Don Dokken says that he is slowly recovering from his recent neck and spine surgery.
Earlier this month, BLABBERMOUTH.NET published excerpts from an interview the DOKKEN frontman gave to "The Classic Metal Show" around five weeks ago in which he claimed that his hands were "dead" and "completely atrophied" after the operation, which took place in early November. The 66-year-old rocker went on to say his hands were "still paralyzed" and that he needed to "figure out what to do" once he goes on tour with DOKKEN starting in March. "Obviously, I can't dress myself," he explained. "I can't get my clothes on. I can't feed myself — I really can't. So I'm trying to find someone to go on tour with me to basically babysit me. At least I can sing. My voice feels great. I just can't hold a microphone.'"
This past weekend, Don returned to "The Classic Metal Show" to offer an update on his condition, saying that he is feeling much better than he did just last month. "I'd say it's like one percent a day improvement," he said. "That's all I really can say. My hand or my arms has nothing to do with my singing. I can go on stage and sing. I've now become a leftie. [Laughs] I'm right-handed, man. And it's a learning curve when you have to do everything with your left hand, like eat and put your clothes on and drive the car with your left hand. It's a bit weird. But the right hand and the arm, honestly, truth be known, it's probably gonna be a year before it's back. But that's better than never. So I'm on the mend."
He continued: "The problem is mostly I'm lazy. I have to do physical therapy three days a week, occupational therapy twice a week. I get on the bicycle three times a day and pedal my ass off, on a stationary bike, build up my leg strength so I can stand on stage for 90 minutes. And I'm a lazy guy, so it's hard. But I'm doing it. I have no choice. And luckily, I have such great people around me, between the eight million doctors and my family and everything, pushing me to lift weights and get on the bike and walk the dogs and get out and do something, just to kind of build up my body strength."
Don went on to say that he "never imagined" his surgery would result in "so much trauma." He said: "But a lot of people have reached out to me, which is really nice, that have had these surgeries and said you don't get out of the hospital two month later, like, 'Okay, I'm all good.' It doesn't work that way… So, it is what it is.
"But then I see stuff on the Internet, like I'm on my deathbed. I'm, like, no, actually, I'm driving and hiking with the dogs. I've got my cane. [Laughs] I'm out there and about. It was a bit of a shock, honestly, when I came out of surgery. Who goes into surgery and wakes up and they're completely paralyzed? It was a bit of a shock."
"I'm getting around," Don added. "It's just that I can't play guitar. And that's my biggest sadness. I've been playing guitar my whole life, 50 years. I can only think positive and hope that someday again I'll get to play guitar again. But I've got [DOKKEN guitarist] Jon Levin, so who the fuck needs to play guitar? So I'm just gonna go out and tour and sing. And everything is good. Every day, I wake up and things are a little bit better. I can do this, or I can do that. But it was pretty weird. I've always been an independent person, and when you can't open a bottle of water or pull up your pants and put your socks on, it was a little weird."
Following the release of DOKKEN's latest album, 2012's "Broken Bones", Don was ruthlessly criticized by fans after radiation treatments from a bout with stomach cancer and eventual vocal-cord surgery hurt his performances.
Late last month, DOKKEN announced a number of live appearances this year which will include what is being billed as a "special encore performance" featuring Don Dokken and former DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch.
DOKKEN is currently working on material on a new studio album, tentatively due later in the year via Silver Lining Music, the label owned by Thomas Jensen, one of the founders of Germany's Wacken Open Air festival.