Lynch/Pilson - Jeff Pilson
Former Dokken Bassist Returns with New Offering
Interviewed by Keith McDonald
As much as things change the more they stay the same. That seems to
be the case with Dokken and it's members. Dokken proved themselves to be
one of the better melodic hard rock bands of their era. On the verge of
becoming arena headliners, the band succumbed to the internal turmoil
and disbanded, starting new solo and side projects. But in 1994, the
original members reunited to release Dysfunctional,
and album that did much better than most, the band included, thought.
But the tensions that caused the first spilt came back to haunt the
band. As Don continues on with new members, former members Jeff Pilson
and George Lynch have combined to release Lynch/Pilson and their debut
album Wicked Underground.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeff who gave me the
lowdown on Dokken and the newest project in his life - Lynch/Pilson.
How did you hook up with George in the first place?
Basically, the manager he had at the time got in touch with me and
asked if I'd be interested in talking with George about doing a record.
I was a little unsure of where we stood with each other because our last
contact has not been very friendly. George was in L.A., so we met. Once
we did everything was fine, we had moved on from the past and
reconnected. As soon as we started working we could see the chemistry
was still there.
How would you describe the new material?
I think it's just good solid melodic hard rock album. There's
definitely Dokken elements in it and Lynch Mob. Pretty much just us.
It's what we do, what we wanted to do. There is stuff reminiscent of
what we've done, while at the same time I think it's fresh and inspired.
I think it's the best songwriting he and I have ever done. It's a
traditional hard rock album not too far away from 80's stuff.
Do you feel there's still an 80's backlash on musicians like
yourselves that affect any type of project that you do?
Yes I do to a certain extent. It's such a double-edged sword. You
have a parameter you're sort of stuck with. A lot of artists have tried
to reinvent themselves and they can't get that far because their name
limits them. Yes there was a big backlash on 80's artists and it is
getting better, (but) the basic problem is still there. You don't want
to piss off your core audience because they made you who you are. If you
do distance yourself you're going to run into problems. George and my
solution was 'screw it', let's just make a record that we dig.
That leads me into my next question. Was Shadowlife
something that Dokken did that may have alienated their core fans? It
was quite a departure of what Dokken was all about.
attempting to do something new. It was not that great, we didn't do that
great of a job attempting what was perhaps a noble idea.
What caused your split with Dokken to begin with?
It was a strange parting; I still haven't been technically fired. As
far as what happened, to make a long and ugly story short, I had done
this movie 'Rockstar' for Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers was willing
to co-op the advertising and marketing of a Dokken record if we could
come out with a record close to them movie (release). That was the plan
I wanted to see happen. Unfortunately Don just didn't go for it. What it
turned into was a series of miscommunications and hassles of trying to
figure out when we were going to record. I had other things I was doing
and trying to get it all wedged in was almost impossible, to the point
where they basically replaced me. That was not my desire to happen. I
had to file a lawsuit on the band in an attempt to be treated fairly in
the whole situation. It gets ugly and sticky but that's just business. I
spent 20 years building that band up and to take away my livelihood
without something is not right.
What are your thoughts on the new Dokken lineup and have you seen
I saw half a show in Las Vegas. I thought Barry (Sparks), the bassist
was great. I think the new record should have been a Don Dokken solo
album, more for the content. It's a whole different animal. I think it
was a little misleading to call it Dokken, but by calling it (that) you
get an automatic fan and sales base. Business-wise it makes sense for
(Don) to call it Dokken. I don't think it's an accurate portrayal of
what the band was. We were all equal members of the band and that's no
longer the case. Don's got his baby now.
The album hasn't sold that well so far.
There was a big backlash by word of mouth. I think he could have
avoided this by calling it a Don Dokken album. If you're going in
expecting a Dokken record, you're going to be disappointed, it's just
I see you also have a War & Peace album coming out as well.
I've got the songs written and a great deal recorded. I wanna wait
and let the Lynch/Pilson album be out a little while before I release
it. It's going really well and I'm excited about it.
Do you think you Don and George will ever put aside your
differences and put the original Dokken back together for one more
I would never say never, but at this point I hope not. I hope
everybody could do well without having to go back to that. I'm very
happy in my life right now. Unless things were very different, the
Dokken situation would be very ugly, there's so much damage done. I hope
it happens because we heal enough and bury the wounds and it would
actually be fun.