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20 Years Ago Today: Dokken Erases the Slate with a new guitarist

Dokken Erase the SlateDokken was known for high-pitched wails from singer Don Dokken and some of the most shedtastic riffs from guitarist George Lynch. The pair had worked together since the group’s full-length debut Breaking the Chains in 1981. In 1999, Dokken, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown teamed up with Winger guitarist Reb Beach, one of the most underrated rock guitarists in history, and released Erase the Slate, the first full-length Dokken record without George Lynch.

The album was released by CMC International, an independent record label that was known for promoting hard rock bands from the 1980s who found themselves without a label home after the rock implosion of the early 1990s. CMC International’s roster boasted some of the biggest names in hard rock history, including Judas Priest, LA Guns, Slaughter, and Warrant.

At the time of Erase the Slate’s release, I was working at a small radio station in Hartford, Kentucky. I spearheaded a format change at the radio station, switching from country music to classic rock (and new music by classic rock artists). My definition of classic rock music included such bands as Ratt, Mötley Crüe, and Poison—more progressive at that time than most—so it was not difficult to work Dokken into the rotation as well. Two songs from Erase the Slate were featured heavily on the radio station: “Maddest Hatter” and the cover of Harry Nilsson’s “One.”

Beach only lasted one album with Dokken; he has since recorded with Whitesnake and the reunited Winger. John Norum of Europe fame played guitar on Dokken’s next release, Long Way Home; he had previously played on Don’s 1990 solo effort, Up From the Ashes. .Jon Levin manned the position on the last three.

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25 Years Ago Today: Simba becomes King

Lion KingA masterpiece of Disney animation, 1994’s The Lion King was released in only two theaters on June 15, 1994, with a wide release nine days later. Despite its limited release, the film still made over $1.5 million.

Overall, it brought in nearly a billion dollars and is the seventh highest-grossing animated film of all-time and third among Walt Disney Animation Studios releases behind Frozen and Zootopia. Zootopia? Really? The Lion King is one of only three movies made before 2000 in the top 50 highest-grossing animated films (Aladdin clocks in at #48, and Toy Story 2 at #50).

In case you hadn’t heard, a CGI-heavy “live action” film is set for a July release this year. James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa. The live-action remakes that I have seen so far have been inconsistent; even those that were good (such as Aladdin), I prefer the animated originals.

30 Years Ago Today: Terrible music was released

Nirvana Bleach is one of the worst so called rock records in the history of the universeNirvana’s debut album, Bleach, was released on the Sub Pop label on June 15, 1989.

I have never liked Nirvana. The simplistic songs and nonsensical lyrics make a mockery of actual talent. The band was awful from the start, and Bleach serves as Exhibit A.

Nirvana was not the greatest “grunge” band. Nirvana was not a good band period.

I will not apologize for this opinion. I question the sanity of those who gave the release positive reviews, both at the time and in the years since.

“About A Girl” is perhaps the most tolerable song on the album. If you want to torture your eardrums, click play:

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