Posts Tagged ‘dokken’
I love Dokken. Tooth and Nail, Under Lock and Key and Back for the Attack are great albums. Breaking the Chains is just OK. Lots of folks slag that band but whatever, I’m a fan.
Lynch Mob headlined an early show last night with Roc Holiday and Snake Skin Prison. I missed SSP but caught Roc Holiday’s set. Paul Lidel (Dangerous Toys/Dirty Looks), lead guitarist and backing vocals for Roc Holiday, is simply a badass. He made their set for me.
It was a pretty packed crowd for this venue, Texas Mist. I hung out towards the back for Lynch Mob’s set with a good pal that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. To be honest, I never cared for anything Lynch did after Dokken. Too bluesy. BUT…his band is full of people who are listed in The Book. So going to a show that’s less than 10 minutes from my house was worth the effort.
Lynch’s band sounded absolutely great. Oni Logan’s vocals were stellar to be honest. I had heard that the drummer, Jimmy D’Anda, was not feeling well, but you wouldn’t have known it by his playing. Bassist Sean McNabb held the bottom down perfectly as well. And then there’s George. His performance was not so stellar. He fumbled around his pedal board quite a bit. His solos, especially during the Dokken songs, were awful except for that break in Tooth and Nail, he did that perfectly. He pretty much seemed like he didn’t care to be there at all. It was a bit disappointing, to be honest. Three times as they were counting a song in, everyone started except for George and they had to restart each time. I could speculate on the reason but anyone that was there, especially those of us who met him after the show could pretty much tell what was up. I’ll leave it at that.
After the show George and Sean came out to sign stuff. I got a minute with him and he signed The Book and my Tooth and Nail CD. He saw Pilson’s signature and asked when I got it. I mentioned that I got it during the “Foreigner tribute band” show. He laughed and said, “Well all original Dokken members are doing a Japanese tour. We’re getting paid so much money, it’s the only reason I’m doing it. I’ve got kids and grandkids to support.” He was very nice and so was McNabb who told me he was coming back to Texas later this year playing bass for Joe Lynn Turner(!!!!). He also stated that Oni Logan typically doesn’t come out to sign stuff and that D’Anda was pretty sick so he wasn’t coming out.
I went to the back stage curtain and one of their road crew was walking back there. I stopped and asked if he could get Oni and Jimmy to sign and I showed him where the pages were marked. Understand that this book has only left my sight a few times to get signed. I was able to see them each sign it through the curtain, though. The crew guy brought it back and said that Oni laughed that he was listed in there with Ferrari.
It wasn’t a great show by any means, but still enjoyable to hear some Dokken classics. Oni Logan’s voice was great on those.
Click fotos to enlarge.
Let’s briefly go back in time…
I guess it was on the “4” tour for Foreigner that my oldest brother, Mark, went to the show (Norfolk Scope 1981?). He was a pretty big fan of the band and I think most people probably liked some of their stuff. In the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s you couldn’t get away from them. I liked them enough. Urgent is a great song. Beyond I Want To Know What Love Is, I pretty much like all of their hits. And for many of us musicians, Jukebox Hero has a lot of meaning.
Flash forward to today. Foreigner still tours…a lot. But wait. Who’s in the band? Lou Gramm is long gone. But Mick Jones is still on guitar, right? Nope. Who’s left from the original lineup? No one. NO ONE. Mick has had some major health problems in recent years and can’t tour. He did an acoustic TV appearance with the band a couple of months ago and looked pretty frail on that. So what we had last night was the most solid Foreigner cover band you could ever see and I was aware of that fact when I bought the VIP/meet and greet pass.
I’ve got a few friends that call me crazy for doing that with bands, but there’s usually a mission behind it and that’s to get certain musicians in The Book. With Foreigner, two of the guys were in 80s metal bands that I liked and actually have a little personal history with one of them.
Typically on these things it’s just a small group of folks but last night they had nearly 100 people buy the VIP. It’s also usually known up front if personal autographs would be allowed. Nothing noted during the purchase about that. This was not a cheap purchase by any means. We’re not talking KISS prices by any stretch of the imagination, but not chump change either. I was there on a mission. This one didn’t state either way so I went for it. As they’re explaining the process, the girl mentioned “no personal autographs”. Everything puckered up quickly. She walked through the line to see if folks had questions and when she got to me, she got an earful. Respectfully of course. I showed her The Book and explained to her blah blah blah. She leaned in to me and said, “I’ll do my best to make it happen. Just hang tight and maybe drop back in line a little.” OK.
