Interview: Guitarist Tara Lynch Discusses Her Upcoming Solo Record Evil Enough

By Andrew Catania

I had the chance to speak with Guitarist Tara Lynch about her upcoming record, Evil Enough and talk about her special guests appearing on the record.

Let’s discuss this album of yours that you have not sent me any sneak releases of.

I mean you know right now I’m being very careful of what I let out right now because this is a real monumental effort on my part and pulling together all these amazing guys to work with me and you know I don’t want to let any cats out of the bag and I’m sure as you can tell I’ve been very careful about that.

Sure! 

So Trustless is pretty much what people are listening to right now and it’s really sort of a rough.  It will be a little more brilliant-sounding when the entire record is done and it’s mastered and you know all that good stuff.  You know really it’s a preview

Let’s take a look at your history here.  I know Trustless, I’ll get to that in a minute.  You started and you were self-taught playing the guitar, we pretty much discussed that.  Tell me how you started picking up the bass, the drum, the piano and you started working with like it like the  ‘ who’s who of guitar ’  Steve Vai and all them.  How did you meet these guys to study and or play with them? 

So basically, it really all started in South Florida where I was a teenager.  I was born in New York and lived there for about the first 9 years of my life and then the next 9 years was spent in South Florida.  During that time I was 11 and I picked up the guitar.  My brother was playing.  I have an older brother who is five and a half year’s older and since I was born I was always very, very, very desperate about music, very into it.  I wouldn’t go out and play with the kids I’d be home listening to the radio and literally writing down all my favorite songs realizing that  there was a loop that was going on and waiting for the time of day when those songs would be played again and I was kind of maniacal like that about music.  So I was just born that way and then by the time I was 11 for a couple of years my brother was threatening to basically pull the life out of me if I went anywhere near his guitar.  By the time I was 11 I was like you know what, the hell with you! So the minute he left the house I would grab that thing and start playing on it and I literally didn’t know what I was doing.  I just watched you know whatever I saw live and we didn’t have the internet, Youtube or anything like that back then so I watched whatever I could see on like King Biscuit and things like that on television and I was a natural, you know.  I was watching him watching this stuff on t.v. listening to everything.  I have a very-very good ear andI play to this day, I play by ear, completely.  So I might as well have my eyes closed because you really can’t show me anything, I’ve got to hear it and then I can reproduce it and that’s basically how it went.  So I picked up his guitar and played it.  He came home one day and caught me, I thought I was going to die and he said, “how the hell did you learn to play like that?”  Completely freaked out, he gave me the guitar and went and bought himself a new one.  Now I had a guitar 24/7 and I have not put it down since. So fast forward to my teen years.  Well, south Florida is full of a lot of music buzz and things like that.  Bands trying to make it Saigon Kick, some other bands from the 80’s that didn’t really go very far but did try and I became friends with a lot of these people. So that really started my knowing of some people in the business and when you meet one you meet ten.  They introduce you to another one, and other one and another one and so on.  You know all of a sudden years later I know a lot of these people  I’ve also met some of them at charity events and things like that but really it’s just through other friends they multiply that way.  So after I was playing for so many years I was already pretty accomplished at the instrument.  I had naturally just decided to pick up bass along the way, on my own, and decided I wanted to get some drums and give that a whirl too and you know, and really it just came naturally.  So after I was already going on these instruments I never took any lessons like I said so basically I reached out to these friends of mine and said, “hey, I’d like to study with you, you know, any tips any pointer’s?”  So I sat with Steve a few times and I wanted to go over the ability to play some drums for my album and I’m not playing on the album,  however, everybody tells me I give the best demo’s they’ve ever heard because I literally basically play the album and give it to the guy’s.  The guys listen to a demo of basically what’s going to be the end result and then put their own shine on it.  But they already know where I want the fills. They already know where I want everything because I just play it all first or program it first.  So I studied with Chad in order to do that on the drums and made sure I was really doing OK, things like that

Wow!  So you cannot read any sheet music at all?  It’s just all by ear?

