Dokken: Hell To Pay in 2004!

Dokken guitarist Jon Levin talks in detail about the new Dokken album Hell To Pay and about life in the band in general. Jon talked to Ron & Don Higgins, good friends of mine, who put their hands up for the interview and conducted it with enthusiasm. Thanks guys...

Ron: How are you doing, Jon?
Jon: I'm doing great.

Don: There's two of us on the line. I'm not sure if they told you that when they set this up but, I'm Don and then there's my brother, Ron. We're twins.
Jon: Hey, guys. What's going on?

Ron: Not much.
Don: We'll be doing this together. In fact, we met you on Friday night; you may or may not remember.
Jon: Oh, okay.

Don: At the show in Cincinnati.
Jon: Awesome.

Don: And by the way, that was a really good show. I was really impressed with the way the whole band sounded and, in particular, with the way that you really seemed to match all of George Lynch's notes. You did an outstanding job.
Jon: Thank you very much.

Don: It was really good. I liked the new song that you played, “Escape”.
Jon: Oh, you did like it?

Don: Yeah, I kind of wish you would've played more off of the new album, to be quite honest.
Jon: Well, we're going to be. Don had to do press in Europe so we're now going to be getting new songs worked into the set. We have to rehearse, you know.

Ron: Is this pretty early in the tour?
Jon: Oh, yeah. This is really early. In fact tonight we're opening with “Unchain The Night”.

Ron: Oh, great!
Jon: And we're going to have “Haunted” and “Prozac Nation” in the set within the week.

Ron: I love “Prozac Nation”
Jon: Awesome. And we're going to add “Dream Warriors”.

Ron: Oh, you're kidding?
Jon: So yeah, the whole set is really going to be overhauled within the next week. Like I said, Don had to do press so we lost our rehearsal time.

Ron: Gotcha.
Jon: Actually, after the show last night we all got in the back of the bus and rehearsed.

Ron: That's great. It's funny because my brother and I have both seen Dokken probably 6 or 7 times and, yes, we've seen every guitarist <laughs>, but we were trying to debate on what would be the opening song and the last few times we saw you they opened with “Erase The Slate”, which is interesting because it wasn't even in the set, at least here.
Jon: Yeah.

Ron: So I was thinking it might be something new off of the album, possibly “Don't Bring Me Down”.
Jon: We were thinking about that. You know, it's never really a great idea to open up with a song that nobody knows yet, though.

Ron: Well, yeah, that's what I was going to say. I was pleasantly surprised because I was kind of expecting that since that's what's being featured on Dokken Central right now and it's got that killer guitar riff, and that, by the way, is my favorite song on the album.
Jon: Oh, cool.

Ron: It's just great, with that opening and then that killer lead in the middle. Unbelievable.
Jon: Thanks so much, man. Which show did you say you were at?

Don: Friday night at Annies.
Ron: In Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jon: At Annies. Cool.

Ron: It was unbelievable, but when you kicked off with…
Jon: “Kiss of Death”

Ron: Yeah, “Kiss of Death”, which is a great song that is so up-tempo, it sort of grabs you by the jugular and doesn't let go, you know?
Jon: Yeah.

Ron: I thought that was an excellent way to start.
Jon: Well thanks. We'll see how it goes tonight because, like I said, we're changing it because we've done “Kiss of Death” so many times. We thought people might want a change, but we'll see.

Don: Well “Don't Bring Me Down” is, if you could incorporate that into your set, I would say that that song is definitely the most up-tempo song on the new album.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: And it is also the one that I would say stands out the most as being the most like the old classic stuff like from Tooth and Nail through Back from the Attack. It could almost be straight from one of those albums.
Jon: Yeah, I know what you're saying. I agree.

Don: The other stuff is more reminiscent of Dysfunctional through Long Way Home.
Jon: Do you guys like the album?

Ron: Oh, I love it.
Don: Yeah, I think it's very good.
Jon: Great.

