Autograph Guitarist / Guitar Teacher
FIB MUSIC: What's new? What's in the future?
Steve Lynch: I've been setting up a teaching site called lynchlicks.com which should
be up by the middle of April. It will consist of 100 guitar lick videos of
some of my favorite tricks, tapping techniques and picking licks. It will
also have 18 guitar solos on video that will be explained in detail after
the performance of each one. This is also the way the 100 licks will be
explained, step by step. The site will have all four Autograph albums and
my Network 23 CD on it as well as my instructional video and 3
instructional books on PDF(Adobe Acrobat Reader) format. I'm also in the process of recording a
new solo CD that will be almost entirely instrumental.
FIB MUSIC: Talk a little about your school in Seattle.
Steve: The music school I opened a few years ago is designed to give students
the best private instruction to enhance their career in music. We teach
guitar, bass, drums, percussion, piano, voice, violin, cello, viola, saxophone, clarinet, flute, french
horn, trumpet and trombone.
FIB MUSIC: Tell us about recording Network 23's debut album.
Steve: The new album will be almost entirely instrumental as I mentioned
before and will be an assortment of eclectic, ethereal sounds geared for
listening pleasure and mood enhancement. I'm not making an album for radio
play and don't wish to go that route in the future either. I play now for
the sheer enjoyment of it and to create sounds that will be pleasing to
the listener. Commercial success is not on my agenda in regards to my
Steve Lynch and Steve Plunkett of Autograph
FIB MUSIC: You started out your musical career playing bass, then switched to guitar on
September 18, 1970. Can you tell us what is special about that date and why the
Steve: It was the day Jimi Hendrix passed on to the other side and I was grief
stricken by the loss. I always wanted to play guitar instead of bass but
there was already a guitar player on my block and he asked me if I would
learn bass so we could put a band together, so I did. But a year later I
moved to a different part of Seattle and started playing around with the
guitar instead. When Hendrix died I made a promise to myself that I was
going to commit my life to playing guitar and
almost 40 years later am still commited to that promise.
FIB MUSIC: Your 2-handed tapping technique is legendary. Can you tell us a little about the
origins of it and how you developed it over the years?
Steve: The first time I saw Harvey Mandel play was when I was first exposed to
the technique back in 1971 or '72. I then tried to emulate what he was
doing but didn't have the technical knowledge of theory to quite
understand how it was done. When I attended the Guitar Institute of
Technology back in 1978 there was a guy by the name of Emmett Chapman who
had invented an instrument called The Stick who did a clinic there in the
early part of 1978. The instrument consists of ten strings in which one
hand plays the 5 bass strings and the other plays the melodies and solos
on thinner strings. I was amazed by the sounds and the technique and
cornered him after the clinic to show him some of the things I had done
and in return he showed me some of the things he had done on guitar with
the technique. At that point a light bulb went off in my head and I
started applying everything I learned at the school to using both hands.
FIB MUSIC: You were one of the first graduates of the Guitar Institute of Technology and
voted "Student of the Year" as well as "Most Likely to Succeed". Anything
stick out in your memory from GIT's early days?
Steve: It was a great experience just going there and being in an atmosphere
of professionalism that I had previously never been exposed to. The
teachers were great, the students were great and everyone was happy to be
in such a generous learning environment. To attend GIT was one of the best
decisions of my life. The awards and respect from fellow students and
teachers was an incredible honor but the experience itself was what proved
to be the most gratifying.
FIB MUSIC: How did Dan Mock, Harvey Mandel, and Emmett Chapman help influence your style.
Steve: Well, Harvey Mandell and Emmett Chapman were already introduced in a
previous question but as far as Don Mock goes I consider him to be one of
the most influencial people in my life. He was and still is such a
brilliant player that I'm amazed that he's not a household name in the
world of guitar. But that's not Don, he doesn't care about the glitz and
glam of the whole thing, he just loves to play. It's that attitude that I
try to encompass myself with these days and is one of the key things that
I have learned from him, to just love what you're doing.
