In a new interview with SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk,” DOKKEN frontman Don Dokken was asked how he responds to the criticism from fans about his live performances.
“I think they can kiss my a—s. I see the criticism,” Don responded. “It wasn’t just my arm and my hand [that were affected after neck and spine surgery last November] — it was a lot of things.
“When I came out of surgery, I couldn’t walk; I was in a walker, I was in a wheelchair. I had nothing. I couldn’t even walk more than 10 feet without sitting down. So when I [performed at the Metal Hall Of Fame in Anaheim, California in January], I remember saying, ‘I’m not sure I can stand here for five minutes to sing this song. I probably won’t make it.’ But I did. And then I went out, about two months later, as a test, and we did that LYNCH MOB / LITA FORD / DOKKEN show, and I made it through the first two shows, and then the third show, I had to sit on a chair; I just couldn’t stand. My legs were giving out.
“When they severed all the muscles and cut all the nerves — I’m not a doctor — apparently they severed muscles to my hips, muscles to my back, my legs, everything,” Don continued. “They just butchered me. So it’s been a hard struggle.
“I hike every day with my dogs. When I go on my deer trails on my property and I walk, it’s not easy and it’s painful, but I just keep walking and walking and hiking and trying to build up my leg muscles. And then people say, ‘Yeah, I saw Don live, man. He was terrible. He was just standing there. He didn’t look too good.’ I’m, like, they don’t know what I went through.
“It’s a miracle I was even able to pull off three shows in a row with LYNCH MOB,” he added. “We did three days with no day off. I pulled it off. Was I at the top of my game? No. Was I singing my best? No. That’s another issue.
“When they went through my back into my neck, apparently they damaged one of my vocal cords. That’s why today I sound a little husky — my voice is a little husky now. So they did something to my vocal cords too. I’m just seeing every doctor on the planet trying to get better.
“As far as the fans go, I read a long time ago, for every hundred fans that wanna say the band wasn’t good, the other three thousand people are happy. And that’s all that matters, man. The people singing along with DOKKEN and singing the choruses, fists in the air, singing ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘It’s Not Love’, that’s the important thing.
“There’ll be a guy on the Internet that works at Subway making tuna sandwiches, and that’s the guy that gets on the Internet… This one guy cracked me up.
“He said, ‘I saw DOKKEN eight times last year. They sucked every time.’ I’m, like, then why in the hell did you come to the show eight times? You came to see us eight times, you really hated us. Well, stop coming to the show.”