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The Record Vault: Dokken – Dysfunctional

In 1992, three years prior to the release of “Dysfunctional”, George Lynch was still appearing in the Guitar mags I purchased like Guitar World, Guitar One and Guitar School.

But in 1995, he was nowhere to be seen. The album came out and there was nothing.

That’s how quickly the mags replaced Mr Scary with the dudes from Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Dave Matthews Band, Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and others.

I have a motto in life. To take care of what brings in my bread and butter. Anything else that I would want to do after, will be a spin-off from that.

And it looks like the guys in Dokken had a similar motto. Let’s focus on what brings in our bread and butter first.

But before we get to the album, you need to understand these guys.

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.”

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”

In a separate interview on the Legendary Rock Interview website, Don Dokken further added the following;

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””.

This is the way George Lynch described the “Dysfunctional” reunion;

“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.”

Dokken in 1995 was not an arena act.

Whether they wanted to be together or not, it didn’t matter to me as they delivered a great rock album worthy of being called a classic Dokken record.

Inside Looking Out

There was no escaping the influence of the Metallica self titled album, Soundgarden and “A Vulgar Display Of Power” from Pantera.

Those grooves became the norm. And when they got merged with the riff from Mr Scary, well that’s “Inside Looking Out” in a nutshell.

Hole In My Head

It sounds exotic, almost 70s like with a verse riff that Zakk would use for Ozzy.

Check out the lead breaks from Lynch.

The Maze

It’s like ELO merged with The Beatles.

Too High To Fly

It’s like a blues jam session and someone decided to press record.

Then when it starts to build from the 38 second mark, it’s desk breaking, head banging time.

And how good are the verses?

The bass and drums play, while Don sings and Lynch comes in when Don stops. Brilliant.

It reminds me of “Lost Behind A Wall” which then reminds me of “Turbo Lover”.

Nothing Left To Say

This is a great song. A hit. Better than acoustic songs like “More Than Words” or “To Be With You”.

The acoustic guitar solo is not long enough.

Shadows Of Life

What a riff and drum groove to start the song?

This is classic Dokken, but down tuned and heavy and how good are those backing vocals in the Chorus.

Long Way Home

It’s the Mr Scary riff again.

Check out the lead break from Lynch.

But my favorite section is that bridge section after the Chrous. It’s very Queensryche like.

And that head banging riff from 3.55. Tool would build a career on riffs like this.

Sweet Chains

It’s like the “Dream Warriors” intro merged with “Tangled In The Web”.

Lesser Of Two Evils

What’s this.

Lynch channeling EVH.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What Price

It’s hard to describe this one. So I skip it.

From The Beginning

A great cover from ELP.

After 56 minutes, I pressed play again.

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12 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Dokken – Dysfunctional

  1. I reckon Dokken is a great name for a band- different to all the other bands of the time..and then ironically George Lynch calls his band Lynch Mob… go figure hey ?? 🤷🏼‍♂️
    Love those guys though.. ✅
    Btw- do you remember last year George Lynch was getting heat from Black Lives Matter and said he would rename his band?
    Just checked Facebook and he never did 🤣🤣🤣🤣😊

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