Former DOKKEN/DIO bassist Jeff Pilson recently spoke to Jeff Kerby of KNAC.com about his work with both bands and his WAR & PEACE project, among other topics. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
KNAC.com: Another point of contention seems to be the belief that you were never satisfied being the bassist of DOKKEN. Was there a part of you that was unhappy that you weren't the front man?
Jeff Pilson: "Honestly — not. I do love to sing. Don't get me wrong on that, and I still love being in situations though where I don’t sing. I loved playing with Ronnie Dio, and I loved the fact that he was singing. I did a FOREIGNER show not too long ago..."
Jeff Pilson: "Yeah, I was in FOREIGNER for a minute.
KNAC.com: Which songs did you play?
Jeff Pilson: "All the hits! C'mon!"
KNAC.com: So you were out there doing "Jukebox Hero" and the whole bit?
Jeff Pilson: "Yeah, we did a show in Santa Barbara a few months ago, and it was a blast. I'm hoping that more come along because it was so much fun."
KNAC.com: Were you playing bass exclusively or were you doing vocals as well?
Jeff Pilson: "We sang backgrounds, too. It was amazing. Even as much as I love to sing, I would never say that I resented Don being the frontman, but what I resented was the attitude that he had and the way he tried to take credit for some things he didn't do. I also resented the way he kind of conducted himself within the band. He always kind of played the odd man out and made himself the odd man out in the band. That I resented because I thought it was very destructive. We all had our faults and did our share of things wrong, but I never resented him being the singer. I knew the parameters of the band when I first joined. There was no question about that. It's like I say, I love being in situations where I don't sing because I love to play as much as I love to sing."
KNAC.com: How was it working with Dio then? I mean, you hear all kinds of things about nearly any assertive vocalist who has been around for a while. With DIO, you have a guy like Vivian Campbell consistently asserting that Ronnie isn't the person everyone believes he is. What was your experience like?
Jeff Pilson: "I never found Ronnie to be difficult. I've heard stories about it, but I didn’t find it to be true for me at all.
KNAC.com: Was that an issue you had to deal with in your mind before you agreed to play on the record?
Jeff Pilson: "No, because Ronnie has always been a friend. By the time I joined DIO in ‘93, I had already known him for ten years. Because of that, it was never an issue. Once I joined, we got along great, and the chemistry was great. I didn't find him to be difficult at all. He's just persistent in what he does, and I love that because I'm the same way. He's a perfectionist. I'm a perfectionist. I think we enjoyed pushing things to see how far we could take something. I always feel a magic working with Ronnie, but I also feel it when working with Vinny as well. The whole DIO thing just felt really, really magical. I would just say that it was only positive. I say that even though the writing had already been done by the time they approached me. When you start with a great skeleton of a record and just put musicians with chemistry around it, it's only going to make it great."
Read Jeff Pilson's entire interview with KNAC.com at this location.