Drummer Mick Brown has been wowing metal fans with his energetic stickhandling for years. He is best known for being the original and current drummer for the eighties metal band Dokken and has also been busy touring with the Motorcity Madman himself, Ted Nugent. Mick has teamed up with his old Dokken bandmates, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson, to form T&N. With their new album, “Slave to the Empire,” recently released, I had the pleasure of chatting with Mick and finding out the scoop on the new record as well as some of his other recent adventures.
KE: Hi Mick! It’s great to get the chance to speak with you today. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
MB: Well, I appreciate it as well.
KE: You have a new project called T&N with your former bandmates, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson. Can you fill us in on how this idea came about?
MB: It started originally with what was going to be a Lynch Mob record and I think during the process of this session of the Lynch Mob recording some member changes happened and Oni Logan, the singer, got out of the picture somehow. I think Jeff Pilson stepped in to sort of help George make sense of all of it and Brian Tichy was playing drums. They had completed about six songs, maybe seven songs, I’m not sure but George was saying what can I do to finish this record and get this thing done. Brian said what if we did a few with Mick, Jeff, and maybe Don Dokken together and maybe put that out as well. And if Don doesn’t have any interest in it, then you can do the voice with different singers. So we kicked that idea around and we made a call and said would you play on these old Dokken songs and asked Don if maybe he would do a little bit. So I did ask Don and he didn’t have any interest in doing it. They moved ahead with the George Lynch era Dokken songs with different singers such as Sebastian Bach, Robert Mason who was a Lynch Mob member at one point, Doug Pinnick from Kings X, Ripper Owens from Judas Priest, and various other singers. We put it all together in one project and called it T&N. It was confusing at first with these two drummers and these members from Dokken. (Laughter)
KE: So Brian did the drumming for the new tracks and you came in for all the Dokken songs then?
MB: I played on all the Dokken tracks. We recorded it similar to how Dokken recorded back in the early days. Jeff did all the background vocals and set it up for all these singers. And Brian played on all the newer material that was with Jeff and George.
KE: How was it working again with George and Jeff? Did everything kind of fall into place quickly?
MB: Yeah, it was pretty easy. We’ve never had any problem making music together. That was always our attribute. The other things when you put Don in the mix always gave us some trouble. But even with Don in the mix, we never really had problems making music. We always could seem to be able to do that pretty easily. We knew the songs, they were from years ago. So we just recorded them with a new list of what we would have liked to have done to them back then and with a modern day twist and modern day technology. So it was quick and easy.
KE: The record contains five Dokken tracks along with the new material. Was it tough to narrow it down and will there be more T&N records to come?
MB: Well, I mean there is going to be a part two and part two is probably nine or ten months away. There’s seven more Dokken songs so there’s going to be more singers appearing on it. Probably some newer material. The door is open. I mean maybe Dokken will play together and work on that end of it with all the members. I’m not sure. It was easy to choose the tracks. I mean anything that George had worked on in the early Dokken era which was like the first four albums. So we just picked off of those. We knew we liked “Tooth and Nail,” the record that came out, you know, in the early eighties and it was easy to pick a lot of stuff from that record, a couple songs from “Under Lock and Key” and “Back From the Attack,” things like that. Anything that George had played on really. Those were the obvious choices. We didn’t really want to touch base on something that George didn’t have something to do with.
KE: You mentioned that Don was not interested in being involved with this project. Of course, a lot of things have happened within the band over the years. What is your relationship with Don like now?
MB: Well, I still play with Dokken. Although I did not appear on the latest “Broken Bones” which came out this week. I was busy touring with Ted and they said they really couldn’t wait. They needed to get it done and Brian Tichy showed up and played the drums for them. So my relationship with Don is fine. I think Don didn’t want to get involved with this because he was really trying to get his latest effort by Dokken out of the way. So he was sort of clashing, you know, with scheduling and stuff. But you know maybe down the road, maybe on this part two. We’re gonna need a little more material to put out a whole piece and maybe he’ll get involved on that end. Who knows? And maybe he won’t. It doesn’t matter. If he feels good about it, fine. If he doesn’t, okay.
KE: Well, we will be looking forward perhaps to that. Although I did enjoy “Slave to the Empire” and hearing the different singers take on the old songs.
