The new band featuring three members of the classic DOKKEN lineup along with former LYNCH MOB and current WARRANT singer Robert Mason has officially been christened THE END MACHINE.
Although guitarist George Lynch said in a recent interview that his new collaboration with his onetime DOKKEN bandmates Jeff Pilson (bass) and Mick Brown (drums) would be called THE END, Pilson clarified during a chat that “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon” that the actual name will be THE END MACHINE, with “The End” written “in capitals and ‘Machine’ in small letters.”
Asked if THE END MACHINE‘s music can best be described as “DOKKEN without Don Dokken” or if it’s a very different beast, Pilson said: “I wouldn’t say it’s a very different beast; I would say it’s its own beast. I mean, first of all, people naturally assume that there’s a competitive thing about it and that it’s ‘DOKKEN without Don‘ and all that — that’s simply not the case. The real truth of it is that George and I have this great songwriting partnership that’s been going on for 35 years, and we love to work together. When we bring Mick into play, we’re at home — we’re so comfortable as a rhythm section and we work together so well. And Mick is just a tremendous asset to any band — let’s face it. So the three of us together do have that chemistry, whether we’re doing DOKKEN, or we did a T&N record a few years ago, or whether we’re doing THE END MACHINE.”
He continued: “George and I wrote a bunch of this music, and then, when Robert Mason got involved, we realized, ‘Wow! This is its own animal. This is incredible.’ Robert‘s voice is just so super human; his writing is amazing. And so the three of us doing the writing really formed into something that I think people are gonna be surprised. There are the DOKKEN elements there — no question — and there’s a bit of LYNCH MOB in there too. But there’s also something very musical about this record. We sort of let ourselves get very musical and kind of deep in spots, but in a very melodic, accessible way.
“We are so incredibly proud of this music. I mean, this record is really… for us, it’s a real accomplishment. It sort of stands independent from DOKKEN and it stands independent from LYNCH MOB, although there are definitely elements about that, and you’re certainly not gonna mistake George‘s guitar playing.”
Pilson added: “The whole idea of ‘is it its own thing as opposed to DOKKEN,’ I don’t even really spend much time thinking about that — we just do what we do. We created this music; we love this music. We are working on trying to get some shows together, and if we do shows, of course we’re gonna do DOKKEN songs. But it’s not like we’re going out to prove that we can do DOKKEN songs without Don; it’s just that when people come to see us, they’re gonna wanna hear DOKKEN songs. So why wouldn’t we do it? We’ll be able to do a wonderful job with them. Robert is such a great singer, and we’ll have these three-part harmonies that are killer. So why not?”
Asked if the songs for THE END MACHINE‘s upcoming debut album were written for the recent reunion of DOKKEN‘s classic lineup, Pilson said: “I will say that the very early songwriting sessions, with George and I writing the music, we were thinking, ‘Well, this could be DOKKEN. Who knows?’ We just got together and started writing. But the thought in the back of our mind was, ‘Well, maybe there is…’ There was a lot of talk, and there was business talk about a possible DOKKEN record. So we wanted to just start writing. We wanted to write and that was kind of probably foremost on our mind. But we also realized very quickly, ‘Well, this is kind of becoming its own animal.’ And then when Robert got involved, it totally became its own animal. So, I would say it’s kind of branched out of the writing that we did for the [recent DOKKEN CD, DVD and Blu-ray, ‘Return To The East Live (2016)’], but not very much — only a slight degree.”
Pilson also talked about the musical and songwriting chemistry between him, Lynch, Brown and Dokken, saying: “What’s so funny about the bonus track [‘It’s Just Another Day’] on the DOKKEN record [‘Return To The East Live (2016)’] is that was one of the least painful recordings DOKKEN has ever made. [Laughs] It was so comfortable and natural — Don‘s vocals happened very quickly. It’s ironic, really, because the band supposedly has so much strife within it or whatever. But on a musical level, chemistry-wise, we kind of can’t help but do what we do. Don has a very distinctive voice, and very distinctive melodic sense, George has such a distinctive way of playing, and I think when Mick and Don and I sing, it’s very unique. I mean, that is the chemistry — but that was the beauty of DOKKEN, and we appreciate that; we all do. And the thing is, [fans] have to realize is we’re still kids at heart, so when George and I get together and start writing, we wanna keep writing. So if the DOKKEN thing doesn’t happen for whatever reason, we wanna keep writing. And that’s kind of where [THE END MACHINE] sort of came into being, and that’s a good thing — that’s music happening organically. And I love that. And that’s how I feel about this whole record — it just organically became what it is. It goes from very simple, straight-ahead groove-oriented rock to some kind of musical little adventures that are very, very cool. And, like I said, I’m just really, really proud of it.”
According to Jeff, who has been a member of FOREIGNER since 2004, the plan is to develop THE END MACHINE into a full-fledged band, with more albums and touring activity to follow. “I look at it in a very long-term way, ’cause I love playing with these guys — I just do,” he said. “And yes, for the time being, the amount of live shows we could do will be limited — there’s no question. I mean, FOREIGNER has no signs of slowing down yet. But I love playing with these guys and I love making music with these guys. So, yeah, I’m looking at it in the long term; I’m not just thinking of us as a side project for one record. We’re looking at it as a band — a band that has contraints because of everyone’s schedules, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plans and hope in the future to nurture this into something more. There’s only one challenge, but it is by far the biggest, and it’s very overwhelming, and that’s scheduling. The amount I tour with FOREIGNER, which, as I said, will not slow down, at least for the next couple of years. That’s a very daunting challenge — it’s very hard to work things out.”
Having said that, Pilson revealed that “we’re on the cusp of announcing — I’m hoping — some [THE END MACHINE] shows at some point next year for the release of the record, and if that can happen, that would be so wonderful — it would very exciting for everybody if we could do some shows with this. But it’s been difficult working out timing and getting everybody on board; everybody has their own life, career and bands, so it is very difficult to do,” he said. “So that’s why, in a sense, the big picture is, let’s just take this band forward and let it organically develop and see where it goes, but you can’t do a lot of planning because of all the obstacles that schedules make. So you’ve kind of gotta roll with the punches, play it by ear and just continue to try to make inspired, great music and hope that the power of that music will carry you forward. And that’s what I can see happening with the launch of this record — I can see us getting into a situation where we do some shows and really get it off to a good start. I think that would be so wonderful, and what a great way to announce a new band.”
THE END MACHINE, which was known in its formative stage as SUPER STROKE, will tentatively release its debut album in early 2019.