One of the more successful and original hard rock bands, Dokken was formed around Don Dokken who had become well known on the metal scene after working in Germany and around Los Angeles in the late ‘70s and early '80s as well as contributing vocals to Scorpions. A line-up featuring Don Dokken and Juan Croucier (later of Ratt) toured Europe in 1979. However, when the band was recording its debut album in Europe Juan Croucier had to miss the session because of problems with his girlfriend. At that point, Accept’s bassist Peter Baltes would record the bass on the album. Accept was also recording nearby while Dokken was laying down music for the album.
A couple of metal personalities later - Lynch had given Eddie Van Halen guitar lessons - and the band featured its most famous line-up and guitarist. The original European version of Breaking The Chains featured Don Dokken on the cover. The eventual US release through Elektra came with a different version of Paris Is Burning and a new cover. The ‘80s saw a string of popular and shredding, yet melodic albums with the live Beast In The East album being the best selling opus and exceeding one million copies sold. It was, therefore, ironic that the band had decided to call it a day at that point. For the band had become a popular MTV act and toured with the likes of Scorpions and Aerosmith.
The band had experienced much tension between Dokken and Lynch although it was later claimed that this was a well-planned publicity affair. Even later, the feuding was found to be real with ego clashes and musical differences being the culprit. January 27, 1988 was proclaimed Dokken Day in LA by that city's mayor.
Ironically, it was at this point that three quarters of the band went to court to stop Don Dokken from continuing under the Dokken name! Consequently, the singer's solo album was released under the Don Dokken monicker.
In 1992 Pilson and Dokken got together again and soon the entire original line-up was recording together. 1995’s Dysfunctional was criticized and was originally meant to be Don’s solo album. Its follow-up Shadowlife, was criticized even more and was supposed to be something modern and disassociated from the band’s original sound. Both albums failed to grip the fans or the market. Lynch also grew more distant from the band given his changing musical tastes and commitment to body building. Beach was introduced for Erase The Slate and easily filled long time guitarist Lynch's shoes. 2001 brought the forced departure of Beach, whom Don had replaced with his old friend John Norum, and the surprising parting of Jeff Pilson. Don Dokken replaced the latter at the last minute, again. Officially, Pilson, who had joined ex-guitarist Lynch, had left the band to do solo records and sing more than Dokken the band allowed. Turmoil further followed the band when new guitarist Norum is given the boot, on the road no less, and replaced by hitherto solo artist Alex De Rosso from Italy. As if that was not enough drama, the Metal Edge Rock Fest 2002 Tour suffered an abrupt ending when drummer Mick Brown quit Dokken after playing the Phoenix, Arizona show. The promoter for the Hollywood Palladium duly cancelled the show scheduled for the night after.
L/P is short for Lynch/Pilson the band of Lynch and Pilson formed in 2002. Brown was back by the time Dokken toured North America as openers for Scorpions and Whitesnake.
A new line-up of Dokken issued the Hell To Pay album in April, 2004. Frontiers Records signed Dokken for the release of a new album in 2007 called Lightning Strikes Again. The band would issue a live recording, entitled Dokken Live 1981 From Conception, on March 13th through Rhino Records. Lightning Strikes Again, the band’s new album, would soon follow albeit six months behind schedule and in the autumn. Dokken would schedule a tour of Europe with Kingdom Come. Dokken hired drummer Vik Foxx (ex-Enuff Z'nuff) to fill in for drummer Mick Brown for several shows the man could not play in the summer of 2007. Former guitarist George Lynch speculated in 2008 that the original Dokken line-up would reform and tour together in 2009. The band apparently was about to do so in 2007, but was faced with the unavailability of bassist Jeff Pilson. Oddly, Don had remembered that the last time he and Lynch were in the same room the guitarist was choking the singer. The band’s Lightning Strikes Again was out through Frontiers Records in April of 2008 after months of delay. During an interview, Don Dokken announced that Lightning Strikes Again was a parting gift to fans. The frontman expected the album to be Dokken’s last studio recording. The album had taken four years to arrive because Don was abusing alcohol as he was attempting to produce the record. Drummer Jeff Martin was fired by Dokken mid-tour in July. The band was to be joined by former guitarist George Lynch for one song at the Rock The Bayou festival in Houston at the end of August. Great White, Dokken, Sweet and Asia gave a concert to raise funds for Rancho Bernardo United Coalition and to benefit "Promoting Healing Through Music" on October 24th, 2008 at Qualcom Stadium in San Diego, California. Lynch joined a new band, called Souls Of We, with London LeGrand of Brides Of Destruction and Johnny Chow of Fireball Ministry and Cavalera Conspiracy.