I can’t read any sheet music at all whatsoever! It’s 100% by ear and I don’t even know maybe I’m kind of autistic or something

(laughter)

I have no idea what’s going on on the neck.  I just listen.  So if somebody says, “go to the E or go to the whatever”  I look at them like a deer in the headlights and if they play to the E then I’m there in 2 seconds, not even 2 seconds, I’m there in 1,000ths of a second pretty much instantly so you have to show me with sound,  not sight and not yelling letters or scale names or anything like that at me because I can’t even tell you what scale I’m playing.  In fact my producer, I was recording some leads just the other day and doing my usual shredding you know, shreddy parts for example and he just whips his chair around from the board and he’s like, “how the hell did you learn to do that if you don’t even know what you’re doing? How did you learn all those scales and things like that?” and I just said, “I just listen!” I mean to me it’s just that way, it’s just natural, I just listen.  It sounds right!  The progression of notes just sounds right.  I just play what to me sounds right within a piece of music.   So when I write my music, I literally play it as I write it, into my system and record it and then just keep doing tracks and layering it up until at the end of the day I have a whole full song


That is amazing! When you started getting into your late teens, early twenties were you in any bands or were you always a solo person?

You know when I was a teenager I played around with a few teenage party bands you know things like that but nothing worth really mentioning it was just for fun.  A couple of paid gigs, you know at restaurants or stuff like that, no big deal.  I played some classic rock you know, I was pretty much jamming out to things like Edgar Winter and stuff like that.  Grand Funk Railroad you know but no I pretty much only have done a solo thing and it wasn’t until probably in my 30’s that I did any shows anywhere and I did  only do a couple of shows,  one at a film festival and these were acoustic sets much like coffee-house sort of shows so again nothing really noteworthy there.  You know I’ve always taken my craft very seriously and yes I have a lot of friends in the business and I hang around that crowd and they come to my house and I go to theirs you know they know what I can do and they know what I’m capable of. So when I finally decided hey I’m going to do this, oh my God was the support overwhelming!  Everybody was like, “oh I’m in, if you want me, I’m there!” because they know what I’m capable of. So that was really just a huge honor and really quite a telling statement to myself you know that I must be doing something right musically regardless of the fact I haven’t played out professionally out at this level and I’m not going to until this album is finished.  So what a testament to my skills I guess as a songwriter by the way, which is first and foremost because lot’s of people out there can play guitar very-very-very  well but a lot of them can’t write

True! 

And I can write and I’m very proud of that

When you started putting people together, when you look at your resume you’ve got on here, I mean you’ve got one of my favorite singers in the whole wide world, Mark Boals.  Vinny Appice on drums, Bjorn on bass, Tony MacAlpine which is one of my top 5 greatest, Derek can play the keyboards, you’ve got Phil, plus you’ve got Brian on drums they just came forward to offer their support. When you started the process of writing these songs do you write the melodies, the lyrics or do you do the music first?

I write the music first then I write the lyrics.  Then I go back and sometimes make adjustments for the lyrics or I adjust the lyrics for the song.  One way or another.  But I always start everything I always start with the guitar period no matter what every single thing begins on the guitar.  I come up with a riff and that riff is the beginning of the main melody of each song that I write, probably what would be the verse then I just build on that

Is Mark sending the vocals back to you?  Are you guys all producing this in one place at your studio? 

Yes, no-no Mark lives in Las Vegas so he came out here to LA to come to my studio to record for me.  I’m fair because I’m co-producing this album.  This is not being produced by one person this is produced by me and fill in the blank you’ve got Derek Sherinian who produced a couple tracks and the rest is being produced by Brent Woods who’s a phenomenon guitarist himself and a sound engineer and a fantastic producer and I’m really enjoying working with him.  It’s very much a co-production.  I’m involved with everyone’s recording.  The only person who recorded without me present was Brian Tichy, because Derek Sherinian was producing at the time and Brian Tichy is someone that Derek brought in, I didn’t know him, that’s it!