Ron: I've actually liked the last few albums. I actually liked Erase the Slate a little more than the last one, but I'm seeing a lot of comparisons to this being like the older stuff, and I'd have to agree. I think it really is. We're doing this for which is for the most part a one man show with Andrew McNeice out of Australia, so he's the one that wrote up the review of the album.
Jon: Yeah, he's the gentleman I spoke to once. He's a real nice guy.

Ron: He is a heck of a guy. It's funny because he's in Australia so I've never met him, but I've transcribed so many of his interviews and sent him so many emails that I feel like I really know him.
Jon: You guys are going to do this interview and send it to him?

Ron: Yes. Well, I should mention this too, we're taping it.
Jon: Go ahead. That's fine.

Ron: And then we'll go ahead and transcribe it and then we'll send it to him and he'll upload it whenever he can. And, of course, this is with his blessing; in fact, he told me when I asked him if that would be okay, he said that he had a note to try and interview you, so when you say you talked with him, that makes sense.
Jon: I spoke to him a long time ago. We had a brief conversation, but he's a real nice guy.

Ron: Yeah, and he was happy to have us do it. Because he runs the site by himself, he is so swamped with work. We're very appreciative to him. He had a great quote in his review. He does this thing called The Bottom Line and it says, “It's certainly the band's most consistent and traditional sounding release from their recent history. This album will please the majority of the band's long time fans.” And I couldn't sum it up any better. I think that's exactly right.
Jon: Well, that's nice to hear. That's awesome.

Ron: I'll tell you something else that he said and I'm hearing this a lot too. You're going to love this quote if you haven't hear it, it's talking about you specifically. “His part in this album is not to be undervalued in any way – he rules this record.
Jon: Oh, wow. That's nice.

Ron: Yeah, and he goes on. He says that this is very comparable to the last album, and he says, “So if Don hasn't changed – why is this album so much better and why will fans be very happy with the result? The answer is Jon Levin.”
Jon: Oh, wow. That's very nice.

Ron: And again, I have to agree. Like I said, we've seen Dokken with all 5 guitar players and for the first time I didn't feel like here's the guy filling in for George Lynch, it's like, here is Dokken's new guitar player.
Jon: <laughs> Oh, that's awesome. Thanks!

Ron: Seriously.
Don: Some people may or may not know, but you played in Warlock for a while.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: I'm wondering, was George Lynch, perhaps one of your influences?
Jon: Yeah, definitely. He's older than me so I was just a kid but he was definitely one of my guitar influences, not my only one, but certainly one, you know.

Ron: Sure.
Jon: And Eddie Van Halen was a huge one. And Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. All those guys. For myself, a lot of the guys who played in Dokken were great guitar players but for me the style didn't make sense. I sort of missed this type of style and I just happened to have his influence, being from the younger generation, and it seems to work. We get along really well, everyone in the band, which is really nice too.

Ron: Yeah. Well, you always hear so many stories about this and that and the wars between George and Don and yet, when I got to meet him at the show, he was extremely nice.
Jon: He always is. Don't listen to all the BS that people say, you know? You know what it is with bands, especially when you play together for long periods of time, not every two personalities match well together.

Ron: Right.
Jon: And just for some reason, I've never met George so I know anything about him, but for some reason his personality and Don's didn't go well together.

Ron: Yeah.
Jon: But ours, my personality and Don's, we go great together and we were friends long before I ever played in this band.

Ron: Really?
Jon: Yeah. <laughs>. So it's actually cool to be in it and have someone that's a friend in it too.

Ron: Sure.
Don: Well, you guys are all older now than they were back then so you live and learn.
Jon: Yeah, I don't know how everyone was back in the '80s, I'm sure there were probably some egos going around, but look, everyone's grown up now and we're all in this because we love to do it and that's why we're here, you know.

Don: Exactly.
Ron: Well, it shows because it looked like you guys were having an absolute blast on stage.
Jon: Yeah, we all get along really well, you know? There's no tension. We're all just enjoying ourselves and we're all really grateful and happy that we're able to do what we like to do, and that's play music for a living.

Ron: And I guess if you're going to be around Mick Brown for too long, you can't be too unhappy.
Jon: <laughs>

Ron: Because that guy, he is always up. He's like Mr. Life of the Party.
Jon: Yeah, he really is, you know. That's his role. He does it well.

Ron: Is he like that always?
Jon: That's how he always is, yeah.

Ron: That was my sense because, like I said, the two times I've had a chance to meet him and just the way he is onstage, you can just tell. It kind of reminds me when I saw Van Halen back in the day with David Lee Roth and it was a great show, but the next year when they came with Sammy Hagar for the 1st time, you could just tell that they were more relaxed and just having a blast. And it does make a difference, you know?
Jon: Yeah.

Ron: The fans can really tell.
Jon: Yeah, when everybody is getting along it's much better than when people hate each other. I mean, if it ever got to that point I'm sure nobody would do it anymore, at least I know I wouldn't. I'm an attorney; I don't need to be away from home and losing a lot of money from my law practice to do something that I hate.

Ron: Sure.
Jon: That doesn't make sense.

Don: And when the band is having fun it comes through the music and then the fans can pick up on that, I think.
Jon: Yeah, we're really enjoying it on this tour. I can't speak for anyone else; I'm fairly short because it's going really well.

Don: Now how long is this tour going to last? I know you've got dates scheduled through July.
Jon: Oh, man. We're scheduled through August 21, that's the last show of the 1st leg of the American tour and then from there I think we're going to do Europe for 4 or 5 weeks and then after that hopefully come back and get an arena tour with someone.

Ron: That would be great.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: If you come back around, especially if you incorporate some new songs, I'd like to check out the show again if it comes anywhere near.
Jon: Oh, yes. Please come again. Like I said, we're in the process of renovating the set. We've already got “Escape” now in it. Tonight we've got “Unchain the Night” in it and, like I said, one week from now there's going to be two more new songs off of the new album, probably “Prozac Nation”, and “Haunted” and it looks like we're going to try “Dream Warriors” too, so we're really trying to switch things around, make it fresh. We're rearranging things.

Ron: That's awesome.
Don: As a fan, I would even like to personally hear one or two of the ballads that you have. I think there's two or three on this album and then on Long Way Home there were like three of them and I think that's kind of a gamble because a lot of fans really want to hear the hard rock, up-tempo stuff.
Jon: Yeah, it's a little tough thing, I mean, we get by with “Alone Again” but I don't know how they'd react if we did more than one.

Don: Maybe if you did one right after the encore or something. Those songs are really good, they really showcase Don's voice when he sings in that mid range. You can really tell that he's a very good singer and I think those songs are pretty radio friendly. I think that if those were ever pushed by Clear Channel or somebody that you guys could legitimately be on the radio and hit it big with this album.
Jon: Well, thanks.

Don: A lot of people just don't know those songs.
Jon: Well, “Escape” is the first single off of the new album.

Don: I thought it might be because that's the new one you played.
Jon: Yeah, “Escape” is the new one and it went to radio two days ago.

Ron: Okay.
Jon: And the album comes out July 13, so hopefully we'll get some action on “Escape” as the single before the record comes out.

Ron: It's a very good song. I like “Escape” a lot. I noticed here that Andrew noted that that was one of his four favorites. He mentioned “Don't Bring Me Down”, which, like I said, is my absolute favorite, “Prozac Nation” and then “I Surrender”. So I think that's a good pick.
Jon: Yeah, that's a good one too.

Ron: See, even though my brother and I are identical twins, we're not entirely identical. I'm the guy that wants to go to the concert and hear all of the up-tempo stuff. So when he wants to hear the ballad, I want to hear “Don't Bring Me Down” <laughs>.
Don: Now I didn't say I didn't want to hear that.
Jon: That's funny.

Don: I think that's probably my favorite one on there as well. I would love to hear that one but yeah, I did like the show that we did see, but it was more like the Greatest Hits kind of thing, but all of the songs were certainly crowd pleasers, I would say.
Jon: Oh, good.