FIB MUSIC: What were the recording sessions with Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Steve: Yes, I was nervous as hell! It was my first professional session in a
real LA studio and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. They loved what I
recorded but I heard some time later that they scrapped all the songs and
re-did the entire album. So I was left on the cutting room floor so to
speak with Steve Lukather and many others that guested on the album.
FIB MUSIC: When did you move to Los Angeles and what were your early experiences like there?
Steve: I moved there in February of 1978 to attend GIT and was overwhelmed
with how big LA was. Seattle at that time was a realtively small city so
moving to such an ominous one was definitely a cultural shock. I fell in
love with it right away and learned that I was in with the big boys of the
music world. It was time to go to work!
FIB MUSIC: What were the early days playing clubs like? What bands did you play with?
Steve: I played in groups called Outlawed, Yellow Dog, Ross Taylor Band and
Silverload in the Seattle area until leaving for LA in '78. I didn't like
the club scene and I didn't enjoy playing other people's music. It was very
beneficial for the experience of playing live and learning how songs were
arranged but was very unsatisfying for me professionally. I decided to go
to GIT after I found out my early guitar teacher Don Mock had moved there to
help open the school. After graduating I found myself in bands like Savoy
Brown, Holly Penfield, Looker, Wolfgang, The Word and several others before
forming Autograph. The local club scene in LA was disappointing as well
but I still found it a good learning experience because I was honing my
playing and writing chops.
FIB MUSIC: How did you hook up with Steve Plunkett, Randy Rand, Steve Isham and Keni Richards.
Steve: I knew them from playing with Looker and Wolfgang. Some members were
the same that ended up in Autograph. We were all local LA club guys.
In the studio with Autograph
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Steve Plunkett?
Steve: Steve Plunkett was only into writing commercial songs that were
intended for radio play. This is where we creatively butted heads because
I wanted to be more experimental whereas he wanted to write nothing but
radio friendly hits. I guess it was a sign of the times, being commercially
intent, but I loved groups that had more depth to their creativity and were
into expanding the boundaries.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Randy Rand?
Steve: Randy was a wild man and thought of life as one big long party. It was
fun rooming with him for years. Coming up with unique bass parts was
second nature to Randy and being on stage was like being at home to him.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Steve Isham?
Steve: Steve was a great friend and understood the constraints of working
with a commercially driven band more than I did. He not only came up with
great vocal harmonies but was always adding something that would take us
out of the mainstream LA sound of the time. I miss him and his passing was
a great loss to us all.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Keni Richards?
Steve: Keni was a great four on the floor drummer and the true comedian of
the band. He had an undeniably unique attitude about music and how he
perceived the world.
FIB MUSIC: How did the 1984 tour with Van Halen come about?
Steve: That was through Keni. He was jogging every day with David Lee Roth
when he played a demo of ours for him. David loved it and asked Keni if we
would like to tour with them on their 1984 tour. The next day Keni came to
rehearsal and mentioned the proposal from David, which we gladly accepted.
FIB MUSIC: What was it like touring with Van Halen? Any cool stories from the road?
Steve: The experience was really good but there were a lot of restrictions. I
was told I couldn't use my hammering technique because it was "Eddie's
thing", which I was completely turned off by, especially when I
had developed the technique years before I had ever heard of him. The
other things that we were restricted were we couldn't say the name
of the city we were in because that was "Davids's thing", we were very
limited in our volume to a point of being ridiculous, they wouldn't allow
us to put our name on the marquee, we had to be out of the backstge
hallways before and after their show....and the list went on and on. I
thought it all was a big joke, but realized it wasn't when they said if any
of the "rules" were broken we would be fired from the tour immediately.
FIB MUSIC: Describe the process of the band coming up with a name. Where did you come up
with the name and what were some other names being thrown around before you decided
on "Autograph" ?
Steve: We came up with the name on the way to our first gig with Van Halen.
We thought about the name Red Cross and a few others that each of us had
compiled a list of, but the only one that was to last and voted upon
unanimously was Autograph.
FIB MUSIC: When were you approached by RCA? What was the feeling like in the band upon
learning of the record deal?
