Don Dokken reveals why he declined to produce XYZ’s third album and why band dropped from label

Photo by Joe Schaeffer Photography

Don Dokken reveals why he declined to produce XYZ’s third album and why band dropped from label

Dokken frontman Don Dokken was recently interviewed by the Rockin’ You All Night podcast back in July 2018 and spoke about when his involvement with XYZ during the band’s debut album.

In terms of working with XYZ lead vocalist Terry Ilous and producing XYZ‘s self-titled debut album, Don Dokken recalled (as transcribed by Rockin’ You All Night with slight edits): “The ballad is called ‘What Keeps Me Loving You.’ He kept saying ‘Louvre.’ I said, ‘No, no, The Louvre is a museum.’ He had that heavy French accent. We laughed about it. We went on for hours and hours trying to get his [Terry Ilous‘] French accent out of the lyrics, because I couldn’t understand what he was saying.”

With respect to his contributions to the songs on XYZ‘s self-titled debut album released in 1989, Don Dokken advised: “They [XYZ] got a little criticized for the single because they don’t do harmonies. I said ‘You’ve gotta do harmonies.’ I wanted to stack it up to the hilt, like Dokken. He [Terry Ilous] couldn’t do it. So, I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ So, I sang all background vocals on the album. I tried to mask my voice and change my tone… so people didn’t recognize me, but, when the album came out, a lot of reviewers… called it XYD. I had a two album deal with them, but they were offended that everybody called it XYD, and too much Don, but I tried to mask my voice. So, of course, they [XYZ without Don producing] made their second album, and it just tanked.”

On why his working relationship with XYZ ended, Don Dokken opined: “I got them a deal on Enigma after Capitol, and Capitol said, ‘Look, whatever went on with the first album… worked with you guys. We need you back in the studio, because whatever you did was a great album, but the second album that they did by themselves, it was crap.’  I said ‘I can’t [produce XYZ‘s third album]… because Terry and the bass player did an article, [and were asked] ‘What was it like working with Don Dokken?’ and they slammed me hard.’ They said, ‘This is how Don produces. He comes to the studio with a bottle of champagne and plays with his dog.’ I had a springer spaniel, and I did have my dog in the studio, and I’m petting him constantly, but I was concentrating. They said, ‘Don drinks champagne and plays with his dog. That’s his producing.’  They really thought that they could do [it] without me.”

Don Dokken continued: “Capitol said, ‘You have to produce the next album or we’re dropping them.’  I said to Terry, and the bass player, ‘You know, you die on your own sword… You told me my producing skills are playing with my dog and drinking champagne. You’re going to have to fall on that sword. I’m not doing the record.’ And they got dropped, and the band was over.”

Interview with Don Dokken by Rockin’ You All Night podcast:

R.Y.A.N. – Season 2, Episode 1: Don Dokken

In this episode of Rockin’ You All Night, hard rock icon: Don Dokken is interviewed. In this interview, at BLK Live in Scottsdale, AZ, Don talks about; his …

XYZ‘s “Inside Out” video (from self-titled debut album released in 1989):

XYZ – Inside Out (1989)

XYZ – Inside Out (1989)