"Hey, I'll always have the war stories, man. At least the ones I remember. And the battle scars, too. You see this right here?" he says, pointing to a scar beneath his right cheek. "I got that playin' around on the set of the "Dream Warriors" video, with a prop Freddy Krueger glove. (George) Lynch was like 'Look at me, I'm Freddy,' and I was like, 'No you're not, I'm Freddy.' and then we started wrestling, and, well, there you go ... rock and roll history!"
Entertaining hijinks like these aside, the tale of Dokken, and the other hair-metal washouts scheduled to play the Second KLPX Fest on Saturday, is more tragedy than farce. Tastes change, but Dokken, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Warrant and Kip Winger stubbornly, boldly, bravely stuck to their (L.A.) guns, and so were left behind like so many poodles at the pound of lost celebrity.
Visible from the front porch of Dokken's one-bedroom ranch home in suburban San Dimas are tobacco fields and cattle pastures. "I spend a lot of time out there, thinking about what could of [sic] been," says the introspective lead belter of such hits as "In My Dreams" and "Just Got Lucky." "I mean, if me and Georgie could of [sic] just kept it together, well, you know, there was more rockin' for Dokken. You know what I mean?"
Strange, then, that Dokken is reluctant to talk about the group's most recent effort, Long Way Home, released last spring on the Sanctuary record label. Could it be that the controversial album cover, which somehow tops Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove for offensiveness, stirred a controversy that Dokken would like to avoid discussing?
"Aw, no way, man. Me an' John an' Barry an' everybody are super proud of that record. Some critic in Kerrang--actually, he's the only guy we could get to review it--called it "flaccid," but I looked that up. That's not even a word, man. And the chick on the cover? Well, she's naked, but you know first of all that even though she looks pre-teen, she's got tattoos, so she's got to be at least 18, right? And, second of all, she's got angel wings, so she's not even real, dude. I mean, what's so controversial about that? Plus, we did put out a 'clean' version of the album cover where you can't see her tits. I'm a responsible guy. I'm a father, dude. I'm not going to let some kid drown in a pool like Tommy Lee."
After a long pause, Dokken added, "Long Way Home is the best Dokken album yet. I should know. I'm Don Dokken."
Kevin DuBrow's favorite eatery in Los Angeles is Pink's; he explains that it's because he likes to wait in line. "I've always liked lines, as long as I can remember. It keeps me in touch with the people," says the frontman of Slade-coverers-cum-nostalgia-trippers Quiet Riot.
As he stands outside the Hollywood landmark, expectantly waiting to be recognized, it seems, a zaftig blonde woman of about 40 approaches him. His eyes light up as she says, "Hey, didn't you go to Altadena Middle School?"
"Uh, no. Maybe you recognize me from Quiet Riot."
"No, huh-uh, I've never seen that movie." She moves on.
DuBrow says he is very much looking forward to playing in Tucson. "Yeah, I loved playing that town in the '80s, man. In the '90s, it wasn't as good. Fuckin' Nirvana. We went from thousands of people coming to see us, and girls showin' us their tits like it was Mardi Gras, to playin' that club the Brick or whatever it's called. That place sucks." He expressed doubts about the Rodeo Grounds, however. "I'm just worried it's gonna smell like horse shit. Wasn't there just a rodeo there, like two weeks ago?"
Much like Dokken, Quiet Riot doesn't say quit, ever. Despite many personnel changes and internecine band turmoil largely due to DuBrow's motormouth, 2001 saw the release of Guilty Pleasures, a return to form(ula), except they forgot to cover SLADE! Perhaps that was why sales hovered around the 2,500 mark. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about, man. QR got to where we did because we're a bad-ass live band, we got big balls [actually, that was AC/DC --cm] and we took it to the people. If that's not popular anymore, I guess we just don't want to be popular. INTERVIEW OVER!" With that, DuBrow stormed off, muttering something about being late for his colonic.
Reached in Germany, Jörg Juraschek seemed confused about his band's upcoming gig at the 2nd KLPX Fest in Tucson. "Wir spielen Tucson nicht," he said, which must mean something about Tucson. No information was forthcoming about the metaphysical implications of the hit song "Cherry Pie," either. "Der ist nicht unser Song," Juraschek answered, seemingly indicating that he didn't speak a word of English.
For a second, it seemed as if this were the Scorpions that had been reached, but no, it was Warrant. Their two albums were First Strike and The Enforcer, although incongruously, "Cherry Pie" was on neither of them. After being asked what the hell an L.A. hair metal band was doing speaking German, Juraschek hung up the phone. "INTERVIEW RÜBER!"
And so it goes. Hair metal, it seems, just won't die a dignified death. It's like a zombie that insists on eating its own brains to survive. It needs very little to keep going, a county fair gig here, a radio station festival there, a club tour with pyrotechnics uh, there. Apparently, along with the corporate sponsors of KLPX Fest 2 (Budweiser, Mountain Dew, Harley Davidson and Cox Cable), there's a charity that will see some benefit from your hard-earned $25. The information regarding the charity was not available at press time.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Upon a review of the accuracy and sourcing of this article, it was determined that several factual errors exist. We apologize to readers for the following errors.
WHEREABOUTS: At no time did Mr. McCrary travel to Los Angeles, as stated in the article. He hates it there. Furthermore, he has no long distance privileges and certainly did not call Germany.
PLAGIARISM: Entire portions of Mr. McCrary's article were taken from Ruth Shalit's 1994 George article "Bubbanomics."
DENIED REPORTS: All those on record as being interviewed by Mr. McCrary were not, in fact, interviewed by Mr. McCrary.
FACTUAL ERRORS: There are very few actual facts in the story, so let's just focus on those, OK? There is a KLPX Fest 2, it does feature Dokken, Warrant, Ratt, Kip Winger, and Quiet Riot, it does cost $25, Dokken does have an album called Long Way Home with a half-naked angel chick on the cover, Quiet Riot does have an album called Guilty Pleasures, and there is also a German metal band called Warrant. Also. But that's not the Warrant that's playing KLPX Fest 2 on Saturday, May 24.