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20 Questions With Jeff Pilson, 2/8/00



Jeff Pilson

Dokken’s Bass Player Jeff Pilson

This week’s 20 Questions is the first of 3 interviews we are doing with the guys from Dokken.  Jeff is first, then ex-guitarist George Lynch will be up in about 2 weeks, and finally it’ll all end with Don Dokken himself.  But for now, we have Jeff.   Jeff was pretty open and honest about things and didn’t avoid any questions.  He handled everything pretty well.  Check it out.

1.  What are you currently up to?  This is the only chance to plug your shit, so speak now or forever hold your peace. 

Jeff Pilson: Dokken is mixing a live record for a March release, and a DVD and home video soon to follow. It’s from a show recorded at the Sun theatre in Anaheim on Nov. 6th. Then we’ll be rehearsing and writing for a new studio release we plan for, hopefully, by fall [you just never know in Dokkenland- we can sometimes take a bit longer than we plan!]. I’ve also started laying down tracks for a solo disc for Japanese release [US deal not yet figured out]. James Kottack is playing drums, we just cut 4 tracks last week and I’m so excited I could burst!  James did an incredible job. The music is kind of Dokken meets Cheap Trick meets Queen! I’ll sing and play the rest of the instruments, but I wanna bring in different guitarists for the solos. Should be fun, and a good hang for all!  Hopefully a summer release [but I might be dreaming!].

2. Have you ever seen Don without his hair helmet on?

Yes, but it was several years ago.

3. Juan Croucier from Ratt was the original bass player in Dokken? What the hell where you doing before you joined Dokken?

I was playing in a group with Randy Hansen [known mostly for his amazing tribute to Hendrix], where we split the writing and singing chores. It was great as we were, and still are, extremely close friends. The keyboard player for an amazing progressive band called Cairo was the keyboardist [his name is Mark Robertson] and he too is a best friend. But right when I actually joined Dokken I was playing in a top 40 band with Paul Taylor [who went on to be in Winger] and Emi Canon [one of Motley Crue’s Nasty Habits!].

4. Have you ever seen Don and George beat the shit out of each other? And how ugly did it get between them at the end? Give us an example.

Yes, I’ll never forget our infamous London limo ride in the spring of ’88. Don got in the car and made some rather rude comments and George leaped across the limo fists-a-flying! He just kept recklessly smacking Don, occasionally punching Mick and I in the process! We then made them stop the limo to let the two of them duke it out, and of course once they got out of the limo they both chickened out! I guess they were concerned cuz we were on our way to do a show with AC/DC at Wembley arena!

Dokken Back For The Attack

Dokken from back in the day

5. Rate the following bass players on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a total hack and 10 being a virtuoso type

Nikki Sixx = 7, he’s gotten a lot better over the last few years.

Michael Anthony = 9, so underrated and a groove monster.

Jerry Dixon = 5, I like when he tunes down to low D.

Fieldy = 8 1/2, very creative and exciting player.

Robbie Crane = 6, pretty good on the last Ratt album.

Phil Soussan = 7, mature smart player.

Duff McKagan = 7, great energy.

Bobby Dall = haven’t honestly heard him in years so I can’t fairly say. Was pretty bad when they started, but that’s another lifetime ago!

Dana Strum = 7 1/2, underrated, fun to watch.

Gene Simmons = 4, totally OVERrated and plays like he doesn’t care about groove.

Billy Sheehan = obvious 10 in virtuosity.


6. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?

I don’t think they should give it up, but I’m sorry to say Metallica.  Their last few records just have [in my humble opinion] NO inspiration to them.  They SOUND good, cuz they have great people making their records, but no magic in the actual music. The symphonic cd has some amazing moments, but considering what they are capable of their recent efforts are extremely disappointing. I don’t even mind a change of direction [or image for that matter], but it still has to be inspired, and I personally feel very little of it is.

7. There was a rumor that your wife was messing around with your own drummer, Mick Brown. Is that true? And how did that sit with you and Mick while working together?

Yes it is true, and we simply chose not to deal with it for a very long time. I thought the band was over anyway at that point, things were SO ugly with George, so I just dealt with the band in a very cold and detached way. But I admit it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, professionally, and of course I wanted to seriously fuck him up the whole time. We’ve since talked about it a bit, I was kind of the only one he could relate to when he wanted to get rid of her from HIS life, and we do have an amazing working chemistry together. But of course it was real hard at the time.

8. You have a pretty good singing voice. You even sing, ?Just Got Lucky? live. Is there any jealousy from Don that you have more hair than him and can sing your ass off too?

I’d doubt it, he gets to sing 12 songs to my one, and his hair is actually longer than mine since my haircut two years ago [you gotta admit his current extensions look very real!]. I mean after all, it’s like fake tits- at

the end of the day does it really matter, no- as long as it looks good!!!

9. Have you heard George Lynch?s new album yet and what do you think about him?

Only bits and pieces, and what I heard sounded VERY mediocre. Again very uninspired. I mean I certainly understand wanting to do something different, and I applaud him the balls to at least try, but George has lost the consuming passion he once had for music. He even has mercenary traits I never thought he’d ever have, I mean calling it Lynch Mob was such an obvious ruse to get quick record sales. Very unfair to the fans that expected something entirely different. Call it Mr. Scary, or anything besides Lynch Mob, but don’t trick the people that put you where you are.