Ron: Well, here's the other thing, most people anymore that go to a show like Dokken really want to hear a lot of the older stuff. And you guys, gosh, I think you played five off of Tooth and Nail, at least three off of Under Lock and Key, so people that do want to hear the classic stuff, were not disappointed.
Jon: We're giving them a good mix. I mean, we have stuff from all the… basically, we've got a Greatest Hits show going now.

Ron: Yep.
Jon: However, we went ahead and substituted out some of the old ones now that we're going to refresh the set with what I was telling you and hopefully in one week from now approximately we're going to have three new ones off of the new album and have a whole new show going.

Don: That'll be great. And if you keep one of the old songs, I would definitely say keep “Paris is Burning”.
Ron: No doubt.
Jon: “Paris is Burning”? Unfortunately that's the one we might cut <laughs>.

Don: Well, again, not as many people know that because it's off of the first album but that's the one you guys played that I think you closed with.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: I was really surprised.
Ron: Well, the question is: If you drop that song, what are the 10 year old kids that get pulled onstage going to sing? Do you remember that?
Jon: Oh, no. What happened?

Ron: From the Cincinnati show when Don pulled up the kid onstage?
Jon: Oh, wait. That's right. I have a vague recollection.

Ron: Yeah, there was a kid right in front, and Don kept saying, “Man, how old are you?” And he was right up front and the kid said, “I'm 10”. So Don reaches over and pulls him up onstage and the kid starts singing, at least the chorus, to “Paris is Burning”. It was hilarious.
Jon: That's amazing.

Ron: And Mick was dying. After the show, he was talking about it because basically, Don just gave him the microphone…
Jon: I've got to tell you, I guess I'm so in my own world when I'm playing that I don't even have much of a recollection of it happening, but I believe you when you tell me it happened <laughs>.

Ron: Oh, it was great. And the funny part was, here's this kid who's 10, right, he's onstage and has no idea what he's supposed to do, so he starts saying, “Thank you, thank you all, thank you.”
Don: Like he was a temporary member of the band.
Ron: Mick was absolutely in tears laughing about that after the show.
Jon: That's great.

Ron: But it was great. See, that showed a side of Don that most people don't get a chance to see. He was so impressed that there was a kid that young that was into, not only Dokken, but stuff from the earliest album, that he pulled him onstage. That's classy stuff right there.
Jon: That's great. It's exciting for us to see a new young fan that's into what we're doing.

Ron: Absolutely.
Jon: Especially somebody that's that young.

Ron: No kidding.
Don: Obviously his parents were big fans.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: Speaking of the younger generation, I thought it was interesting, I know that Don talked about it in concert, and I think that I read about it on the website, where you guys did a show with some of the newer bands like Stained and Eve 6.
Jon: Oh, yeah. I remember that show. It was in North Carolina, I think.

Don: That must've been interesting.
Jon: Yeah, that was a good show. It was good that we went over really well that night. It was nice with all of the young crowd that's into all the new bands, they liked us too.

Don: That's good because I think a lot of times when it comes to bands that have been around for a while, it's not like they suddenly become bad, it's just a generation of people just don't know about them.
Jon: Yeah, things are very different today. Dokken has always been a band about musicianship and songs. And a lot of the bands today, I don't even know when the last time I heard a guitar solo in a new song in recent history.

Ron: Exactly.
Jon: So, things have changed a lot, especially in the past 10 years.

Don: Yeah, through the '90s with the whole grunge movement, the guitar solo kind of went away.
Jon: There were none. Now, we'll see. It seems like some of it is starting to come back.

Ron: It is. It's kind of a shame that more of the Clear Channels, the Infinity Broadcastings, the MTV's don't pick up on that because, you know, some of the stuff coming out, I don't know if you've heard The Scorpions new album, it's just great stuff.
Jon: Yeah, I heard it was supposed to be really good.

Ron: I was reading your bio on the Dokken web site and it was kind of funny that you mention how you went to LA and then when the grunge scene came, that's when you decided to become a lawyer!
Jon: Yeah.

