Shout out to my buddy A.B. who was a big Dokken fan back in the day. Calling Dokken your favorite band may not have made you the coolest guy in middle school my friend, but that’s what your blonde-dyed rat-tail was for! Incidentally, both A.B. and yours truly think Dokken’s 1985 LP Under Lock And Key was their best album, but Tooth And Nail seems to get the consensus vote among fans of the genre.
Tooth And Nail was released in 1984, arriving at a time when commercial heavy metal (a.k.a. “hair metal”) was a legitimate, bona fide, mainstream force in the United States. With Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip as its decadent breeding ground, platinum albums started to pile up from bands like Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ratt, and of course Dokken. (This, much to the delight of Aqua Net, Maybeline, and sluts.)
Dokken’s “classic” lineup as solidified with Tooth And Nail, the band’s sophomore release. Don Dokken, the smooth voiced prima donna, was the band’s front-man, as well as the proud owner of the unfortunate perm (wig?) depicted in the LP band photo. George Lynch (guitar) played foil to Don’s perfumed posturing, and garnered the band some respect among metal fans (re: males), thanks to his crunchy riffage and tasty soloing. Lynch stands as one of the premiere “guitar gods” of the hair era along with the likes of Warren DeMartini (Ratt) and Vito Bratta (White Lion). (Bratta has my vote, thank you very little.) Jeff Pilson (bass) and Mick Brown (drums) rounded out the line-up. Each member contributed to the songwriting. Much has been made of Dokken’s history of internal tension. Apparently, Don and George were always at odds; the classic “vocalist versus lead guitarist” battle for band direction and spotlight (see also Aerosmith and Van Halen.)
My Worthless Opinion: A couple of good tracks pepper this Dokken release, but overall it falls shy of spectacular due to Don Dokken’s rather bland vocal delivery, and a couple of run of the mill numbers. The title track is my personal fave of the set. This cut packs a little more horse power under the hood than the typical vanilla Dokken fare. The biggest “hit” on Tooth And Nail was the ballad Alone Again. Though my pal A.B. thinks Alone Again is the sh*t, I never understood the song’s appeal and find it yawn-inducing. Overall, Tooth And Nail is a major improvement over Dokken’s rather forgettable debut, Breaking The Chains, but not necessarily something I find myself reaching for all that often. Trivia note: the cassette cover was different. My score: B