MB: I think it was real fun to have a lot of these singers show up who bared their souls to us saying you know I was a real big Dokken fan when this came out. And they all jumped at the chance to sing on these songs. We recorded all this at Jeff Pilson’s house. He’s got a wonderful recording studio in there. We gave the license to these guys to put their touch on it, put their take on it. Keep the integrity of the song but let’s go ahead and be Ripper Owens, be Doug Pinnick. You know, be who you are. It was just phenomenal to see what they did with it. I think some of the performances, especially by Doug Pinnick, are just fantastic. Sebastian Bach stayed very true to the original recording. He said he liked the song the first time he heard it in the eighties and said I really don’t want to change anything on it. I’m just gonna sing it with my voice. That’s basically what he did. It was really neat to hear a Dokken song with somebody else’s voice on it after so many years of hearing it with Don.
KE: Will T&N be able to do any touring with this record?
MB: Well, we originally intended to start touring today. We were going to do about six weeks of touring and everyone that was involved behind the scenes didn’t seem to have it all together. And they said listen, it’s a little premature on the business end of it so why don’t you guys hold off. So I think that we will be a touring band at some point. With Jeff’s schedule and my schedule, Jeff plays bass with Foreigner and they stay pretty busy and my summers are pretty full with Ted. So hopefully, you know I’m thinking when the next part two comes out, we’ll probably try and schedule something, get the band together and tour that end of it. It probably won’t be for awhile but at some point it would be nice to do that.
KE: Absolutely. We’ll just have to be patient.
MB: Yeah, that’s something I’m not good at. (Laughter)
KE: Are you working on anything else right now?
MB: I’m not currently doing anything. I had some plans to play with Dokken. I did one show with them. The guitar player, Jon Levin, went in for some surgery and he’ll be down for about three to four months so nothing going on there. I went back to George Lynch to try and do some Lynch Mob recordings and some trouble came up there and that band became defunct. So currently at the moment, I’m sitting on my couch in Arizona talking with you. Waiting it out until the next Ted tour which I think will start in March with REO Speedwagon and Styx again. But that’s quite a ways off. I’d sure like to do something musically between now and then.
KE: Mick, taking a step back, how did all this get started for you? What made you decide to play the drums?
MB: Well, I think I was about seven and a half years old when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and I thought well that can’t be that difficult. (Laughter) I remember watching going what would I do if I was in the band. And I thought I can’t be a guitar player because you’re out in front and I’m a little nervous. So maybe the drummer. So for my eighth birthday, my parents said if I was going to be serious about playing a musical instrument I needed to learn how to play. So they took me for my first drum lesson with Mickey Hart, before he joined the Grateful Dead, and that was for two years in the south of San Francisco area. After that I joined a band. I was about ten years old and that was the first band I was in. I remember we were called The Reason Why which was a book title that we discovered on some father’s shelf. Just been following music ever since. I really knew I kind of wanted to do that and I was thinking when you play well, I was pretty young and there were older guys that could play really well. Not many kids my age could play real well so I was always the young guy in the band. Over the years I ran into George Lynch and he seemed serious too. We started in L.A. and ran into Don Dokken. He took some songs to Europe and landed a recording contract in Germany and we went over there and recorded our stuff and brought it back to America with Dokken. Over the years, we just kept following our hearts with music.
KE: You’ve earned the nickname over the years of “Wild” Mick Brown. So I have to ask this final question. Is that a reference to your skills behind the kit or more to your extracurricular activities or maybe a little bit of both?
MB: Well, these days I’d like to say it pertains to drumming but (Laughter). It was pretty self-explanatory. This year I did get into some trouble out on the Ted Nugent tour. I have a tendency to hop into golfcarts and drive around the venue. Well this particular venue, I somehow got out onto public property and someone thought I was stealing this golfcart from the venue. The police came and I was arrested and actually scored a DUI for driving a golfcart. I mean, it’s not something I’m proud of. It was cute maybe when I was in my twenties and thirties but I’m 56 now so there’s not really a lot of room for “Wild” Mick in my life but here I am with myself. (Laughter).
KE: Well I think you’ll always be “Wild” Mick to the fans at least when you’re behind the kit.
MB: Apparently, yeah. I seem to be stuck with that. I have too much nervous energy that I always think is a lot of fun, but my level of fun is higher than the legal bar allows. (Laughter).
KE: Well, it all works out in the end right?
MB: (Laughter) I hope so.
KE: Well, thank you so much for your time Mick. It was a pleasure.
MB: I really appreciate your time Kris. Your whole attitude, it’s just wonderful. Happy belated Halloween to you.
We would like to thank Shauna O’Donnell from New ocean Media for setting up the interview with Mick. for more information on T&N, please go to their facebook page: T&N .
If you interested in information about the Ted Nugent band, please go to: Ted Nugent Band.