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Regional Archives The Altamont Enterprise, May 5, 2011
Stephen Lynch returns to fertilize the Egg
By Zach Simeone
ALBANY You’re 30 seconds into the first song.
A smoothly controlled voice has slowly lured you, blanketed by a pleasant chord progression that pours from his acoustic guitar, and they have all but hinted at the story that’s about to unfold.
And suddenly, you’re faced with a mental image so brilliantly disturbing that your senses of humor and nausea are engaged in a tug of war.
The former will likely win, because you’re watching singer-songwriter-comedian Stephen Lynch do what he does best: Taking your innocence, and using it as a guitar pick.
It’s this gift that has earned him a cult following around the globe, as well as a brief stint as the title role in the Broadway production of Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.
So, what else can audience members expect when Lynch performs at The Egg in Albany tonight?
“They can expect to hear a lot of folky, singer-songwriter songs that delve into topics that, probably, traditional singer-songwriters don’t write about i.e. Nazis and abortions,” Lynch told The Enterprise with a laugh. “I am carrying the torch in that area.”
He took on this warped style of songwriting in college as a way to entertain his friends, and it stuck.
But, while he sees many songs in his repertoire as formulaic in how they introduce their humorous elements, fans can expect that to change.
“I’m starting to move farther and farther away from that because I’m sort of sick of it,” Lynch admits. “Everybody knows something’s coming. Now, I’m trying to think of topics for songs, or write a song in such a way that it’s not, set up, set up, set up, punch line, and off we go with some sort of M. Night Shyamalan twist at the end. I want to write what I like, and what I enjoy listening to. Hopefully, the more of that stuff I pound into my brain, it pushes the Poison and Warrant out that got stuck in there when I was 13 years old.”
In “Superhero,” one of Lynch’s earlier, and slightly tamer songs, he sings, with a paradoxically angelic voice, of fictitious vigilantes Awesome Man, Immigration Dude, and Justice Guy.
Justice Guy and Immigration Dude sound like they would share duties in some instances.
“I suppose in Arizona, they would,” Lynch quipped. “But those are meant to be the ironic superheroes. It’s funny, I got a tongue lashing from a girl after a show one time at a college many years ago, telling me how racist I was. And I had to sort of pull her aside and explain that the intent of the lyric is irony. Then, she sort of settled down and sheepishly walked away.”
Despite his talents with eliciting hysterical laughter, Lynch insists that his heart is in the music.
“Really, if you were to stumble upon me on any given night, I would probably not be watching comedy; I’d be listening to music, because that’s what I really enjoy making music,” he said. “In fact, I can say with certainty, if I weren’t writing music, I would not be in the comedy business. To me, the whole fun of the process is writing a song that I like to sing, and then, hopefully, as a bonus, making it funny. And, I realize that the bonus is what people are paying for,” he laughed.
Fans may get to see some of these changes manifest in Lynch’s new material, which he has been slowly piecing together, and will soon be recorded for his fifth album.
“I have to decide if I’m going to record it live, or go back into the studio, or maybe a little bit of both,” Lynch explained. “Hopefully, I’ll have something out at the end of the summer, and I can tour for the next couple of years with that album. I’d much prefer to do them in the studio, because then you can tinker with them, and add all kinds of instruments days later when you think of it, or you can overdub as many parts as you want. But, recording live also has a certain feel to it that you don’t get in the studio, and it’s much quicker, and much cheaper. But, I’m on the fence about this one.”
So, tonight’s show will be an experimental performance for Lynch.
“I’m going to try to stick in six or seven new songs, so I will use whoever comes as guinea pigs,” he said. “So, if they want to pay to be guinea pigs, they’re more than welcome to come.”
Stephen Lynch will perform at The Egg in downtown Albany tonight, Thursday, May 5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still on sale for $29.50.