You know over the past 35 years Tooth And Nail has become looking back at it one of those Impact Albums that shaped my listening curve as a young fella upon this albums release back in September 1984 as I was just starting Grade 11 at Highschool!
Two reasons jump out when I look back on this album!
1- This was my first purchase of a Dokken album. The debut from 2 years earlier ( Breaking The Chains) I had on cassette tape for that old Walkman. While Breaking The Chains was ok to me then again as I always say there was so much music coming out how the hell do you keep up! Before Tooth And Nail hit the record shops the magazines like Circus and Hit Parader had adds for the album. Right away, the look of the cover caught my eye, as well as the magazines, were falling all over themselves about George Lynch’s six-string playing! I was sold, and it was a quick purchase!
2- My Pal, the one and only Chico, had just gotten his Drivers License(circa 1984) and had his own set of wheels. Chico, as you may remember, was the guy I had first heard AC/DC’s Back in Black in 1980 on 8 track in Chico’s Moms car. Chico’s older sister had purchased Back In Black as well as Queen’s News of the World which was the first-ever Queen record I had seen as well.
Chico anyways wasn’t the music junkie I was but when he got his own car the first order of business for Chico was the cassette deck in his vehicle needed tunes! He gave me a bunch of blank Maxwell tapes with strict rules of rocking tunes only. Not a problem and I was happy to oblige.
What I am getting at is the first two songs on Tooth and Nail were the first two tracks I taped for Chico ( Without Warning a little Lynch guitar ditty that launches into the frantic power-driven album title track Tooth and Nail!)
Wonder if Chico ever got pulled over by the cops as Tooth and Nail just lift’s off like a rocket and don’t get me started on the Lynch solo as he lays down who is Boss on this song and album as a matter of fact.
In the 80s you basically needed a slick guitar hero to survive and for your band to get over the hump of all the other bands going at the time(1984).
George Lynch may have done some silly goofy hair dyes at the time but as Lynch couldn’t dye his hair properly he sure made up for it in the guitar playing on the Dokken albums all through the 80s!
Case in point George co-wrote 9 of the 10 tracks on Tooth and Nail. George shaped this album(along with Jeff Pilson) with his ax work on the tracks. Don Dokken only co-wrote 4 tracks if that tells you anything!
This album is built on the formula of a successful album. 10 songs! 9 rockers and 1 Ballad! Power Ballad!
Dokken nailed it to a T on this album on writing great catchy tracks! Just Got Lucky is one great written song that sounds like a Lynch guitar solo throughout! Heartless Heart /Don’t Close Your Eyes /When Heaven Comes Down/ Turn on the Action/ Bullets To Spare are just hard-driving straight-ahead rock tracks!
Thing is with Dokken I dug Don’s melodic rock voice mixed with George’s firepower on the fretboard!
When this album came out it didn’t really take off in the sales department. I’m sure there was a freak out in the Dokken camp when Tooth and Nail wasn’t selling!
Now the album made it into the Billboard Top 100 (at #71) than stalled! You would think that the first two singles Just Got Lucky and Into The Fire would push sales along right?
Nope. Both songs didn’t take off for some reason and the album was starting to slide out of the Top 100 when the power ballad Alone Again was issued as a single!
The result! The ballad worked it’s magic and resurrected the album pushing it into the Top 50 with Tooth and Nail finally hitting Gold status a full 10 months after its initial release!
Alone Again is an interesting story as it was composed by Don Dokken and Jeff Pilson. George Lynch I have read was against this song being on the album at all costs as Lynch didn’t care for the song at all! It resulted in a ton of friction between Don and George which even resulted in producer Tom Werman quitting because of the ego clashes between Dapper Don and Curious George!
Roy Thomas Baker and Micheal Wagner came into finish producing the album!
Dokken, I have written about lots here at the blog. I always made the point that these guys were so close to becoming headliners in their own right and by 1988 they had tossed that away by being pissy pants with each other!
When you really think about it. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise as we all know what happened to the musical climate once the early 90s came.
Dokken who knows what would have happened to them but it makes for an interesting conversation as when Kurt and his tattered up Cardigan demolished a ton of bands popularity it really didn’t take out Dokken in that grunge tsunami!
In 1995 Dokken with the original lineup (Lynch/Brown/Pilson and Don) released a comeback album of sorts in the form of Dysfunctional (great album title) and in 1995 not many LA bands were surviving but Dokken pushed that album over 400.000 copies in the U.S to almost Gold Status until the wheels came off of Don and George as the relationship hit the skids once again! Dysfunctional I will add is a strong effort as that album had Dokken do what they do best which is Rokken! (ok I admit that was lame!)
But back to Tooth and Nail which for me started a real decent run of Dokken albums in the 80s. Under Lock and Key(1985)/ Back For The Attack(1987) and the Double Live Beast From The East(1988) had Dokken firing on all cylinders yet the personal shit between Lead Singer and Guitar Hero couldn’t save this band from imploding!