Dokken's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 was a compilation of new versions of the band’s ’80s, new songs and a cover of Lies by The Knickerbockers. The CD was out in October of 2009 through Rhino. Those who could not wait could see the band in a Symantec anti-virus commercial, which the band had appeared in as a last-minute replacement. Don rented his grounds to commercial shoots. Judas Priest, Megadeth, Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Slayer, Napalm Death, Anvil, Dokken, Lynch Mob and others were on the bill for Loud Park festival, on October 17th and 18th of 2009 at Makuhari Messe in Japan. The appearance of Lynch Mob and Dokken, followed by a couple of more California dates at the end of November, on the same stage followed persistent rumours that guitarist George Lynch of Lynch Mob was rejoining Dokken. After much rumour and the original line-up getting together on stage in 2009 the ‘80s ensemble of Dokken was only possibly getting together again. George Lynch confirmed and quickly retracted as premature such an announcement. A new album was due in 2010. In 2011 Don Dokken announced that a full line-up of the classic Dokken would not be getting together owing to Jeff Pilson being busy with Foreigner. Dokken had apparently been interested in a full reunion including George Lynch. In an interview Lynch called Dokken “lazy” and “a piece of shit.” Frontiers Records signed Dokken for the worldwide release of the band's next studio album, which was due in the spring of 2012. The band and label worked together for the group's Lightning Strikes Again album.
In late 2011, both current and former members of Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown, formed a new project called Tooth And Nail. The group soon switched names to T&N due to legal pressure from the label with the same name. The band was named after Dokken’s 1984 album and was in the studio recording an album featuring both new material as well as new version of Dokken’s Alone Again (from the Tooth And Nail album) featuring Sebastian Bach, Ripper Owens and Doug Pinnick (King's X) on various songs’ vocals. The album was due in 2012. Dokken reportedly picked Broken Bones as the title for its next album, which was due in June through Frontiers Records. Drumming for Ted Nugent Mick Brown was arrested on July 8th, 2012 for reportedly stealing a golf cart and driving it while drunk in Bangor, Maine. He would appear in court on August 15th after being released on bail and plead not guilty. Queensrÿche, Accept, Dokken and Msg were booked for 2012’s South Texas Rock Fest, on Saturday, October 13th at Sunken Gardens in San Antonio, Texas. Following recent troubles Dokken parted ways with drummer Mick Brown and replaced him with former Megadeth man Jimmy DeGrasso. Internet reports had it that Dokken’s Broken Bones would be the group’s last album. Singer Don Dokken apparently wanted to go into different directions. Drummer Mick Brown pleaded guilty Tuesday to OUI (operating under the influence of intoxicants) following an accident the past summer when he drove drunk in a golf cart in Bangor, Maine. He was fined $1,000. He had initially disclaimed the incident. In 2013, an aeroplane carrying members of Ratt and Dokken was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois after a reported fire broke out in the jet's cockpit. The bands are touring with Sebastian Bach and Lita Ford. In November of 2014, Dokken asked bassist Sean Mcnabb to leave and replaced him with Mark Boals. The new man was known as a singer for bands like Yngwie Malmsteen. Apparently, Don Dokken was unhappy with McNabb solo projects. Riki Rachtman's Cathouse was organizing an ‘80s glam festival at Irvine Meadows in California on Saturday, August 15th 2015 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. Bands appearing include Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dokken, Faster Pussycat, Extreme and more. According to bassist Jeff Pilson the classic line-up was again in negotiations in 2016 to reassemble for a tour. After being offered a lot of money the ‘80s line-up of Dokken was reuniting to play Japan’s Loud Park and six additional shows in the country. According to singer Don Dokken, one show could be filmed. The then line-up of Dokken would not disband however.
The popular ‘80s line-up would play its thus far sole U.S. reunion show on September 30th at Badlands Pawn Guns Gold And Rock 'N' Roll in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The band had reunited for money for a Japanese tour.
DOKKEN - SHADOWLIFE - CMC
Those knowledgeable in the stock market, know the following rule of thumb: buy when the stock is down, sell when the stock is up. It's a simple rule and one which most market participants don't understand. Caught in a frenzy, most buy stock when expensive and at a peak. Similarly, most sell when the stock has hit rock bottom and can only rise! In the midst of the great hard 'n heavy wave of the 1980's Dokken fought tooth and nail in the name of metal. They were just one of the many in the pack though. Had they persevered with their style, while others were dispersing, they would be a rare commodity. They, in other words, would have bought at a low. Instead, Dokken '97 (which initial reports had entitled Dark Waters) is a mix of the rock and pop that is popular today. It is almost a mix between Pearl Jam and Our Lady Peace! But nowadays every second band sounds so. Dokken has bought at a high. Ironically, Dokken is now signed to CMC (the hard rock label of the '90s), the same label which passed on Dokken's harder material three years ago. Does CMC care to explain? And while we are looking for explanations, is that George Lynch or Don Johnson? - Ali "The Metallian"
DOKKEN - ERASE THE SLATE - CMC/ BMG
Just because I heard that the album title was chosen by fans on-line, I almost didn't review this album. Nothing being more trendy than the 'web-savvy', I almost rebelled against the cliché. Oh well. I was not quite sure which Dokken I'll be inviting in upon putting this album on. For, the last time I heard Dokken (two years ago), the band had decided that 'alternative' was cool. That, from the archetypal 1980's hard rock band! Twenty seconds into the CD and I have to admit to liking the album. It is not all good: Crazy Mary Goes Round is a real bore-inducer. On the other hand the album boasts several great tracks reminiscent of the band's glory days a decade ago complete with a great vocal performance from Don Dokken. Another eye opener is new guitarist Reb Beach (ex- Alice Cooper) whose prowess is not in doubt any more and is a great successor to George Lynch. Hard rock fans need not think twice. - Ali "The Metallian"