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GEORGE LYNCH On Being Excluded From ROLLING STONE's List Of '250 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time': 'It's A Short List'

As seen in Blabbermouth December 17, 2023

In a new interview with Ralph Rasmussen of RadioBypass, George Lynchspoke about his absence from Rolling Stone magazine's recently released listof "The 250 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time". The former DOKKEN guitarist, who has led his own band called LYNCH MOB for almost 35 years, said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I will say, there's only 250 guitar players on that list, so it's a short list. But apparently, my management got ahold of Rolling Stone, the guitar-list people over there — it's a big office; a skyscraper in New York City — and the big guy over there, he said, 'George Lynch was 251.' So if it had been the top 251 guitar players, I would have been on the list.

"I'll tell you what: I think it would be almost cooler to be the last guy than the first guy," he continued. "'Cause the first guy's gotta be Jimi Hendrix, of course, or whoever — those guys, [Jeff] Beck, Eddie [Van Halen], all the big guys. But you're not gonna be in that group. So you're gonna be down, like 32 or something. I'd rather be 251 because at least you kind of stand out; you're not in the middle somewhere."

Lynch then went on to joke about why he might have been excluded from Rolling Stone's list. He said: "You know what I found out, though, about the list — it's pay for play. So they don't overtly say, 'You've gotta give us money.' They just imply it by letting you know that you can make a donation to the Rolling Stone Fund or whatever the fuck it's called. I don't know. And the bigger the donation, the higher the placement, miraculously, you get. I heard Joe Satriani gave 'em, like — it was, like, 12,000 dollars, and he got on the list. I'm kidding, of course. I sent them a gift certificate. They're called Lynch Bucks that are redeemable on my web site for George Lynch merchandise. But I guess that didn't go very far. [Laughs] They could have got a hefty discount on a fucking Mr. Scary t-shirt, but whatever."

Lynch previously addressed his exclusion from Rolling Stone's list this past October during an appearance on an episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Asked if ever looks at those lists and whether his omission from the rankings bothers him, the former DOKKEN guitarist replied: "I only look at them if my name's in it. I scour for my name. If I don't see my name, then I write it off."

He continued on a more serious note, saying: "There's the ego part of my brain. Of course it does react to that, but I try not to care, but of course we all care. You wanna be recognized for what you do, and you work hard and you love what you do and you think you're creating something of value that at least some people appreciate. So I'm not looking at it in the context a of a contest, but I do think it's important to anybody like myself who works hard and hopefully would like to be perceived as having done something of value. So that's where I think recognition matters.

"But listen, ranking artists is such a ridiculous premise," Lynch added. "I think it doesn't make any sense. I mean, everything in an art is subjective. So how can you say one person can be 17 and another person is 18? That doesn't even make any logical sense.

"So, anyways, a lot of these polls, I think, and historically it's been true, are really popularity polls. I mean, Mick Mars [MÖTLEY CRÜE] getting voted number one or two guitar players back in the '80s. He's a good guitar player — he's great — but I think that was more to do with MÖTLEY CRÜE being a huge band. And Angus Young [AC/DC] being rated highly, I think, is right, that he should be, but not for the same reason that Yngwie [Malmsteen] is. So there's all these different things. I mean, Angus Young is arguably a more important guitar player than someone like Yngwie in the context of the rock pantheon and what he's done for rock and roll, but in a showdown of lead guitar prowess, he's not gonna win against Yngwie."

Asked if there was one guitarist that he heard as a kid that made him want to pick up the instrument and play, George said: "It wasn't just one guy. I was fortunate enough to be raised in an era where my friends would come to me at school and they would go, 'Hey, have you heard of this new band? They got this album. It's pretty cool, it's called LED ZEPPELIN.' And they weren't even a known band; it was like a new band that you discovered. LED ZEPPELIN. So I grew up with that. Jimi Hendrix. 'There's some black guy who sets his guitar on fire. Have you heard of him?' 'No.' 'You've gotta check him out.' Jeff Beckhad that first Jeff Beck record. I lived off that. I was very fortunate to be raised on CREAM and all these amazing — I call 'em the Four Horsemen. And then everybody else that came since. And I've been a fan of everybody, so I learned from everybody. I mean, Leslie West, Michael Schenker, Eddie [Van Halen], Yngwie — I mean, all of them; they've all had a huge effect on me, and continue to. So there isn't one guy. Johnny Winter. Everybody. A lot of obscure guys. Allan Holdsworth. So there's not one guy. So I'm just kind of this amalgamation of all these guys, and I'm not a schooled guitar player in the sense that I know theory or anything, so I've listened to all these people. I've never learned any songs or any phrasing that they play note for note, but I sort of listen to and absorb what they do by osmosis and that somehow subconsciously becomes part of my style. And I think I just kind of spew all this stuff back out with little flavors of everybody that I've listened to throughout my whole life and kind of but in my own way. And that's all it is. That's basically what I do. I'm sort of a synthesis of everything I've listened to for 60 years."

Rolling Stone's "The 250 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" list has been curated by the current editors and writers at the publication, and features such guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Tony Iommi and Slash.

"In making the list, we tended to value heaviness over tastiness, feel over polish, invention over refinement, risk-takers and originators more than technicians," Rolling Stone said in introducing the list. "We also tended to give an edge to artists who channeled whatever gifts god gave them into great songs and game-changing albums, not just impressive playing."

Rolling Stone's previous list of "100 Greatest Guitarists", which was published in 2011, was compiled by "a panel of musicians, mostly older classic rockers," Rolling Stone explained in the introduction to the new list. "Our new expanded list was made by the editors and writers of Rolling Stone. This one goes to 250."

Here's the top 20 greatest guitarists according to Rolling Stone in 2023:

01. Jimi Hendrix

02. Chuck Berry

03. Jimmy Page

04. Eddie Van Halen

05. Jeff Beck

06. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

07. Nile Rodgers

08. B.B. King

09. Joni Mitchell

10. Duane Allman

11. Carlos Santana

12. Jimmy Nolen

13. Tony Iommi

14. Prince

15. Keith Richards

16. Robert Johnson

17. Mother Maybelle Carter

18. Tom Morello

19. Freddy King

20. Steve Ray Vaughan

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