Match a powerful singer with a hot guitarist and you have the makings of a great group. Dokken featured vocalist Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch. Along for the ride was drummer Mick Brown and bassist Juan Croucier, who later left for Ratt and was replaced by Jeff Pilson.
Though formed in L.A. (where else?) in '79, the group didn't hit its stride until the '84 release "Tooth And Nail" and the follow-up "Under Lock and Key." Dokken did the "Monsters of Rock" tour with Van Halen and Metallica in '88 but by that time they were running on fumes. They soon split only to make another stab at fame and fortune in '92.
Dokken maintained a modest profile for the next decade with an album here and there to break long spells of inactivity - and personnel changes. In addition to Dokken (of course) and Brown, who left in '88 but returned in '93, there was guitarist Jon Levin (since '04) and bassist Barry Sparks (who joined in '01). With relatively new blood, the band released "Lightning Strikes Again" in '08.
The album rose to #133, their highest Billboard chart position in 13 years. A return to the group's signature sound, the set was heavily promoted by Dokken/Levin radio interviews and a supporting tour - though a couple bandmembers were missing due to prior commitments and visa difficulties.
During an '09 show at The House Of Blues in Anaheim, Lynch and Pilson joined Brown and Dokken for two songs, the first time they'd been on stage together in 12 years. There was subsequent talk of an original line-up reunion but nothing came of it. "This is Don's decision, despite Jeff's and my best intentions and efforts over the past few years to make this happen in good faith," stated Lynch.
However, the current edition of Dokken issued "Broken Bones" in '12.
But before "Broken Bones" dropped, the group was severely criticized for their appearance in a Norton Internet Security commercial. Later, Don Dokken claimed they were paid "crazy money" for the spot which was only shown online. Dokken explained how it happened. "A friend of mine, Ryan Ebner, says, "I'm doing this commercial and one of my bands pulled out. Do you wanna do a commercial?"
There was more controversy. Two years past "Broken Bones," Dokken announced that Sean McNabb had been replaced by one-time Ted Nugent bassist Mark Boals. As a result, Dokken got both an aggressive bassist and singer. "I like Peter Baltes (Accept) type bass players who play with a pick, and Sean doesn't," stated Dokken. "I needed a really killer singer that was as accomplished as Jeff Pilson (who left for the third time in '09). "He (Boals) is a great lead singer."
1981 Breaking The Chains
1984 Tooth And Nail
1985 Under Lock And Key
1987 Back For The Attack
1999 Erase The Slate
2002 Long Way Home
2004 Hell To Pay
2008 Lightning Strikes Again
2012 Broken Bones
Like a lot of groups, Dokken had to work its way to success and when they got there they could barely hang on. These melodic mainstream Metal practitioners released over a dozen CDs but it all comes down to three albums, "Tooth And Nail," "Under Lock and Key" and "Lightnin' Strikes Again." Killer riffs, muscular rhythms and tough-as-nails vocals. These albums filled arenas with the Bic lofting faithful. Anything before or after, is simply not worth the money.