Dec 3, 2001

Don Dokken - Interview

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

Rock N Roll Experience: With this being the first night of the tour, are you nervous at all?

Don Dokken: No

Rock N Roll Experience: How did Mick Brown get the nickname Wild?

Don Dokken: Because he parties alot, he always has, it's his personality, he's very bubbly & outspoken, he's a drummer...all drummers are kind of like that & we called him wild because he was the one who did the most damage to the hotels in the 80's

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you still damage hotel rooms?

Don Dokken: nah...well sometimes, but not as often as we used to, it's too expensive

Rock N Roll Experience: What do your kids think of your music?

Don Dokken: They like it, they like alot of different kinds of music, but they like it. I always play them my new material & say what song do you like & they'll say which songs they like the best, they like the single the best "Little Girls"

Rock N Roll Experience: Did you see the movie Rock Star & did you like it?

Don Dokken: yes...I didn't get it, I personally like the Def Leppard story on VH1 better, it was more interesting, I mean you watch the inexpensive VH1 movie, to me, I thought that was better than Rock Star, which was a $50,000,000 production. I didn't buy Jennifer Aniston, she did not play the proverbial rock star girlfriend, I wasn't buying it, she's really pretty & all that, but I wasn't buying it, it was bad casting

Rock N Roll Experience: How come Jeff Pilson is no longer in Dokken?

Don Dokken: After 18 years, he just wanted to produce 2 other....he wants to sing & he was just frustrated, he wanted to sing & I said, "I'm the Singer", so he said he wanted to do an album with him singing everything & he said now was the time to do it

Rock N Roll Experience: Is Jeff still playing bass?

Don Dokken: I don't know, I heard he was playing with George Lynch or something, but I'm not sure what they are doing. What I had heard was that he isn't playing bass, he's just singing & I can't picture him doing that, but I don't know, I haven't talked to him

Rock N Roll Experience: What happened to Reb Beach?

Don Dokken: Reb did a solo album after Dokken & then he was gonna do a Winger album, a greatest hits album with 2 new tracks & I said we were gonna do another tour & Reb said he wanted to tour with us, but he didn't want to do another album, he wanted to do side projects & all of that, & we wanted someone in the band for the long haul. Reb was in the band before, but he was very up-front that he was in the band as a hired gun, we always knew that & he always said, "I Wanna be in the band, but if I get an offer I might go on." He was more in it for the money, so I always knew that if someone came along & offered him alot of money...

Rock N Roll Experience: Well, that's what it's all about right?

Don Dokken: Yeah, well, to some people, but we knew that, & then he wanted to do a blues album & that took some time & he wanted to do other things, & the Winger thing never materialized, it got started & I heard about it & it just never happened.

Rock N Roll Experience: I have to hand it to you though, you always have the best guitar players in your band

Don Dokken: Yeah, we always get the good guys

Rock N Roll Experience: How did you get Jon Norum?

Don Dokken: He was in my solo band, he did a couple of tours with us a couple of years ago when George Lynch had left, he left the band in like 3 days, or a week before the tour started.

Rock N Roll Experience: Was that the first time or 2nd time Lynch left?

Don Dokken: The Second....Lynch just disappeared, no one knew where he was, he just took off & I called Jon & said I needed a guitar player & he learned our set & that was it

Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of the new metal bands?

Don Dokken: It depends on which metal bands you're talking about.

Rock N Roll Experience: Is George Lynch hard to work with?

Don Dokken: He's very hard to work with

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Rock N Roll Experience: Professionally or musically?

Don Dokken: Uhhh, Both, musically he's very...he has some very different ideas, I just thought that Dokken has a sound & that's what people want to hear & I don't think that people want to hear Dokken's version of Slipknot, Dokken's version of Tool, Dokken's version of Alice in Chains, anymore than anyone would want to go out & buy Aerosmith's version of Metallica & this was where we butted head, he would say let's change & now that Alice in Chains & STP are popular, so let's make all the vocals sound monochromatic & said, well, that's cool for them, but that's not what we do, we're a harmony band, but he kept saying come on, come on, come on, let's do it this way & then Tool came out & he wanted to do all dark music & I said that's not what we do & I don't want to do the same thing either, but I want to keep it fresh & write new songs, but if I wanna go buy an Aerosmith album I sure as hell don't want to hear their version of Metallica.

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Rock N Roll Experience: Congratulations on keeping your voice all of these years, it still sounds good

Don Dokken: Yeah, it still works

Rock N Roll Experience: Have you ever seen the website Metal Sludge & what do you think of it?

