During an appearance on a recent episode of the "Cobras & Fire" podcast, longtime DOKKEN guitarist Jon Levin spoke about the status of singer Don Dokken, who underwent neck and spine surgery in November, leaving him unable to play guitar. "Look, any nerve injury takes a long time to heal, but he's definitely showing signs of progress, which is good," Jon said (hear audio below). "So I'm happy about that. It's gonna take a while, but we're hoping, obviously, that he has a full and complete recovery. He had a really rough ride. None of us were expecting it come out with something that severe. He went into thinking one thing, and a lot of times, operations, who knows what's going on during it, but for whatever reason, his was more intensive than, I think, he was led to believe initially. And hopefully it's gonna all work out for the best and they did what they had to do and he'll be fine." Levin also talked about the progress of the songwriting and recording sessions for DOKKEN's long-awaited follow-up to 2012's "Broken Bones" album. According to the guitarist, work on the LP is moving along despite the fact that no one is able to leave home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "Right now, we're still trying to technically get — recording and writing through the Zoom conference app, that's what we're trying to work out right now," he explained. "Normally, I don't really engineer on my end, but the way things are, it's forcing me to get my chops up and put stuff down here, at least so I can send things to Don and he can send it to our engineer. We're still developing our little system of how we're doing it, but, yeah, we're definitely moving forward with it." Regarding the status of DOKKEN's longtime drummer "Wild" Mick Brown, who announced last year that he was "taking a break" from playing live shows, Levin said: "He's pretty much retired. He had enough, I think. He did it for a very long time. The drummer always has the hardest physical job. And as people start getting older, it's harder and harder. It got to the point that the flying around and the touring, it just became too much. Look, the reality of it is, man, we're all doing jobs that you do when you're 20 — we're all getting older. And it just came to a point, he said to me, 'Jon, everything hurts, man. My knees hurt, my back hurts, my legs hurt. Every time I hit the drum, it hurts.' He couldn't take it anymore. Look, never say never — maybe one day he'll come back around — but for now, he's in retirement." DOKKEN's new album will be released via Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival. DOKKEN's classic lineup — Dokken, Brown, guitarist George Lynch and bassist 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. A DOKKEN concert DVD focusing on the band's reunion tour, "Return To The East Live (2016)", was made available in 2018. Since completing the Japanese reunion dates, DOKKEN has continued to perform with the group's current lineup — which also includes bassist Chris McCarvill and drummer BJ Zampa (HOUSE OF LORDS).

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