Autograph's Steve Lynch

By Jay Oakley

I'm out here with Steve Lynch who just got done playing with Autograph. How did the gig go?

It went great! Great audience, great vibe. I was a really good time.

Awesome. It looked like you had a small technical difficulty to start off in the beginning.

Yeah, first song in and I break a string but what can you do?

So you've been out on tour for a little while now and all-in-all how's the tour been going?

It's been going fantastic. We've been jetting around a little bit and kind of ping-ponging all around the United States a little bit. We've got a few days off and we'll be returning to Seattle which is my home and then we go out to Minneapolis, Portland, back then to Seattle. Then out to LA, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska and all over the place.

Where were you last night?

It was in Brooklyn, NY and the night before that was Philadelphia and before that it was North Dakota and Montana.

You really are ping-ponging all over the place. You couldn't just do New York then Philadelphia and then Maryland?

Yeah, it always works out that way. It's what dates are open and what venues will have you. It's hard to get something lined up where you're just going from city to city to city that's close together. That's a rarity.

So it seems that you have had a really stable lineup with Autograph. How has the chemistry been?

Yeah, about a year and a half now and the chemistry's great. Everybody gets along so well and we love playing together on stage, we love traveling together, we have a great time. It's very cool.

I always love to talk a little bit of history and it's well documented that your first tour was with Van Halen. Talk a little bit about that. How was the experience? What did you think of it?

It was a great experience but the first night before we even played with them I was told by Noel Monk, their manager, that I couldn't do any two-handed guitar technique. I thought that was strange because I wrote a book before about that whole technique before I had even heard of Eddie Van Halen. But, he said that was "Eddie's thing" and I said it wasn't because there's people like Harvey Mandel, Johnny Smith and the list goes on and on and on. I used to watch this guy, Steve Buffington play it all the time out in Seattle and that's kind of where I got the idea from.

I took it a bit further and I really got into it when I saw Emmett Chapman at the Musician's Institute, which was the Guitar Institute of Technology back then, that was 1978 and he did a clinic there. He was the one who invented the Chapman Stick that you play with two hands and when he did a clinic there I just thought that was incredible. I talked to him afterwards and he said you could do it on guitar, you just have to look at scales in two places at the same time and I just had a light bulb go off in my head. I started writing it all down, by the end of the year I had a book written and I had that published right away so it was kind of odd to hear that I couldn't even do my own technique. Then of course, I had heard about Eddie Van Halen by that time, (the time of the tour) that was 1984. 1983 was when we had talked to them about touring but yeah, it was a good experience overall, I was just bummed about that whole thing.

Unfortunately, you're first stint with Autograph ended quickly. With the band splitting, was that a mutual thing?

When the band split in 1989, we knew that the 80s were over because the record companies weren't putting any more into it and they were starting to sign the Seattle bands, the grunge thing came in and they wouldn't even talk to people that were involved with the 80s. The 80s are over and you were a part of the 80s so that's it and now there has been this whole resurgence, I think it's a nostalgia thing, because people want to go out and hear that stuff again. Surprisingly enough, we have a lot of young fans that really like our music because there's not a lot of sing-a-long, with a really catchy melody and a hooky chorus so they love that stuff. We have a lot of young people coming out for our all age shows and they pack it out so it's a really cool thing.

It always seemed when it came to the various lineups for Autograph that you guys always had a mutual respect for each other and for the members that started the band. When it came to the Buzz album with singer Steve Plunkett, it didn't have you or bassist Randy Rand, did you guys have a problem with that?

Oh no, no, no. Steve asked if I wanted to do it I was just to busy doing other things. I was doing a solo album called Network 23 and that did pretty good. It's really different from Autograph, a lot more longer solos and things like that. I was also teaching clinics. I taught 325 clinics in 20 different countries so I was traveling all over the place so I really didn't have much time.

I know that you guys have recorded a couple of new tunes, are there plans for a new album or EP?

Yes. Right now, we're releasing singles at a time. We're doing an EP. We've got two more songs and in about 10 days me and Randy will head into the studio and finish up our parts. Once we get it done, the early part of next year, we're going to do a live version of "Turn Up The Radio" and release those five songs as an EP.

Steve, thanks so much for filling everyone in on the world of Autograph and what you have going on.

Absolutely, you're very welcome.