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Jeff Pilson: Back For The Attack

By Keith McDonald, Contributor
Thursday, April 11, 2002 @ 6:58 PM

Former Dokken Bassist Comes Ba

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Jeff Pilson has accomplished quite a bit in his career. He exploded onto the scene with his former band Dokken as the group produced a string of platinum albums in the ‘80s. The talented bassist/singer/songwriter added more to an already talented array of musicians that included guitar legend George Lynch, singer Don Dokken and drummer Mick Brown. At the highlight of the band’s career, due to the growing tension between George and Don, the band broke up at a time when most felt the band was ready to become arena headliners.

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With no band to record and tour with, Jeff set out on his own with his War & Peace project that recorded and toured for some time. But in 1994, Don Dokken asked Jeff to help him write and record for his solo album in Japan. This soon turned into a full-blown Dokken reunion when Mick and George elected to rejoin the band. After recording three studio and one live album with the band, Jeff set off on a few solo projects that also included a role in the music movie Rock Star. With his busy schedule, Jeff found it harder and harder to find time in his schedule to write and record for the new Dokken album that’s due out this April. After discussing possibilities with Don and not finding a resolution, Jeff was abruptly kicked out of the band that he had spent the most of his musical career with.

Jeff has used his newfound time to work on several projects including a reunion of sorts with former guitarist George Lynch. I had the opportunity to catch up with Jeff and get the inside information on his break-up and new projects. You can check out his website at JeffPilson.com.

KNAC.COM: What happened with Dokken? Why were you thrown out of the band?
JEFF: Basically we had a complete different view of how to schedule things and move forward. My desire was to have a record ready by the time the Rock Star movie came out, last September, then take advantage of a lot of press, etc. This was not to be. We then had a hard time coming to an agreement as to how and when we could work together, so the band replaced me.

KNAC.COM: Do you still speak with Don and Mick? Any lingering tension there?
JEFF: No, we haven't spoken in a while. I think there'd be tension with Don, probably not with Mick.

KNAC.COM: What has been your favorite Dokken recording? What's your worst?
JEFF: In many ways Erase the Slate. The tension was minimal, Reb was great, and the process was smoothest ever. But Tooth and Nail was probably the highlight. We were focused and on fire- and not yet jaded!

KNAC.COM: How is the Lynch/Pilson project coming along? What type of sound is it?
JEFF: GREAT! You can hear sound clips on MP3 [linked to both our websites]. I'll let the music do the talking, but George is killing!

KNAC.COM: How are the two of you getting along? Does George speak with Don or Mick?
JEFF: We get along great. I don't think he's spoken to either of them in years.

KNAC.COM: Tell me about the Underground Moon album. Is it available around the world?
JEFF: It [came] out in Europe February 18th, Japan last November. Will be working on a US deal in the spring.

KNAC.COM: What are your tour plans for either project?
JEFF: No solid plans yet, although I do have a band together for UM. That consists of Mike Pelletier on guitar, LB on guitar, Tony Bonadio on bass, Glen Schricker on drums, and Johnny Zatus on keys and sampling.

KNAC.COM: I see you have another War & Peace album coming out. Will it be the same type of material as the other releases? Are the other W&P albums still available?
JEFF: I know they're at least available through my website. The next one hasn't been confirmed yet, but if so it will be several months.

KNAC.COM: I see you are working with a band called Orco. How has that gone so far?
JEFF: AMAZING. They just signed a deal with Epic Records and the buzz is incredible.

KNAC.COM: How was it being in the movie Rock Star? Any more acting roles on the horizon?
JEFF: Rock Star was so much fun. Don't know if any other acting gigs are around, too busy lately!

KNAC.COM: How hard is it for an ‘80s hard rock band or former member to tour these days?
JEFF: There seems to be a market for it, you just have to have the right thing. I believe the current Dokken tour is doing well, and that's without George or I. People just wanna hear those songs, and they love hearing Don sing them. That's pretty cool after all these years.

KNAC.COM: Do you think you and George may return to Dokken and tour again or is it truly over?
JEFF: I've learned to never actually say never -- life is too unpredictable! But I will say that I honestly hope it doesn't have to happen, and that everyone does well in their current or potential situations. It would be nice to really look forward not back.

KNAC.COM: How well does the Dokken back catalog sell and does the money generated allow you and the other members to live comfortably without having to tour?
JEFF: We do okay, the catalog continues to sell, but at a much slower rate then in the past.

KNAC.COM: I see you have done quite a few side projects (Dio, etc.). How do you find this extra work?
JEFF: It's not really extra work; it's all a collective. I think people know that I put 100% into what I do, and I love music. I think I work well with people. Lord knows I've been able to work with many whom others find impossible!

KNAC.COM: What's the future for Jeff Pilson?
JEFF: Probably a lot of music! Writing, recording, singing, producing -- ‘til I'm too old and feeble to continue!

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