Don Dokken: Yes, It's useless, it's crap...it's like the National Inquirer, it's just crap, talking about who's got hair, who dick is smaller, what the f*ck is that all about? Who screwed who, who's got herpes, it's just a couple of teenage girls that work out of their basement, It's nothing that I wanna get involved with, I did my 20 questions & I'm done with it, It has nothing to do with music....it's like Mad Magazine

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Rock N Roll Experience: Would you ever play with George Lynch again?

Don Dokken: No

Rock N Roll Experience: Not even if you were offered loads of money?

Don Dokken: No, the money's been there, I don't need money, I've got money, I'm not out here for the money, I'm out here because I like to sing & I tried that once, I felt guilty for bringing George back into the band for "Dysfunctional" & the money & the big record deal & I was just miserable & he was miserable, he made all of us miserable, it was just a very un-happy band & I don't want to talk too much about him, you've got to meet him to understand, he's just very dark...he has that look in his eyes & you never know who he's gonna be, sometimes's he's hi, how are you & then sometimes he'll walk on the bus & he has that dark look in his eye..anger & I can't be around that stuff

Rock N Roll Experience: Are there any songs you won't play live anymore?

Don Dokken: I don't want to play "Paris is Burning" anymore, it's too old, I don't want to do "Just got Lucky", we've got to make room for new songs...If I was to do the same old songs over & over, what's the point of making a new record?

Rock N Roll Experience: Who was the worst band you ever toured with?

Don Dokken: Poison

Rock N Roll Experience: Any particular reason why?

Don Dokken: Just arrogance, not all of the guys in the band

Rock N Roll Experience: It was probably C.C.

Don Dokken: No, no, C.C. was great, he is the easiest one in Poison to get along with, trust me,

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Rock N Roll Experience: What bands would you like to tour with right now?

Don Dokken: Def Leppard, Queensryche, Tesla, White Snake, Aerosmith, Metallica

Rock N Roll Experience: Any new bands you'd like to tour with?

Don Dokken: I love Coldplay, I like Fuel, I like Train, I don't like Slipknot, I don't get that suburban misspent youth, my parents didn't love me sh*t, It's like come on, get over it

Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of guys like Joe Leste from Bang Tango forming Beautiful Creatures & Amir from Rough Cutt forming Orgy & reinventing themselves from the 80's metal scene?

Don Dokken: I think Orgy is great & Amir did some cool stuff going from Rough Cutt to Orgy, & I thought it was really ballsy of him, I think they did some cool songs. I've only seen one song on TV from Beautiful Creatures, they were on HBO Reverb & I really can't comment on them, I love Joe, he's a good friend of mine, but I can't make a judgment call

Rock N Roll Experience: I miss guitar solo's in music, do you?

Don Dokken: Yeah, Jon Norum is a good guitar player & people want to hear solo's, the chicks don't, but...it's a shame. There are no guitar solo's anymore because people can't play them, I mean all of the musicians now play like 3 chords & that's it...that's all they can play & they have no dexterity at all, they can barely play & they get records deals.

Rock N Roll Experience: Well, the guys from Slipknot are good players, Mick & Jim used to be guitar teachers & CAN play very well, they just dumb it down to make heavy music like that

Don Dokken: really, they dumb it down...well they put it down to a real no brainer, I mean I see what they are doing, it's an extreme, like Alice Cooper to the extreme, It's like Freddy Krueger started a band & got Slipknot, so people do dig it, but I don't see the musical value of it.

Rock N Roll Experience: There isn't alot of musical value, it's more about emotions & anger as a release

Don Dokken: It's just anger & I don't dig it, I go to see music to get away from all of that, I thought music was an escape to be happy, there are only 2 types of concerts to go to...You go to a concert & leave drained or charged. When I go see Metallica I leave charged, I'll go see Aerosmith I leave charged, I go see Dokken I leave charged, If I went to see System of a Down or Slipknot I leave drained & that what I don't want to do, I don't want to be drained, I wanna be charged

Rock N Roll Experience: Are you embarrassed by some of the stuff you did & wore in the 80's?

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Don Dokken: Everybody is, whenever I'm myself I'm fine, whenever I tried to be what I thought was what the record company wanted, or be more of a David Lee Roth or one of those kind of guys, If I tried to be that I just wasn't myself.

Rock N Roll Experience: Will there be a Don Dokken autobiography?

Don Dokken: No, I hope not....I don't have time