July 9, 2008
By David Huff
Dokken - Rocklahoma 2008 - July 9-13
Breaking Up Is A Hard Thing To Do
When you hear the crisp, beautiful wailing of songs like “Alone Again”, “In My Dreams”, “Breaking the Chains” and “Into the Fire”, it’s hard to believe the voice behind these classics is a now 55-year old Donald Maynard Dokken. For over 30 years, this gifted singer has not only managed to keep his wonderfully textured vocals intact, he’s become one of the most identifiable voices in rock and roll today.
In the ‘80s musical hey day of hair and glam bands, Dokken’s extravagant use of lead guitar backed by a thumping bass and Don’s soaring melodic vocals, set them apart from their contemporaries. Technically brilliant recordings like Tooth & Nail, Under Lock and Key as well as Back for the Attack helped shape and define the Dokken sound. In a four-year stretch, these three albums sold millions of units around the globe, cementing Dokken’s legacy as one of the greatest hard rock bands of its era. Though the group lost much of identity when guitarist George Lynch left in 1988, (and came back again for a brief stint in 1993), Don Dokken has kept his namesake ‘burning like a flame’ throughout the numerous line-up changes he’s weathered the past two decades.
Though some have insisted that Dokken produced a somewhat glam image in the ‘80s, their music was anything but that. Their style of traditional metal characterized by George Lunch’s extravagant use of lead guitar, coupled with Don’s rich vocal performances, made the band a force to be reckoned with. Dokken’s voice was so well respected in music circles, the Scorpions asked him to work on their 1982 breakthrough album, Blackout. After the Scorpions 1981 world tour, the band went straight into the studio to begin work on their next album. Singer Klaus Meine lost his voice during the early recording phase of Blackout. His vocal chords were so badly damaged, Meine’s doctor advised him to seek another profession. While his voice recovered from surgery, Don Dokken was asked to sing on several new songs for the album, including their first No.1 hit, “No One Like You.” Meine returned to finish the album after successful surgery and vocal therapy. Dokken’s vocal prowess didn’t go unrewarded. He sang all the background vocals on what would be the Scorpions landmark release.
Currently, Don Dokken and drummer Mick Brown remain from the original lineup. After several changes on guitar, Dokken’s attorney – and former Dora Pesch guitarist – Jon Levin stepped in to fill the role in 2004. Three years earlier, Barry Sparks replaced Jeff Pilson on the bass guitar. Since 1994, Dokken has released three studio albums, two live albums, a Greatest Hits album, as well as their first two DVDs. According to Don, Dokken will release two albums in 2008, along with another solo recording.
Don Dokken – lead vocals, guitar
Jon Levin – guitar
Barry Sparks – bass, backing vocals
Mick Brown – drums, backing vocals
Record Label: Rhino/Frontiers Records