09 May 2006

Dokken

One day after Dokken’s unplugged performance at “The Underworld” Club, and after the three band members had left for America, Don Dokken

(who spent some more days in Greece) gave a press conference sadly (or should I say fortunately) to the few journalists who were present. Sakis Nikas, Dimitris Kazantzis, Alexandros Richardos (Rockpages) and Dimitris Seirinakis (Rock Hard) had the great opportunity to have an hour long wonderful chat with Don, instead of a typical interview.

At first, he was asked if their concert in Gagarin was videotaped for a future DVD release, because there was a rumor for it. Don told us that the show was recorded for a future live album that will include excerpts from the Greek and the Mexican concerts. Also, some video footage will be included in the bonus DVD that will accompany the c.d. He also said that he is working on 4 (!) albums. A solo one that will include many ballads and will revolve around acoustic forms, a Dokken compilation, a live album from the 80s and of course the brand new Dokken effort.

 

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Then, the conversation went on other things like labels, contracts and...money. On every opportunity, Don underlined that he is in no need of money and all his legal affairs is being handled by his personal lawyer and guitarist of the band, Jon Levin, he is an absolute genious in all that law stuff. Don Dokken said that the real money chasers are acts like Bon Jovi, whose whole set-up is after the money-hunting. Despite the constant rumors, Don clearified that he has nothing against Jon Bon Jovi and on the contrary he respects him as a person and as an artist. The only thing is that he prefers to write his songs on his own and not hire the best writers around in order to achieve commercial success. He couldn’t even speak hypothetically about having someone in the band playing only for the money. That causes great stir between bands and record companies.

Regarding all those compilations that feature Dokken (as a band or as a single unit), Don didn’t remember much about them. One of them was “Humanary Stew”, the tribute to Alice Cooper. Alice, himself, didn’t want Don to do his classic “I’m eighteen”, but Don persisted and presented his version to Alice, who was taken aback and accepted his take on the album. He didn’t ommit to make very flattering comments on Ronnie James Dio and the whole “Hear n Aid” arrangement. He vividly remembers that everyone there was wearing black leather clothes and there was a heavy leather smell in the air. So, the next day appeared in a white fabric shirt jacket!

We, then, asked Don which are the most vivid memories from the 80s and the days after the 1995 reunion. From the 80s, he said that he will always remember Dokken’s participation in the Monsters Of Rock touring bill (1988) and the band’s support slot in the Judas Priest tour a couple of years ago. Of course, there were some bad moments, especially when it came to the drug issue. From 1995 and onwards, he really loves the “Dysfunctional” record that was initially supposed to be his second solo album, but George Lynch returned and was released under the Dokken moniquer. Grining meaningfully he said that Lynch’s return was an ill-thought movement because the talented guitarist had abandoned music at that period of time and he was focused on his family and his occupation at that time, baywatch.

We asked him about the drastic musical deparure on the band’s latest record “Hell to pay” from “Long way home” (2002) that was based on 80s forms. Fortunately, he told us that he prefers the “Long way home” atmosphere. The change was due to label inclinations and personal musical experimentations. The million dollar question was if there was a chance to see the classic Dokken line-up revived. Don was clear: “I am really with this band line-up right now. Quite frankly neither I nor Mick would do it only for the money, despite the fact that George approached us for this matter a while ago”.

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And what about Dokken’s set-list in Gagarin? All the songs were cued from the 80s apart from “Sunless Days” and “Too High To Fly”. He agreed that his was a fact, but this was their first appearance in Athens and he wanted to please the fans. Also, he said that he played fewer songs than he would prefer but he admitted that he cannot longer perform for 2-3 hours as other bands do.

He was also very open-minded for the unusual (to say the least) Dokken record, “Shadow Life”. He considers this specidic record to be Dokken’s worst effort. It was a George Lynch and Jeff Pilson concept. He characterized it a fake album as he wrote only three songs for it and he went as far as not to allow the use of Dokken’s logo on the album cover sleeve. Hi all-time fave Dokken record is “Under Lock and Key”.

We then talked about politics and Don didn’t spare words or characterizations about George Bush and he stated that it is a wrong assumption the the Americans want him as their president. He is totally against the war in Iraq and all the money that was spent on this war. Last but not least, he shared some details with us about some of the album covers. He personally penned the “Back For The Attack” and “Beast from the East” covers, “Shadow Life” costed 10.000 US Dollars (!!!), while the girl in the “Long Way Home” photo cover sleeve is his daughter (her face) and the rest of the body and the wings is computerized. Don expressed his certainty that Dokken will return pretty soon in Greece and he left by thanking us for this wonderful conversation.

 

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