So we’re going through the backstage area of the awesome Moody Theater and I’m noticing that only 2-3 other people had something extra with them. It was almost my turn to meet the band and she comes up to me and says, “It’s happening. Do the picture then just hang out over there with Bill (another manager) until everyone goes through.” I hugged her.
As I got up to the band to shake their hands, Jeff Pilson (Dokken et als) was first. I mentioned I was a huge early Dokken fan and said, “Me too!” When I spoke to Kelley Hansen (Hurricane), I mentioned our history. “What did I do?” I mentioned him contacting me around 2001 when I was selling a promo only Hurricane picture disc that he apparently had never seen and didn’t own. We had worked out a trade. “That was you?! I still have that thing and still haven’t seen another!” A couple of quick photos and I was shuffled off to Bill who says, “Leave the book here and I’ll bring it to you after they sign it.” ummm…What? No, sir. Sorry, that book doesn’t leave my sight. Allison heard our exchange and said, “He’s fine, Bill.”
As I’m waiting for the last 20 or so folks to do their thing with the band, I see Joey Kramer from Aerosmith walk in with a small entourage. HOLY SHIT. Joey Kramer. He lives locally and is out and about often but this was my first encounter. He walks by me and I just say, “Hey Joey, how’s it going. Got a moment to sign something?” “Sure, man. Whatcha got?” I flip The Book open to the Aerosmith page, he asked my name and signed it. I mentioned how much his playing blew me away the 3 or 4 times I had seen them since the 80s. “Best American rock drum shuffle ever”, I said. “Thanks, Sean. Nice to meet you.” To be honest, I got a little star struck. I’ve met a lot of bands over the years, but for whatever reason, maybe the surprise of seeing him, got me all worked up for a moment. That made the price of admission completely worth it.
After the crowd got through the line, Kelley came over and signed the book, shook my hand and moved on. Pilson came over and we chatted for a few minutes. Told him I saw Dokken/Aerosmith in 89. He asked who was better and I said, “We were mainly there to see Dokken.” He seems like a pretty laid back guy.
I ran my stuff back to my truck quickly and went back in. I was front row, just off center. The show started at 815PM and they were slated to only play 13 songs. Just the hits and nothing more. I’ll say this, they were fantastic. Everyone in that band is a solid professional, it’s just unfortunate that no original members are still playing in the band. I heard a lot of complaints around me about Jones not being there. It was a sold out show, too. As stated earlier, I knew what to expect going it, but it was all worth it. That said, I’ll never go see them again, even if Jones was able to come back.
I do want to give a hand to Kelley Hansen’s vocals and performance. That guy’s voice was perfect. He does, however, look a lot like Steven Tyler these days and is copping his moves pretty hard. Some of his between song banter was annoying but he was also playing to the older crowd that was there. At 46, I was one of the youngest in attendance. As he was introducing the band, he stated that Jeff Pilson was a founding member of Dokken. Part of me wanted to yell, “What about Juan Croucier?!” haha. He also mentioned that one of the guitarists had been assaulted the night before in downtown Austin. The drummer was a beast, but I could have done without the drum solo. They were slated to do Long, Long Way From Home in the encore but it got nixed for a little love fest tribute to Prince. They had a local high school choir doing backing vocals in I Want to Know What Love Is and ended it with Hot Blooded.
Overall an enjoyable night.
Last night I was able to see a small and rare performance of Billy “Blanco” White. You may remember Billy from such bands as Watchtower, Don Dokken and the Billy White Trio. The guy is such a great guitar player. He’s been spending much of his time in Mexico in recent years and primarily does flamenco style music now, although he said last night he’s been doing some guest spots on other people’s albums recently.
I first saw Billy play in 1991 and you can read about that here.
Last night performance was pretty cool, albeit a tad uncomfortable. He played in a small room that was about 20’x40’. Everyone sat on the floor and we had to remove our shoes prior to entering the building. Even sitting on a pillow, my back and knees were killing me but it didn’t matter, I was sitting a few feet away from a great musician. Only about 40 people showed up and it was a great experience. His playing was awesome. A mix of flamenco with a tad of fusion thrown in. He had a violinist and a tabla player sit in for a few songs as well. It was all pretty cool.
