By 1995, the recording industry had undergone a lot of change. The flavour of bands shifted from hard rock to grunge, alternative and industrial. Guitar slingers like George Lynch suddenly were marketed as not cool to any new listeners.
The band Dokken was like a beacon of light, a stability that George Lynch needed to return to. I am a great believer in focusing on what brings in the money first and anything else that I would want to do will be a spin-off from that. For George Lynch in 1995, the band Dokken provided that opportunity to him.
The “Dysfunctional” album was pretty much written before George Lynch joined the project. Even George Lynch stated the same in an interview on the Guitar International website.
“Most of this record, “Dysfunctional”, was finished by the time I got there. In fact, everything but the guitar parts were pretty much done. Everybody in management and in the band kept feeding me these horror stories of who they would get to replace me if I didn’t come back – you can guess the names. Well, when I listened to the tracks, I could tell that Jeff [Pilson, bass] and Don [Dokken, vocals] had written a lot of the songs with me in mind. I mean, there were parts in certain songs that I had done on other Dokken records – and even Lynch Mob records- years ago.”
However Don Dokken has said that the album is written solely by him;
“Dysfunctional was a great album. I mean they (Lynch and Pilson) had nothing to do with that album. I wrote that album by myself. There wasn’t a George, Jeff, Mick effort. They joined Dokken at the last minute. And I basically wrote it, produced it.” As far as ’97’s experimental “Shadowlife,” produced by Kelly Gray, known for his work with ’90s rockers Candlebox, Don considers that album Lynch and Pilson’s “bastard child.” He felt the band was trying to follow trends instead of being themselves.”
Don Dokken further described his experience in the following way;
“I felt guilty for bringing George back into the band for “Dysfunctional” & the money & the big record deal & I was just miserable & he was miserable, he made all of us miserable, it was just a very un-happy band & I don’t want to talk too much about him, you’ve got to meet him to understand, he’s just very dark…he has that look in his eyes & you never know who he’s gonna be, sometimes he’s hi, how are you & then sometimes he’ll walk on the bus & he has that dark look in his eye. Anger & I can’t be around that stuff”
In a separate interview on the Legendary Rock Interview website, Don Dokken further added the following;
“A lot of bands, there is one guy who sort of determines a lot of the direction, whether it’s the singer or the songwriter and things just work out, but with us it was just this continual power struggle between George and I that we never got over. I remember when we got back together in 95 , we were in Japan and I thought we were older, wiser and could get on with our careers but the same old shit was happening, he was playing behind his amps and just screwing around and the band was just not playing good in general. I asked George flat-out “What can I do to make you happy? What is the problem that you just can’t seem to get on board no matter how well things are going?” and I will never forget it, he just looked at me and pointed his hand up to our backdrop, this 30 foot backdrop that said “Dokken” and he said, “That’s the problem”. I just said, “Well, I can’t do anything about the name of the band George”. I will never forget that moment. I think maybe if the band had been called something else we could have survived. I’m not a psychiatrist you know but for some reason that was a major part of the problem in his head. I guess he thought that the more everybody tried hard in the band the more I somehow got all of the credit.”
This is the way George Lynch described the “Dysfunctional” reunion;
“I never expected to be back with Dokken, and I know I said that a lot of times. But I have to be realistic about my situation. There is a huge market for the band, mostly overseas, and since things collapsed over at Elektra, I needed to keep my options open if I still want to have my solo career. That was one of the things that brought me back into the band. It was kind of like, ‘You do this deal with Dokken for two records, and you can still go out and do solo records at the same time.’ In fact, I was told that I’d be in a better position to do solo stuff. John Kalodner [Columbia’s A&R chief] is passionate about Dokken, but he also told me that he wants us on Columbia. That aspect of the relationship makes me pretty happy.”
Lynch obviously didn’t want to be in this situation either;
“I mean, yeah, it would have been great if The Lynch Mob could have sold more records, but there were problems in that band, too. I was leading the group, yet certain people felt they were entitled to more money or more perks than I could give them. They thought I had an endless supply of cash and resources. What it came down to was, I told them if they wanted to get rich and famous from a gig, they should go call Michael Jackson. With Dokken, at least I don’t have to be the one paying everyone’s per diem and cleaning bills.”
Dokken in 1995 was not an arena act. According to George Lynch, they had done “small, B-level clubs on the first leg of this tour, and the response has been really good. I’m kind of surprised. Japan and Europe were obviously good – the acoustic record [not available in the U.S.] has already sold nearly 100,000 copies overseas.”
If you want to read a review of the album that I totally agree with, go and check out the review over at mikeladano.com.