Resist & Bite frontman Nathan Utz recalls how close he came to recording an album with Lynch Mob
Resist & Bite and Blonz frontman Nathan Utz was recently interviewed by Andrew DiCecco for Vinyl Writer Music.
Utz was asked what led to him being offered the Lynch Mob gig back in 2018 to which he replied (with slight edits):
“Crazy thing. I am very close friends with a drummer called Bevan Davies. He had a band called Still Rain, he was in Static-X, he was in Jerry Cantrell’s band, played with Danzig. He’s now the drummer for Zoso, which is hands down the best Zeppelin tribute band on the planet. Bevan is making a record, and he had a band called Comes with the Fall, with William DuVall. Him, William, and a guy named Nico Constantine had a band called Comes with the Fall, and they were an Atlanta band, and I had another Atlanta band a long time ago. Nonetheless, we go way back, and he said, “Man, I’m gonna make a record of all of my greatest drumming influences.” He wanted me to sing three of the songs, which were “Ready and Willing” by Whitesnake, I did “Fireball” by Deep Purple, and I did “Light Up the Sky” by Van Halen. So, that record kind of brought me back into the light again a little bit. At that time, I was still doing Pandora’s Box. And this House of Blues gig in Orlando, one of my lifelong friends I’ve known since ’89 is Will Hunt, the drummer for Slaughter and Evanescence.
Will came to the show because Troy McLawhorn, the guitar player for Evanescence, him and Bevin were in a band called Still Rain a long time ago. So, Will comes to that show to see me and Troy, and when he gets there, we’re doing the Aerosmith thing, and after the show, Will comes back and he goes, “Dude, you were killin’ it all night.” He goes, “I was like, ‘He doesn’t have it in ‘em. There’s no way he’s got it in ‘em. And you just pounded the shit out of that song! It was great.’” To my point on that, Will didn’t know if I still had the pipes. He’s like, “Great impression of [Steven Tyler].” He’s my brother; he’s gonna call it like he sees it. So, I get back home and I’m doing what I do – I do home repairs when I’m not touring because I’ve got a thousand kids, so I gotta work. So, I get this freakin’ phone call, and it’s [Jeff] Blando, who is the guitar player for Slaughter. Well, Blando and Will obviously are boys, so Blando called me and says, “Hey, dude, are you busy?” I said, “Yeah, I’m busy, but what’s up?” He’s like, “Dude, Lynch is looking for a singer, and I told him, ‘I got the guy for you, but he’s got this Aerosmith tribute thing and it pays a lot.’” He sent him footage and George immediately texted him and was like, “I want that guy. That’s the guy I want.” Blando said, “Are you available?” And I said, “I will make myself available for George Lynch.” And Blando goes, “Alright, I’m gonna call him back. He’s gonna call you.” I was like, “Alright.”
So, like, two nights later, me and my wife are laying in bed watching TV. I can’t contain myself, I told my wife about it – she’s younger than me, but she wasn’t a metalhead by any means – so she has no idea who this person is. So, my phone rings, and because he gave me Lynch’s number, and when our phone rings it would say the name of the person. It goes, “George Lynch,” and I couldn’t contain myself. My wife looks at me and she goes, “Just calm down and answer the phone.” Dude, we talked for like forty-five minutes. He’s like, “Do you wanna do this?” I was like, “Yes, sir. I’m available. Let’s make it happen.” He goes, “Don’t call me sir.” I was like, “It’s just the way I was raised.” He was like, “I don’t need to fly you out to California to rehearse or anything. Do you know the songs?” I said, “Yeah, I know pretty much everything you just sent me.” He goes, “Okay, so I’ll meet you at the gig.” Literally, that’s what happened.
The first show was in Minnesota, I think, and it was with Slaughter of all bands. So, I met Scot Coogan, the drummer, and Sean McNabb, the bass player, at the airport. I met everybody at the airport; George hadn’t gotten there yet. George pulls up in this van because he’s George; he is a man of the earth. This guy will drive, he will build a house, and he will mow the yard. He does not require a red carpet. He’s just the most down-to-earth dude you’ll ever meet. He pulls up, and he comes around the corner of that van, and I’m like, “What the hell.” And he’s like, “Nate! Finally good to meet you, dude. You ready?” I’m like, “Uh, I guess so.” So, we go to soundcheck, and we do “Street Fightin’ Man,” which was the first song of the show. When the song’s over, all three of ‘em started laughing, and I go, “What’s so funny?” George looks at me and he goes, “You’re hired.” That was it. That’s how that happened. I had to come back at ‘em, and I said, “So, what if I’d have sucked, man? What were you gonna do?”He said, “We would have just made it through.” I’m not boasting, but [George] was pleasantly surprised. Lynch was like, “You came in here and you owned it, man.” I was like, “Well, I wasn’t gonna come in here and fall down in front of ya, man. I mean, you’re like a mentor to me.”
Here’s something really crazy, bro. We were at the Richmond Coliseum, and I saw the Dokken / Tesla [Tooth and Nail] tour. If you’d have told me, that night up in the cheap seats, that I would be singing for that guitar player, and writing a record with that guitar player, and doing an acoustic gig with that other guitar player, I would have laughed in your face. And that happened. Then also, touring, opening up for Don [Dokken] with Blonz. So, there were four people in that building, in two different bands, that I have graced the stage with in my life. Dude, if that’s not God smiling upon me, I don’t know what it is. So, to take that opportunity and do anything wrong with it would be the cardinal sin of my history. My whole goal is to, when they burn me to ashes, I want my entire family to know, “My dad did the best he could with what God gave him.” That’s the whole intention. There are no luggage racks on the hearse, you know?”
DiCecco asked Utz if he was only involved in Lynch Mob on the touring front or whether he ever recorded anything with the band to which the singer replied:
“You know, we actually spoke of it. The night we were leaving from RockTember, which was with Tesla, we were in the van, and it was me, Scot Coogan, Sean McNabb, and George Lynch. [George] goes, “We need to make a record with this unit right here. These four. We gotta make a record.” We were all giddy about it, then after that happened, Scot Coogan had to take the L.A. Guns gig, because we weren’t playing a lot. And from someone’s point of view, like Scot Coogan, I can understand; you’re this amazing drummer, you’ve made records with Nikki Sixx and Stephen Pearcy, and someone’s offering you a pretty solid, consistent gig, as opposed to playing with someone that just plays – and rightfully so – when they feel like it. So, when Scot left, that changed that, and it just didn’t happen. So, I was very, very close to recording with Lynch. And who knows, it still might happen. Life is young; we’re not dead yet.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Nathan Utz at Vinyl Writer Music‘s website.