How Dokken Fell Aside Making ‘Again for the Assault’


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

Again for the Assault regarded like it might 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 using 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 Desires,” “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 Avenue 3: Dream Warriors.

All of that may assist propel Again for the Assault to Dokken’s highest place on the Billboard 200 (No. 13) and their quickest experience 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 plenty of medication occurring by this level, and it was simply not a really wholesome situation. There was plenty of dissension happening basically, and within the recording studio it wasn’t significantly better.”

Frontman Don Dokken felt the identical method, 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 plenty of filler. It is a lengthy album, and there is plenty of masturbatory guitar enjoying.” He additionally cited the band members’ drug use, particularly cocaine, for prolonging the periods and detracting from the concentrate on the fabric.

An inside battle was actually 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 instructed Popoff. “I submitted my songs from my home they usually 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 preserving a distance from them, for causes that grew to become clear later.

However whereas a lot has been product of 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 completely different folks, George and I,” Dokken instructed UCR in 2016. “I do not hate him and he does not hate me. … I do not consider in hating. George and I have been simply very completely different folks and there was stress 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 arduous, we joked round. We had plenty of enjoyable, truly. We achieved so much collectively.”

Again for the Assault already had a little bit of liftoff due to “Dream Warriors,” though there was some battle there, too. Dokken and the group of Lynch and Pilson submitted completely different songs, with the latter in the end being chosen. Nonetheless, Pilson says, “Don got here by means of with an unimaginable vocal. That was a tricky tune, vocally; I had sung it on the demo and I wasn’t actually certain how Don was gonna react to it, however everybody was excited and we made it work. That is what you really 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 throughout the songwriting course of; Pilson particularly remembers the opening monitor, “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 monitor Lynch and Pilson had ready. “That was magic,” Pilson remembers. “It was like, ‘Wow, it is 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.”

Take heed to Dokken’s ‘Kiss of Loss of life’

Dokken, the others recall, was additionally miffed that Again for the Assault lacked a showcase ballad, although he had introduced one to the band. “It sort of bought nixed, as a result of we did not assume it was adequate,” Pilson says. “He was upset – understandably so.” The tune finally grew to become “Stroll Away,” the studio bonus monitor on 1988’s Beast From the East stay 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 power that induced us to work tougher and get our concepts throughout and problem concepts after we felt we have been challenged. Everyone 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 capable of sit with engineers Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero as they blended the album at Bearsville Studios in New York state.

“I used to be initially not pleased with 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 find it irresistible, 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 larger, 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] stated, ‘I need to depart,'” Pilson says. “I feel he thought he may simply depart the band and proceed on as Dokken, however he ended up having to be Don Dokken. He believed that commercially it might 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 making an attempt to speak him out of it,” however by the point the band hit the highway on Van Halen‘s Monster of Rock tour throughout the summer time of 1988 the top was nigh.

After Dokken’s cut up was introduced in March 1989, the members went on to different tasks. Dokken launched a pair of solo albums, Lynch and Brown shaped 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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