Brian Tichy is a great drummer. 

Absolutely!  When Derek went to Brian and basically said you know my friend Tara is going pro, this is who she is and this is what she does and I totally vouch for her.  Coming from Derek Sherinian, of course,  Brian Tichy is going to say, “ say no more, I’m there, I’m done, I’m involved, no problem ”

We talked before about how you get the musicians for your record and how they have to have this superior sound.  You’re missing one name off here that we talked about, VinMan(Vinnie Moore).  Was it scheduled or you guys just… ? 

(laughter)

You know he’s one of my favorite guitarists and I know you guys are BFF’s and I was like, Vinnie Moore’s not in here….

That’s correct because I’m not stupid and let me explain.  First of all, you know Tony MacAlpine is playing on my record.  He’s playing keyboards.  He’s not playing guitar.

Yes 
He’s playing keyboards only.  I am the only guitarist on this entire record so when you hear all those layers of every single guitar part, that’s me.  I will not have anybody else playing guitar on this record,s not at all whatsoever, that’s my instrument, it’s my album and that’s just how it goes. Tony involved on keys.  He doesn’t play anything but guitars.  So that’s why Vinnie’s not on this record, I know plenty of guitarists that could be on this record with me.  This is a predominantly where the album is going to be half and half.  You’re going to have half songs with vocal and half songs with instrumental OK. But even the vocal songs are still very guitar heavy.  So when you look at that, the whole point is I’m a guitarist, not a singer and I write all of these songs and it’s my work on the instrument that has to shine and my delivery of each song it has to be mine because I wrote it and it has to be delivered the way I want to hear it on guitar.  So I can’t have anybody else playing on guitar with me.

That does make sense 

However, Vinnie Moore has been an excellent friend and a great soundboard and has been you know just a real buddy helping me with advice along the way

Vinnie Moore, I just have to say that!


How far along are you with the record right now?  Is it complete?  

OK, right now I would say we are a little more than half way through the recording stage.  The first half took a really long time.  I had a couple of delay’s and so we had to put things on hold for like a month or two here or there.  The other problem was when that happened I then was fighting the schedule’s of all of my guests and so that’s why it’s taking a little longer than originally anticipated.  Because when I was personally delayed, as you know, my husband was involved in a serious accident.  When that happened the people who were scheduled to record during that time I had to move forward.  So February, this month is a very-very heavy recording month  This month alone I’ve had Glen Sobel in the studio.  On Sunday next week, I’ve got Phil Soussan, Vinny Appice is coming in for me.  I have Bjorn Englen in the studio this month.  So February is a like very-very busy month I’m playing catch up for that time.   But still, the album should be released by mid-2017 as planned.  It was originally going to be early, but it’s going to be mid year.

Are you releasing this on your own independent label and not going through a traditional label?

Yes!  Despite offers I’ve received, absolutely correct!

Fantastic! 

I want to retain total control.  After all, why shouldn’t I?

That is very true,  Most musicians don’t have and can’t retain total control because they have to rely on a label to push out their marketing  and with you doing it independently, you retain total control by how everything is going to be done by your own creativity.  I’m looking forward to hearing this record in its entirety.  What is your gear setup?  I’ve seen so many different guitars.  I’ve seen other ones but do you have a certain rig that you’ve been using to record?

Well, you’re recording so many different guitars and so I’m using several pieces right now but on the album, I’ve narrowed it down to three pieces really. I’m using the Ernie Ball Silhouette Special which has been customized.  I’m using a Les Paul, the Paul Kossoff model, it has a great sound it’s great for rhythm.  I’m also using a Dean Burst that Vinnie used for years for rhythm as well.  For all of my leads are coming out of that Ernie Ball Special, it has such an amazing sound and that’s really what I’m hooked on.  As far as rigs are concerned, I’m using a Diesel Head, I’m using a Marshall Head, I’m using a Friedman Head.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with Friedman

Steve Stevens uses Friedman heads.

