Some of you may not even know who this elusive character is, but if you have played “Gran Theft Auto: Vice City” or “Vice City Stories”, something will come to your mind… Oh no, I’m not talking about Miami.
Steve Lynch was born on January 18, 1955. He is an American hard rock and heavy metal guitarist, as well as an instructor of the “Guitar Institute Of Technology” at the Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles.
His contribution to “Turn Up The Radio” earned him the “Guitar Solo Of The Year” from Guitar Magazine, as well as being the best-selling single from his former band Autograph, who was a hit byearned success entering the “Top 50” in 1984 with the same song. The corresponding album received the platinum record award a little later.
Steve wrote several books about his guitar style and also posted several tutorial videos on Youtube.
When Autograph was offered the opening spot for Van Halen on their 1984 tour, the Van Halen management said that Lynch was not allowed to do his two-handed shredding during performances because it was “Eddie’s thing.”
Steve also formed another band later, the Network 23 in 1990, shortly after his band broke up and collapsed.
We are honored and happy to interview this great guy and great guitarist, today for you! As Autograph says: “Things go better with rock!” so enjoy it and… Turn up the radio!
Hey Steve! It’s a pleasure for me to interview you today, I’ve been waiting for this moment for so many years!
How are you? How’s is your musical career going on during this weird period?
I am doing great, thank you! I have been occupying my time writing my autobiography and writing music for my new project “Blue Neptune”. So the pandemic hasn’t affected my productivity.
Are you a self-taught musician or did you attend any school when your grew up?
I was self-taught for the first five years of my playing, then I started taking lessons from a jazz teacher in Seattle by the name of Don Mock. Learning everything by ear is fine, but you eventually have to learn theory. In 1978 I moved from Seattle to Los Angeles to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology, (now called the Musicians Institute or M.I.). This changed my life. I felt I could do anything after graduating, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
Did you know that my “Top 10” includes “Sign In Please” ? When I listen to it, I dream about the 80’s America and it’s amazing! What are the records that you personally like the most? Which band did you listen to when you were a kid?
I’m happy to hear that album was influential to you; the third album we did with RCA, “Loud And Clear”, was my favourite. It was during 1986/87 that we did our best writing and to work with producer Andy Johns was a dream coming true. So, the bands I listened to growing up and who were very influential to me as a guitarist and songwriter were:
Pink Floyd – “Dark Side Of The Moon”
Jimi Hendrix – “Are You Experienced”
Led Zeppelin – “1st” and “2nd”
Jeff Beck – “Blow By Blow”
Jean Luc Ponty – “Enigmatic Ocean”
Can you tell me a story or memory regarding the period of “Sign In Please” from the 1984? Tour, making of, backstage memory, etc…
We tourned with Van Halen in 1984, this led us to getting signed with RCA. While on tour, we had record companies approaching us backstage offering us record deals. RCA came up with the best offer… Letting us keep the 100% of the publishing, which is unheard of! After signing with them we were pulled off the tour to start our debut album “Sign In Please”… And the rest is history. The first time I heard “Turn Up The Radio” on the radio I though it was the coolest thing in the world! The band was all together when we heard it for the first time, which made it really special.
I descovered Autograph’s music as a kid, thanks to 2 videogames (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Vice City Stories) and from there I’ve got closer to the band. According to you, how much could a song -included in a videogame- influence the discovery of a band?
Being in videogames, tv and movies makes an incredible difference in a bands popularity because your music is exposed to a whole new audience, one that may not have known of you beforehand. This was especially true for “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”. Besides that, movies, tv and videogames pay very well… Which is always nice! (laughs)
Did you know that “Turn up the radio” and “All I’m Gonna Take” were in these 2 videogames and that “Turn Up The Radio” was in the 11th episode of the 1st season of “Miami Vice” series too?
