DON DOKKEN On His Relationship With GEORGE LYNCH: 'We're Too Old To Argue Anymore'

September 23, 2023

For much of the last few years, George Lynch has been rejoining DOKKEN on stage to perform the same three classic songs: "Kiss Of Death", "When Heaven Comes Down" and "Tooth And Nail". George normally opens the shows with his longtime band LYNCH MOB, and then, to end the evening, treats fans to a special encore as he steps onstage with DOKKEN on stage to close the night.

In a new interview with 80's Glam Metalcast, Don stated about his relationship with his former bandmate (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "George is George… We talked about it. He first came out and did a couple songs at the end of the show. Then he put LYNCH MOB back together, so they've been opening — his whole band — and then he comes on stage for his couple songs. But as George and I said, we're too old to argue anymore. Can't take the stress. But George is very eccentric, I'm eccentric, and it's no secret we didn't get along since day one and it ran its course. But all these years later, it's like, we're not BFFs. We don't hang out, even though he moved to New Mexico. I live in New Mexico. He moved to New Mexico. That's kind of funny. Very strange. But George is George. I'm me. But it ran its course. We did the reunion with George playing a couple songs, but I just said, 'Okay, we're done with that.'"

Don continued: "Jon Levin's my guitar player. He's been in DOKKEN longer than George. I mean, Jon will tell you openly, he grew up — he's the youngest in the band — he grew up listening to DOKKEN and his favorite guitar player was George. So he's got that George Lynch style. As George said once to the press, 'Jon Levin plays me better than me.' The sound of the guitar, his scales. But I tell Jon, 'Do what you want, man. You can spread your wings on other songs and just be Jon.' But that's just the way he plays."

Last month, Lynch told Michael Christopher of Metal Edge, George about the experience of performing with his former band: "I don't know how long that's going to continue, but right now it's still on the books and we're still doing it. Nothing's forever — I'm okay with that. I always thought it would be a successful kind of pairing of the bands [DOKKEN and LYNCH MOB] just because of the history and there's the competition thing and we're really, at the end of the day, we're just entertainment. So we go out there and there's a little story there and people are invested in the story. It's a human story.'

He continued: "And then from the guitar players, there's the guitar competition thing, which guitar players thrive off — that's cool. Jon is a very amazing guitar player and he plays my stuff better than I could ever play it. We open the show and then DOKKEN comes out and they do their thing. And then I come out and walk on and people are wondering, oh, are me and Don going to get in a fistfight or are we going to hug it out? And then we just all kumbaya at the end and everybody's had a great time and it was great."

When Christopher noted that DOKKEN fans are probably fans of LYNCH MOB and vice versa, George said: "[LYNCH MOB] play a good amount of DOKKEN songs. Obviously, I wrote the lion's share of that material along with Jeff [Pilson, former DOKKEN bassist]. And so, it's my music and I go out and I play it and to me it's seamless. Whether it's DOKKEN or LYNCH MOB doesn't matter. But when we play with DOKKEN, we can't do that obviously ‘cause it's their music."

Lynch went on to admit that he still finds it a bit difficult to get into the right mindset to play a couple of songs with DOKKEN even though he is no longer a member of the band.

"One thing that is a little bit strange is when I'm sitting in the dressing room, I have this hour and a half, I have to wait between when LYNCH MOB finished and they put DOKKEN gear up on stage, do their line check, and then they go out and they do their intro 'Without Warning', which I wrote," he said. "And it's me playing on that intro. And I'm like, I'm listening to myself, something I wrote that I'm playing on physically. And then they come out and they play all these songs that I wrote and…it's just…I have to work at not letting it bother me. I have to definitely go into my Zen place to make sure I don't get… that it isn't weird for me."

In a January 2022 interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", George was asked why he only performs three songs with DOKKEN as opposed to playing the entire set. He responded: "Well, that's probably an economic issue on Don's side. I mean, Don owns the name of the band. It works on me on all levels at this point, and obviously it works for Don, so if it's not broken, why fix it? And I don't know… I would just be speculating that he's concerned maybe that something could pop up if he gets in bed with me and then now he doesn't have what he's built over all these years. So there's that. And maybe financially it would be not as — I don't know — not as [much of] a positive outcome for him. I'm not sure; we haven't talked about it. But what we're doing now works. Obviously, what you just brought up is something that everybody's thinking about, but, hey, it's not up to me to decide. But I certainly feel that would probably make sense [for me to play the whole set]; I could see that making sense. I'm already there — why don't I just go out and finish playing the rest of the songs that are part of my legacy? People would like that. There's a lot of different ways to think about that. There's what we do as a business, and I'm not ashamed of that. I don't think it's a bad thing to talk about the business side of music. It doesn't take away from the art; it doesn't take away from the creative part of it. Those are two different sides of the same coin. We all need to make a living. But you have to have that balance of appreciating and producing music that you love and that people enjoy, and at the same time, it has to make sense financially. So I'm not sure which one that is, as to why we're not back together on a more complete basis, where I'm playing the whole set, but I've got a feeling it's probably financial."

In October 2016, the classic lineup of DOKKENDon, George, Jeff and Mick Brown (drums) — reunited to play the Loud Park festival in Japan. Fortunately for fans outside of Japan, cameras were there to capture the performance and Frontiers Music Srl issued "Return To The East Live 2016" in April 2018. In addition to the Japanese performance, the set featured footage from the classic lineup's only U.S. show in September 2016 at Badlands in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The package also included a new song called "It's Just Another Day", the first DOKKEN track featuring the group's classic lineup since 1997's "Shadowlife", and two acoustic re-workings of classic tracks.

Since completing the Japanese reunion dates, DOKKEN has continued to perform with the group's current lineup — including bassist Chris McCarvill, Levin and drummer BJ Zampa (HOUSE OF LORDS).

DOKKEN recently finished recording a new studio album, "Heaven Comes Down", for an October 27 release via Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival. It will mark the group's first disc since 2012's "Broken Bones".

Image credit: Melvin Zoopers YouTube channel

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