INTERVIEW: Cold Chisel’s Ian Moss

Cold Chisel are one of a kind. Their music is equally likely to appeal to the guitar nerd down the street as it is to the guy who fixes the hole in the roof, the lady who makes your coffee, your doctor. Yet somehow the band never seemed to make it big outside of Australia. Maybe it was just a case of wrong time, wrong place. But perhaps the democratisation of music will open new doors for the reformed band. Perhaps new album No Plans will be their big chance to show the rest of the world what they’re capable of: soul and blues-tinged rock with the powerful vocals of Jimmy Barnes [geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]- you might know him from the band Living Loud with Steve Morse, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake – [/geo-out]and the brilliant guitar work of Ian Moss. Produced by Kevin Shirley, No Plans must be a difficult album for the band. It’s their first in 14 years, and the first without drummer Steve Prestwich, who died in January 2011. One of his compositions, “I Got Things To Do,” is on the album, along with some new tracks played on the band’s record-breaking Light the Nitro tour of 2011. “In late 2009 the five of us made plans to record together again and do a tour,” As Barnes says. “After lots of twists and turns that’s exactly what we’ve ended up doing but due to Steve’s passing those plans changed a lot along the way. The last two years have reminded all of us that sometimes life deals up things you don’t expect. You can’t take anything or anyone for granted. Sometimes it’s best to have no plans.”

I Heart Guitar: No Plans is a pretty diverse album. It goes through a lot of different moods. Was that the plan? 

Ian Moss: I guess it’s hard to be objective. I was kind of hoping it’d seem like more of a unified record, so it’s interesting to hear that there are lots of different styles. I guess over and above, we were trying to achieve raw power.

Well the title track, which starts the album, definitely does that. It kicks off very strongly.

Yeah! The distinctive tones of Barnes. The first thing you hear is Barnes. And hopefully that edge. Because there were really no overdubs. We went for it. We’re all in it together here and we played til  we got it right. That gave it a bit of oomph.

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INTERVIEW: George Lynch

Mr Scary. That muscly guy from Dokken. The dude with the cool kamikaze print and 3D carved skull guitars. George Lynch has been cranking out warm-toned, complex riffs and impossibly catchy-yet-flashy guitar solos for over 25 years with various bands including Lynch Mob and Lynch/Pilson, as well as eclectic solo works like his 1993 classic ‘Sacred Groove.’ Lynch was in Australia for a clinic tour in 2006 and he’s returning in December with the reactivated Lynch Mob, who are demoing a new album before George goes back to work with his other band, Souls Of We, an altogether darker project whose album ‘Let The Truth Be Known’ is out now (click here to buy it from Amazon.com).

PETER: Who is in the Lynch Mob line-up now?

LYNCH: Oni Logan is back on vocals. We have Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake) on bass and Scott Coogan on drums.

PETER: From Brides of Destruction?

LYNCH: Yeah. Scott also played with Oni in a band called Violet’s Demise, which an amazing record.

PETER: Are you guys recording anything now?

LYNCH: Yes, we have about 3/4 of the album done. We reconvene in late November to finish it, and will continue finishing it til the end of the year. But I’ve got a Souls of We record coming out, which has been five years of work. I’m not sure when that’s going to be released in Australia – actually I’m going to have to look into it. But it’s being released in Japan, the United States and Europe.

PETER: And how far along is the new Lynch Mob stuff? Do you have a label yet?

LYNCH: No, it’s too soon, we haven’t even shopped the record yet. We’re just writing songs. I don’t think these songs are even in the form they’re going to be on the record. We assumed it would be, well, we were aiming for a Wicked Sensation vibe, but I’m hestiant to say it’s more of a Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi vibe. It has elements of it, but of course it gets heavier.

PETER: What is the setlist like for these Lynch Mob gigs?

LYNCH: It’s a mix of the first Lynch Mob record, and sprinkled with a few Dokken tunes. Plus whatever we feel like jamming on that night!

PETER: A lot of my friends would kill me if I didn’t ask if you have any new ESP signature guitars in the works.

LYNCH: I’ve always got stuff in the pipeline. Right now I have a weird design on the table that will probably never be produced. It’s a Lexan body with a carbon fibre exoskeleton and a throbbing rose coloured LED embedded in the body. Maybe ESP will agree to build one as a NAMM showpiece. I’m hoping. Right now the newest model that I play is the ESP GL57, a vintage-y, beat up lookin’ copy of a vintage Strat, which I had a VG control built into. It’s like an extreme rock guitar for a Stevie Ray Vaughan.

PETER: How do you go about designing a guitar with ESP?

LYNCH: I start with a sketch. I studied mechanical drawing in school and I have a small design studio. I’ll start with a freehand design then move the shape over to a graphic program like Graphite. Then eventually to a full-blown CAD program like Maxicam. I also work with luthiers and finishers on the construction and selection of the components. I’ll work with Seymour Duncan on the pickups, and a machine shop on metal parts design. I designed a custom “V” tailpiece for the high end ESP Super V, but we never finished it.

PETER: You now have a few Seymour Duncan pickups, including the new Super V. What is the creative process in making a new signature pickup?

LYNCH: We usually start with something existing. PAF always a nice start. I’m working on using different kinds of wire and windings, different gauge windings for each bobbin, different diameter and length pole piece screws, potting, etc.

PETER: What is your philosophy on distortion?

LYNCH: Less is more.

PETER: How do you generate your distortion?

LYNCH: I’m always switching out overdrive pedals. Right now I’m switching between Analog Man King of Tone, Naked OD, Keeley hand-wired point-to-point time machine boost (Lynch Model) and a Cusak Tube Screamer.

PETER: Tell us about the Lynch Box amp with Randall. How does it adapt to your different musical personalities?

LYNCH: Dave Freeman, Bruce Egnator and I worked from the bottom up, designing modules that matched some of my favorite amps: early Boogie Recto’s, Marshall Plexis, Vox AC30s, etc. I started out with Randall in the very early 80’s. I worked with Gary Sunds on the RG 100. So I’ve come full circle with them by getting on board again 25 years later. We plan on re-releasing the RG 100 amp in the next couple years. It was a very unique amp with a signature sound, and it was all transistor!

CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch’s Souls of We – Let the Truth Be Known from Amazon.com
CLICK HERE to buy the Randall MTS Series Lynch Box 100W amp head with modules
CLICK HERE to buy the ESP George Lynch M-1 Tiger electric guitar
CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch: The Lost Anthology on CD from CDJapan.co.jp

CLICK HERE to buy George Lynch’s instructional guitar DVD from Sheet Music Plus

Lynch Mob Australian Tour Dates December 2008

PERTH – Monday 8th December – Capitol, Perth
Tickets: http://www.justsayrock.com.au/, BOCS tickets, http://www.moshtix.com.au/

MELBOURNE – Wednesday 10 December – The Hi Fi Bar
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, Metal Mayhem: (03) 9621-1666, http://www.thehifi.com.au/

SYDNEY – Thursday 11 December – The Metro Theatre (All Ages)
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, http://www.themetrotheatre.com.au/

BRISBANE – Friday 12 December – The Arena
Tickets: www.justsayrock.com.au, http://www.oztix.com/, The Arena Box Office