If you were ever to cross paths with Jacob Bunton, lead singer of Lynam and not know him, one glance at those steel-blue eyes and black spiked hair would send an alert to walk a little bit farther away–but that impression of him couldn’t be anything further from the truth. This southern gentleman says ‘please, thank you, ma’am’ and that Alabama twang in his smooth voice could melt a glacier.
In his short time here on earth, Bunton has definitely been on the music scene a long time and did double duty with Adler and Lynam; the group he’s been with since 2001. Lynam, consisting of Bunton, Lonny Paul, Mark Dzier and David Lynam formed in Birmingham, Alabama and though they may have gone on to other projects over the years, they’ve never broken up and have put out seven albums including their newest release, Half Way to Hell, in December. “Lynam is the band I’ve always played in,” says Bunton in a cool low tone, “even when I was with Adler. When we put together Adler, Lynam never broke up; we just all took time off to concentrate on other things since we had been together for a while; in fact Lynam just released their seventh album.”
Bunton continues, “But we did the record with Adler; me, Lonny, Steven and Johnny Martin and we were scheduled to go on a summer tour and of course it got cancelled because Steven had to go back into rehab to concentrate on his health and that’s the main thing, you know we all love him and we’re all really close but it’s healthier for him to be at home than to be on the road but yeah, Lynam never broke up and in between Adler, I would go play Lynam shows. We’re the same group of guys [Lynam] with the addition of Lonny and this record, Half Way to Hell, is the first release with Lonny on it so we’ve been really excited because he definitely adds a real cool element to the band and we’ve been a rock band for while with no signs of slowing down or stopping; we love what we do and that’s the main thing. We love creating music. Our new video debuted on Revolver Magazine and you should all check it out.”
“In fact, we just released our new record and it exceeded any of our expectations,” states Bunton, “it made the front page of iTunes in the rock section. I actually got an email from our publicist saying, ‘Congrats guys!’ We were number two and stayed that way for almost three weeks and might still be there but we were all really excited about that and when it warms up, probably in the spring, we’ll hit the road and go do tour dates so I’m looking forward to it.”
How do you become number anything when the music hasn’t even been released yet and who decides how you place? Again, how do ‘they’ know because ‘they’ seem to know a lot? Bunton laughs and explains, “We have a very dedicated fan base and we’ve been around for a while now; we’ve got great fans but usually what happens when a band releases an album online or for download, all the fans are notified of the download so when your fans do that it’s enough to chart and then iTunes picks up on it and they put you up front and then you get a lot of eyeballs that wouldn’t normally see you and then people start clicking on links to check you out; it’s definitely a good thing.”
Songwriting for Bunton is like breathing; it just happens and partnering with guitarist Lonny Paul has produced some amazing efforts in Adler and Lynam. “Well I’ve always been the songwriter in Lynam up until recently,” he enthuses, “but now that Lonny’s in the band; he’s a great songwriter. One of the songs on Half Way to Hell, Dead Man’s Parade; Lonny wrote and in the future, we’ll be collaborating on all this stuff together. That’s how we did the Adler record.”
Getting on the road is something all the men in Lynam are looking forward to and playing in front of different crowds in different states does leave a lasting impression; some places you look forward to visiting again and again while others; you’d rather have a tooth drilled without Novocain to avoid the trip. “We love Texas and the mid-west,” says Bunton with conviction. “People love rock there and they still come out to shows; it’s just a lot of fun and a really cool vibe. It’s not like here because you see Hollywood is a different element; the energy is different; they just kind of stand around with their arms crossed and that’s…weird. L.A. and NY are very weird markets to play. Yeah but mostly it’s people just trying to be cool and just being seen at the show rather than actually be there to watch the band. Atlanta is the same way; but when you play to people in the mid-west, they loosen up, they scream, they throw their hands in the air and they don’t care if they look like idiots to their friends or people standing next to them; they just go nuts—you know like a rock show should be.”
Speaking of how a rock show ‘should be,’ you can’t have the good without the ‘crazy road’ stories and though he doesn’t elaborate on specifics, he’s seen his fair share of mayhem on the road. “Every time we go out something happens; we just never know what,” laughs Bunton, “the road is definitely a fun place and it depends on who you’re touring with, if you’re touring with a really fun band because who you’re on the road with can make your life miserable or amazing. There are some bands that are real standoffish and they look at it as us against the world everyone is competition and then you have other bands that look at it as we’re all in it together, we’re all out on the road and that’s fine. Those are the people you want to be with because it really can be like hell with the wrong people.” And what about touring with other bands; who would be the wish list in Bunton’s opinion and why? “Probably Bon Jovi,” states Bunton, “just because they’re playing 20,000 seated arenas every night so obviously the more people the better; or maybe Aerosmith; that would be cool cause much of the newer bands can’t draw like that or a band like Nickelback, they’re playing arenas so that would be fine. They’re going to be out in the spring; they’re doing a greatest hits tour.”
Being that spring is not quite here and Punxsutawney Phil hasn’t made his famous prediction yet; [if the groundhog sees its shadow on February 2 it will be frightened by it and will return to its burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter] what do the guys in Lynam do to pass the time? “Well, we just came down to the RadioScreamer studios and hung out with Dave [Castagno]; we love that guy, man!” says Bunton with a laugh. “But that’s pretty much it until spring; when we hit the road. I don’t know if we’re doing any surprise shows but we’ve played everywhere though from a flatbed truck out in the country to a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean; we played Motley Crue’s ship tour and we’ve played four Shiprock cruises and Adler played the KISS cruise; we’ve done a lot of those and those are a lot of fun! You really don’t even know you’re out on the water, the ship is so big; it holds like 3,000 people you don’t even know you’re at sea.”
When you have a dedication to something so strong, you hope your efforts produce results no one has yet to track and according to Bunton, music is life and if he ever feels any different, he’s in trouble; and so are we if he ever stops writing songs or singing his heart out with Lynam.