How Dokken Fell Apart Making ‘Back for the Attack’


George Lynch says that in Dokken‘s first go-round, the band approached each album “like it could be our final one.”

Again for the Assault seemed like it could be precisely that – at the least for some time.

The melodic hard-rock quartet’s fourth album, which was launched on Nov. 2, 1987, got here out driving a wave of nice momentum. Its predecessors had every accomplished higher on the charts and on the money register, and Dokken dominated rock radio with songs like “In My Goals,” “The Hunter,” “Breaking the Chains” and “Into the Hearth.” Simply in entrance of Again for the Assault, the group scored once more with “Dream Warriors,” the title theme for Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

All of that might assist propel Again for the Assault to Dokken’s highest place on the Billboard 200 (No. 13) and their quickest trip to platinum standing. However a mixture of difficult interpersonal dynamics, medication and a rigorous work schedule undermined what ought to have been one other triumph for the band.

Watch Dokken’s ‘Dream Warriors’ Video

“It was very, very tense, the making of that file,” bassist Jeff Pilson tells UCR. “We went into the album much less organized than we have been on the file earlier than [1985’s Under Lock and Key], much less collectively. There have been lots of medication taking place by this level, and it was simply not a really wholesome situation. There was lots of dissension happening on the whole, and within the recording studio it wasn’t a lot better.”

Frontman Don Dokken felt the identical approach, telling biographer Martin Popoff, “I do not assume it is an excellent album. I feel there have been two or three good songs, which have been the singles, and there was lots of filler. It is a lengthy album, and there is lots of masturbatory guitar enjoying.” He additionally cited the band members’ drug use, particularly cocaine, for prolonging the periods and detracting from the deal with the fabric.

An inside battle was definitely raging inside Dokken on the time, within the type of a rising schism between Don Dokken and Pilson, Lynch and drummer “Wild” Mick Brown. The latter three have been dwelling in Phoenix whereas Dokken was in Los Angeles and feeling remoted. “That is when issues began with, ‘I do not need Don within the studio,'” Dokken informed Popoff. “I submitted my songs from my home and so they realized them, and I wasn’t even round for rehearsals.” Lynch and Pilson say they understood Dokken’s emotions but additionally contend that he was intentionally conserving a distance from them, for causes that grew to become clear later.

However whereas a lot has been fabricated from the artistic push-and-pull between Dokken and Lynch – often refereed by Pilson – each declare that there was by no means outright rancor or animosity.

“We’re two totally different folks, George and I,” Dokken informed UCR in 2016. “I do not hate him and he does not hate me. … I do not imagine in hating. George and I have been simply very totally different folks and there was rigidity from the day we began enjoying collectively. It was very tough.” Lynch now maintains that “we co-existed very effectively collectively. As folks we labored exhausting, we joked round. We had lots of enjoyable, truly. We achieved loads collectively.”

Again for the Assault already had a little bit of liftoff because of “Dream Warriors,” though there was some battle there, too. Dokken and the staff of Lynch and Pilson submitted totally different songs, with the latter in the end being chosen. However, Pilson says, “Don got here via with an unbelievable vocal. That was a troublesome tune, vocally; I had sung it on the demo and I wasn’t actually positive how Don was gonna react to it, however everybody was excited and we made it work. That is what you actually need in a band. You needed guys to spur one another on. That was a case the place we actually grew to become a unit.”

There have been different moments like that through the songwriting course of; Pilson particularly remembers the opening observe, “Kiss of Loss of life,” when Dokken got here to Phoenix and wrote lyrics referencing the AIDS disaster within the bassist’s condominium after listening to the observe Lynch and Pilson had ready. “That was magic,” Pilson remembers. “It was like, ‘Wow, this can be a band collaborating. That is folks working collectively.’ There have been different moments like that – simply not sufficient of them. The emphasis on the music by no means went away, however we have been falling aside sufficient that there wasn’t the cohesion that we wanted.”

Hearken to Dokken’s ‘Kiss of Loss of life’

Dokken, the others recall, was additionally miffed that Again for the Assault lacked a showcase ballad, though he had offered one to the band. “It type of obtained nixed, as a result of we did not assume it was adequate,” Pilson says. “He was upset – understandably so.” The tune ultimately grew to become “Stroll Away,” the studio bonus observe on 1988’s Beast From the East dwell album.

“I would not name it clashes,” Lynch says of these machinations. “I’d simply say there was some chemistry that created some friction, created some warmth and vitality that brought on us to work tougher and get our concepts throughout and problem concepts after we felt we have been challenged. All people felt like that within the band.”

Due to Dokken’s heavy touring schedule, the group recorded Again for the Assault episodically with producer Neil Kernon over a number of months, each collectively and individually at quite a lot of Los Angeles space recording studios. Lynch laments that the band members weren’t in a position to sit with engineers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero as they combined the album at Bearsville Studios in New York state.

“I used to be initially not proud of it in any respect, truly,” Lynch says. “I believed it was too dry. We have been coming off Beneath Lock and Key, which is an imposing sounding file, and we have been very, very hands-on. Again for the Assault did not sound like that; I wasn’t sitting behind the mixers insisting on including every part however the kitchen sink like we did on Beneath Lock and Key. So I used to be disenchanted at first. However that is only one man’s opinion. Most individuals like it, and I feel it stood up higher over time due to that drier sound.”

Watch Dokken’s ‘Burning Like a Flame’ Video

With “Dream Warriors” paving the best way and the following single, “Burning Like a Flame,” charting even greater, Again for the Assault got here out with the vengeance its title advised. However simply a few days earlier than the album’s launch – on Halloween evening in Windfall, R.I., whereas opening for Aerosmith – the bonhomie crashed. “We had a gathering, and [Dokken] mentioned, ‘I need to go away,'” Pilson says. “I feel he thought he may simply go away the band and proceed on as Dokken, however he ended up having to be Don Dokken. He believed that commercially it could go higher with different folks, however that wasn’t the case for lots of causes.” Pilson says the group “spent the following a number of months attempting to speak him out of it,” however by the point the band hit the highway on Van Halen‘s Monster of Rock tour through the summer season of 1988 the tip was nigh.

After Dokken’s cut up was introduced in March 1989, the members went on to different initiatives. Dokken launched a pair of solo albums, Lynch and Brown fashioned Lynch Mob and Pilson put collectively the bands Flesh & Blood and Warfare & Peace earlier than becoming a member of the McCauley Schenker Group and Dio. Dokken the band reunited in 1994, releasing two extra albums (Dysfunctional and Shadowlife) earlier than parting methods with Lynch in 1997.

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