Dokken: Tooth And Nail-80’s-1984.

Artist Biography by Barry Weber

At a time when the charts were ruled by pop-metal acts, Dokken were a major attraction throughout the 1980s. With vocalist Don Dokken‘s captivating stage presence and guitarist George Lynch‘s high-energy style, the band combined rockers such as “Kiss of Death” and power ballads such as “Alone Again” in order to create a number of best-selling albums.

Dokken‘s roots date back to the late ’70s, when Lynch, along with drummer Mick Brown, teamed up with Don Dokken to form the Boyz. In 1981, Don moved to Germany and was signed to Carerre Records. The band, now simply known as Dokken, recorded and released its first studio album, Breaking the Chains, in 1983. While the record failed to achieve a decent chart position in the United States, the group was immensely popular in Europe.

After a tour in Germany, Dokken were signed to Elektra Records, and Jeff Pilson became their first official bassist. In 1984, the band released Tooth and Nail, which featured the hit songs “Into the Fire,” “Just Got Lucky,” and “Alone Again.” With heavy MTV and radio airplay, Dokken found themselves topping the charts worldwide, and Tooth and Nail eventually sold over a million copies in the U.S. alone. Following a tour with the Scorpions, the group recorded Under Lock and Key in 1985, which had similar success due to the hits “In My Dreams” and “It’s Not Love.” In 1987, Dokken released Back for the Attack, which featured “Dream Warriors,” a track they had written as the subtitle for the third Nightmare on Elm Street film. The coinciding music video, which included scenes of the band interacting with the movie’s characters, was their most popular ever, and Back for the Attack became Dokken‘s third record to reach platinum status. Their subsequent tour resulted in a live compilation, Beast from the East, which was released shortly before the band broke up in 1988 due to Don Dokken‘s and Lynch‘s creative differences.

After the disbanding of DokkenDon pursued a solo career with Up from the Ashes, and Lynch formed the Lynch Mob, releasing an album in 1990; both releases failed to chart. The band reunited in 1992, signing with Columbia Records and releasing 1995’s Dysfunctional, which was met with harsh reviews and poor sales. Tensions once again seemed to hover around Dokken as they recorded the live acoustic release One Live Night for the CMC label. In 1997, the band released Shadowlife, which was met with a similar response to their past two recordings. In 1998, Lynch left a second time to reunite the Lynch Mob, and was replaced with Winger guitarist Reb Beach for 1999’s Erase the Slate. This was followed in 2000 by another concert record, Live from the Sun, which captured the Beach lineup at Anaheim’s Sun Theater. Beach left the group and was replaced by John Norum, and the group recorded Long Way Home for release in the spring of 2002.

In 2003, ex-Warlock guitarist Jonathan Levin and ex-Ted Nugent and Yngwie Malmsteen bassist Barry Sparks joined the band, resulting in the release of Hell to Pay the following year. Dokken returned to the studio in 2008 for the well-received Lightning Strikes Again, which proved to be their highest charting outing in years. Due to a scheduling conflict, 2012’s Broken Bones was the first Dokken release to not feature drummer and co-founder Mick Brown — session drummer Jimmy DeGrasso filled in — but he returned for Return to the East: Live 2016, a concert album that was released in 2018 and also included George Lynch and Jeff Pilson.

Original members include Don Dokken, guitar and vocals; George Lynch (replaced in 1990 by John Norum and Billy White; rejoined group, 1994), guitar; Mick Brown (replaced in 1990 by Mikkey Dee; rejoined group, 1994), drums; and Jeff Pilson (replaced by Peter Baltes in 1990 [Baltes also played on debut album]; rejoined group, 1994), bass.
Side A
1.Without Warning01:35  instrumental
2.Just Got Lucky04:35  Show lyrics
3.Tooth and Nail03:40  Show lyrics
4.Heartless Heart03:29  Show lyrics
Side B
5.Don’t Close Your Eyes04:06  Show lyrics
6.When Heaven Comes Down03:43  Show lyrics
7.Into the Fire04:30  Show lyrics
8.Bullets to Spare03:32  Show lyrics
9.Alone Again04:20  Show lyrics
10.Turn On the Action04:15  Show lyrics

One thought on “Dokken: Tooth And Nail-80’s-1984.

  1. hells_unicorn, October 18th, 2006

    Dokken is a band that is defined primarily by it’s guitar riffs, and here they are in top form, from start to finish. George Lynch is what many would call one of the fore-fathers of shredding, yet his solos always contain a heavily melodic element to them. His tone is highly expressive and dynamic, as can easily be observed as the solos sing with the quality of a trained opera vocalist.

    It is also important to make note of singer Don Dokken as he is also heavily present. All I can say is that his vocal style is very soft and glamish, which was en vogue at the time. We can obviously glean from his image that he meant for himself to be the star of attention, though I must say that it gets a bit over-the-top at times depending on what music video or concert footage you’re watching.

    We have some amazing songs on here, and we have a couple of tracks that don’t fully hold up in certain departments. The instrumental intro “Without Warning” has some rather brilliant guitar track overdubs that pave the way for the greatest song on here, “Tooth and Nail”. Both the title track and “Turn Up the Action” are up tempo and highly climactic. The former sounds almost like it could be a more technical version of some of the faster material Motorhead put out 3 or 4 years earlier. The title track also contains George Lynch’s most technically driven solo, rivaling Eddie Van Halen in terms of flash and technical intrigue. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” also moves around fairly quickly, though it’s riffs are not quite as riveting as it’s two faster counterparts.

    Tracks such as “When Heaven Comes Down” and “Bullets to Spare” are a bit slower but still rock quite hard. Don Dokken does some nice AC/DC style screams at certain key points. Others such as “Into the Fire” and “Just Got Lucky” are mostly melodically driven, the latter by the recurring guitar theme, the former by it’s various rhythmic sections and vocal interchanges. Both of them will stick in your head and have you humming along in no time.

    As stated before, we have one Persian flaw in what would otherwise be a perfect album, and that is the two tracks that have yet to be mentioned. “Alone Again” has some solid acoustic and electric guitar lines, a beautiful melodic solo, and a rather surreal atmosphere to it. However, the lyrics are pure fluff, and drag the song down a bit. “Heartless Heart” suffers both in the title and the lyric department. At the time the song title might have seemed inventive and witty, but when I read it all I hear it a redundancy that inspires one to make jokes about the band being whipped by their female fans and coming up with goofy song titles to please them.

    In conclusion, this is a solid album that will appeal to fans of the LA scene during the early to mid-80s, and also to fans of shred guitar playing. Power Metal fans might be drawn to 3 or 4 of the faster songs on here, but the rest is bluesy glam rock with exceptional soloing over it and will probably not sate the Power Metal fan’s need for speed in the overall song department.


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