This particular model I’m using I think is his actually with the ray gun on it and it’s got such an incredible sound.  Again that’s the rhythm, Marshall is for rhythm.  My leads are all coming out of my Diesel.  It’s a blue face Diesel so it’s a rare one and it’s got just a magnificent sound.  I pretty much use a natural distortion that comes out of the heads and I throw on a little bit of delay.  That’s pretty much it.  I’m not heavy into effects.  It’s funny because everybody asks me what kind of cry baby I use or something like that, what kind of Wah pedal and the answer is, I don’t! That’s how I play naturally 

 No wah pedal? 

No.  Absolutely not.  That’s just naturally how I play.  I tend to have this thing where I scoop into a lot of my notes for some reason.  It’s just natural.  I can’t enter a note like everybody else.  I have my own way.  I’m just kind of swooping or sliding right into my notes somehow and everybody thinks I must be using a Wah pedal at times for that sound and really just  “no, just coming out of my fingers, that’s just my style.”  So really, natural distortion from the apps themselves, no distortion pedals and delay, that’s it

 

Are you going to be taking endorsements from companies or are you going to do your own thing?

I’m going to consider that.  I don’t have anything going yet and I don’t plan to for a while.  Because I’m doing so many different things I want to be careful about the way I go in that direction because a lot of times you then have to use that and only that and be seen with that and only that.  I’m not ready to marry myself to a particular brand yet.

Your album’s going to be released, are you going to be doing any video’s for YouTube for your YouTube channel for any of the songs coming out?  Are you going to embrace YouTube?  Do you think YouTube works against itself?  Because I’ve interviewed some guitarists that say YouTube has kind of hollowed the instrument because you have all these teenagers coming up here who are playing 1,000 notes a second.  What is going to be your take on YouTube with this album? 

Well, which is the reason you do not see a lot from me going on on Youtube.  It’s not really where I focus because of exactly what you mentioned.  You know everyone and their mother gets on Youtube.  All these kids from the “ Youtube generation” get on there and basically watch videos like mine, do you know how many people have sent me back their version of 25 seconds of what I do?

I can imagine

It’s unbelievable, really haven’t placed my focus there.  Will I eventually?  Possibly if it’s necessary.  Right now, I’m not really thinking about it a whole lot.  I post some things there.  It’s the same stuff you see on Facebook for example but I’m really relying on a lot of – I have a publicist as you know and he’s placing press releases where you know where he thinks is necessary and a lot of that are different web scenes and publications and things like that.  As far as videos are concerned, everything will go on my website directly and whatever I post on Facebook will end up on YouTube as well.  You know unless you spend advertising dollars on YouTube, nobody is going to see anything and we really haven’t put anything there so that’s something maybe down the road.

With you being a woman in this male predominantly do you find anything more difficult or everybody treats you just the same?    

No, sometimes it can be a little more difficult simply because some of these guys that are meeting me for the first time on the record, not  my guest artists who all know me but you know,  the engineer’s, the runner’s whatever when I walk in there for the first time,  for example,  they automatically think I’m a singer which is amazing.  Someone recently said in fact, this is a great example, it was on one of my posts and I can’t remember which one it was and it really doesn’t matter but  It was a regurgitation of one of the things my publicist put out here where it said “ Female Guitar Shredder Tara Lynch “ blah blah blah blah blah… and someone said, “do they really have to say female?” My answer to that is, “unfortunately, yes!”  Because they see my face on the album cover, there’s a guitar there too.  They automatically think I’m a singer if they don’t literally say, “ female guitarist “ and it’s gotten to the point to where some people think I’m the one singing on track list and they’re like, “you sing so great” and I’m like, “ that is not me, that’s Mark Boals, that’s not me that’s a man,  I’m singing backtrack but that’s it!“

Right

So for some reason, even though you have some phenomenal female guitarists out there doing their things brilliantly, it’s still so few of them that think people think automatically you must be a vocalist if you’re a woman forget any other instrument.   And so yes, I think it’s kind of irritating that we have to put up with the word “female” there for that reason so they understand that this is a guitarists record, this is not a singer’s record, do you understand?

