By Carl Begai
Chemistry – good and bad – is everything.
In the case of ‘80s bashers Dokken it was the mix of frontman Don Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer “Wild” Mick Brown that yielded four cult favourite albums – Breaking The Chains (’81), Tooth And Nail (’84), Under Lock And Key (’85) and Back For The Attack (’87) – that are still cited as some of the best from that era. It was also the cause of legendary in-fighting between Don Dokken and Lynch, resulting in several break-ups and make-ups right up to 2010. And while the pair may never see eye-to-eye, the trio of Lynch / Pilson / Brown still have a strong working relationship that has resulted in a Dokken reunion of sorts through new band T&N.
Originally dubbed Tooth And Nail but forced to change their name for legal reasons, the band – also featuring S.U.N. / ex-Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy – have released Slave To The Empire, a record that recalls the classic Dokken vibe. Something many fans will agree the current incarnation of Don’s long-suffering band is unable to do at this stage of the game.
Lynch has stated in several interviews that the music written for the T&N debut was originally intended for a new Lynch Mob record. Pilson was invited to come in and help with the songwriting, which slowly but surely drove the music in a direction other than what Lynch had envisioned. Rather than scrap the songs or tell Pilson to take a hike, the duo opted to launch T&N. So, love it or hate it, folks can blame Slave To The Empire on the Pilson Factor.
“(Laughs) Maybe I bring in an element that’s a little too progressive for Lynch Mob; it’s hard to say. Once we knew it wasn’t going to be a Lynch Mob record we kind of let the music go in a direction that felt good to us. It was a little more organic to start with, but given my vices I like to go a little crazy (laughs). I like to explore, I like to experiment with things. I love the Lynch Mob so I have no problems with what they do, but when George and I get together I think we want to push the boundaries a little bit.”
Conceivably, Lynch could have limited Pilson’s input on the original song ideas rather than collaborating like they did in the Dokken days or for the lone Lynch/Pilson album, Wicked Underground, from 2003.
“Then there would have been no point in getting me to come in and write songs,” Pilson laughs. “We know what we’re in for when we work together. Many times we’ve written songs and intended to do something specific, and it worked, but a lot of time the music takes on a life of its own after that and that’s when some of our coolest stuff had come around. We’ve very, very reluctant to stop that part of the process no matter who we’re writing for.” Continue Reading