Jeff & George

Jeff Pilson & George Lynch

10. The biggest misconception about ____________ is: 

Example: ?The biggest misconception about Warrant is that they played on their first record.?

David Lee Roth is he’s a necessary component to make Van Halen work.

Jon Bon Jovi is that he’s aloof

Sebastian Bach is that he’s unintelligent [he’s far brighter than he lets on!].

MTV is that they give two shits about anything but being "hipper than thou" and advertising dollars!

Being signed is instant wealth!

Playing bass is mindless four-string plucking!

Ozzy Osbourne is same thing, intelligence.

George Lynch is that he wrote all the riffs in Dokken

Kevin DuBrow is that he doesn’t have a very down to earth side to him.

11. What group gave Dokken the hardest time while touring back in the 80s?

AC/DC, their Euro fans anyway. 

12. You had a solo project called War & Peace that you sang lead vocals and played guitar in. What happened with the guys from that group and is there a possibility of a Jeff Pilson solo project in the future?

Tommy Henriksen is now a solo artist on Capitol records with great songs and a new album probably out by summer. It’s incredible pop music, with a Gabriel flair. I predict big things for Tommy in 2000. Russ Parrish had his own band "the Ducks", at least as of a year ago. He sang and played guitar, and wrote the songs. He’s amazingly talented and it’s only a matter of time before Russ hits it big. Ricky Parent I just saw last week. He’s playing drums for Enuff Znuff and they played with us at the Allstate arena on New Years eve with Def Leppard! Small world!! As far as solo stuff, we covered that earlier.  Hopefully out by summer.

Jeff 1989

Jeff, 1989

13. Why was George given so much control over Shadowlife? If the rest of you guys didn?t like the direction, why did you guys continue to work on it? 

For George to be in the band, he really gave us no options. He wanted no contact with Don, and we knew we’d never make it through a record if we forced the issue. But I never said I didn’t like the direction of the record [Don has said he hates it in interviews, but at the time he was given no choice. I think he did his best to go along with the modern flow of the record and actually came up with some great stuff]. But once again, we just shouldn’t have called it Dokken- it was too different. I still personally like many moments of the record, but I can see where to fans it was just too far left field. And once again I think it was lacking the real chemistry of a band collaborating together. It was just kind of bandaged together trying to make the most of a very difficult situation. Pretty amazing any of it was at all listenable [I realize some people would argue any of it was], considering the circumstances!  But we had contractual obligations, and  tried to stay numb to the tension. But it got too much for us eventually. And that’s not even just George, but bad chemistry all around.

14. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?

Layne Staley for not getting it together to tour with Alice in Chains.  But that’s selfish of me, I’d just love to see them live!

15. Which do you prefer?

Ginger Or Mary Anne = Mary Anne

Mr. Kotter from Welcome Back Kotter or Mr. T = Kotter

A toll both operator or the guy who mops up at X-Rated movie houses = X-rated mopper

Slaughter or Warrant = Warrant

Chris Rock or Kid Rock = Kid Rock

Rikki Rockett or Bobby Blotzer = Blotzer

Motley Crue or Metallica = Metallica (older records)

Hairspray or Hair Gel = mousse

Lipstick or Speedstick = Mennen  

16. Who?s darker, George Lynch or Michael Jackson?

 Lynch, absolutely


17. If nobody was to ever know, would you plant a satchel of heroine in your worst enemies house when he or she is asleep, then call the police, give them his or her address, and tell them a drug ring is operating out of the house?


18. If you had to have sex with any animal, what would it be? 

 the midwestern gobbler

Dokken 1998

Jeff Pilson, Mick Brown, Reb Beach, and Don Dokken


19. Mick has the nickname ?Wild?. He?s rumored to party a lot and have an above average sized tool. You are rumored to have a less than substantial size sprocket. Does it crush you to think the he was pounding you wife with his big ol drumstick?

You wouldn’t be trying to wind me up now would you? Noooo! Anyway, they definitely DON’T say that about Mick- he’d be the first one to tell you that! In fact he jokes about it all the time!  He definitely does, however, party! [I’d say your information on me is off as well- I’m basically average]. So no that doesn’t bother me as much as all the other bullshit. But lord knows who else she was banging, I’ve heard a rather long list. I could very well have been "outmatched" in many of those, but what are you gonna do? I’m just pissed off at myself for being so fucking stupid! Sometimes I’d say it was my brain that was "less than substantial", not my cock!


20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.

Don Dokken = about a million times more real than 10 years ago

George Lynch = would be much happier out of music, like being a forest ranger or something to do with nature.

Mick Mars = great rhythm player, and cool slide player.

Great White = Jack is a hell of a singer.

Britney Spears =  cute, must be a bitch!

Lars Ulrich = rich

Tommy Lee = hope he kicks ass trying to do some new music

Bret Michaels = perseverant.

Kiss = lucky, with a good business sense thrown in

Slaughter = good guys, capable of coming up with a motherfucker of a record.

That was a pretty honest interview!   He went into detail on a lot of the questions, spelled everything correctly, admitted that he had seen Don without his hair helmet on, and wasn’t even thrown when we asked about his former wife banging Mick Brown!   Plus he plugged us in a recent interview he did, so for that we give Jeff some Sludge Luv!

Come back soon to see what George Lynch has to say!

For more info on Dokken, check out their site at www.dokken.net

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