‘Dokken: Into The Fire And Other Embers Of 80s Metal History’ by James Curl – Book Review

I found this book on Amazon Unlimited and thought, I like Dokken, this should be a good book to read. And it was, however, my opinion of the boys is now slightly tainted. I now wish I didn’t know what I have learned because I won’t look at the band the same way again. More on that later.

The book is called “Dokken: Into the Fire and Other Embers of 80’s Metal History’ by James Curl. That is a long title. The book is a collection of personal interviews he had with Jeff Pilson and Don Dokken as well as collecting interviews from other people over the years including George Lynch and some Mick Brown (but very little from Mick). The puzzle is pieced together and the story is told of the band from before the beginning with the members other bands all the way to 2019 and where the band stands today.

It is cool to learn about the previous bands and what it took to get to the point of starting Dokken which to me is the weirdest and strangest tale. Dokken got started in the strangest way not anything like the other bands on the Sunset Strip. Dokken wasn’t signed because of all their shows on the Strip, nope. Somehow, Don wound up in Germany and got a deal to record there. The classic line-up was not around yet of Jeff Pilson, George Lynch and Mick Brown. Don was back & forth between L.A. and Germany a lot and was able to pull together the line-up after the original guys he had lined up couldn’t commit. The book tells how he got to know George, Jeff and Mick.

Now here is where it starts to fall apart from the very beginning between Don and George. Their egos were the size of Semi-Trucks and the two could never see eye to eye on anything. George seems to resent the fact the band is called Dokken after Don, but the dude knew this from the very beginning so what the hell was his problem. The two together were combustible from Day 1. How they were able to get through as many years as they did was insane. The main way was the two were rarely ever in the same room with each other. They would record separately, write separately and I am sure if they could’ve separated the stage to keep them apart, they would’ve done that. I also believe the two had some serious mental issues and it wasn’t solely the drinking and drugs.

And it was these stories that made me not like either Don or George after reading this book. They both seem like complete and utter assholes and do not come out of this book smelling like roses. At least for me. I have never been a huge fan, but I was big enough to be curious to read this book. And now I am little sad I did. Not because the book is bad, far from hit. I enjoyed the book immensely as we got some great interviews and insights from all the band members and I feel the story was told in the way it probably all really happened so for that it is great. Now Jeff Pilson seems to be the coolest guy of the bunch as he was able to manage through the muck and work with both and if it wasn’t for Jeff, it probably would’ve fallen apart a lot sooner.

I think Jame Curl did a great job piecing everything together and you get a lot of great insight in to the band. If you are a fan of the band, I think you will enjoy it. If you aren’t, this book isn’t going to make you a fan of the band at all. Overall, I will give the book a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as I did thoroughly enjoy the book, but the fights between Don and George became tiresome as there were so many discussed. It was like beating a dead horse at times. However, I did enjoy stories from the studio, the songs and the road so there is a lot here to digest and enjoy. You do get the entire history so you get discussions on the other members of the band like Juan Croucier (Ratt), Reb Beach (Winger/Whitesnake), John Norum (Europe) and current member Jon Levin to name a few. I think there is a lot here to enjoy, I only wish George & Don weren’t such dicks.

40 thoughts on “‘Dokken: Into The Fire And Other Embers Of 80s Metal History’ by James Curl – Book Review

      1. Wow. You’re vicious. You hit me with a flower. You do it every hour. Baby you’re so vicious. When I see you come, baby I just wanna run. Far away. You’re not the kind of person around whom I’d wanna stay. When I see you walking down the street, I step on your hands and I mangle your feet. You’re not the kind of person that I’d even want to meet ’cause you’re so vicious!

        Liked by 1 person

              1. That’s from Transformer, as produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. It’s on the 1001, so Geoff’s probably reviewed it unless he’s slacking hard.

                Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t think I was drunk when I made the observation, but I guess it’s possible. I don’t do drugs so that’s out. I’m stone sober right now and I still see the resemblance!

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Dokken always rolled on the drama express train. Still though the music stands on its own and crazy to think Don pitched a fork in it back in 88 and they disbanded by 89. They missed out on a huge payday. You’re right John the dope and booze fuelled the fire of dislike between them. Yet now they seem to have some common ground but yeah it was a toxic partnership between them. Great review Pal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Dokken drama. I’ve read so many interviews over the last 15 years of the classic Dokken line up and how they all try to say their version of events.

    Dokken and Lynch do tweak the history with each interview.

    And apparently, according to Mick Brown, Don got his deal using songs that Lynch and Brown wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You wonder why they do it. I mean, yes, fame and money and girls and drugs and booze and travel and fun and yada yada, but it starts to seem like they’re all dysfunctional, so much so that that they are the functional ones and and functional band is the dysfunctional one.

    Liked by 1 person

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