On paper, Ultraphonix are a tough sell.
Corey Glover is the frontman with NYC hard rock/funk metal troupe Living Colour, a band that formed in the mid-’80s and gave zero fucks about other people’s opinions of what rock music is — what it’s supposed to sound like. These guys took it wherever they wanted to take it. The musicians in that band were and are incredible, not least prodigious guitarist Vernon Reid.
With this new project, Glover has joined forces with another highly rated ax man from the 1980s — former Dokken guitarist/vocalist George Lynch, who also had his own band controversially called The Lynch Mob (the Ultraphonix lineup is completed by drummer Chris Moore and bassist Pancho Tomaselli). Despite the fact that both men emerged around the same time and probably have performed at the same festivals over the years, Glover says he didn’t actually meet Lynch until forming this band.
“A friend of his, Leisa Balfour, suggested that they call me,” Glover says. “Pancho calls me and tells me about the project, and what they want to do, and I was like, yeah. I’m an admirer of George’s work from afar, so this was a great opportunity. It seemed like the chemistry between all of us was immediate. We got along famously and the project took off.”
The singer describes the Ultraphonix sound as bluesier and funkier than anything else his new bandmates might have been involved with in the past.
“I brought that to the table,” he says. “They wanted the opportunity to do something like that, and I represented that. Helping them bring that out.”
The debut album, Original Human Music, just dropped on Aug. 3, and Glover is pleased with the way it turned out. Shit, he’s happy that they managed to get it done at all.
“It was a process because I live on the East Coast — I live in New York,” he says. “So it was a matter of trying to figure out how to get back and forth to L.A. to go to the studio with them. Sit down and collaborate, and figure out what we needed to do. What it needs to sound like, and how we wanted it to be. It was a process. The reaction to the video [for “Walk Run Crawl”] has been great, though. It was very interesting that people seemed to like it a lot, and I’m very grateful. The work that we put into it is evident. I feel like we’re trying to say something, the music is trying to say something, and what I appreciate is that the music video does that.”
Another creative decision that Glover describes as a “process” was the band’s name, which he says is designed to represent something new within something old.
“I wanted it to represent what we are,” he says. “That we came from very different backgrounds. George has a particular thing that he does, I have a particular thing, as do Pancho and Chris. It’s sort of like putting the best of all those worlds into one project. Pancho comes from the Latin world — modern Latin rock music. He lends that thing to it. My background, George’s background, Chris’ background, gave us what we are.”
Glover hopes that Ultraphonix will tour, but he admits that it’s all a matter of scheduling and logistics. All of the musicians have other gigs on the go.
“Like everything else, it’s a balancing act, like life,” he says. “But I think the shows that we do will be very, very special, so that has to represent those sort of things. It’s not like we’re going to go and play here, there and everywhere. It’s going to be strategic and hopefully very impactful.”
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It seems like things are going incredibly well. That said, Glover understandably did have an issue with the fact that George Lynch called his band The Lynch Mob. How could he not? Regardless of the guitarist’s last name, it seems a remarkably ham-fisted move at best.
“There was a little bit of an issue with it, to be blunt,” Glover says. “There was. But after getting to know George, knowing that it was not malicious in its intent, and knowing George is not, shall we say, particularly Caucasian — that factors into the name of the band. It is what it is.”
Moving forward, Glover has Living Colour and solo commitments through the summer and fall but says that, after that, he’ll be focusing on Ultraphonix. And for that we can all be grateful.
Ultraphonix’s Original Human Music album is out now.