DOKKEN mainman Don Dokken recently spoke to KNAC.com's Jeff Kirby about his reputation for being "difficult" and ex-DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
KNAC.com: There was a report that DOKKEN was slated to do a show at the Anaheim House of Blues, but that when you found out that Lynch was going to play with one of the opening acts, that you threatened to cancel the show. What happened?
Don Dokken: "The truth was we were playing that night, and George was supposed to go and jam with the opening act. All of us in the band felt very uncomfortable about him being there. It wasn't just me, but of course it always falls on me. Mick [Brown, DOKKEN drummer] was adamant too — he didn't want George in the venue. He didn't want him onstage or backstage. He didn't want to see him at all because we just didn't trust him. We didn't know if he'd try to unplug our amps or sabotage things. He's done a lot of crazy things in his time. I don't want to get into them all right now though because I've moved on with my life. I don't need to bash George. I just think he is his worst enemy. I wish I had half his talent as a guitar player. He's such a great guitar player, but I don't know what's going on in his life. It's not part of my life — I have my own kids to worry about. I have my own band to worry about and my career. I can't be worrying about him. The truth was, I didn't say that I wouldn't play. I ended up saying that if he was going to play, we were going to go to the dressing room well after they had played and were done--then we would show up and go to the dressing room. That's when the club owner said that it sounded like it would be opening up a can of worms. Because of that, the House of Blues asked him not to show up. That's the truth."
KNAC.com: When you have people in a band who are either unwilling or who for whatever reason aren't equipped to deal with the press, is it fair to the other members? Did you personally resent it?
Don Dokken: "No, I think that's cool. I mean, there are a lot of people like that in the business. That didn't bother me. What bothered me was that I was the one who would basically champion him at radio stations and tell people how great he was. I did that because George was kind of shy when it came to things like that. Then, when it came back that I didn't want to share the spotlight, I just thought it was ridiculous because I did everything I could to try to make him the 'next Eddie Van Halen.' He came close to having that crown, and he deserved it because he had that talent. He just didn't want to brag to people any more about his guitar playing than I want to stand up and say, 'Yeah, I'm a great singer.' How do you say that? You can't. You can't do that because your kudos have to come from other people. It didn't bother me that he was shy and didn't want to go to the interviews. There were four of us in the band. Mick was the funny guy who kept it lively on the radio by cutting up and stuff like that. George just felt more comfortable when he was talking about his guitar or his rig or his equipment. He had to have been on the cover of Guitar World a hundred times. At that point, he was in his element. He had a single focus, and that was on his guitar.
KNAC.com: Was it just after "Under Lock and Key" that you felt that the band had to make the step if it was ever going to?
Don Dokken: "Yeah, at Monsters of Rock, I knew that we had nowhere to go but down. The band was completely imploding. When Jeff had come back to the band in '95 to work on my solo record, 'Dysfunctional', which actually turned into a DOKKEN album — we got into conversations a couple of times about what happened. When we would talk, I told him, 'Well, there are a couple of things you probably don't know, Jeff.' He said, 'What?' I told him, 'You know, you guys used to talk pretty loud when you were partying. Do you know what it's like to be the lead singer of a band and trying to get some sleep in your bunk when you have three guys up at the front of the bus plotting how to try to get rid of you?' It was like, 'Boy, if we could just get a better singer or a younger singer.' It was also stuff like, 'Jeff, you could do the lead vocals and we could go as a three piece if we could just get the name.' I had to listen to these types of conversations where people were just conspiring to try to undermine me. It didn't make me a real happy camper in the morning.
Read Don Dokken's entire interview with KNAC.com at this location.