Dokken has two releases coming out this week - FROM CONCEPTION LIVE 1981, which is a recording of one of the earliest live performances featuring the classic Dokken lineup and the UNCHAIN THE NIGHT dvd, which was previously only available on vhs. Don Dokken checked in with us to discuss the new releases and what the future holds for Dokken. This will be the first installment of somewhat regular updates from Don leading up to the new studio release LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN.
Mydenrocks - So you literally stumbled across the tapes for the new FROM CONCEPTION LIVE cd?
Don Dokken - We store all of our master tapes at a vault in Hollywood. They are temperature controlled so they don't go bad. I was down looking for the master tapes from the German recordings of BREAKING THE CHAINS to do a remix for a 25th anniversary. I saw some old faded boxes with 2 inch tapes that just said "Dokken Live". I didn't really know what it was because they're were really no other markings on them. So, I took them with me, put them on the machine and found they were old recordings from way back when.
MR - How much other unreleased material is stored in the Dokken vaults?
DD - That's it. We got masters, etc. There's nothing unreleased in there. Everything has been released from what I could see. I actually looked through the tapes, but unfortuantely these new live tapes were it.
MR - The quality of FROM CONCEPTION is pretty good considering the condition they were in when you first found them. Was it hard to get the sound to come back to life and make it sound so good?
DD - It was alot of work, but it really wasn't that hard. Wyn Davis mixed it, who has done alot of Dokken albums in the past. We just transferred it to digital and got rid of all the ticks and pops. It came out sounding good.
MR - Who actually plays bass on the new live release?
DD - It's Pilson. Pilson is playing bass. He had just joined the band about a month before. Juan didn't even play on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS. His picture is on there, but he didn't play on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS. Peter Baltes, the bass player from Accept played on BREAKIN' THE CHAINS because Juan was in the U.S. and couldn't get to Germany in time to do the bass tracks. So Peter played on the tracks. Then Juan came to Germany did the European tour and the Beat Club show, then came back to the U.S. did like 1 or 2 showcases and got the record deal. But, then Juan left the band to join Ratt. Pilson joined right after Juan left and that's when these tapes for the new live release were recordeed.
MR - Why did you decide to release FROM CONCEPTION now and just not hold on to it for a later date?DD - We signed a deal with Rhino for a new studio album and I just said to them "Hey I got this old live recording that's kind of cool. You should check it out." I gave it to them and they were like "We should put this out for the Dokken catalog because it's a pretty good recording." I said "Yeah, that would be good to hold us over until we get the new studio album done." There's a big gap - it's been 2 1/2 years since we put out HELL TO PAY. So, it's about time we put out some product. It was perfect to release FROM CONCEPTION and the dvd at the same time.
MR - You're probably happy to get the UNCHAIN THE NIGHT dvd out for the first time in that format?
DD - It took a long time. Elektra didn't want to release it. They thought there was no point in putting it out because they said nobody wants to buy it - nobody cares. I said "I disagree"
MR - I heard some rumours about releasing the Dokken back catalog?
DD - I don't know anything about that. They're putting out some heavy metal compilation on Rhino that I think we're going to have one song on. Maybe that compilation thing is what you were hearing about.
MR - Do you have a target release date for the new studio release LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN?
DD - We wanted to put out in June. But, it doesn't look like we're going to make it. Like all albums they always take longer than you expect. It looks like it will be out late summer or Sept. at the latest. We've already booked the European tour starting in Sept. and then we'll do the U.S. tour right after that.
MR - Any particular songs stand out to you for the new studio release that you would like to give a little advance on?
DD - No song titles yet. I haven't even titled the songs yet. (laughing). I got the music. I got the lyrics. In about a month I should have some pretty concrete titles to throw out there. It's hard to describe the music without matching it up to a song name. So, no one will know what we're talking about anyhow. As far as the sound as a whole for the new material, I would say it's good hard rocking music that is in the veign of the classic Dokken sound.
MR - Where does your solo cd stand right now? Any release date planned?
DD - Nowhere apparantley. I finished it. It's done. I gave it to a few labels. Alot of people don't get the solo cd. They don't get the songs. They think it's too mellow and there's no market for it. It's a different kind of music. It's new age. It's different. It's not signed to a label yet. I'm really proud of the record. I just have to find the right label to put it out on. A rock label is not the way to go with it.
MR - Do you look at the new studio release as a make or break it type milestone for the band? If it doesn't sell, will that mean an end to Dokken?
DD - It is a make or break it album. If this album doesn't have some success, then I don't know what to say. We got great label. They're marketing it, promoting it, doing whatever they can. If it doesn't sell, then what's the point in making new cds? I won't disband the band if it doesn't sell. But we'll just stop making new records and be like Poison - we'll go out on tour every year and just play our hits.
MR - Hopefully, it does well. The whole music industry is just a mess when it comes to promotion and selling a rock product. It's almost like people who should know how to market, promote, and sell rock music don't even know how to hit a target audience anymore. Look at Cleveland for example, rock radio is just pathetic. I'm embarressed to call Cleveland the rock and roll capital anymore. It's a pathetic shell of what it once used to be and you basically have these large corporations that control the whole industry. The end result is bands like Dokken get shut out of radio airplay, venues to play, etc.
DD - The record business is so screwed up right now. It's a mess. There's no more rock radio stations. People don't how to market anymore and that's why the record companies are going down the toilet. No one wants to play in Cleveland anymore because they don't sell tickets there.
MR - Has Wild Mick and Barry ever come back from a Ted Nugent tour sporting loin cloths? They ever come back with some good stories?
DD - (laughing) No. No loin cloths. That's funny. But, you can imagine - it's Ted Nugent! They've come back with some stories. Oh yeah. But, they're stories I can't repeat. You don't want to get on Ted's bad side - don't be a rabbit! Ted will put an arrow right through you!
MR - Thanks for checking in with us Don!
DD - In about a month from now, we'll catch back up. I'll have more songs to talk about, a more solid release date, etc. Until then, check out the new releases and thanks for the support!
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Also, be sure to catch the Classic Metal Show on Sat. March 17 when Don Dokken will be phoning in to the show to talk about the new Dokken releases. www.theclassicmetalshow.com