Afterwards I got to speak to him for a few minutes. He graciously signed The Book and some CDs for me. It was a fun evening, very relaxing.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was living in Western Branch off of Taylor Rd with my cousin. I don’t remember exactly what day it was on but it was Jan/Feb 1991 only weeks before my 21st birthday. I believe it was a Saturday and I was driving home from somewhere listening to Z-Rock and the local affiliate comes on the air to interview Don Dokken and Mikkey Dee about their concert that night at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA. A former friend from high school and I had tickets and were pretty excited about the show. I had been listening to Up From The Ashes since it came out a few months prior.
So as I am listening to them interview Don and Mikkey, I pull over to a gas station a few miles from my house and try to call the station to see if I could talk to them. I was so damned excited that I kept fat fingering push buttons on the pay phone. After about 3 or 4 tries I got through off air and got to talk to Don and Mikkey. I asked if there was a way to meet Mikkey prior to the show and he told me what time to be at the Boathouse (super early). I told him that I was a huge fan of his from the King Diamond days. He said make sure I don’t have more than one person with me and everything would be cool.
So at this point I am flipping out (of course not on the phone but internally). I get home a few minutes later and told my buddy what the plan was and that he had better be ready when I came by to get him. He was notoriously slow at everything. I told him if he wasn’t ready when I got there that I was leaving his ass behind. Fortunately he was ready when I got there and we headed to Norfolk to the Boathouse.
We’re the first people in the lot along with the staff cars and Dokken’s bus. Some dude came to the door of the bus and said they were coming from the hotel in a few minutes and to wait. So we waited only a short amount of time and a minivan with Don, Mikkey Dee, John Norum and Billy White in it. Mikkey gets out of the van and asks, “Are you Sean?” I acknowledged and we were instantly escorted onto the bus. So Don hands me a band photo which was already signed by Baltes (who was inside the Boathouse already). So Don and the rest of the band sign it along with some other stuff like cassette covers and such (I hadn’t gotten into CDs yet). He stood with us for a few minutes then hightailed it to the back of the bus to take care of stuff. At this point I am freaking out because one of my all time favorite drummers and musical influences and standing next to me. I don’t get start struck easily as I’ve met a lot of musicians over the years but this one was different. This was Mikkey Dee…the guy who played drums on King Diamond’s Abigail.
We hung out for what seemed like an hour but was likely a lot less. Talking with John Norum and Billy White was pretty neat. Unfortunately in my giddy starstruck state I had forgotten that Billy White played on Watchtower’s debut. To this day in my head I still hear my inner voice say, “You’re an idiot.” Kelz reminds me of this regularly and he pointed out after the show, “Dude, how was it to meet Billy from Watchtower?” Ummm…D’oh! I am a Watchtower fanatic as well. What a doofus.
But all in all, I was there to hang out with Mikkey which was the first of 3 times that I got to spend time with him, the other 2 being with Motorhead in 1993 and 2000. Will post about those meetings some other time.
In my conversation with Mikkey, I noticed he was wearing an Abigail backstage pass. It had one of the heavenly aura’s around it. haha. So being the fanboy that I was that night, we talked about drums and about some certain aspects of his playing that I tried to emulate. I asked him if he was going to do a drum solo and he said there would be one. I asked him if he could incorporate the intro to Welcome Home from the Them album. He said, “That’s a good idea, we’ll see.”
So the opening act was on the stage at this point and it was time for us to get off the bus so they could get ready. I can’t overstate how accommodating these guys were. I honestly didn’t even need to see the show after that! But we went in and caught the 2nd half of the set by The Blonz. Wow. They were just awful. One of the worst bands I have ever seen.
So we make our way towards the front of the stage and got on the barricade at stage left which ultimately was in plain view of Mikkey when he was on the kit. Perfect!
So out comes the band and they rip into their set. They were absolutely incredible and it was one of the tightest sets I have ever seen by any band. Watching Mikkey slay the drums and both Norum and White manhandling their guitars with such precision was pretty incredible. Definitely one of the best shows I have ever seen. Don’s vocals were clean and clear and he was an excellent frontman.
So I guess this blog is really about an album review, eh? I’ve seen this one get trashed in many a metal review and I could never understand why. It’s easily Don’s second best album behind Tooth and Nail and pretty much the last album that he actually sounded really good on. Initially the main reason I bought the album was because I had read that Mikkey Dee was drumming on it.
Even with some of the slightly cheesier songs like Mirror Mirror and Stay, it’s an album of which I don’t ever feel the need to skip any of the tracks. Good production as well.
This one gets 10/10.