Robert Mason says that he was a bit perplexed by George Lynch's recent comment that "there's a little bit of a rub" between the members of THE END MACHINE over the band's lyrical content due to their divergent political views.
Last month, George discussed the lyrical themes covered on THE END MACHINE's "Phase2" album in an interview with "Pariah Burke's Hard, Heavy & Hair" show. At the time, he said: "Jeff [Pilson; THE END MACHINE, FOREIGNER and ex-DOKKEN bassist] and I are aligned politically — we're both very progressive in our political thinking and our little bit of activism that we try to participate in through our music. I don't know how effective that is — probably not effective at all — but we feel compelled to try to do that because we feel it's the right thing to do. Robert is not aligned with us politically in his messaging, so when we were writing the lyrics, of course, there's a little bit of a rub there. But we all respect each other enough to at least honor the idea of deducing truth from whatever it is we're discussing. And we can have a difference of opinion on the results of that analysis, but we don't have a difference of opinion about how we achieve that, how we go about deciding if something is truthful or not. So we're able to have discussions that are pretty civil and we can agree to disagree. And a lot of that is filtered down to some of the lyrics."
George continued: "I'm not saying that the lyrics are a hundred percent a pure reflection of what I would consider to be the truth. I made some compromises, and I'm okay with that, because that's the world we live in. But I think generally the message is the same message you would hear from any progressive activist, and it deals with massive inequality, injustice, environmental concerns and just the way we view ourselves as responsible animals and how we should behave."
Mason addressed Lynch's comments in a new interview with "On The Road To Rock With Clint Switzer". When Switzer pointed out that Lynch's words got him thinking about when politics started coming into play in the context of writing hard rock songs, Mason quipped: "It made you think, 'God, George gets off topic and says some dumb-ass shit every once in a while.'
"You know what's really funny? Somebody's gonna watch this, and that's gonna be the Blabbermouth quote," he continued.
"It doesn't [come into play], really. A good song is a good song. I don't go out on a mission to state some cause in some preachy way that everybody else has to listen to. So that's not what I go about when I'm writing lyrics. If I'm inspired by anything I see, hear, taste, smell, experience, get hit by — whatever — I'll write about it. But that was not my aim."
Mason went on to say that Lynch's comments "had my head scratching, to be honest, a little bit too. But the guy thinks the way he wants to think," he said. "He can pick and choose what he wants to say in an interview, and so can I. It's not like we fistfought or it's not like we called each other idiots. We're not that polarized. We're actually the sort of folks who still engage in thoughtful dialogue with each other instead of just saying, 'You're an idiot,' 'Nope. You are.' I think that dissent and lack of recognizing common ground is probably an instrumental problem that people have nowadays.
"Once again, I'm not being too preachy… You know, not to wax too philosophical, but the distance between us in our opinions, it's not distance between us; maybe there's common ground there," he added. "I mean, I hate to say that and sound all mushy. The lyrics mostly come from me anyway — they all did on the last record — but if somebody's got an interesting thought or a lyric or an idea, I'm more than happy to write around it. I didn't think it was that challenging. In a word, it wasn't really that challenging. And if George has an idea, [he'll] give me buzz words. He's not really a lyric writer, but he'll text me a bunch of stuff and say, 'Hey, man. What do you think of this? Can you integrate this into what you're doing?' And I made every effort to do so."
This past April, Pilson also confirmed to Steve Mascord of the "White Life Fever" podcast that differences in political views exist between the members of THE END MACHINE.
"I think ultimately we all have the same goals in mind — we all want a safe, secure world and a prosperous world," he said. "But, yeah, we have differences, and I think working them out and talking them out and finding common ground is a great thing.
"George and I actually fairly in sync thought-wise, but, yeah, it's other guys. And that's great. Like I say, I welcome that. The main thing is that we talk. The main thing is that we understand and respect what people say. I mean, to just throw out what the other side says, I think, is really, really a bad mistake. And I think we've done way too much of that."
Asked if he has any advice on how to interact with people who have different political views from you without jeopardizing your friendship with them, Jeff said: "I think you always have to judge the situation at the moment. I don't think there's any one solution for everything. Some people don't wanna talk reasonably. Some people just wanna reinforce their own beliefs. And when that's the case, or even if I'm doing that, there's no sense talking. But if you have a point of view that's reasonable, why can't you talk about it? That's my feeling. Like I say, I think what's really made it bad is that people have two distinct sources of what they believe is the truth. And that's a problem — that's a serious, serious problem. And if we don't figure that out or something, we're gonna be in more trouble. And I think it starts with talking. So, talk when you can. Talk when people want to talk, when they're reasonable, when they have a desire to see what you think or when you have a desire to hear what they think. I think it's important to talk."
Back in 2017, Pilson — an acclaimed producer and a veteran bassist who has played with DIO, FOREIGNER, DOKKEN and T&N — said that then-President Donald Trump was "a dangerous man" whose vitriolic and divisive rhetoric could ignite another American civil war.
In September 2019, Lynch caught flak from some of his fans when he slammed Trump in an interview, calling the billionaire real estate mogul an "idiotic monster" and an "egotistical, self-aggrandizing, complete piece of shit" who "doesn't know anything." George was also criticized when told Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast that "progressives are more compassionate people by nature — we're wired to sort of be more empathetic and care about things outside of ourselves. We are about other people; it hurts us to see people in pain or suffer," he explained. "So they call us 'snowflakes.' But people that are wired, on the right, the way their brains are wired, they don't have that sense of empathy. I'm not saying it's good or bad — I'm just saying it is. And these people are the ones that have the guns. And they're willing to use them. And it's becoming pretty frightening."
"Phase2" was released in April via Frontiers Music Srl. The album features drummer Steve Brown, younger brother of former DOKKEN drummer "Wild" Mick Brown, who played on THE END MACHINE's self-titled 2019 debut.