Just a few days before DOKKEN played two "socially distanced" concerts last weekend in Virginia and Arkansas, Don Dokken spoke to Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about how he is dealing with the coronavirus crisis and what the touring circuit might look like post-pandemic. He said (hear audio below): "This was gonna be one of our biggest years of touring. We were gonna be on tour from February through October — like, 30 or 40 shows — and COVID came, and it's all over. It affected us financially, obviously, and it affected us being locked in the house. But we are doing two shows this week — we're playing Virginia and Arkansas. We're doing two outdoor shows, and so we'll see how it goes. They're gonna do social distancing, and they're checking everybody's temperatures. They've done a couple of shows already, and it worked out okay. So we'll see how it goes.
"I don't wanna catch it," he continued. "I don't worry about doing the shows and catching COVID; I'm more concerned about all the plane flights getting there — like, six flights, [which is] more concerning to me than playing the shows."
Asked what he needs to feel safe playing a show amid the coronavirus pandemic, Don said: "A vaccine. All we can do is be as careful as possible. I watch on the news all these idiots protesting and not wearing masks, people getting in the water over Fourth of July and thousands of people in swimming pools and Lake of the Ozarks and everyone is swimming and no mask and everybody is partying in the bars. And look what happened. They said it's gonna spike, and as soon as these holidays were over, we've got ten thousand cases a day now. So it was a bit foolish. I just think that maybe the younger generation feel they're invincible and they're willing to take that chance so they can go out and party with their friends. But I'm not willing to take that chance. It's not worth it, 'cause it's a really bad thing. So I'm just being really careful. And we do the show, and we're not gonna be talking to anybody — no meet-and-greets. Wear our mask on the plane, go straight to the hotel, don't talk to anybody, go straight to the stage, do the show, leave, go back to the hotel, go back to the airport and we'll go to the next show. That's all we can do. And if I catch it, I'll be bummed.
"I see on the news these people marching, like the George Floyd thing, tens of thousands of people marching with no masks, I thought, 'What did they expect to happen?' Of course it's gonna spike. I don't understand why people don't take it more seriously."
According to Don, DOKKEN will likely stay off the road until a treatment for the novel coronavirus is developed. "I think after these shows this week, I'm gonna pull the plug and we're gonna take the rest of the year off and just concentrate on the new studio album," he said. "It's just too 'Russian roulette' to keep flying around the country and playing shows; it's just too dangerous. We committed to these two shows. We're gonna do it. They're gonna be pragmatic and take precautions, and I think after this week, I'm just gonna come back and hide out at my house up in the mountains. I don't have any neighbors. I live on 13 acres, so I don't have any neighbors and I don't have to worry about it. I can just stay up here with my dogs, and I'm just gonna ride it out. And hopefully, God willing, somebody will come up with a vaccine. But I don't think that's gonna happen for at least a year. It'll be interesting to watch. We're already in trouble, the country, but this could really be a disastrous year for America."
DOKKEN's new studio album will be released via Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival.