A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dysfunctional Stories From The World Of Dokken

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.

 

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Metal and Rock Quotes That Will Change The Way Artists Think

There is a post over at Music Think Tank called “12 Powerful Quotes That Could Change The Way You’re Promoting Your Music” that was written Lukas Camenzind.

You can read the quotes in the link. All the quotes are great.

Here are 10 of my favorite quotes that have the potential to change the way artists think (with a rock and metal flavor):

#1

“Unless you find another way of making money besides controlling copying, you will not last in the digital age.” – Ram Samudrala (in an article on the first “MP3 Summit” that appeared in the July 18, 1998 issue of Billboard.)

This quote forms part of a speech that was directed at the Record Labels in 1998. 15 years ago. The labels ignored the advice and went to war in 1999 against Napster and innovation.

Do you think they won? If anything they failed the artists that they claim to serve.

#2

“Some people get into this business for the attention, they want the babes or the money or the Porsche, but when we first got together we didn’t know that this was going to become a business. We were just friends who wanted to jam.” – Chris DeGarmo (Queensryche founder, ex guitarist and main songwriter)

Be in it for the right reasons.

#3

“Our web site is extremely interactive right now. We worked very hard on it in order to make it very fan orientated. There is so much stuff that you can do on our web site. We want to talk to fans. We want video blogs. Sell streams on there. You can talk to us personally.” – Brent Smith (Vocalist, Shinedown)

Your fans are your everything. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They are the only ones you are accountable too. Not managers, agents, labels or the press.

#4

“We owe everything we have to those of you that follow us and give us your love and devotion.” – Brent Walsh (I The Mighty band)

This is from a newer band in the scene. They get it. Fans are the only people bands and artist have to answer.

#5

“When I started, I decided to devote my life to it and not get sidetracked by all the other bullshit life has to offer.” – Cliff Burton (RIP) Bassist

There is no plan B for musicians. There is no safety net. Are you ready to fly?

#6

“The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” – Eddie Van Halen

Songs don’t have to be Verse – Pre – Chorus. You don’t need to have the same verse riff each time the verse is played. Let your ears guide you. Those bands that have had a long career broke the rules.

#7

“One must feel strongly to make others feel strongly”
Paganini

If you don’t believe in what you are doing, how will others believe in you.

#8

“We view making it like it’s a finish line. It’s not. You never know what it’s going to be. You never know if you need to keep climbing or it’s a sheer drop down the other side. Sometimes it’s a plateau. Few of us have the Ozzy, Clapton, Billy Joel, Elton John careers, that go on for a lifetime. Most of ’em are a few years and thank you, you’re done.” Dee Snider, Vocalist, Twisted Sister

Making it is the start of the chase. That is when you need to keep on climbing in order to stay at the top. Vito Bratta struggled with this. Dee Snider struggled with it.

#9

“A band is a dysfunctional family. A brotherhood, a family business, and a renaissance-era-court. You’re room-mates in studio-apartment-on-wheels for years-at-a-time, 24-hours-a-day. Plus you’re in the pressure cooker of the spotlight, every move analyzed, read into, or attacked. Everybody wants something from you, everybody wants to be your friend, everybody loves you, everybody can do so-much-better-for-you-than-the-people-you-have-now. Some people try and turn you against each other, and everyone wants to take credit for your success.” – Robb Flynn (Machine Head)

The music industry is tough. Are you ready for it? Your best friend in the band will become your enemy, especially if you are the main songwriter.

#10

“To this day I don’t have a guitar idol. I have people who are my favorites.”– Randy Rhoads (RIP) Guitarist

Be influenced. Progress is derivative.

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Music, Stupidity

Overdoses, Dysfunctional Bands and Jon Bon Jovi

So the word on the web is that Jon Bon Jovi tells Richie Sambora that he thought drug overdoses could only happen in Richie’s household. Thus was at the time when Jon’s daughter Stephanie had an overdose.

Truth or lie, only Jon and Richie know. The point. Bands are dysfunctional. They always have been and always will be. If there is truth to the rumour, how can Jon say something like that to a person that has co written the majority of the songs with him.

The comments about Sambora being easily replaceable adds further weight to the argument that Jon is simply an asshole and self centered.

Read The Dirt or The Heroin Diaries for how it was to be in Mötley Crüe.

Watch The History of the Eagles to hear the comment from Don Henley on the break up. He called it a horrible relief.

Robb Flynn from Machine Head has been very open about the firing of Adam Duce. He mentioned that Adam’s heart hadn’t been in it for a long time.

Dokken is the poster child for dysfunction.

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