Don Dokken thought in 1997 that Dokken’s ‘Shadowlife’ album was “crap”

Don Dokken thought in 1997 that Dokken’s ‘Shadowlife’ album was “crap”

Dokken frontman Don Dokken was recently interviewed by long-time Sleaze Roxx contributor Ruben Mosqueda for Metaltitans. The singer spoke about the band’s alternative rock sounding album Shadowlife, which was released back in April 1997 and was the last studio album with the classic Dokken line-up of Don Dokken, George Lynch (guitar), Jeff Pilson (bass) and “Wild” Mick Brown (drums).

Don Dokken was asked whether he had ever been approached to front other bands to which he replied (with slight edits):

“Yes, I have been approached many times and I’ve always said no. I think I’m just too ‘difficult’ to work with! [laughs] I remember when Reb [Beach] joined the band, for ‘Erase The Slate’ after George left after ‘Shadowlife,’ again. I was very disappointed with ‘Shadowlife.’ On that album Jeff, George and Mick decided that they were going to write all of the songs. They were tired of me writing all of the music. I just wasn’t down with that material. When we went into ‘Shadowlife’, George was into Monster Magnet, Tool and stuff like that. I listened to the songs he had written and I’m like, “George, we’re not Tool! We’re not detuned! We’re not Monster Magnet, I just don’t get it!”

So, they wrote that album and I wrote three songs on it. I hated that album so much that I didn’t allow them to put my Dokken logo on that record. That’s the only Dokken record where there’s not a Dokken logo on it. It just has a typical font. I told the guys, “I just can’t bring myself to put my name on that. I think it’s crap!” To put it into perspective, ‘Dysfunctional’ sold 450,000 copies after it’s cycle, when we released ‘Shadowlife’, it sold 50,000 copies. The writing was on the wall, people didn’t like it because it didn’t sound like Dokken. So that’s when there was all this conflict and once again, George left. So once he was gone I went back to writing what was used to writing, what was in my heart, my head or my spirit. I don’t want to copy what Monster Magnet are doing or what Tool are doing, that’s not me. I want to write how I write. Reb came from Winger, which as you know is a very melodic hard rock band. So to answer your question, when we were wrapping up ‘Erase The Slate’, Reb said, “I love playing with you Don, but I never want to make a record with you ever again! You’re a producer’s nightmare!” [laughs] I’m very picky. I want everything perfect. I’m not saying perfect ‘technically,’ perfect ‘feel-wise.’”

You can read the rest of the interview with Don Dokken by Ruben Mosqueda at Metaltitans‘ website.

Dokken performing “Puppet On A String” live in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA in 1997: