Watch Dokken’s New Video, ‘It’s Just Another Day': Exclusive Premiere
When the classic lineup of Dokken got back together in late 2016 for a short run of reunion tour dates, it once again proved you should never say never.
For the many fans who weren’t able to catch the show in person, the set has been captured on the upcoming Return to the East Live 2016, which will be released April 20 on CD, DVD, Blu-ray, vinyl and digital download.
The set also includes “It’s Just Another Day,” a brand new song recorded especially for the album. You can watch the video for the track below.
Bassist Jeff Pilson wrote the music for the song with guitarist George Lynch, and as he recalls in a conversation with UCR, the recording process was a “magical” experience -- something that surprised him and the rest of the band.
“Don came in and sang it in a very quick session -- it was a couple of hours," he says. "He had most of the lyrics in his head and he didn’t even write them down. Most of the melodies were kind of prepared, but it just kind of flowed, and we just bounced off of one another and it happened very quickly. I threw the harmonies on and we were done. It was that quick.”
Dokken’s only feedback when he heard the song before laying down his vocals was a simple request: “It needs to be faster.” "We said okay, and we tried that and we agreed with him," Pilson recalls. "It was like, Wow, that’s a great idea. We brought it up quite a bit in tempo and it was great.”
Fans have pointed out hat “It’s Just Another Day" sounds like a return to the classic Dokken sound. Pilson agrees. “At the time, we thought, ‘Wow, this is weird, it’s just coming out," he says "But okay. Don’t argue!’”
Pilson produced the audio portion of Return to the East Live, and he says he was focused on presenting an experience that would properly represent the shows they had played on the reunion run.
“I wanted to end up with the best raw energy that we could," he notes. "When you take a band that hasn’t played together in 20 years, you’re not going to get one of those tight performances that a band has been on the road for a while has. I mean, when I do Foreigner projects, we’ve been playing together a long time and it’s really tight and every little detail is pretty much worked out. There’s a lot of spontaneity in Foreigner as well, but because the basic skeleton of it is so tight, it falls together very easily.”
As Pilson was reviewing the recordings, he looked for the ones with the most energy. He then got together with Lynch and played everything for him. “I had my thoughts, and for the most part he agreed with me," he says. "We then chose which performance of each song to take. Then we just tried to fix up whatever wasn’t quite up to snuff, through editing or whatever else and it worked out great. I think what we got was a really strong representation of that crazy primal energy that Dokken does have. I think what’s always made Dokken a valid and still resonant force today is the fact that we’re a very melodic band, but we also have this very wild, heavy primal hard rock edge to us that when you get the right energetic moment and then the right melodic moments on top of it, that’s the Dokken magic.”
He admits it took some work to reach what they wanted for the live project. ”We haven’t played together in a long time, so there was a lot of rough edges,” Pilson says. “But we left some of the rough edges. We left it rough when it suited the energy. It’s a loud statement of where we were at at that particular moment in time.”
Fans will also get to hear a softer side of Dokken, thanks to new acoustic studio versions of “Will the Sun Rise” and “Heaven Sent” the band recorded for bonus tracks. This is nothing new for the band. Back in the mid'-90s they released the unplugged album One Live Night.
“That’s one thing where the whole band just really are in sync," Pilson notes. "When we do these acoustic things, more so than you’ll ever see Dokken be, we’re of one mind. It’s pretty funny. All four of us love doing these acoustic things. They just sound wonderful and it really brings out the richness of the songs and the melodies. George gets to play in a very different way. He does some beautiful guitar playing on those two songs. We were having so much fun when we were doing it, that it was like we were high or something.”
Pilson says it’s “always a possibility” that the classic lineup could get back together and do more shows in the future. But, as he points out, the same obstacles that kept them apart for so many years are still in play -- not personality conflicts, but scheduling. “My schedule with Foreigner is very tight and very intense," he says. "We work a crazy amount. And the fact remains that Don has his version of Dokken, and he doesn’t want to marginalize it. And I get that. I can say that I’d like it to happen and I hope that it happens, but it would be very hard to narrow it down. My gut tells me that at some point we’ll figure out some more stuff to do together, I just don’t know when, where or how.”
You can pre-order Return to the East Live 2016 from any of the links found here, or you can go to their PledgeMusic page and see all the limited edition merchandise that's available.