Ron: I was not a fan of that; it's hard rock, yes, but it was missing some of the key elements that I like and anymore it's the same way.
Jon: I liked it, but it wasn't anything that I wanted to play. Hey, do you guys have a specific set of questions that you want to ask me?

Ron: We've got a few more, but mainly, we wanted to talk about the tour and get your reactions to it, which we've kind of done and get your comments on the new album because that is what people are really interested in right now, the new tour and the new album.
Jon: Okay, cool. I just wanted to make sure that I cover everything that you guys want to know.

Ron: We always tell people, we only want 15 or 20 minutes of your time, because we know you guys are busy.
Jon: Hey, I'm not that busy today, man. I'm in the middle of North Dakota. We're in a bus waiting to play 4 hours from now.

Ron: Oh, wow. Yeah, it looks like you're off tomorrow.
Jon: Yeah, we drive back to Minnesota from here and then we have a day off here.

Ron: Okay.
Don: If we could just ask a couple more things…
Jon: Yeah, sure. I've got time. Shoot.

Don: Do you have a favorite song off of the new album?
Jon: Ooh. I have to pick one?

Don: A couple. What are some of your favorites?
Jon: I can give you a couple of my favorites. I like “Don't Bring Me Down”, I like “Escape”, I like “Letter to Home”, I like “Haunted”, and “The Last Goodbye”.

Ron: “Letter From Home” was interesting. It does sort of have that sort of Beatleesque feel to it and just a little different than what you would normally expect from Dokken, which is a good thing. It shows the musicianship.
Jon: Yeah, we took some chances and that was one of the ones that paid off nicely.

Ron: I agree. Definitely.
Don: You took a chance on another song “The Last Goodbye”. I thought that was interesting. It had almost like an Eastern sounding influence.
Jon: Yeah, I like that one a lot. That's one of my favorite ones as well.

Don: Yeah, that one's very different, but different can be good. I did like that one as well, but the vocals and the guitar have that real Eastern sound to it, for lack of a better term.
Jon: Yeah, it's also got that sitar in the background.

Ron: Was that an actual sitar?
Jon: Yeah.

Don: I didn't know if it was a guitar made to sound like a sitar or if it actually was one.
Jon: Yeah, that was a sitar. Don actually played the sitar on that.

Ron: Really? That's cool.
Don: That's very cool. I didn't realize that.
Jon: Yeah.

Ron: See, it's funny, as you were going down the list and saying the ones you like, to me, it just reinforces how good this album is because I'm thinking, “Yep, that's a good one, that's a good one.” It is a solid album.
Jon: Oh, thanks. There's not really any that I don't like, you know? But those are the ones that stood out more.

Ron: Sure.
Don: That's understandable.
Ron: Now from what I understand, you were actually a fan of Dokken before you were in Dokken and that's why you were sort of shocked and surprised that you were asked to join. Is that true?
Jon: Yeah, I was always a big fan and I saw Dokken probably three or four times when I was younger, in the '80s.

Ron: In the day, as we like to say.
Jon: Yeah, I was like 21 years old or something. I always thought that Dokken were a big cut above all those other bands that were going on with the big hair and the nonsense, you know. Because they could play and they had good songs <laughs>.

Don: I loved a lot of those bands, and even some of the cheesier ones, but Dokken has always been one of my favorites from that era because I thought their songs were a little better and the musicianship was a little better. In some regards it was a shame that they didn't get as big as some of the other bands who I thought were lesser bands.
Jon: I agree.

Don: I don't know if it came down to image or luck.
Jon: It was on its way and I just think they sort of self destructed right when they were on the verge of exploding.

Ron: And they were huge, you've got to remember that by the time they did Back for the Attack and were doing the video for Dream Warriors they were at the top of their game.
Jon: Yeah.

Don: Yeah, that album and the two previous ones all went platinum, I believe.
Jon: We're hoping to bring it back, you know.

