T&N Ė The Return of the Big Three
By: Kenneth Gallant
In 1987, I had missed my chance to see Dokken live at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. At that time, I was a total Dokken fanatic and spinning their latest album Back for the Attack constantly. I remember the band was soaring to major heights, what with the song ďDream WarriorsĒ being used in the soundtrack for A Nightmare On Elm Street 3, and once I saw that it just tore my head off.
Dokken had indeed arrived and they were set to rule the world thanks in large part to the soaring vocals of Don Dokken and working alongside his partners in crime George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown. They toured extensively with Aerosmith that year and BFTA became Dokkenís best selling album, as it peaked at #13 on the billboard US charts and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
Despite missing out on that amazing concert, I finally had the chance to ease pain of never seeing Dokken live with the classic line-up. Imagine how I felt when I was given the chance to speak to bassist extraordinaire Jeff Pilson on a Sunday afternoon to talk about the classic Dokken line-up reuniting to record T&N. I was totally ecstatic with the assignment, so please read onÖ
Blistering.com: I know you are touring with Foreigner right now, so how is the tour going?
Jeff Pilson: Oh itís going great, itís been a nice long year but itís going wonderful.
Blistering.com: I believe the tour is coming to an end shortly?
Pilson: Yeah, it is actually for the year, and we do have our final show and we have an acoustic unplugged show at the Grammy Museum in L.A. on October 30th and I believe itís going to be live on Axcess TV. So itís going to be a real fun evening and we have real acoustic show planned, so itís going to be real nice.
Blistering.com: With the Foreigner tour ending, are you planning on putting together a tour with T&N?
Pilson: We tried to put one together, but we arenít going to be able to do one at this time, but what we are going to do is some unplugged performances with George and I and thereís going to be lots of live radio and TV. Weíre hoping to promote it that way, but we wish it could be a tour, but that will have to be next time.
Blistering.com: So moving on to the recording of T&N, I was curious to know who decided on what Dokken songs to play?
Pilson: We actually recorded 12 Dokken songs when we had Wild Mick out, and then what we did was give choices to the guest singers and thatís what they chose. So thatís how that particular five got chosen. We do have seven more in the can that we need to finish off for the next record and with 12 songs though, you actually have some good variety.
Blistering.com: I wanted to ask you about Sass Jordan, and I was wondering if she is still contributing vocals to a Dokken track?
Pilson: Sass Jordan will definitely do one on the second release, so we are excited about that. Sheís excited and Iím really looking forward to it because I love Sassís voice personally and sheís just great. It will add a real cool flavor to the record.
Blistering.com: Has Don Dokken given you any reaction to this project?
Pilson: Um, not that I am aware of. I mean he kind of sent me an email and he wished us good luck and that was kind of him. There has been no particular reaction that I am aware of, so I donít know.
Blistering.com: I know you have a great relationship with George Lynch and the last time you both got together was for the Wicked Underground project, so did you change your approach this time around for T&N?
Pilson: That was our way of expressing ourselves for the material at the time (referring to Wicked Underground). At the beginning of T&N, we thought we were going to be writing a Lynch Mob record, and it expanded from there and went into different directions. George and I though, havenít changed our writing much over the years and this time we wanted to focus on staying true to our roots so that there was a connection to Dokken, even though we knew we were going to be adding Dokken material to it. It started off Lynch Mob, so it started off a little rawer and then as we got writing we knew it was going to be our own project, we got a bit creative and had a lot of fun with it. I would say itís different from last time only in the sense that we grow we mature and get better, but we enjoy working together and the results speak for themselves.
Blistering.com: What do you think of the term ďBig ThreeĒ being used to describe you guys?
Pilson: I guess itís flattering and itís not meant to be taking anything away from Don and band, but I think they wanted to express that itís three out of the four guys from Dokken. That was their way of doing it and you know promo man, they always have their way of doing it.