During a recent appearance on “The Classic Metal Show” podcast, DOKKEN vocalist Don Dokken said that the band plans to finish recording their new album — the group’s first since 2012’s “Broken Bones” — in February, and that it won’t be released through recent label partner Frontiers Music Srl.
“The whole month of February, I told the boys, ‘Look, guys — we’ve got to do nothing but concentrate on the record,” he said. “You’ll see our tour itinerary — we’ve got three or four shows in January; we’ve got shows in March; we’ve got shows in April; we have shows already in May. I told my agent, ‘Look — don’t even bring any offers. I don’t care if it’s a bazillion dollars. February is off the grid. I need four weeks to just get up in the morning, have my coffee, go up to the console, put up the microphone, plug in my guitar, fire up the Pro Tools. I have to stay focused on the record. I made that mistake with ‘Broken Bones’. We’d fly on Thursday, play Friday and Saturday, fly home on Monday, lick our wounds on Tuesday, get back to work on Wednesday and we’re right back at the airport on Thursday. I couldn’t stay focused on the record. We’d come back and I’d say, ‘Where were we? What song am I on? What am I doing? What are we doing today?’ Like everything, it takes a couple days to get back in the groove and get into the whole eight hours of just going for it and concentrating. I can’t do that when I play two and three nights a week and [am] living in airports. I told the boys, ‘We’re done — in February, no concerts. Let’s just make this record.'”
Dokken said that the new album will be released through Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany’s Wacken Open Air festival. “We played there this summer for, like, 60,000 people, and we were one of the headliners,” Dokken said. “The owner of the festival said, ‘You guys need to make a record.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but the label we’ve been on just doesn’t really do anything.’ He offered us a record deal, and he said, ‘But you have to have this record out for the spring/summer of ’19 if you want to play in front of 50,000 people in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland. If you don’t have a record, I can’t help you.’ That is the bottom line, so I have to make this record, and I have to, as they say, shit or get off the pot. Luckily, if nobody steals my iPhone, I’m ready to go, because I’ve got about three hours of music on it.”
“I really, really need to make this record,” he continued. “Not just for the sake of making the record and money and going to Europe and playing big festivals, but I’ve got to get my thoughts out of my head.”
As for the album’s musical direction, Dokken said that his initial instinct was to experiment, but that Kip Winger convinced him otherwise. “I’ve always tried to think that we should just grow, grow, grow and change,” Dokken explained. “THE BEATLES got away with it. If you listen to ‘Meet The Beatles’ as opposed to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ or ‘The White Album’, they kept changing, as did LED ZEPPELIN. Every album changed. I was talking to Kip Winger about that one night, and I said, ‘I just want to do what I want to do. I don’t like record companies telling me what to do and how to write a song. It’s none of their business.’ He said something like, ‘Don, why don’t you just give the fans what they want? Give them the classic DOKKEN sound. Do what you do. Give them a DOKKEN record. If you want to drop acid and go off the deep end, you can do it on a solo album.’ I kind of took that to heart. I talked to the boys and said, ‘Why don’t we just do a straight-up, straight-ahead album?’ I don’t want to plagiarize myself, but I’d like to do, like, ‘Tooth And Nail’ meets ‘Under Lock And Key’ meets ‘Back For The Attack’. If I could do that, that’s what I think people would be happy with. The dilemma is to try to do that thirty years later without just ripping myself off and regurgitating old DOKKEN riffs, but I do want to make a straight-up, straight-ahead, catchy choruses, cool guitar riffs, burning guitar solos, nice grooves. That’s where my mind is right now. I just want to go straight ahead and make a classic-sounding DOKKEN record.”