After years of intense speculation and recent rumors, it can now be confirmed that DOKKEN will indeed reform its classic lineup for a fall run of dates. Singer Don Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer "Wild" Mick Brown will return to the stage together in Japan — for the first time in 21 years — for a six-show run dubbed "Unleashed In The East".
Don Dokken states: "I am very excited to come back to Japan and play with the members of DOKKEN that I spent so much time with. Being that its only six shows, we are going to make it as spectacular as possible."
DOKKEN will launch the tour on October 5 in Osaka, Japan, before heading to Fukuoka, Tokyo for an appearance at the Loud Park festival and continuing on to Hiroshima, Aichi and finally, back to Tokyo for the final show on October 12.
Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime event, as well as VIP-package experiences, will be on sale beginning August 27. This will be the one and only opportunity for fans to see the classic lineup play its iconic hits.
"Unleashed In The East" tour dates:
Oct. 05 - Osaka, Japan - Namba Hatch
Oct. 06 - Fukuoka, Japan - Fukuoaka Civic Hall
Oct. 08 - Tokyo, Japan - Loud Park
Oct. 10 - Hiroshima, Japan - Blue Live
Oct. 11 - Aichi, Japan - Zepp Nagoya
Oct. 12 - Tokyo, Japan - Zepp Divercity
Don Dokken recently spoke to "The Classic Metal Show" about how the long-rumored DOKKEN reunion finally came to fruition. He said: "Years and years ago, I made a comment offhandedly, like, 'You wanna do a reunion tour? I'll do it for this amount of money. "It was like a one and a lot of zeros. And that was my price, and everybody said, 'You're crazy.' And I said, 'Well, that's my price, and I'm not gonna do it [for anything less].' And now, fifteen years later, somebody came up with that price. So I approached George and Jeff, and I said, 'You guys wanna make a shitload of money for about one week of work?' And I told them the price, and I told them how much I wanted and how much they'd make, and, basically, they could make more money in one week than they'd probably make in several years. And so everybody said, 'Okay.' So I said, 'Well, I'll do it on the condition that I don't wanna do it in America or Europe or anywhere else. Just six shows in Japan.' 'Cause we were very big in Japan, and it's just a… It's a reunion tour. So they agreed."
Despite the fact that there is plenty of interest from promoters in other parts of the world to book the DOKKEN reunion, Don claims that the Japanese dates are the only shows the group is committed to doing.
"Of course, everybody came out of the woodwork, and they want us to do Sweden Rock, Wacken festivals, M3… People are throwing money at us to do a DOKKEN reunion in the States and Europe, and my answer to everybody is, 'No. It's not gonna happen,'" he said.
"I feel bad for my agents, 'cause they're getting bombarded from these offers for us to play these big festivals all over the world as a reunion, but I'm just not interested; I'm sorry, I'm just not," he continued. "Jeff's busy. He plays like crazy in FOREIGNER. He's on the road. George is out, you know, playing the bars with LYNCH MOB, so everybody's busy. So I don't see any reason… I can't say, 'We can make all this tons of money…' And we're doing this tour for a lot of money, but I'm doing it to put an exclamation point on a very temporary reunion."
According to Don, part of the reason there are no plans for the reunited DOKKEN to play any other shows after the Japanese run is the fact that the current lineup of DOKKEN — which includes fellow member of the band's classic lineup, drummer Mick Brown, alongside longtime guitarist Jon Levin and bassist Chris McCarvil — is still very much an active entity, with a steady schedule of live shows throughout the year.
"I'm so happy with Jon Levin and Chris," he explained. "I mean, we get along so, so good. We're happy. We get on a plane, we fly to a venue, we hang out together and we go to dinner and we do the show and we hang out in the dressing room. It's very easy; you know, there's no drama. And at my age now, the last thing I need in my life is drama. So I am hopeful everything goes smoothly in Japan [with the reunion shows], but I am ready [laughs] for something to… There was always drama in DOKKEN, so I don't expect anything to change. I'm just gonna kind of keep myself removed from it all. All I'm gonna do is go up there and sing my butt off and play two or three songs on guitar and just make it a fun thing for [the fans]."
Don also admonished the other members of DOKKEN's classic lineup for leaking details of the band's reunion before it was made official. "Mick said we were doing it a month ago, George has been saying it, and Jeff was saying it," he said. "Which I have to laugh, because I said, 'Please don't anybody talk about it until the contracts are signed,' and I hadn't signed the contracts until a couple of days ago."
He continued: "Doing a tour like this is not easy; there's a lot of logistics, money, accountants, taxes, overhead, equipment, video. It's a lot of logistics to put together, and it's taken a long, long time to put this Japanese tour together. But we did it, and we're gonna do six shows.
"Everybody was talking like it was a done deal, which is a very bad thing to do. You should never announce a tour before it's announced, because then the promoters think we're gonna do it no matter what, and it kind of hurts my negotiating skills. If we say we're gonna do this, and we're kind of bartering about how much money, and they feel we're gonna do it no matter what — if it's a half a million or million dollars — I said, 'Please don't say we're doing it, because it hurts my negotiating position. So I've said nothing until tonight."
For DOKKEN fans in other parts of the world who are hoping to catch a glimpse of the reunited band, Don says that there is a small silver lining in all of this. "I'm hoping that, in rehearsals" — which will take place at the Badlands Pawn in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — "we feel that we're tight enough on the final day that we actually do a show and we're gonna film the whole thing," he said. "And hopefully it comes out good and we'll edit it and put out a live DVD."
Serious discussions about a reunion of DOKKEN's classic lineup have been held, on and off, for at least the past half decade. Back in may 2010, Dokken and Lynch appeared on VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show" together in hopes that a reunion would follow. Despite their efforts, it never happened and Don went forward with DOKKEN's current lineup.
All the members of DOKKEN's classic 1980s lineup reunited on stage for the first time in more than a decade on November 29, 2009 during an encore at a DOKKEN show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California.