Dokken was originally formed in the late 1970’s when guitarist George Lynch and drummer Mick Brown joined forces with vocalist Don Dokken and bassist Jim Montaneras. Together they recorded BACK IN THE STREETS. In 1978, future Ratt bassist, Juan Croucier joined the bands ranks and released BREAKING THE CHAINS in Europe in 1981. Jeff Pilson replaced Croucier soon and started to write TOOTH AND NAIL. That album was released in 1984 at it became a huge success. It included several hit singles: "Just Got Lucky", "Alone Again", and "Into the Fire". It sold over one million copies in the US alone and peaked at #49 on U.S charts. One year later the band released their next album UNDER LOCK AND KEY and it was also very successful including such anthems as: “In My Dreams" and "It’s Not Love". Dokken did many successful tours and opened for bands like Aerosmith, Twisted Sister and Scorpions.
Dokken returned to studio in late 1986 to record another mega successful single DREAM WARRIORS for the horror movie NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 – the soundtrack but it wasn’t until late 1987 before they released another album BACK FOR THE ATTACK. This became their most popular release and it reached #13 on U.S charts with the help of such smash singles: "Burning Like A Flame" and Heaven Sent". Dokken was on top of their game but unfortunately they broke up due "creative differences" between Don and George soon after the release of live album BEAST FROM THE EAST in late 1988. Don Dokken recorded his first solo album UP FROM THE ASHES with all-star lineup including guitarists John Norum (ex-Europe) and Billy White, bassist Peter Baltes (ex-Accept), drummer Mikkey Dee (ex-King Diamond).
Around late 1993, Don started to talk again with Mick Brown, who had recently left Lynch Mob which was George Lynch’s band at that time. They joined up with Jeff Pilson, who was fronting his own War and Peace band, and started to write new songs. In 1994, they sent new material to George Lynch, who was impressed with the material. Together, they decided to reform Dokken and record a new album DYSFUNCTIONAL which was released in 1995.
Unfortunately, old problems resurfaced and the band lost George again after another release of album SHADOWLIFE in 1997. Dokken decided to continue with new guitarist Reb Beach (ex- Winger, Alice Cooper) and ERASE THE SLATE was released in 1999. A live album and awarded DVD LIVE FROM THE SUN came out in 2000 but then Reb decided to leave and join Whitesnake. Soon after, Jeff Pilson decided also leave and they were later on replaced by bassist Barry Sparks (Ted Nugent, ex- Uli Jon Roth) and Don’s old friend John Norum. LONG WAY HOME was released in 2002 but in the middle of the tour Norum was gone and he was then temporary replaced by Italian guitarist Alex DeGrossi. Jon Levin (ex-Warlock) joined in 2004 and since then he’s been a permanent guitarist and stayed on Don’s side. HELL TO PAY was released later on the same year and since then band has been more or less active doing a lot of touring and working on a new album which is titled LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN.
I managed to meet Don himself in October prior their show in Copenhagen and here are results of our interesting chat. ENJOY !!!
INTERVIEW AND LIVE PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
TRANSCRPTION BY ANDY OSBORN