Don Dokken recalls Belfast gig in 1986 where Dokken’s bus got burned down but Accept’s bus was spared
Dokken frontman Don Dokken was recently interviewed by media journalist Mark Dean for Antihero Magazine.
Dean noted that the only time that he got to see Dokken in a live setting was back in Belfast, Northern Ireland when the band was touring with the heavier group Accept in 1986.
Don Dokken indicated (with slight edits): “Well, it’s an interesting story that I haven’t told many people. The manager of Accept, her name is Gaby Hauke and she was the manager of Accept early on. She actually ended up marrying Wolf Hoffmann, the guitar player. They’ve been married for 35, 40 years now. She was managing Accept, and Accept was in the studio recording Russian Roulette, I think, when I was doing Breaking The Chains at Dieter Dierks’ studios, the Scorpions’ studio. She heard my demo and she took my demo and went to Hamburg and got me my first record deal on Carrere Records. So if it wouldn’t have been for Gaby, we might not be talking right now. Yeah. I give all the credit to Gaby Hauke for getting me my first record contract, my first deal, she got me going. I owe it all to her.
And so you fast-forward. That was 1980, you fast-forward four years and now Dokken’s getting famous. I actually said to Gaby, because we became very good friends, and I said, “I really would like Dokken to break out in Europe because we’re not that popular in Europe.” By then, we were famous in America, very famous in Japan, always sold out. And I said, “We need a tour. I want to go to England and I want to go to Germany, and Italy, and Spain, and France. We need a tour.” And I said, “I know that Accept‘s much heavier than us, but honestly, I believe that we could hold our own against Accept.” Because we might be commercial rock, but we still have our heavy songs like Kiss of Death, Tooth and Nail, Till the Living End, Don’t Close Your Eyes, The Hunter. We had this kind of schizophrenic band where we had the MTV hits, but anybody that knows Dokken, we had a lot of heavy songs on our records, much more than these other American bands.
So anyway, Gaby put us on that tour and I was very grateful. In Belfast, it was very scary when we did that tour. We stayed in a hotel. I remember it like yesterday, the concert you saw, because the war was going on and they had barb wire and fences and we had this. They searched our bus and the military had machine guns, and they made us all get out of the bus and check all our clothes for bombs and things like this. Because you remember then, there was a lot of bombings in Belfast. I’ll never forget. We played Belfast. I came off the stage, I was walking back to my bus. I saw a lot of police and the fire department and somebody had burned our bus down. They burned our bus to the ground.
And I said, “What the hell?” They burned it down, the whole bus, to the ground. Gone. All of the clothes, all my belongings, my passport, my wallet, my shit, everything gone. I said to the promoter, “I don’t understand why they burned our bus and not Accept’s bus.” And they said, “Because you have English licence plates on your bus.” I said, “English plates? What does that…” See, I’m from America. So I didn’t understand what’s going on in Belfast. And I said, “So because we have England licence plates, who cares?” But they burned our bus down and Accept’s bus had German plates, so they didn’t burn it.
But I mean, Belfast will always be in my mind for walking off the stage and walking outside and seeing a huge 40-foot tour bus burned right down to the tire’s. Gone completely. We lost all our clothes and our passports, and we had to get new passports to get out of the country and buy new clothes and we lost a lot of equipment. So that’s my memory of Belfast, unfortunately.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Don Dokken by media journalist Mark Dean at Antihero Magazine‘s website.