Liam Lynch was born September 5, 1970 in Akron, Ohio. When Liam Lynch was three years old he got his first toy tape recorder. Since then, he's always had two tape recorders for his entire life. And with this new tape recorder, he did his own show. By age nine, his family moved to Hudson, Ohio, a 'small, preppy town' where he wound up rebelling against his confining surroundings. Liam was learning to play his first guitar and writing stories. This is also where Liam met his soon-to-be-partner-in-crime Matt Crocco, who during that same year, moved to Hudson from New York. When Liam was in fifth grade, a teacher came to test all the students for a new "gifted" student program that was starting. He was enrolled in the "REACH" program, where three days a week he left school to meet scientists, work at a TV studio, take poetry classes and visit art museums. He was also disgnosed with the following learning disabilities: colorblindness, dyslexia, attentionBiography
Liam Lynch was born September 5, 1970 in Akron, Ohio.
When Liam Lynch was three years old he got his first toy tape recorder. Since then, he's always had two tape recorders for his entire life. And with this new tape recorder, he did his own show.
By age nine, his family moved to Hudson, Ohio, a 'small, preppy town' where he wound up rebelling against his confining surroundings. Liam was learning to play his first guitar and writing stories. This is also where Liam met his soon-to-be-partner-in-crime Matt Crocco, who during that same year, moved to Hudson from New York.
When Liam was in fifth grade, a teacher came to test all the students for a new "gifted" student program that was starting. He was enrolled in the "REACH" program, where three days a week he left school to meet scientists, work at a TV studio, take poetry classes and visit art museums. He was also disgnosed with the following learning disabilities: colorblindness, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.), sequential order deficiency, and binocularity of the eyes.
"I'm a watered-down idiot savant."
By the ninth grade he was being paid to teach poetry, art and music classes and interview WWII pilots for a history book.
In tenth grade, Liam decided to record his own album. Saving money from odd jobs and garage sales, he utilized a local recording studio. This was a solo effort, he was working in recording studios writing, producing, and playing all the intruments for the solo album made of his own original songs.
He handled it all myself: learned about getting tape duplications made and printed cassette tapes, went around to local record stores which clued him in to consignment. He made calls and set up gigs for himself in bars. On school nights and his parents would have to come with him because he wasn't old enough to get in alone. His payment was usually a Coca-Cola
"I'd go around and collect my sales money. It was really a great experience. I really started learning about everything about the industry, about making stuff, but I was kind of learning about the creative as well as the business at the same time."
Liam started a scholarship with this income he made to help creative kids with learning disabilities get past their shortcomings and into art classes.
By his senior year of high school he had traveled to the Communist Soviet Union, spent a summer with his relatives in Ireland and produced yet another album. Liam was just 17.
After High School, Liam then acquired a car and was off to Kent State University, leaving the small town behind for a more mind-expanding environment. Matt Crocco soon followed the call of creative freedom and ended up at Kent as well. Life was definately different in college.
"Punk rock, artists, coffee houses, music, death, art, 15 poor creative freaks living in one house - it was really inspiring, people were more freakier than myself."
While attending Kent State, he took classes in writing, African history, glassblowing and sculpture, had his poetry published in a book, lectured at meetings to psychiatrists and teachers of artistic learning-disabled students and came close to changing the entrance requirements of his college. He worked hard with the Dean of Education to allow artistic students, with low grades in other subjects, to prove themselves academically in the areas that they excel, rather than being held back.
While at Kent, his parents moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he would begin to spend more time. Liam met Michael Taylor via a mutual friend, and eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee after meeting composer Phil Copeland, got into studios, and learned about creativity with deadlines. Taylor left for school at MTSU, and once Liam grew tired of Kent, he transferred to Belmont University. Liam left Belmont after only three days of classes.
He continued to play music, this time as the frontman in a band called Owen's Ashes. The music was theatrical, complicated. The other members of Owen Ashes were Michael Taylor, Chris Tench, Bart Hanenberg and Ron Hiss. He acquired studio time and arranged meetings all over music row for his new band. While at 12th & Porter, Liam was introduced to Brian Hardin, who would record many demos with Owen's Ashes at 16th Ave Sound, Quad Studios and Sound Barrier.
After the recordings, the band hit the road to tour the southeast. While touring Liam began to show signs of illness but still played shows for two years. When he was too sick and weak to drive or take care of himself, his mother took him back to Louisville.
"It was a failure. Playing in crappy bars, going on tour, working as a dishwasher for three years."
Then he developed a sinus infection so severe he almost died
"I laid there dying, and I tried to feel like everything I'd done up until that point were big accomplishments. They weren't really. Summing yourself up is really hardcore."
