History & BiographyOne 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. Don had picked the name because there was another Airborn (his band in 1976) and the name Dokken rhymed with rocking. 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. George Lynch would remember that Croucier's recorded material was erased in favour of Baltes' work. 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 beginning 1981. Brown brought his Xciter/The Boyz’ band-mate George Lynch with him. The original European version of Breakin’ The Chains featured Don Dokken on the cover. It was initially a Don Dokken solo album in Europe. The eventual US release through Elektra Records came with a different version of Paris Is Burning and a new cover. It was also called Breaking The Chains. The group had also picked up Q Prime (Def Leppard, etc.) as management. The band was splitting song writing royalties equally. Brown and Lynch would rejoin the band. George Lynch would very briefly join Ozzy Osbourne. George Lynch would later recall borrowing titles out of TV Guide, Song titles were borrowed from movies and programs listed in that magazine. The ‘80s saw a string of popular and shredding, yet melodic albums with the live Beast In The East album being the bestselling 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 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. The members were opening for AC/DC in London, England when they began a physical fight. George was beating Don and Don was beating back. They survived to Play Monsters Of Rock festival with Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica and others. The single Dream Warriors, which was heard on the soundtrack to horror film A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 was a hit. Success meant more money for the musicians’ drugs. Don was looking to change the songwriting royalty arrangement as he recalled writing more than the others. The other members saw it differently and noted they even contributed the lyrics.
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. Don had walked away from the band and money as the three musicians had banded together.
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. It sold well nonetheless. The group toured Japan. Its follow-up Shadowlife, was criticized even more and was supposed to be something modern and disassociated from the band’s original sound. The album 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. Hot on the heels of a new studio album, Warner was releasing a Dokken compilation called The Very Best Of Dokken. The band was looking to tour South America and Europe and to record a live album. 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 was 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 Qualcomm 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 was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
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. Don Dokken performed an acoustic show at a special A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 30th anniversary show on June 3rd 2017 at Underground Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of mid-2017, Dokken was working on an album, which was due in mid-2018. Guitarist-for-hire Ira Black joined Dokken for nine U.S.A. shows in November and December 2017. Three members of Dokken reunited in a new project called Super Stroke. The band, which also featured former Lynch Mob and current Warrant singer Robert Mason, was working on new material. Dokken’s reformed classic line-up would release a new CD and DVD called Return To The East Live (2016) through Frontiers Music in April. It was recorded in Japan. Don, however, observed that he does not have an inclination to work more with the old line-up. A new project of three Dokken members and former Lynch Mob and current Warrant singer Robert Mason was called The End in 2018. The band was formerly called Super Stroke and would change monickers to The End Machine later. The group was working on an album. Dokken too was recording a new album in February 2019. The new album was to be released through Silver Lining Music, the label of Wacken’s Thomas Jensen. Don noted that the record would contain the band’s original sound. As expected, per singer Don Dokken, Dokken would "probably" appear at the M3 Rock Festival in the USA with the band's former guitarist George Lynch again. The band had songs ready for a 2019 album. Mick Brown was "taking a break" from playing concerts in 2019. He did not perform at the M3 Rock Festival in Columbia, Maryland in May and was replaced by BJ Zampa of House Of Lords. George Lynch had also pulled out from the same show due to Pneumonia.
According to singer Don Dokken, Mick Brown had definitively retired from the band as of mid-2019. The drummer had had his fill of touring including flying. The man may yet do the occasional Wild Mick Brown And The Bourbon Ballet solo gig. Don underwent a neck and spinal surgery in November, 2019 and reported coming out with a paralyzed right arm. This impacted the work on the newest album. Dokken, Lita Ford and Lynch Mob would conduct a U.S.of A. tour in 2020. Dokken singer Don Dokken and occasional Dokken and full-time Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch were to conduct a joint encore. Dokken would release an album called The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 through Silver Lining Music in August 2020. It was a compilation of demo material from the band’s early days as a demo act. Guitarist Reb Beach, who was a member of Whitensake, was returning to Dokken as a guest for a couple of performances in the summer of 2020. He was booted from the band despite recording a successful album called Erase The Slate. Dokken announced its next album would feature a song called Hail To The King, which would be about an “unhinged” Donald Trump. According to George Lynch in 2021, the guitarist and singer Don Dokken had been discussing reuniting the classic line-up. The band’s former bassist Jeff Pilson was writing a yoga book. George Lynch joined the band on stage at the Live United Live Music Festival in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA on June 5th 2021 to perform several of the band's songs. The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 was issued in 2020.
The horror character Freddy Krueger and Don Dokken of Dokken were reuniting on Gibson TV, which was the streaming channel of the guitar company, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the film A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors in 2022, which featured the Dokken hit Dream Warriors. The band was touring the USA in the summer of 2022. George Lynch was a regular guest now. BMG announced The Elektra Albums 1983-1987 box set for January 2023. It included Dokken’s first four albums either as five LPs or five CDs. Dokken released an album, called Heaven Comes Down, through Silver Lining in September 2023. The band had a song called When Heaven Comes Down on the 1984 album Tooth And Nail as well. Chris McCarvill was on bass and B.J. Zampa was on drums now. Don himself would report that he had worked extensively on his voice for the new album to counter his failing vocals and criticism of them. He would also report that he was walking with a cane in addition to being depressed and bipolar. Dokken had a Netflix movie slated for 2024. It was focusing on the band in the 1980s. Accept, Axel Rudi Pell, Dokken, Vandenberg and Electric Boys were confirmed for 2024's Skogsröjet festival. The festival was taking place in Rejmyre, Sweden between August 1 and 3. Dokken was playing select concerts on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the spring and summer. These included Wacken, Alcatraz Metal Fest and Leyendas Del Rock.
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"