GEORGE LYNCH: DON DOKKEN Is 'Very Good At Lying And Using Other People's Abilities To Further His Agenda And Then Taking The Credit For It'

March 4, 2024

During an appearance on the latest episode of The Hook Rocks! podcast, George Lynch was asked if he is still holding out hope for a new classic-lineup DOKKEN album happening somewhere down the line, featuring him, singer Don Dokken and bassist Jeff Pilson. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I wouldn't say I would say no out of hand to it, because I'm usually the guy that's trying to put it together and make it happen. We've had a couple, a few instances where we had big opportunities approach us and avail themselves to us that if we had taken advantage of them, would have been good deals for us to do, but obviously it didn't happen. So, on a practical level, I would probably want to do one, but it would be very challenging. Jeff and I could write the music — that would be beautiful — like we always have. I wouldn't have any qualms about that. We get Don involved and he does his thing and Don has a kind of a poetic — or at least did; I think he still does to some extent — a poetic sensibility. That's his kind of narrow little thing that he does that's cool. But his voice is not — I don't know if it's up to snuff to where we can even pull off a record; that's the problem. And on another note, on the personal side, when a guy just bashes you in the press, as he has, he does constantly with me and the other guys in the band, but especially me, when he pulls his character assassination stuff and just pulls a Trump and just lies about everything [laughs], trying to relitigate history and say that he did everything and we're all a bunch of fuck-ups. I mean, Jesus Christ. Okay, sure. Whatever. He just keeps pounding the table with these lies and hopes people buy into it. Very Trumpian. It's hard to go back to somebody like that and work with them. It's pretty awful and shitty thing to do. And I haven't called him out on it 'cause I really don't wanna even say anything, 'cause what good does it do at this point? But, anyways, I think that's the more difficult proposition, is working with somebody like that."

After the interviewer noted that it must be challenging working with someone who "maybe doesn't create the best environment" and takes credit for everything, George said: "Well, here's how records have always gone down with DOKKEN. Jeff and I, and to a lesser extent Mick [Brown, former DOKKEN drummer], get in a room — mostly Jeff and I — whether it was on the road or at home, and we woodshed, literally. We'd nail the doors shut. We ended up calling it Scrotum Sound because we wouldn't shower and it would end up smelling like a fucking sweaty scrotum in there. And we would just go for days and days and days and come up with these records — the bulk of the records. And Don had some input here and there — on good songs, important songs. Him and Jeff wrote 'In My Dreams', I think without input from me. Don had 'Alone Again'; I don't know where he sourced that out from, but that was his song. But 90 percent of the material was Jeff and I. And on later records, Don would come in and do melodies and lyrics, sometimes on his own, sometimes with Jeff's help, sometimes with all of our help, but 'Tooth And Nail' was — I was involved a lot with 'Tooth And Nail' lyrically and melodically. I came up with most of those titles, I think, if not all of them, and the lyrics… And then Jeff would sing. All these records that we did with DOKKEN, Jeff would sing all the guide vocals — most of them. And then we'd bring it in and Don would just ghost what Jeff did. But what we did was we raised the bar so high that Don really had to step up. We had vocal coaches and we had a lot of people looking at us and we had a lot on the line with the label and the management and the record deals and the public. So Don would step up, with our help, and we would support him. We said, 'It's gotta be this quality.' And Jeff's a great singer. So Jeff would lay down the vocal, which was our guide vocal, and Don would go in and match it, with Jeff's help. And that's how we got these records to be as good as they could be, as far as the performances and so forth. And so to go relitigate that and try to explain that some other way is absolutely ridiculous and untrue. But whatever."

Lynch continued: "But, yeah, to go work with somebody like that, it would be very difficult, very painful. And at the end of the day, yeah, you make a little bit of money and it might be a nice end cap for the whole DOKKEN story, for us all to come together again and do a viable record. But that's the question — how do you guarantee it's gonna be a viable record with the challenge of having a singer that can't sing anymore and who's very difficult to work and takes credit for everything at the same time? It's just absolutely insane. So, I don't know. 'Cause the worst thing would be to come out with a record that everybody just goes, 'Ugh. Why'd they do that? Why didn't you just leave the good DOKKEN in our memory? Why'd you have to pollute it with that piece-of-shit album?' So there's that scary. I don't know how you get around that. If somebody can't sing, they can't sing."

