When it Comes to Dokken, No Introduction is required, they made Multi-Platinum sales in records and have played in Big Stadiums, but they want to remind us that is not how it is there was an early start where and how they went through it, Let’s hear from the Icon Don Dokken.
Hello Don, Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, How are you today?
Hey Keith, I’m good, how are you?
It’s a great pleasure and honor to have you with MHF, I’ve been a big fan of you and Dokken, grew up listening to you guys.
The Lost Songs 1978 to 1981 came out on August 28th, can you tell me about the story behind this, going back to some of the old tapes?
Well these are the demos I kept when I was in my early 20’s, and it was in a box and it was lost when I was moving from house to house and 8 months ago I cleaned my room and garage I saw the tracking sheets and those are from 1979, from Germany and LA and I was like what the hell is this and I put them up on a 2 inch machine, some of the songs are too old and it wouldn’t play, so I was manage to get 5 songs and another 5 songs, so I thought Dokken fans would be happy to hear these, it will give an idea, where I came from, my writing style and my guitar playing and that’s what this album is.
Did you bring back your buddies of Dokken, or its just remastered?
No no, I didn’t do any such thing as I just want to keep as Its just memories, you know, the guitar playing and just bring those memories.it is. Except for a few works on the drums. I just wanted to keep it original.
It’s like going back to where you started how do you feel about all this?
It’s just memories, you know, the guitar playing and just bring those memories.
How does it feel about starting your journey back in the days in SoCal and Northern Germany?
The memories of my early days in SoCal and Northern Germany were so exciting, it was so great to play in the same club that The Beatles Played, We just got an offer to play in Germany in the club and at that time in California rock was dying out, new kind of wave was starting here, so I didn’t like those kind so I thought to move to Germany at that time. And Scorpions was the kind of music that I liked and thought it would be great to go out there.
I Also heard that you worked on Scorpions Black out album at this time?
Yes, Just the backing vocals, as I’m a huge fan of Scorpions and the manager reached out to me to do some backing vocals in the album, I agreed to do so.
Can you tell me about the days in Drake’s music (Guitar Store)?
Well Drake’s Music is literally two blocks from my house, we have all those very rare guitars, they are all collectors items and rare guitars, its from the 30’s and 60’s and they let me play those guitars and at that time I realized who Drake was, and Drake was the one who helped me start my career, be it a single, two songs, all the credit goes to Drake. We both did a video in 1978 and that video was lost as well, I really wish I get a copy of that. I really wish I have it because Drake is long passed away.
You have stated that this album is a tribute to the trip to Germany and LA struggle, could you help me understand in detail?
It was not a big problem, we just went to Germany, made some demo and did some gigs in some clubs, and back to US, everyone is struggling to get signed to a recording label at that point of time, back in the days it was difficult to get a deal with the record label.
After you returned to US, you signed a deal with Elektra records, can you tell me about it?
My first deal was with Carrere Records in Germany and I released my first album which was called Don Dokken with me and a guitar, and as soon as I got in to US, I got a deal with Elektra Records, Initially George was not interested, so I asked George, I have a deal with Elektra Records, would you like to join and he joined and the rest is history.
What would be some of the great memories that has always been on your mind?
There’s a lot, One will be playing in Monsters of Rock Festival, with Scorpions, Van Halen and Metallica, playing in front of 100,000 people was exciting that is a great memory.
Going to Germany in 1979 is a great memory.
Playing along with AC/DC all over Europe was a great memory.
Playing with Judas Priest, Dio and all these bands are wonderful and great memories for me.
What would be the next plan for you?
We need to wait until the Covid Situation goes away, I would love to tour but we cannot now, We are planning to release in next Spring our next album, it might come around May, if the Covid situation turns normal we will start touring until the time we will keep writing songs.
Would you like to give a message for the fans?
Only message I can say is if you like Rock N Roll, try to keep it alive, and one thing is if you love music don’t download, buy the music