Dokken: Back For The Attack

They had it all, then blew it.

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There was never a better time to be a big-haired hard-rock band from Los Angeles than in 1987. Mötley Crüe were riding high with the monster hit Girls, Girls, Girls. Poison were breaking big. The hottest new band in town was Guns N’ Roses. And for one of LA’s more established bands, it seemed as if their time had truly arrived.

Dokken had plenty of muscle behind them: they were signed to Elektra Records and managed by Q Prime, who also handled Def Leppard. Dokken’s 1985 album Under Lock And Key had gone platinum, and they believed that the follow-up, Back For The Attack, released in ’87, could be even bigger.

But there was a problem. The band’s singer, Don Dokken, and guitarist George Lynch hated each other.

Back For The Attack was a strong record. While it was route-one stuff – arena rock with a heavy metal edge – Dokken’s music had its own distinct flavour, characterised by Don’s melodic voice and the George’s guitar-hero pyrotechnics. It was an album filled with anthems, and another million-seller, but its success was not enough to hold the band together.

The split came in the wake of the US Monsters Of Rock stadium tour in 1988, on which Dokken played immediately after Metallica and were duly annihilated. They would reunite in the 90s, but it was with this album that their glory days ended./o:p

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”