DON DOKKEN: 'My Whole Right Arm Is Paralyzed'

September 24, 2023

In a new interview with Cassius Morris, DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken spoke about how the complications from his November 2019 neck and spinal surgery affected the making of the band's upcoming thirteenth studio album, "Heaven Comes Down", which will arrive on October 27 via Silver Lining Music. The 70-year-old musician said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "My right arm got paralyzed, so I couldn't play guitar anymore, so I couldn't compose. That sucked… I mean, when you can't play guitar, how am I gonna finish the songs? And I waited and waited, going to the gym three days a week and physical therapy. My left hand's normal. My right hand [is] fucked. It's over. The whole arm is paralyzed. I can hold a cup — that's about it. So that was depressing after surgery. And they kept saying, 'Give it a year. Give it a year. Give it a year.' It's been three years. It didn't come back. So that was a bummer."

He continued: "I made a joke when I was going to the operating room. I told the surgeon, 'Just do me two favors. Don't kill me and don't paralyze me.' So, I got half. I'm paralyzed. It took me a year just to be able to [lift my right arm above my head] — one year. I was [using] a walker and a cane, and I still have a cane. I don't try to use it too much. But that just took the wind out of the band's sail."

Back in February 2020, just three months after his surgery, Don told "The Classic Metal Show" that he was forced to "become a leftie" even though he is right-handed. Don went on to say that he "never imagined" his surgery would result in "so much trauma." He said: "It was a bit of a shock, honestly, when I came out of surgery. Who goes into surgery and wakes up and they're completely paralyzed?"

The follow-up to 2012's "Broken Bones", "Heaven Comes Down" was produced by Bill Palmer and Don Dokken and was mixed by Kevin Shirley (AEROSMITH, IRON MAIDEN).

Last month, DOKKEN released the music video for the album's first single, "Fugitive". The clip was directed by Chris Eyre ("Dark Winds", "Smoke Signals") and was filmed at the popular immersive arts venture Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

DOKKEN released an album called "The Lost Songs: 1978-1981" in August 2020 via Silver Lining Music. Featuring sleeve art by renowned U.S. artist Tokyo Hiro (MOTÖRHEAD, MOTLEY CRÜE),the effort contains material written and recorded by a hungry young Don Dokken as he embarked upon a journey which started in Southern California and Northern Germany.

DOKKEN's classic lineup of Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer "Wild" Mick 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 in 2018.

At some of the recent DOKKEN shows, Lynch has been rejoining the band on stage to perform three of the classic DOKKEN songs: "Kiss Of Death", "When Heaven Comes Down" and "Tooth And Nail".

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