DOKKEN's longtime member "Wild" Mick Brown is "done" playing drums, according to Don Dokken.
Brown did not perform with his bandmates at some of their recent gigs, including the May 5 concert at the M3 Rock Festival in Columbia, Maryland. He was replaced by BJ Zampa (HOUSE OF LORDS), who has filled in for Brown in the past.
During a recent appearance on "The Classic Metal Show", Don said about Mick's status with DOKKEN: "I think he's done. He's retiring, basically. It hit me very suddenly. We were actually on tour — I don't know — a month and a half, two months ago. I remember, we were at the airport, and we were getting on yet another freakin' plane flight, like we do four or five times a week, and he pulled me aside and he says, 'Bro, I can't do it anymore.' And I said, 'What's the matter?' And he said, 'No, I can't do it anymore. I can't do this. I can't keep flying and playing and [staying in] hotels and playing drums.' And I said, 'Is it a money thing? Or is it just the travel? We can cut the shows back. We can do less shows.' And he said, 'No. I just can't do it, man.' And he made a point. He said, 'Look, I started playing drums at 10 years old, and I'm 62.' He goes, 'I'm just worn out.'"
Don continued: "People don't realize, if anybody in the band — guitar player, singer, bass player… Singers lose their voice; bass players, whatever, get carpal tunnel, but a drummer, he's got the hardest gig in the band. And I told Mick years ago — years ago I told Mick — I said, 'Mick, you need to take it easy on the drums. You hit too hard. You're like John Bonham.' Anybody who's seen Mick knows he beats the hell out of those drums. And I said, 'Mick, just take it easy and just hit 'em softer and don't kill yourself.' And he said, 'I don't know how to play the drums any other way. I go out there and I just go for it and pound the drums as hard as I can. I don't know how to play like a jazz drummer. I'm a rock drummer.' But he's had a lot of stuff like torn [rotator] cuffs, arthritis, [his] knees, his feet, elbows…"
Dokken added: "So, Mick, he's doing his [WILD MICK BROWN AND THE] BOURBON BALLET, he's got his little solo band, and he goes out when he wants to play, just to feel the spiritual rush of playing and having fun with the guys he plays with. That's what he's doing, man. He said, 'I love you. We had 40 years together. It's been a great run. We had some good times. We went to the top of the mountain. And we sold millions of records and made millions of dollars, but it's time for me to stop.' That's what he said. It is what it is… He goes, 'I'm just burned out, man. I'm just toast. I'm tired of being on the plane.' He said the plane kicked his ass sometimes worse than playing… And he said he had a scary moment a couple of shows before he quit. He said, 'I had this out-of-body experience while we were playing, and I felt like I was out of my body watching myself play. And then I went back and I looked at you, and you turned around and looked at me, and my arms felt like they were lead. I just couldn't lift my arms. I just felt like they weighed a thousand pounds. And I thought, 'Oh, shit. I'm having a heart attack or something.'' So it really scared him. After the show, he said, 'That was a really weird experience.' But he went to the doctor. He had a full physical. Everything's fine. But he did [think] he was having a heart attack, I think. And he just said, 'I'm fine, but it kind of just put the fear of god in my thing, and I just thought, 'This is not what I wanna do the rest of my life.' So you look at his Facebook, he's riding his Harley and playing in BOURBON BALLET and having fun and enjoying his life."
Asked if Zampa is DOKKEN's permanent new drummer or just a temporary replacement, Don said: "For now, he's in the band. I don't know what his future holds for him. He's played with HOUSE OF LORDS for, like, eight, nine years. So you've got Chris [McCarvill, DOKKEN bassist] and BJ, our rhythm section, and they know each other's feel, they know each other's time. And I will be honest, it was a little shaky the first couple of shows he did, but to his defense, I just called him up and said, 'Hey, I have a show next week. Do you remember the songs?' We didn't rehearse with him; he just showed up and played and did the best he could. And he was kind of being the opposite of Mick, I will say. He plays really good, he's really solid, he knows all the parts, he never makes a mistake, he's super on time, he has great meter, but I thought he's a little too chill for DOKKEN. And I said, 'BJ, I can't tell you to be something you're not, but I need a Mick Brown,' is what I told him. 'I need a Mick Brown. I need somebody that's behind me, and they'd better be bashing the shit out of those drums, because you're the engine. And if that's what you can do, show me.'"
In addition to Dokken, Brown and McCarvill, DOKKEN's most recent lineup included guitarist Jon Levin.
DOKKEN's classic lineup — including Dokken, Brown, Lynch and bassist/vocalist Jeff Pilson — reunited for a short Japanese tour in the fall of 2016. The trek marked the first time in 21 years the four musicians had hit the road together.
Since completing the Japanese reunion dates, DOKKEN has continued to perform with the group's current lineup, save for a handful of shows in late 2017 and last year that saw guitarist Ira Black (LIZZY BORDEN, VICIOUS RUMORS) fill in for Levin.
A DOKKEN concert DVD focusing on the band's reunion tour, "Return To The East Live (2016)", was made available last year.
DOKKEN is currently working on material on a new studio album, tentatively due in 2020 via Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival. It will mark the group's first disc since 2012's "Broken Bones".