Don Dokken recently spoke to the WSOU radio station about the progress of the songwriting sessions for DOKKEN's new album — the group's first since 2012's "Broken Bones".
"The problem we're having is we're booked solid till August on tour," he said (hear audio below). "So we're, like, 'When do we have time to record?' You fly out on a Thursday, you play Friday, you play Saturday and you fly home on Sunday, and you sleep it off by Monday and you've got two days to record. So we're trying. But the good news is since 'Broken Bones', it's been four years, so we have an insane amount of material. I mean, Jon's [Levin, guitar] written 20 songs, Mick's [Brown, drums] written eight songs, I've written 20 songs. We have so much material. I actually wrote eight songs that are finished almost a year ago for the record. So we're close. We're gonna put 13 on the record, maybe 14, so we're only about five song short. So we're trying.' We're booked literally till August, and then September, we're supposed to go to Europe. So we're trying to figure out where do we record? When do we record? So we're sneaking in a day here and a day there. I go to Jon's. We all have Pro Tools rigs. They come to my house, and I go to their house. We're just woodshedding right now, so it's getting close. But we don't know when we can into the studio for three or four weeks non-stop when we're booked. It looks like June, we only have one show so far — in Florida, with Yngwie Malmsteen. So we're planning on knocking a record out in June, but we don't know if that'll be too late to make it out for the summer."
Dokken said that the new album will be released through Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival.
"They're really excited about the new record, 'cause it's been over four years," Don said. "And we wanna make sure of all the songs — 20, 25 songs — we have the luxury of picking the very, very best songs we have, and that's something we're doing now. We've all been listening to the demos. I send the songs to the band blind. 'Hey, Chris [McCarvill, bass], just give me an A or a B or an F.' I send it to Mick: 'What's this song? An A or a B or a C or a D?' And Jon. So, all the As will hopefully make it on the record."
According to Don, even if a new DOKKEN album doesn't surface before the end of the summer, there should be no shortage of new product from him and the band this year.
"For now, it looks like I might have two records coming out, worst-case scenario, for the summer, which will be my solo acoustic album, 'Solitary', which I might rename," he said. "I've added three more songs to it. My solo album will be coming out for the summer. We're trying to get out another album, which is kind of fun. It's gonna be songs recorded in the '70s when I was a little pup in my early 20s. And I have 12 songs that I haven't released. So we're gonna go in and remaster them and all that, and I might put out that record for the summer, if we can't make the release date, and call it something like 'Dokken: The Early Days' or 'Dokken: The Lost Tapes', or something like that. 'Cause it was just an accident. I was cleaning out my locker and I found a bunch of master tapes from '77 to '79. And I said, 'What the heck are these?' And it turns out it was all these demos I did in the early '70s, before we had a record deal."
He continued: "The solo album, I made it several years ago and I put it on the Internet and sold maybe a thousand copies. And I pulled it on iTunes. It's acoustic. It's a departure. It's more ethereal. I call it the kind of music you wanna listen to having a glass of wine and a candle burning. And it's kind of gonna be along the lines of some of the Robert Plant acoustic albums he did. So, that's been done for years. And I added three more songs, so it's twelve. So right now, I'm just doing the artwork on that, getting it ready for the summer. And if we can get this early-days DOKKEN album [ready as well]. It's kind of fun record. My voice sounds a lot younger. I listen to it, and I go, 'God, I sound like I've got helium in my voice.' I was 23 years old. I sound like Mickey Mouse. We're gonna put that out, for sure."
Last fall, Don told "The Classic Metal Show" that his band's next album would be "a classic-sounding DOKKEN record" with "straight-ahead, catchy choruses, cool guitar riffs, burning guitar solos" and "nice grooves." He added: "The dilemma is to try to do that 30 years later without just ripping myself off and regurgitating old DOKKEN riffs."
DOKKEN's classic lineup of Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and Brown completed a short Japanese tour in October 2016, marking the first time in 21 years the four performed together.
A DOKKEN concert DVD focusing on the band's reunion tour, "Return To The East Live (2016)", was made available last year.