With vertigo, abscessed teeth, ulcers, severe sinus pain, thrush in his throat and mouth, he was bedridden for 6 weeks with fever of 104 and his weight had dropped to 100 lbs. Many tests were run and severe sinus blockage and infection was found. It was so severe that surgeons were put on call fearing they would need to lance his throat and drain his exhausted glands. It turned out that he was literally allergic to this new environment, and the complications in his music were overshadowed by complications in his own body. He went into surgery.
Finally, on Easter morning of 1994, he hit bottom. He regained enough strength to get up.
He picked up his acoustic guitar, which he had not played in months, and went outside that beautiful spring day to play. As he's standing there, the guitar strap suddenly broke and it slipped out of his hands and smashes in a million pieces on the ground. I just crumpled and started crying. Then, my mom came out and laid over me and started weeping too.
"It was the most primitive moment I've ever had. Everything had felt so unfair. That was the last thing left and I thought I can't get any more emotionally lower than this. It was like I was reborn. I felt like I dwindled down to a little twig, and I just went snap! But then a little sprout came off one of the ends, and I got to grow into something way bigger and way stronger."
He refused to continue all the medication. He had wisdom teeth removed and that stopped vertigo by lessening pressure. Though still sick, he went and had major sinus surgery that allowed his sinuses to drain as they should. He slowly regained physical and mental momentum. During the weeks of convalescence, crows sat on his windowsill. Never before or after had crows been seen at their home. Liam believed they were protecting him. After he began to revive, they left and never returned. Liam's come to recognize crows as his spirit guides ("Though I'm really not a hippie or anything!" -Liam). One of Liam's tattoos on his arm is a crow, a traditional Irish and Indian image associated with spirits. This was the mythical point from which things literally can only get better. He survived. And then he quit the band "After recovery I came to my senses that the music I was making was too torturous and painful to play. The music was reflecting feeling bad and when I played I felt bad. I needed to make simple music that felt like me." The vicious circle stopped when Liam left the band. Brian Hardin knew it was best and gathered equipment and left Liam a key to his house while he was out of town for two weeks. He and told Liam to have an album done by the time he got back and they would mix it. "Eel" was written as he recorded it one track at a time, playing all instruments. Finding Himself A close friend, Rebecca Stout, found a story in Rolling Stone magazine that Sir Paul McCartney was going to open a unique performing arts school, LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts), and gave Liam information about how to apply. He filled out the nine-page application and was one of the two Americans that were excepted out of 15,000 applicants. A total of 40 musicians worldwide, got in to the school. He moved to Liverpool as soon as he finished "Eel," 6 months before school started. This is when Liam truly found himself. He focused on the things that made him unique by learning what he liked in other artists and himself. With no friends or furniture, he began to write to fill the spare time. Sifl & Olly were born and he felt very much at home with his inner energy. This is where he needed to be both physically and mentally. During his three and a half year stay, he met and worked with Sir George Martin who recorded all of the Beatles records, attended lectures with Brian Eno and was one of five students hand picked by McCartney to work once a month on a one-on-one basis during a one hour session. Each of the students had to turn in one original song. Liam's song was called "Jade Step," referring to the Chinese translation of the word clitoris, which is "a pearl on a jade step." While in England, Liam was also in three BBC documentaries and in publications around the world, produced local Liverpool bands, worked professionally in theater, wrote and recorded hundreds of songs, and acted in TV commercials. Island Records (U2) wanted to demo him while he was working with PJ Harvey's band. John Parish, instrumentalist and co-producer for PJ Harvey (Harvey's guitar teacher), was to produce this demo for him. A family entertainment division of Sony contacted Liam recently to help them come up with characters and scripts for interactive games. This same organization is giving Liam an artificial intelligence robot dog (AIBO, which means "pal" in Japanese). It's part of SONY early development of human and robot relationships, and SONY is interested in Liam's ideas for future robots and ways to use them. He is planning to name his new pet "Beep Boop." Sifl & Olly So what is Matt as a piece of the puzzle in all this? In 1996, Liam wanted to make something using the recordings he and Matt Crocco did a few years ago as a Christmas present for Matt Crocco. He originally wanted to do stop-action photography, but Liam didn't have the money or the equipment to do that. At 3 A.M. and the only materials he could come up with were socks. As he explains, "It could have easily been buckets." Making puppets out of some socks in his sock drawer, borrowing a video camera from a friend, Sifl & Olly were born. "The names are totally meaningless," says Matt Crocco (Sifl) "We would just sit around making them up then like we do now, and we picked two names from back then." Liam then called information, got the number for MTV, asked them what their address is, and who you send stuff to. He wrote the person's name on an envelope, and then called maybe two or three times a week and asked if they had watched it yet. That person would get fired, a new person would fill in, he'd find out who that is, and call them three times a week. And he kept doing this routine