I felt the bug and caught the bug, which led to me starting to play drums at 9 years old. I continued doing that until I was 17, when I was asked by my brother to start singing. I got up to the microphone and I got to singing the blues. I loved stuff like Robert Plant and Steve Marriott. All I can say is that music just consumed me and it was all I thought about day in and day out. I had this perception of possibly doing music for real, coming out to California, being a recording artist and being up on stage. It was tunnelvision! I just didn’t stop and eventually it came into fruition by me getting the right opportunities and the right contacts. The next thing I knew, I got the opportunity to come out to LA and I am in front of 9,000 people playing alongside George Lynch in his new band, the Lynch Mob. For me, there are so many great influences but it is more the classic rock people who had an impact on me. I still love those people very much! I don’t know what else to tell you other than I am a lucky guy who got a lucky break! I just managed to be at the right place at the right time and was lucky enough to be able to hold a tune together!
Building on that, what are your first recollections of meeting George Lynch and the early days of Lynch Mob?
My first recollection of meeting George? It was a bit of a slow build. He was like the president at the time. [laughs] He was sending out people to talk to me at different places in Hollywood. For instance, I would be at The Roxy or The Rainbow and a certain person would come up to me and give me the line, “Hey. I just heard George is looking at you to be his new singer.” This all built up over a months time and finally he showed up with Mick Brown at The Whisky. That was my first look at George being naughty! I say that because he did have a nasty reputation of doing that sometimes back in the day. We were all younger and a bit mischievous! [laughs] They were just rock ‘n’ roll guys with attitudes at the top of their game. They came in and said, “We’re going to take your singer and that is all there is to it.” That was my first impression of him as a badass! The dude with the horns! That was my first impression of him!
It has been 25 years since the release of Lynch Mob’s first album, “Wicked Sensation.” What are some of your fondest memories of bringing it to the masses?
I can tell you one highlight. Those guys had flown me out to Arizona and put me up in an apartment. I was still without a car and I was borrowing George’s old 1965 Corvair, which was a rag top. I remember driving along the highway and I was listening to 98 KUPD, which was a great rock station. That is when I heard “Wicked Sensation” for the first time on the radio! I was shaking in my seat, man! I couldn’t believe I was hearing myself on the radio. It was one of the richest times of my life. I was by myself and it just happened to come on. I pulled over on the side of that desert road and screamed because it was so fuckin’ cool! That was one of the great experiences. There were so many others! We toured with Queensryche in Europe a month-and-a-half. Going around Europe with those guys, we were playing big arenas in front of 13,000 people. I believe it was the Operation: Mindcrime Tour. We also toured around with Cinderella back in the day and played Hershey Park, Pennsylvania in front of 10,000 people. I wish I could really have cherished it back then and bottled it up so I could savor it every once and awhile. Those moments go by so quickly and you wish you could have them back sometimes. However, we have experienced some special moments these days as well. For example, I hit the road with ol’ George Lynch again and we realized it was still fun! It was fun to be up on stage together again, play our songs that everybody loves and see the smiling faces of the fans enjoying their time. Some of the fans even bring their sons and daughters to introduce them to what could possibly be a new sound to them. Those are special moments that I definitely cherish and will take with me! As you get older, we all start realizing you have to take time to really enjoy it because it goes by so quick!
Lynch Mob has a brand new album on the way titled “Rebel.” That is certainly worth celebrating. What changed and what stayed the same when it comes to creating a Lynch Mob record?
Nothing has really changed. The basic formula is still us doing what we do. George comes up with riffs and then I come up with the melodies and the lyrics. We don’t force it and we don’t think about it too much. What you have is a natural progression when it comes to writing. On the recording end of it, the tones of a record are pretty natural when it comes to the drum, bass, guitar and voice tones. That means it still sounds like a rock band and isn’t oversaturated with plug-ins people are using these days to make things sound better. We like to keep it organic. What I hope people recognize is that we still care about what we do. We care very deeply about what we do. We don’t throw shit together just to put something out there to collect some bread! We honestly get involved and connected with it because, as artists, we always want to keep evolving. When I listen to our songs, I want to be able to sit back at the end of the day and say, “That is a damn good song!” I want to be able to pat myself on the back and that is the payoff for me. We only hope that people will give this record a chance. Sit back and listen to it a few times. Have a little patience! Don’t do it for just me but for all the other rock ‘n’ roll acts out there. Give these releases some time and really listen to them, as we used to do in the past. Then you truly know what songs work on you and which ones didn’t. I think in today’s world, we don’t have the attention spans to give things a chance. Instead, we just act on impulse and immediately say, “This song works on me. This one doesn’t. Next!” I hope people will give all creative people a chance and the time to understand their craft and what they are trying to do.
How have you most evolved as an artist through the years?
I think I have become a better listener along the way and have become more motivated with my decisions and reactions. I feel I am now a person with deeper thoughts in regard to songwriting and anything else in life. I love writing music, going into the studio and performing, now more than ever. I think what I have taken from all these years gone by is a sense of maturity, a sense of depth and the ability to be comfortable in my own skin. I really love what I do and I consider it an honor and a blessing to still be able to do this. I am still kicking out the jams, the voice feels good and I am healthy! I am a lucky guy to be able to say all those things!
Where do you see yourself headed in the future when it comes to music? Is there anything you are still anxious to take on?
You know, I love all sorts of music and I am open to experimentation. I grew up in South Florida, so I was a big fan of the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and classic rock. I would love to do a classic rock album some day with some classic rock players who really understand that type of music. I would also love to work with different people and co-write songs. I hope to perform until I am much older but at some point you have to call it a day. I don’t see myself slowing down for a long time but I certainly love to branch off and work with different writers, singers and guitar players. That is where I see myself in the future, being a songsmith. You never know, I might write something good that ends up on the radio!
What can you tell us about your songwriting process at this point in your career?
Well, let’s see. I light a bunch of candles … [laughs] I’m just kidding! In the past I used to do that and the whole mood had to be right for the recording and everything else and it does help with the vibrations. There really is no sequence. What I do is almost like chipping away at stone and carve something out. That process of chipping away is where I find words or melodies that I haven’t used or heard before and really putting a spin on the lyrics that no one has done before. It is all about sitting down and focusing because you have to dig deep and find something to say. Sometimes it isn’t there and you have to settle down and say, “Listen, don’t take your shit so seriously and write the song the way it wants to be written. Let it be what it wants to be.” That holds true for any song, even if it is just a hip shaker kind of song. I have learned through the years to focus, try to do my best work and not to take myself as seriously as I did in the past. I spent a lot of years trying to take myself too seriously! I wanted to be Pink Floyd but it didn’t work out! [laughs] I am Oni Logan and that is all I can expect, ya know?! We all want to be brilliant but sometimes it just doesn’t work out!
That is a great perspective to have! I want to thank you for your time today, Oni! The new record is really great and we wish you continued success!
Thank you, man! I appreciate your continued support! Do play the record, man! It’s a good one and I hope everyone out there enjoys it!
Lynch Mob’s “Rebel” will be released on August 21st via Frontiers Music Srl. Pre-order the new Lynch Mob album “Rebel” from Frontiers Records at this location.