George Lynch Explains Why Financial Security Is the Real Highlight of His Career and Not ’Musical Things’

According to guitar virtuoso George Lynch, the highlight of his career comes down not to the music that he created but rather the money he had made over the years. He addressed the issue while appearing on the Copper Talk podcast where he even admitted how he was “sick” of people telling him how the financial aspect isn’t aligned with the artistic one. This came up when Lynch was asked about what his career highlights are to which he responded (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“Well, I’m gonna be a hundred thousand percent honest with you here. The highlights of the career weren’t musical things; the highlights of the career were financial things. And that’s important.”

“And I get sick of people, when you talk about the business of the music and the money and stuff, they’re, like, ‘Well, that’s antithetical to the purity of the art, the artistic endeavor.’ It’s just an exchange of energy. It’s how organisms operate.”

“I love the game. I love the business of it. And when it got to the point in my life where, as I was poor for a long period, for a big portion of my life, and growing up with a work ethic, I’ve been working since I was a kid, a little kid, and I pride myself on that.”

“So when I got to the point in my life where I can actually feel like I can breathe and I don’t have to be climbing every mountain uphill both ways carrying a hundred-pound load of rocks in the winter…”

As George adds, having financial security helps keep things calm which, ultimately, can positively affect his artistic work as well. He continued:

“I can actually let go a little bit and enjoy the process rather than be grinding and grinding and grinding, that was really a point in my life where it changed for me where I felt like I’ve achieved something.”

George Lynch - Creating riffs and licks using shapes from the Blues Scale

“I’m not sure what I would call it, but I felt like I just kind of reached a point where I had a little bit more flexibility, a little bit more freedom and a little bit more security for my family. And that was probably the highlight of my musical journey. And I’m sorry — you would think it would be a musical thing, but it’s not. It’s that.”

He also added:

“I think we play better and perform better, think better, whatever, when we’re relaxed — when you’re breathing and you’re relaxed and you don’t have ‘fight or flight.’ When you’re poor and desperate, you are activated with all those other things and you’re not playing at your best.”

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Going more into it, Lynch recalled how this immense pressure negatively affected his performance and pretty much made his life far less pleasant. He said:

“I remember I wasn’t relaxed; I was never relaxed. I was in the studio, like, ‘Everything’s on the line. I’ve gotta play the best solo in the world. I’ve gotta get this right.’ Tons of pressure. You have anxiety. You’re stressed. You’re not breathing.”

The consequences of this were immense and he visibly suffered over it:

“I used to do this thing on stage where — I haven’t done it in many, many, many years — but regularly I would hyperventilate on stage, to the point of passing out and going to the hospital. On big stages with Dokken all the time. And it was very worrisome.”

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“Because I would get myself so wound up that I had to prove myself: ‘This is my one shot to kind of break through out of anonymity and poverty and prove that I matter and have something to say.’ And I would go out there and I wouldn’t breathe and my arms would stiffen up. And I didn’t play well.”

Fortunately, today, with financial stability in place, George feels much more relaxed while performing:

“Nowadays I’m relaxed. I’ve got a little bit of money in the bank. The walls are not collapsing in around me. I’m gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay. My family’s okay. I have multiple projects. I have lots of friends that I play with and do different things.”

Dead Or Alive- Terry Ilous and George Lynch Feat: AON- All Or Nothing #dokken #80srock #rockmusic

“And we play with music; it’s not this do-or-die thing. And we’re very passionate about it, and I always do my best work, but I just learned to get out of my own way. And that was a giant, giant lesson for me.”

“And that came with security. And that security came from money. So when people say money doesn’t matter, I say, yeah, it does. Up to a point.”

Photo: Toglenn (George Lynch 2009)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.