until it finally got on MTV Europe. Liam called Matt and told him they were on MTV Europe, which he did not believe until he saw it. Liam ended up making over 110 short films of Sifl and Olly for MTV Europe, 80 of these Sifl and Olly "idents," or short buffer clips played in between videos were on for 2 years in Europe before the show ever premiered in the states. Liam traveled to London twice a week for meetings about Sifl & Olly (along with his music recordings). Liam had made 120 Sifl & Olly segments and MTV Europe licensed them all. Liam then sent all the S&O shows on tape to MTV America, and he called them every single day 3 or 4 times. It was very frustrating, it took a very long time. Six months and a lot of time and money later, just when he gave up, he got a call. That night (2:30 in the morning in England) Brian Graden, the president of programming for MTV, called and said 'we'd like you to do a pilot.' Liam returned to Nashville to do the pilot with Matt Crocco and Brian Hardin. Former band-mate, roommate, and friend Michael Taylor entered in as a sounding board for ideas, helping with organization and donating his musical talents. As soon as he and Matt finished season one for MTV America, Liam went back to Liverpool to graduate making him a part of the institute's first graduating class In July 1998, Sifl & Olly premiered on MTV in America. The show would only last two seasons. Plans for a third season were slated to air online, but those too fell through the cracks. The new millennium, however, gave Lynch new life. The United States of Whatever Upon returnng to America in 1999 after being in Europe for so long, Liam felt a little out of place back home. "I was still sort of culture-shocked from being back in America, so maybe that's why there's an American theme. But I just thought of that phrase and thought it was funny, and then I literally went downstairs and hit 'record.' That's why in the beginning of the song, the lyrics are really vague, but by the end it gets more specific." United States of Whatever would be featured during season 2 in an episode of MTV's Sifl & Olly. When the "Sifl & Olly Show" went off of the air, Lynch put the song on a sampler CD. Before Lynch knew it, his "My United States of Whatever" song had topped the British charts. Lynch promptly licensed the song November 18th 2002 as a single in the UK on the Global Warming label. It was released on a 3 track CD single. Soon, a copy of the song leaked into America. It quickly became popular on radio airwaves, so record companies in the US jumped to offer Lynch a deal. United States of Whatever is the #1 Most Requested song at LA's KROQ The attention landed Lynch record and publishing deals, which, in turn, allowed him to pay off his house. Fake Songs CD and Fake Movies DVD Between the first and second season of the "Sifl & Olly Show," Liam recorded a solo album called "Fake Songs." During the second season of the show, which featured two original songs per daily episode, he came up short a couple of songs. So he used two songs from the solo album to fill the gaps. Of all the songs from the ‘Sifl & Olly' episodes, people reacted to ‘United States of Whatever' the most. Lynch released the "Fake Songs" CD on EMI in the U.S. April 9, 2003 (released in the UK Jun 2003). "I'm not making fun of those artists, because I love them. I just wanted to feel what it was like to do what they do. The truth is, there are so many different artists that do parodies of other artists but never admit it. Like on Sum 41's 'Fat Lip,' they wanted to be the Beastie Boys. And even that new Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow song 'Picture' is a fake Bob Seger song. I think a lot of people get away with worse than what I did, and they call it their own." The "Fake Movies" DVD that comes with the "Fake Songs" CD contains puppets, computer animated shorts, skits, music videos, home movies and behind-the-scenes footage. Further, it's packed full of the zany comedic wit you would expect from the man behind the "Sifl & Olly Show." Ringo Starr had heard United States of Whatever on a radio station in England and loved it and called Liam at home. Ringo was unaware of Liam previously workings with McCartney. While working on the album, Fake Songs Liam somehow managed to find time to direct a music video for the Foo Fighters (UK verson of "Times Like These"), work on DVDs for No Doubt and Tenacious D, and finish up composing music for the MTV animated series, Clone High. I got a phone call out of the blue from Ringo and he had no idea I had studied with McCartney, which was awesome. But he's great. He's a total natural." "Fake Songs" was created in 1999, but wasn't released until April 2003…nearly four years later. Epilogue To Liam, solitude is his springboard to productivity. He says he spends 99% of his time alone in suburbia and he is an insomniac who loves nighttime because of fewer distractions. When he does take breaks from working, relaxation is watching TV. He is truly devoted to his fans and answers sometimes up to 75 emails per day. Liam is a total optimist."If I was a realist, I would have not done half of the things I've done. If you want things to happen, they will." He considers himself an individualist but even more, a leader. When he does things he does them big. He never doubts himself and never has creative blocks. "I fully understand the things I am capable of doing. I do not do specific things that I know are some one else's talent. I find the right people who I understand and they understand me so that we can make something that is better than either of us." Liam has never stopped writing songs since he was 9 years old. "I want to make as much stuff as I can, so when I die people will come in my house and freak out at finding ten times more material that can be produced in a lifetime." As of this writing, Liam's in the process of writing and directing the upcoming film 'Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny'… Expand
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