Ron: Well we're doing our part and that's why we wanted to interview you and get the word out because it's really a great album and people need to know about it.
Jon: Thanks very much. I mean, especially when two young guys like you like it, man, it means a lot.

Ron: I think we're about a year younger than you so…
Jon: Oh, yeah? You guys sound like you're real young.

Ron: Oh, great! I appreciate that because we just had our 37th birthday two weeks ago.
Jon: Well, Happy Birthday!

Ron: Thanks <laughs>. Anything to make me feel younger is outstanding <laughs>.
Jon: That's awesome.

Don: I've asked you about your own work, which is kind of unfair, but do you have some favorites from the Dokken catalog?
Jon: Songs?

Ron: Yeah, what would be some of your favorite songs or albums from when you were a Dokken fan before you joined the band?
Jon: My favorite three albums are Under Lock and Key, Back for the Attack and Tooth and Nail,

Ron: Yep. Absolutely.
Jon: And my favorite songs are… pretty much everything we've done in our set would encompass my favorites. There are a few that we didn't do; I like “Heaven Sent”, “Lost Behind The Wall”; I like “Prisoner”.

Don: I always liked “Bullets to Spare”.
Jon: Yeah, that's a cool one. That's about it, everything else we seem to be playing. I like “Unchain the Night” which we're going to be doing tonight for the first time so we'll see how that goes.

Ron: That's a great song.
Jon: Yeah, we're going to open with that one tonight.

Don: Oh, really? That'll be a crowd pleaser for sure.
Ron: I agree with you. It's nice to start off with something that people know that's full throttle and you don't let them go for the rest of the night.
Jon: Do you guys think that will be strong enough to lead off? We're still going to play “Kiss of Death”, but we're going to move it down a little.

Ron: I think it will be.
Don: I think that “Unchain the Night” is maybe… I personally like that song better than “Kiss of Death”, although I like “Kiss of Death”.
Jon: As fans, do you guys think that it will be as strong of an opener as “Kiss of Death” will be?

Ron: I think it will be. Do you, Don?
Don: I do, actually.
Ron: That was actually one of my favorite songs off of that album.
Jon: I like it a lot, but I'm just wondering if the tempo is fast enough to get it going or if it's too slow.

Ron: Hmm. “Kiss of Death” is definitely faster. “Tooth and Nail”, that might be something interesting to kick off with.
Jon: Yeah, we've tried that before. We did that once in the past.

Ron: How did that go?
Jon: It sort of works better a little later in the set. We're going to try this tonight and if we speak again I'll let you know how it goes. [Note: in a follow-up email, he noted that they decided to switch back to opening with “Kiss of Death”]

Ron: Yeah, I'd be curious because, like I said, it's one of my favorites, but you bring up a good point. It's not quite as fast as “Kiss of Death”, but it's a great song.
Jon: Yeah, it still rocks, so we'll see. It also matches with our intro tape too so…

Ron: Well, that's always important.
Jon: We'll give that a shot tonight and see what happens.

Ron: I do have another question and I'm not even sure if you would be able to answer it, but the one thing I've noticed with at least the last three albums, is there's a real spiritual aspect, at least with the album covers, and when we met Don after the show, he was talking a bit about it, saying that he felt blessed by God to be able to do this kind of stuff. He just comes across as being a real spiritual guy. Is that true?
Jon: Yeah, Don is definitely a spiritual guy. I am too actually.

Ron: That's great. Sometimes there's a misconception that people in rock and roll are all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Of course, that's one of the things I liked about Dokken because, lyrically, they were much more than that. It's good to know, that spiritually…
Jon: From my own perspective, when I say spiritually, I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. For me, as far as the sex, drugs, and rock and roll thing: I don't do any drugs, I'm married, so I don't fool around at all <laughs>, so all that's left for me is the rock and roll.

Don: Well, that means you get to focus all of you attention on the rock and roll, which is good for a musician.
Ron: Well, the other thing is, the guys who were into the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, where are they now? You can't live that lifestyle for long.
Jon: No, you can't.

