Leslie Michele Derrough of GlideMagazine.com recently conducted an interview with DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GlideMagazine.com: You have said that people should not listen to [the new DOKKEN album] “Broken Bones” once, but to listen to it twice.
Don: Yeah, if you listen to it once, you won’t grasp the gravity of what we were trying to accomplish. The second time you realize that all of the songs are kind of different and they have their own flavor and their own vibe, their own groove. It’s not just nine songs the same old thing. I really worked hard. Jon [Levin, guitar] and I spent eleven months and wrote over thirty songs. Some of these songs we rewrote three and four and five times. I really pushed myself on this one. It’s our last CD so I said, this has to be it. I want everything to be stellar.
GlideMagazine.com: Why is this your last DOKKEN CD?
Don: I want to do other projects. I want to do other things. I think I’ve said what I had to say in the DOKKEN style of music and I want to stretch out a little bit and do other things.
GlideMagazine.com: Some musicians don’t want to leave their comfort zone.
Don: No, I’m the opposite. I always want to try something different. I’m going to start working on an album with Michael Schenker. It’s going to be fun. He’s a great guy and he put out a few acoustic CDs. I saw him last month in Bulgaria and he says, “Don, we’ve always been talking about doing an acoustic record.” And I said, “Yeah.” So he gave me a couple of his albums that are just instrumental and I said, “Why don’t I take them home and see if I can write lyrics and sing over the songs?” And it’s coming out really great. It’s not rock, it’s a kind of chill record.
GlideMagazine.com: When all the things were happening between you and [former DOKKEN guitarist] George Lynch, with the turmoil and the tension, did you ever think about giving up on this business and just saying, “I’m done. I’m tired of all this fighting”?
Don: No. I mean, I just thought, I’m done, I’m tired of playing with George. Because here we were at the top of our careers, we’re becoming superstars, and every day we should’ve been kissing the ground and saying, “Thank you, God, for this blessing that we’ve been so lucky to have a successful career and you’ve got one guy in the band that’s like completely always trying to make it unpleasant and miserable.” It was really sad, you know. He ruined my dream because he just complained constantly. I think it was just his personality. Some people thrive on misery and I don’t. And that was our big problem, with George and I. So yeah, when I broke the band up in 1988, I said, “I just can’t take it anymore.” We’re doing great, we’re playing stadiums, hundred thousand people a day, and every day there’s a problem, every day there’s complaining, every day there is drugs and arguments and it just made it a really unpleasant experience. It’s kind of sad.
GlideMagazine.com: How long have you been playing with Jon Levin?
Don: Ten years. Jon is an angel. We get along great. That’s why he’s been in the band ten years. Who would have thought my attorney would become my guitar player? And we get along. I think it helped cause him and I would just sit down and he’d play a solo and I’d say, “That’s great, that’s great, and how about this little part here? I think you can do it better.” It was a very positive creative experience. You know, he’ll tell you, I used to make him really nervous on the first couple of records ’cause he hadn’t played in years. After [playing with] Doro Pesch, he’d become an attorney and he said, “You made me nervous.” Reb Beach once said, “I love playing in DOKKEN, but I wouldn’t want to make another record with them,” because I’m too intense in the studio. And I said, “Yeah, Reb, but you came out of it a better guitar player.” I’m very intense when it comes to making music. To me, it’s passion and if the song’s good then I don’t like it. It’s got to be great.
GlideMagazine.com: And that’s the way you’ve always been?
Don: Oh yeah. I mean, we thought we had six songs done. We wrote six more then went back to the first six and I said, we can make these songs better. And we did. And it’s hard, but it had to be done.
Read the entire interview from GlideMagazine.com.
“Broken Bones” track by track:
Photo credit: Devin DeHaven