|George Lynch and Jeff Pilson - T&N - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Sunday, 27 January 2013 03:30|
Three quarters of the ‘golden days’ Dokken line up - guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer ‘Wild’ Mick Brown have been working together again, under the moniker of T&N.
Together they have just released the album ‘Slave to the Empire’, which features seven new original songs and five re-recorded classic Dokken songs, as well as guest vocal performances by Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Sebastian Bach, and Robert Mason (Warrant).
Uber Rock’s Mark Ashby got on the case and tracked down Messrs Lynch and Pilson to ask them a few questions about the project, the recruitment of Michael Sweet as touring vocalist – and state of their current relationship with their former partner in crime, Mr Dokken.
So what prompted the three of you to start working together again?
George Lynch (GL): Jeff, Mick and I had always loved playing together. Mick and I had been playing together since ‘77. We have so much time invested and history with each other it's hard to ignore that we've always wanted to play together again - we just needed a reason; an opportunity to do so.
Jeff Pilson (JP): When Brian Tichy suggested we get Mick to record Dokken songs (the new songs had already been recorded) it just seemed like the right thing to do. And it was great having an excuse to work together!
The name T&N is an obvious reference to Dokken’s 1984 second album, ‘Tooth And Nail’: does that reflect the type of spirit you are trying to evoke with this current project?
GL: Not exactly. The name T&N ties us into our Dokken legacy and the core contribution Jeff and myself had as writers, and also the energy and vision behind the band. Most of those songs were written by Jeff and I locked away in a room somewhere with a four track cassette recorder and a primitive drum machine. The technology has advanced but the spirit and chemistry is still the same when Jeff and I get in a room and start crafting on songs.
The album contains updated versions of five classic Dokken songs: what is the reason for their inclusion?
GL: Jeff and I had done a record about ten years ago (the ‘Wicked Underground’ project) that didn't do a very good job of bridging the gap between what most people knew us for - the Dokken era music vs. where we were currently at the time. Bringing the Dokken remakes into the T&N record helped make that connection for people, I think. Besides that, I just think it’s interesting, and people would be curious to hear how we'd play and record these songs 25 to 30 years later.
Why did you select those particular songs?
GL: We tried to strike a balance between accessibility and familiarity on the one hand and utilising some of the tougher, deeper tracks. Those were not easy decisions and when we'd finally decide on something we'd question it, reconsider, go back and forth... but in the end I think we achieved a nice balance.
There are also a number of interest collaborations, such as with Doug Pinnick, Tim Owens and Sebastian Bach: are these guys you’ve always wanted to work with?
GL: I've jammed with Tim at his club, Sebastian and Doug we know, of course… and these are all guys who I've either done projects with or have attempted to put something together with in the past. I've wanted to play with Doug Pinnick since the first time I heard ‘Out Of The Silent Planet’ and ‘Gretchen…’!
Brian Tichy actually played drums on the original tracks: is there any reason why Mick Brown only features on the Dokken material?
GL: It was initially Brian's brainchild to create T&N. He and I talked about it when we were out with Lynch Mob. So, when we actually started working on the record, Jeff and I asked him to come aboard. We're all friends and live close to each other.
Have you been pleased with the reaction to the album?
GL: I’m not sure yet. It hasn't been out long enough to really gauge how well it's being received. This is really a more long term project that Jeff and I are committed to staying dedicated to for the medium to long haul. We have already recorded the Dokken track for the next T&N record... (and) we're hoping to be on the road next fall.
You recently announced that Michael Sweet of Stryper is joining the band as touring vocalist: why did you choose Michael?
GL: He had so many of the qualities we were looking for T&N: a decent person that we felt we could trust, someone that had the right look and character and voice for the material. He just fits the bill...Lynch Mob had done some dates with Stryper and so we started hanging out a bit and we hit it off. Michael also plays guitar which will help out a lot in a live situation for us… there's a lot of guitars on the ‘Slave To The Empire’ record
JP: Yeah he's an amazing singer, he will kick ass on the Dokken songs, and he's a great guitarist who can hold his own on guitar when I sing the new songs.
I take this means that there will be live shows at some stage?
JP: That's the plan. The goal is to play live after the next record.
Is that going to be hard to fit in with your Foreigner commitments, Jeff?
JP: That's the whole trick, scheduling. But we'll figure out something.
Any plans for dates here in the UK/Ireland?
JP: No concrete plans yet, anywhere. But keep watching the T&N site, or our Facebook pages and the minute we know we'll announce.
Do you individually or collectively still stay in contact with Don?
GL: No, not really. There was a few times over the last few years that we did, but not really anymore. (There’s) not much to talk about actually. JP: I heard from Don by email a few months ago. No regular contact.
There are constantly rumours of a reunion of the ‘glory days’ line up, and you came together to play a couple of songs at a Dokken show in Anaheim at the end of 2009. Do you think there’s ever any chance of the four of you getting together in any form of formal arrangement?
GL: Not really. That's so far behind us now... and quite honestly, even if somebody threw a tonne of money at us, I personally don't think I could deal with the pain...Ha Ha!
JP: Oh I'll never say never, Ha Ha! But right now it's hard to imagine being able to commit to the kind of time a Dokken reunion would require for quite some time. All the more reason to listen to and enjoy T&N!!!!
Thanks to both George and Jeff for taking their time to talk with Uber Rock, and as the guys said earlier in the interview you can keep up to date with all the developments in the T&N camp at http://www.slavetotheempire.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/TN/264254906995701
T&N photo - Doug Weber