Ron: Aerosmith found that out.
Jon: For me, it is and it always has been about the music.

Ron: That's great. I agree 100%. I think some of these guys realize that they can actually play better when they're sober.
Jon: Yeah. That's right.

Ron: So you're a lawyer, you're married and you don't do drugs. Man, you're killing the whole rock and roll image. <laughs>
Jon: I still rock out as hard as I can.

Ron: Phenomenal. I can see some kind of lawyer convention where you get onstage and kind of freak everyone out. That would be kind of cool.
Jon: <laughs> That's pretty funny, huh?

Ron: That's what's great about heavy metal, it doesn't appeal to just one type of fan, you know, the drunken bozo. Although, there were a few of those standing around to meet you guys the other night, which was interesting because either you or Don kept saying, “You're not driving home are you?”
Jon: Oh, it was probably Don.

Ron: There was one guy who was just way out of control.
Jon: Was he?

Ron: He wasn't starting trouble or anything, at least he was a happy drunk but he won't remember meeting you guys, I'll put it that way! I just thought it was interesting that Don kept rehashing, “Hey, I don't want to be on the road with you even though I'm on a tour bus.”
Jon: We're all over that at this point, you know?

Ron: Yeah. I'm married as well and so is my brother. Do you have any kids?
Jon: No. I don't have any kids.

Ron: That's what you need to do right there. That'll shake things up a bit.
Jon: Oh, really? Yeah, probably. When we're ready. My wife's very young, and I'm on tour right now so it's not the right time for me, but maybe one day.

Ron: It's great. I've got three of them and they're a blast. I've got friends that tell me they're not ready and I tell them, “Well, you're never ready.” <laughs>
Jon: I guess not. It just comes when it comes, huh?

Ron: That's right.
Don: I just have another quick music question.
Jon: Sure.

Don: I know from reading how you got together with Dokken, that really it started off because you were friends with Jeff Pilson first.
Jon: Right.

Don: I'm just wondering, now that he's not in the band and they've got Barry [Sparks], are you still close with him or know what he's been doing?
Jon: I think he actually just had a baby.

Ron: Really?
Jon: Yeah. He did. He just had a baby. Yeah, Jeff's a friend of mine. I haven't spoken to him in a while just because I've been busy.

Don: I know that he just had that album with George Lynch.
Jon: How was that? I haven't heard it. Is it any good?

Don: Yeah, I thought it was pretty good. Actually, I think Jeff does all of the lead vocals on it.
Jon: Oh, I think I did hear one song, actually, from that.

Don: It was pretty good, I thought.
Ron: It was a little slower tempo than I kind of expected, but it was a good album. With George Lynch, you always want to hear something really burning and rocking.
Jon: Yep.

Ron: Of course, his interests and styles vary all over anyway so depending on what mood he's in that day determines what he'll put down.
Don: It's great that everyone can still be friends and just try to make good music together. That's what it's all about.
Jon: Well, that's what we're trying to do

Don: I think you've done it with the new album and a lot of it just comes to exposure.
Jon: Well we appreciate you guys taking the time to get us some. Hey, by the way. If you guys need any photos or anything, I'll give you my email address and you can ask me and I'll send some to you.

Ron: That would be great.
Jon: It's <email address>. I've got to run right now, but if you have something else that you wanted to ask, feel free to holler and give me a call back.

Ron: We appreciate it. Maybe the next time you come through town, especially if you're doing the arena thing, we'll try to hook back up with you. All I can say is it was a great concert, the album is awesome, and I can't wait for it to come out on July 13. I hope you guys have great success with it.
Jon: Thank you very much, guys. Man, I really appreciate it.

Ron: It was our absolute pleasure talking with you;
Jon: Awesome

Don: Congratulations on the new album. It was a pleasure as well.
Jon: Speak to you soon.

Ron: Take care. Thanks a lot.
Don: Thanks a lot.
Jon: You're welcome. Take care.

Ron: Bye
Don: Bye
Jon: Bye.