I do! Lita Ford told me when I interviewed her I was talking to her about it, she said it’s almost criminal when you have to do it in this age especially with what she’s gone through after the last 35 – 40 years.  She told me basically that you shouldn’t do that and ever since I have spoken to her, I have taken her advice 100% and I don’t.  And you know I push female artists, you know I post you all the time.  I don’t even put ‘female’ in there I put, “ guitarist ‘Tara Lynch’, her album is coming out this way, she’s got, she’s got these guests “ and that’s how it should be but unfortunately in this day and age we’ve still got people that when the stone age that they have that prehistoric thinking and that’s something you’ve guy’s have got to face unfortunately today with some people but I understand. 

That’s why you see a guitar with me in every picture.  I can’t be photographed without one.  If there’s even one photograph with me without a guitar, people automatically think I am a singer.  If I’m holding a guitar, they think I am Sheryl Crow, they think I’m going to sing with the guitar.  I mean let’s face it, that’s the world we live in. The overwhelming percentage of females out there on the stage are vocalists

That’s true 


 There’s more and more coming out that are playing instrument’s now but now really if you look at the entire music scene as a whole, forget genre, females are dominantly vocalists.  They’re not really instrumentalists so it’s still a very small niche thing that is going on and it may be that way for years to come but I’m hoping that I’ll help break down that barrier.  When I have, you know one thing I’m doing differently although I’m capable of doing a full vocal record, I’m not because I write these lyrics with great thought, this is autobiographical for the diary of the record and a lot of things that I want to say and I want to get out there in my artful way and I wanted man to sing it because in this style of music that I write, personally, I don’t hear a woman’s voice, so I wouldn’t get a woman vocalist to do it either.  And when I wrote the songs,  of course, I wrote them with Mark in mind because he’s got my favorite voice I just love his voice so much.  It’s perfect for the style I write

Absolutely!  Who are you listening to these days in terms of music?

Ghost.  I’m a huge fan of Ghost.  I think they’re absolutely fantastic.  I love everything they’ve got going on

That’s an interesting choice, Ghost! They’re opening up for Iron Maiden this summer. Very nice! 

Yes! I’m so excited about that tour.  That’s going to be a lot of fun.  Yes, they have really done a great job of incorporating all the throwbacks hooks and sounds of the 70s with a modern vibe.  It’s just brilliant work, really!  I’m a huge fan of Faith No More’s  latest record Sol Invictus, that’s fantastic.  I have a very-very large variety of musical taste it’s not just in the metal realm.  But really I’d say the  newest thing that I’ve just absolutely have become hooked on would be Ghost.

What are the rest of your plans for 2017 after you get Evil Enough out? Do you have plans to tour or nothing else to do besides that?  

After Evil Enough is out sort of the press storm is going to happen and then I am going to be meeting with promoters and things like that and figuring out a tour.  I’m probably going to get out on the festival circuit right out of the gate.  I’ll probably start the live shows in 2018 because the rest of 2017 will probably be needed to throw the show together, rehearse, pick who is going to play with me live.  I’m going to try to get some folks from the record of course but I may not be able to get everybody because everybody you know Glen is on tour with Alice Cooper all the time for example.  It really depends on people’s availability.

Mark on vocals?

Mark on vocals I would love to have Mark on vocals absolutely but  again, that depends on his availability.  That is my intention of course.

Fantastic!  That will be great.  We’ll see you out there on the 2018 Tour festival!

Follow Tara Lynch @

www.taralynch.com

https://www.facebook.com/TaraLynchOfficial/

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