Steve: It wasn't immediate, there was a lot of negotiating to be done
first, but once it was a done deal we were all ecstatic about it.
FIB MUSIC: Was "Turn Up the Radio" really written just two days before you went in the
studio to record "Sign In Please", and did you guys realize it would be such a
Steve: Yes, it was a last minute song that RCA didn't even want on the album
because they thought it had no commercial value. Goes to show you what the
music "professionals" know. We insisted on it until we finally got our
way. We didn't realize there was going to be any commercial success from
that song or for the the band in general because we were all accustomed to
how things worked (or didn't work) in the music industry.
Steve Lynch with guitar legends Al Dimeola, Les Paul, Johnny Winter and Larry Coryell at the
New York Guitar Expowhere. Lynch was presented with an award from Guitar Player magazine.
FIB MUSIC: Where did you record "Sign In Please"?
Steve: We recorded it at the Record Plant in LA.
FIB MUSIC: How long did it take?
Steve: It took 30 days to record and master. We were seasoned musicians in
the studio so worked very fast and were always well prepared.
FIB MUSIC: In 1985, "Sign In Please" went platinum. How did the band receive the news?
Steve: Paul Atkinson, the vice-president of RCA called us while we were on the
road to give us the news.
FIB MUSIC: Also in '85, Guitar Player magazine awarded you "Guitar Solo of the Year"
for your work on "Turn Up the Radio". How did you find out about the award? Was
there any kind of ceremony?
Steve: I found out through a phone call as well but was on the road so there
were no official festivities. I was deeply honored that I would be
considered for such an award.
FIB MUSIC: Tell us about recording "You Can't Hide from the Beast Inside" for the
movie "Fright Night". Any cool stories about that recording session?
Steve: Again, we were on the road when we wrote the song and recorded it by
flying back to LA for a couple days. Immediately afterwards we were back
out touring again. We did this several times while on tour. Our schedule
didn't slow down until the very end.
FIB MUSIC: In 1985 you released "That's the Stuff". Any cool, sucked, or great
moments stand out from the recording sessions?
Steve: We recorded that album with RCA thinking we had Tom Treumuth (not sure
about the spelling) producing it, but little did RCA know, we sent Tom home
after a few days in the studio when he realized we were doing just fine on
our own. So, we ended up producing the album ourselves. Then, of course, (we) went
right back out on the road.
FIB MUSIC: How about the recording sessions for "Winning Is Everything" on the soundtrack of the film
"Youngblood"? Anything stand out?
Steve: We were on the road during this one also, so flew back in for a quick
recording session and back out again.
FIB MUSIC: In support of "That's the Stuff", you toured with Motley Crue and Heart.
Any cool stories from the road?
Steve: Heart was great to us and so were Motley Crue! Completely different
from the Van Halen tour. Both Heart and the Crue boys were very generous
with anything we wanted when it came to
sound, amenities, support, equipment....anything, you name it; they were there
for us. With Motley Crue we would end up waking up on their tour bus and
they would wake up on ours. It really didn't matter because we were all
going to the same city but never knew which bus we would wake up on. It
was some of the most fun I have had in my entire life, even though there is
quite a lot of "missing time". Put it this way, I quit drinking for five
years after that tour.
FIB MUSIC: "Loud and Clear" was released in the Spring of '87. Any cool, sucked, or
great moments stand out?
Steve: It was a great experience working with producer Andy Johns on that
project. We had been trying to work with him since the first two but our
schedules never worked out. RCA was going through a tough time with
president Bob Summers' death and the transition of power to Bob Bousiak.
This resulted in an alarming disarray among the staff at RCA and they
made some very poor business decisions, not only on our part but also with
Mister Mister, The Eurythmics, The Pointer Sisters and Kenny Rogers to name
a few. The promotion for the album was almost non-existent and there was
no tour support. They fired half of their staff in New York and hired a
bunch of little college yuppies that had no idea what they were doing. We
actually had to tell them how to do their job. Welcome to the music
FIB MUSIC: What was it like working with Andy Johns?
