Here’s a confession, I like Dokken.
I started listening to Dokken back in high school, probably after seeing the video for “In My Dreams,” either on MTV’s “Headbangers Ball,” or on the MTV daily video countdown.
I don’t think I ever saw Dokken live, or at least not the entire show. They did a big summer tour with Poison and a buncha other 80s hair bands about 15 years ago, and I was there … but we’d been drinking corn liquor, and we arrived late and … um … yeah, it’s all gone now. I’m genuinely sorry about that — as an old fan, it’s a band I always wished I’d caught the band live (while sober, that is).
So I should be excited that, after eons, vocalist Don Dokken, guitar god George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown are reuniting for one U.S. gig and a mini tour of Japan. After all, Dokken did some really great albums in the 1980s, including one bona fide hair metal classic “Tooth and Nail.” The new tour will be a chance for old-school fans to hear some of their favorite songs, played by the original artists.
Also, there’s sure to be plenty of video, a DVD from one of the shows is planned, and Don Dokken told DJ Eddie Trunk the guys even wrote a new song for the tour, which we’ll all get to hear on the DVD, if not sooner on YouTube.
Yeah, it should be exciting. But frankly, this “reunion” smells like a ripoff.
For that, blame motormouth Don Dokken, who has been a font of negativity ever since the tour became official. He has been all over the place lately, talking about the band’s motivation for the tour, which is money. Or, rather, MONEY.
Don Dokken told “The Classic Metal Show,” that when a tour offer came in that finally fit Dokken’s asking price, he called Brown, Pilson and Lynch: “You guys want to make a sh*tload of money for a week of work? … Basically, they could make more money in one week than they could in a year.”
Don Dokken was equally blunt with Eddie Trunk: “It’s not glorious. But when someone sticks an ‘X’ amount of dollars with a lot of zeroes attached, what are you gonna say? ‘No, I’m busy’? I mean, c’mon, man. You think David Lee Roth went back with Van Halen because he just felt like it? I mean, it’s about money. And Guns N’ Roses — do you think they’re doing it ’cause they’re all madly in love with each other? I don’t think so.”
It’s hard to find a definitive explanation for why Dokken broke up after “Back for the Attack,” which was probably the most successful of their three-album run of hits. I heard or read somewhere that Don Dokken blames Lynch — Dokken says Lynch wanted to control the band — but I imagine Lynch and Dokken were equally to blame.
Places like Allmusic.com say the breakup was over “creative differences,” but that’s just shorthand for “Lynch and Dokken both had ego-problems, neither was willing to compromise, and they got into a major pissing match that resulted in pretty much killing the golden goose and blowing up both of their careers.”
What’s funny, however, is the bad blood lasts until this day. In his recent interviews, Don Dokken can’t help but moan about how he’s already expecting trouble from Lynch, and that once the tour is over, Lynch and his band, Lynch Mob, will go back to playing dive bars. Dokken is full of faint praise and subtle jabs at Lynch’s expense.
I’m not naive. When Guns N’ Roses got back together earlier this summer, money was a major reason why. But Guns N’ Roses also had something to prove — they they were worth the hype — and from what I’ve seen, they pulled it off. I don’t have similar hopes for Dokken. It’s rather off-putting to hear Dokken go on and on about how money is the ONLY reason he’s doing the tour and that he’ll never, set foot on stage with Lynch again once he finishes the shows and cashes the checks.
I don’t need band members to love each other … but it’s hard to get excited about a band that says, “we’re just in it for the cash, man.” Don Dokken couldn’t sound less excited, so it’s impossible to believe the shows are going to be anything other than lackluster.
My guess is a lot of those Dokken fans in Japan are going to leave the shows feeling disappointed, as if something was missing. Those fans will be right — hey Don Dokken, you can’t substitute a paycheck for heart, and think the fans won’t notice the difference. Enjoy the payday, though.