Circling back to Don's claim that he wrote most of DOKKEN's biggest hit songs without much input from other members of the band, George said: "Don is very good at one thing, and that's self-promotion, lying and using other people's abilities to further his agenda and then taking the credit for it. And he has a gift for it, and I will say, in all deference and honesty, that because he has that gift, I've been able to do things that I wouldn't have been able to do — have a music career — because he's the kind of person that's willing to do things I would never be willing to do: lie, cheat and steal. I'm not saying that I haven't probably cheated a little bit here and there, but Don does it on a whole other level. And he can sleep at night, because he's just wired that way. He can fuck you over and lie and know he's lying and you know that he knows you know he's lying and he doesn't care and he'll just keep lying all the way to the bank and be able to sleep at night. And I don't understand that, but it has benefited me. It's also hurt me in some ways. But it was the reason that we got a record deal initially and it's the reason that we got our foot in the door in a lot of different ways along our path of rock success in the '80s, which got us to where we are now. I've been able to support my family and make a pretty consistent living being a musician, and that's a very, very rare thing. And when I was growing up as a kid, my parents worried about that incessantly. They said, 'Nobody is really gonna be a rock star. That doesn't happen in the real world.' And it happened, on a certain level anyway. So I'm very proud of that. And I'm very proud of the consistency of it more than just… Maybe I never had a huge hit song, maybe I don't have a billion dollars, but I've been able to support my family and consistently work and do healthy, honest work and make some people happy over the whole span of my working life. And I think that's a gift and a beautiful thing. And grudgingly, I have to give Don a little bit of credit there — none of this would have happened [without him]. I'd probably be a district manager for a Payless shoe store or working in the fast-food industry or driving a truck or working in a warehouse if it wasn't for [Don] 'cause I have no education. And I'm not really good at holding down a job because I'm an insomniac and I can't get up in the morning and go to work. I've had every job on the planet — probably had 50 different jobs in my life. I'm a hard worker. I'm willing to work, but I can't hold down a job and I don't have any skills other than my inherent kind of musical aptitude. So, I have to acknowledge that, I think, just to be fair and balanced."

DOKKEN's current lineup consists of Don alongside bassist Chris McCarvill, guitarist Jon Levin and drummer BJ Zampa (HOUSE OF LORDS).

DOKKEN's 13th studio album, "Heaven Comes Down", came out in October via Silver Lining Music. The follow-up to "Broken Bones" was produced by Bill Palmer and Don Dokken and was mixed by Kevin Shirley (AEROSMITH, IRON MAIDEN).

In a recent interview with the "On The Road To Rock With Clint Switzer" podcast, Don explained why he and his DOKKEN bandmates decided in the beginning to split their songwriting royalties equally between the four members of the group. He said: "DOKKEN was a very unusual band. When I formed the band, even though I'd been DOKKEN for years and years before I met George and Jeff and Mick — I'd already toured Germany twice — but when we finally came together, I said, 'Let's make it simple. You write a hit, you write a hit, you write a hit, we'll just split it four ways. It doesn't matter who writes what. May the best songs win.' And that's how it was. Now, looking back, I could say it was a stupid thing to do, because I wrote a lot of the hits and I gave up 75 percent to the three of them. So instead of me getting four bucks, I got a dollar and Mick got a dollar and George got a dollar and Jeff got a dollar and the management took theirs and the accountants took theirs, and I thought, 'Jesus.' I go, 'I lost millions' writing 'In My Dreams' and 'Just Got Lucky' or 'Alone Again'. I mean, I can name a bazillion songs that I wrote by myself on the guitar and wrote all the music. But that's the deal we made. We were nobody. We weren't famous. Hey, if George wrote a hit, I get money. Jeff writes a hit, I get money. Mick's the one that scored. He didn't write. We rehearsed the songs for a week, go into a rehearsal studio, flesh it all out, pick the 12 best songs, Mick comes in the studio for four or five days, knocks out his drums and he goes to the drug dealer and then he heads off for the Rainbow [Bar & Grill in West Hollywood]. I said, 'Mick, you scored. You made millions of dollars and all you had to do was spend a couple of weeks playing drums.'"

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