Steve: It was great, as I mentioned before we had been waiting to work with
Andy for years. His production ideas were very inventive but we found
ourselves very disappointed with the mixing job he did. We found out later
that he was equally disappointed with that aspect.
FIB MUSIC: The video for "Loud and Clear" had appearances by Ozzy Osbourne and Vince Neil of the
Crue. What was it like working with those guys and did you generally enjoy the
process of making videos?
Steve: It was really enjoyable working with these guys. They were both
friends of ours and Ozzy literally kept everone in hysterics during the
filming. I don't usually like filming videos because they are so tiring
with the long hours and playing the same damn song over and over, but with
them on the set it made it a lot more fun.
FIB MUSIC: What were the "Headbanger's Ball" appearances like? Anything stand out?
Steve: Yeah, the one we guest hosted with Ozzy was a really cool experience.
He had just gotten out of the Betty Ford Center that morning and when he
tried to read the teleprompter he started shaking so badly his hair (which
was spikey then) started shaking. The cameraman told him he had to stop
shaking so much because it was making his hair shake as well. After about
40 attempts he asked Sharon to go get him a six pack so he could get
through. She argued with him about it because he had only been out of
treatment for a few hours. He then yelled at her saying "Sharon, just get
me a fucking six pack", which she did. He drank it all in about 20 minutes
and said "roll tape" and got it perfect the first try. We laughed so hard
we thought we were going to piss ourselves.
FIB MUSIC: On Oct. of '87 the band appeared in "Like Father Like Son", a Dudley
Moore/Kirk Cameron film. Any memories stick out from your foray into the film
Steve: We video taped that live with rented equipment then had to fly out
that night to play the first gig on the next tour, talk about a hectic
schedule. I really enjoyed working with the camera crew on the movie. They
were so much more professional than the crew you work with filming videos.
They were extemely fast and efficient.
FIB MUSIC: Early in '88 you left RCA Records. What were some of the reasons and what were
the last days with RCA like?
Steve: Our three album deal was up with RCA and we were glad to move on.
There were no harsh feelings but they were in such a shambles and we were
on such a roll that we knew the end of the relationship was a positive
FIB MUSIC: Why did the band decide not to replace Steve Isham when he left the band?
Steve: We were into creating a heavier sound at that time and decided not to
have keyboards any longer, except for a few parts here and there which
either myself or Steve Plunkett could have done in the studio.
FIB MUSIC: What happened with the Epic Records deal?
Steve: We were in the midst of cutting demos for them but they kept wanting
to hear more. I got frustrated after a certain point and started to
realize the Autograph days were coming to a close. At that point I had
been writing in a completely different direction from Autograph and
decided one day at rehearsal to throw in the towel. Since I initiated it
the others joined in and agreed it was time to call it quits. There were
no bad feelings whatsoever, we had taken it for a six year ride and had
learned a lot and had a lot of fun along the way.
FIB MUSIC: Out of all the bands you toured with over the years which did you enjoy sharing
the bill with the most? Which were the most professional and which ones were just
Steve: They were all professional but the one I didn't enjoy touring with
was Van Halen because of the restrictions. With the exception of Michael
Anthony I'd have to say I didn't care for the personalities, maybe it was
due to so much infighting within the band but they were
uncomfortable to be around. Don't get me wrong though, I appreciate what
the Van Halen tour did for us but it was not due to any individual part by
the members of Van Halen. Every other band was absolutely great to be with
and very accomodating.
THE FAST 5
FIB MUSIC: What is your most disgusting habit?
Steve: I have no vices now, my friends say I just work too hard.
FIB MUSIC: What is the most feminine thing you do?
Steve: I don't watch sports, I couldn't care less about team competition, it
just doesn't make any sense to me; if you can even call that being
FIB MUSIC: If there is a God, what is the first question you would ask God when you arrive?
Steve: What the fuck is that bullshit you call the human race?!!!
FIB MUSIC: Greatest Rock band of all time?
Steve: Toss up between Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
FIB MUSIC: What were you doing 40 minutes before you sat down to do this interview?
Steve: Watching 60 Minutes.
Make sure to visit Steve's website:
The Official Steve Lynch Website