November , 1984
By David Huff
Ricky Lynn Gregg - Ricky Lynn Project
Texan Ricky Lynn's 'Savvy' Nets Results
You want to rock and you want to roll, but which way to rock and which way to roll is a question many musicians have had to face when it comes to making a decision about their future in music.
Longview, Texas native Ricky Lynn had to face such a question.
For five years, Lynn fronted one of North Texas' most successful rock acts, Savvy, until one day he found himself wrestling with that difficult decision. Which way did he really want to roll?
"Savvy had a lot of great ideas,” reflected Lynn, “but they never came to any conclusions on anything. When I got with Savvy, I was real naive, extremely naive. I was 19 and I didn't know how to be a front man. After about three years with them, I started to get my own ideas about things and I realized that there were other areas I wanted to venture out and explore.
"In Savvy, we had two or three front men. Even though we had a lot of good ideas, when you have five or six people in a band putting all of their ideas together on one project, you can have problems. When I put my own thing together, I was able to avoid those complications and arrive at my own decisions so I could attain my own goal."
Lynn says he never regretted his decision to join Savvy and he learned a lot. If anybody in the state of Texas was about to make it and get a record deal, it was Savvy at one point. Then the band just leveled off. Lynn then decided to leave and start over with ‘his’ ideas. He put assembled a group of musicians he felt would follow him anywhere. They included L.D. Lumpkin on keyboards; Joel Parks, drums; Donny Hyles, bass; and Bryant Hunter, guitar. The Ricky Lynn Project was formed.
Lynn has received considerable support on station Q102's Texas Tapes that airs every Monday night. Several of his songs have been put on rotation by the station and currently, the band is recording their first album at Pantego Studios hoping for an early 1985 release.
"We have been very fortunate," said Lynn, "that a station like Q102 has taken an interest in our music. From what I've heard, our songs have been getting good response from their listeners. I think we have some original material that Is very comparable with anything you hear on the radio. It is going to turn some heads."
Lynn began his musical odyssey at the age of five when his father put him on the pulpit at church to sing backup vocals. When he was nine, his brother bought him his first guitar and three country and western albums. Age 11 found Lynn playing side shows at rodeos. At 13 his first rock and roll band played ZZ Top and Grand Funk. Two years later he was playing bars and at 18 he was in his first full-fledged rock band. He's been playing steadily day in and day out ever since. Lynn says he hasn't had more than two weeks off since he started with Savvy seven years ago.
"Music is like a drug," answered Lynn, "once it gets a hold of you, it won't let you go. You could quit for two months but it would be like a cancer, it just starts eating you up. Music can consume you so much, you will do anything to get back into it.
“When you get onstage in front of a packed house of people and they are screaming and yelling for what you're doing, it makes you feel so positive. In a sense, you could say that I was living in a fantasy world. Reality is when I go back home to Longview and ride horses at my brother's house or fix barbed wire fences at my folk’s ranch.
"Ever since I was nine-years old, I can remember watching the Midnight Special or In Concert, grabbing my guitar and jumping in front of the mirror to play. That is wanted I have always wanted to do, and 16 years later, I am still living in the same world and I haven't given one inch as far as my attitude. I have only been tickling the toes of success and until I can get a clutch on it and get a hit single, find out if I really can do it, then I won't be satisfied."
Over the years, Lynn says he has opened for some 35 major acts with Savvy and his own band. The Ricky Lynn Project has become sort of the in-house band at Matley's Phase II in Dallas as they are booked solidly at the venue for the rest of the year. Owner Ron Matley is high on the band not only for the large crowds they draw weekly, but he says they are some of the finest musicians he has ever seen in one band in all of the years he has been in the club business.
"Music is a gamble," offered Lynn quietly. "It is like going to Las Vegas and putting everything out on the table. I have friends that are 38, 39 years old that I used to admire when I was a young kid. I thought they were the greatest and they could do no wrong. I had the greatest love for them and I thought they would really become somebody. They didn't do a damn thing except end up being drunk or drug addicts. That bothered me greatly and still does.
"I don't do drugs and I drink a little, but like I said, the music is my drug, my high. I have wanted to quit the music business several times, but I am not a quitter. I'm like Tex Cobb in a fight with Larry Holmes. He didn't fall down once in his 15-round title fight despite the pounding he took. Until somebody tells me it is time to quit and puts me in a mental institution, I am going to keep driving whether it tears me apart or not. This was something that I was born to do and I realize that."
The music industry is caught up in a heavy metal explosion that is in mid-cycle right now. Living in Dallas has kept Lynn abreast of the industry's trends and given him some insight on what direction he himself should take.
"I am not interested in painting up or putting on chains," stated Lynn. "I know those gimmicks are working right not, but it’s only a cycle and I’m blowing it off to just be Ricky Lynn. I am going to do exactly what I do until it hits or misses. I am not going to wait for any movement to appear so I can follow a trend. I'm going to be the trendsetter!
"I really think that I am meant to be here. I have sacrificed playing with the best musicians in Texas just because I want to play with people that I can work with. I have cut through all of the bullshit. Now it is getting down to if you have a good working relationship with your band that works hard and it makes people happy.
"I just got insurance on a truck so now I can go to the East or West Coast. Our dream and our goals are to do exactly what we are doing here in Dallas in New York and Los Angeles. We don't give a damn if we don't make any money, we want people to see us. We know that we can kick ass and believe me, I feel good about this band."