Yes, I did know this… And I’ve enjoyed the royalty checks I received from them also! Those songs are also going to be featured in two more videogames and movies in the near future as well. I love writing material that is specifically for the movies, like:
“River Rat” – Tommy Lee Jones
“Fright Night” – Chris Sarandon
“Youngblood” – Rob Lowe
“Secret Adminer” – C. Thomas Howell
“Like Father, Like Son” – Dudley Moore
Did you ever listen to “My Attitude” by Steve Plunkett (1991)? If yes, did you like it?
I listened to it once tho and I thought Steve Plunkett did an excellent job writing and producing it. It had an Autograph flavor to it but had different players. I’m pretty sure I played on a song or two… (laughs) It’s been so long it’s hard to remember!
Are you still in touch with him? Did you ever think about a reunion for a special tour?
Yes, Steve and I talk once in a while. After the band split up in December 1989 we all went separate ways, but remained friends. One of the great things about Autograph is that we all got along very well, there was no ego or conflict among the memebers.
I appreciate so much your record “Get off your ass”, can you tell me something about the making of the album?
That album came about after we recorded our debout 5 song EP entitled “Louder”. As you can tell by listening to it we went for a heavier sound, tuning down a whole-step and excluding keyboards. We recorded most of the album at the drummer Marc Wieland’s home studio but I did some of the tracks at a friends studio in Seattle. It was a lot of fun recording this album and working with EMP records was a privilege.
Have you got a playlist that you listen to daily and does it include any underground rock band?
I don’t actually have a playlist, I like to listen to random material from a variety of genres. I’m actually searching for new cutting edge things to listen to, not anything that’s commercially viable, I prefer indie bands who offer something unique.
One band I’ve enjoyed over the years is Porcupine Tree of London, they are very experimental. I prefer bands and artists that write and perform with no boundaries.
Is there a song from all your discography to which you are most attached?
I would have to say “All I’m Gonna Take” is probably my favorite but I also like “More Than A Million” from our third album “Loud And Clear”. Of course, I’ll always love “Turn Up The Radio” not only because it’s a good song… But it still pays the rent! (laughs)
Besides the music, what are your passions and hobbies?
Studying about philosophy, spirituality, psychiatry, astronomy, ancient architecture, conspiracy theories, etc. I also love to travel and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this a lot! And I love being in the woods hiking… To me, it’s my way of keeping grounded, like meditating with nature.
What future do you see in music business?
I see the future of the music business converting to self-promotion through social media, which, to a certain degree, has already made that transition. It will be up to the artist to either self promote or hire a marketing firm to get the best exposure possible. As far as rock in general, I believe there will be new forms that incorporate a bit of electronica to make it sound more modern but while still retaining the raw energy that makes it so attractive.
I’ve learned that you almost finished writing your book, is this your first one? What will be the topic of this book, and when will it be released?
This book is my autobiography, the story of my life, both musically and personally. It is entitled “Confessions Of A Rock Guitarist” and it will be released in June. I am in the final stages of proofrading and editing right now; it’s taken a year to write because I’m doing everything myself, without the help of a ghostwriter, it’s all in my own words. I have written three other books, but they were istructional, “The Right Touch” books 1,2 & 3. They are about the theory behind playing with two hands on the fingerboard, the first book came out in 1979 and the other two in 1987.
Is it going to be possible to order it from Italy?
Yes, it will be available internationally. I think people will be surprised to hear of all the experiences I’ve had during my lifetime, not a normal life by any means… (laughs)
Do you think you will come to Italy to play or for a vacation?
I plan to come for a vacation soon, in fact, it’s the next place I’m traveling to. I’ve already been to Florence, Pisa, Milan and few other places in the north while I was teaching clinics back in the early 1990’s but this time I want to visit Rome, Sorrento, Isle of Capri and Amalfi Coast.
This would be my last question, thank you very much for the interview and for your time, feel free to end it the way you prefer!
Thank you very much for inviting me to do this interview! I feel honored. I cannot wait to visit Italy again, to me it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it’s history is second to none. Cheers to all my friends there!