DOKKEN Guitarist: New Album Sounds Nothing Like 'Hell To Pay'

Deb Rao of recently conducted an interview with DOKKEN guitarist Jon Levin. A few excerpts from the chat follow: I recently heard that DOKKEN has signed to Rhino Records for the U.S. release, and Frontiers for the European distribution. Is this correct?

Jon: That is correct. We are very excited about it. We are happy we made the deal. That is awesome. Is there any release date yet?

Jon: Well, Rhino is going to be putting out a few things. Our new studio record is going to seemingly the main push to what everything is building up to. I say there is nothing firm, but we are looking probably looking at May or June. We really want to do it right, and we want to do a lot of pre-promotion and really have a good set up for us. Is there another album of the DOKKEN "greatest hits" in the works?

Jon: The greatest-hits record for contractional reasons was put on hold. But Rhino is going to be re-releasing the old videos; you know the "Unchain The Night" video. They are putting that out on DVD. They are also re-releasing the catalog. Because those releases are coming out, we sort of decided we would hold off on the recorded greatest hits. Those two releases are going to come out first, after that the new "Lightning Strikes Again" record will come out. Let's talk about "Lightning Strikes Again". I know everyone is really excited about it. Tell me how the directions are going in musically in the band. Is it more like "Hell To Pay"? Because I really liked the direction you took the band with that record.

Jon: To be honest with you, it is nothing like "Hell To Pay". I don't think so all. The twelve songs that I have been working out so far sound like vintage DOKKEN. If I played you the demo, you would probably be pretty shocked. Is there going to be any ballads on "Lightning Strikes Again"?

Jon: Maybe one. It will probably be either one or none. We will probably do one. I wrote three ballads so far, that we have been messing with. We will probably pick the best one. Likely there will be one ballad, and maybe one "Jaded Heart" type of song. That is it, the rest are going to be all rocking. DOKKEN is known for their great guitarists. How does it feel to be part of that legacy?

Jon: I think it is great. I think it is great. I never really looked at it that way. But now that you have asked that question. It is certainly cool to be in a band that had good guitar players in it. I look at more, as there was a good open canvas for me to play how I play. If the band wanted me to play with them, and there wasn't really the foundation or the format, that I would be able to do what I do, it probably wouldn't appeal to me.

Read the entire interview at


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