UPDATED: Don Dokken’s ‘Hands Are Dead’ After Spine Surgery
A surgery on his spine left Dokken frontman Don Dokken temporarily unable to use his hands.
02/09 Update: Happily, it turns out that this newly-promoted interview took place a month ago, and that Dokken's condition has since improved considerably, with the singer now expecting to "fully recover." Get the full new story here. The original article continues below.
The singer recently appeared on the Classic Metal Show and broke the news. "It's been two and a half months since I had spine surgery, and my hands are dead," he said (audio embedded below). "They don't move. It's very strange. It's an interesting way to live your life. You've gotta learn how to feed yourself, wipe your butt, brush your teeth, dress yourself. [It takes] 20 minutes to put socks on, 'cause one of my hands works a little bit, but not very much."
He added that he's doing "physical therapy four days a week — on a bike, and I'm pedaling my ass off, building up my leg strength, building up my arms… What's left of my arms — my arms are completely atrophied. I don't know what's gonna happen with my whole hands situation. They're still paralyzed. So I think my guitar-playing days are obviously over. But that's okay. I got 50 years to play guitar."
Dokken has 11 shows planned for 2020, with the first few taking place next month. Nine of the dates will feature former guitarist George Lynch, whose band Lynch Mob is opening, sitting in with the band during the encore. The singer is considering hiring a personal assistant to "basically babysit me. At least I can sing. My voice feels great. I just can't hold a microphone."
He's been told that there's a possibility he can regain 30 percent of the use of his hands again, and he's hoping "that maybe some miracle will happen and slowly the nerves will reconnect and my hands will start working again. Or you're gonna hear about me in the newspaper, 'cause I'm gonna go to the [surgeon's] office and I'm gonna go over to the desk and I'm gonna pummel his face. And I'm serious. That guy fucked up. He was supposed to be the best of the best.
"After they put me under, I said two things: 'Don't kill me. 'Don't paralyze me,'" he continued. "That's what I said. I swear to God. And he's, like, 'That's why you came to me. I'm the best.' So I wake up in the hospital, and I'm, like, 'How come my hands don't move?' 'How come my fingers don't move?' 'How come my hands are on fire?' 'How come I can barely walk? I'm on a walker. What the fuck did you do, man?' And he goes, 'Well, it happens sometimes.' I love it when surgeons go, 'Well, shit happens. It only happens in one of a thousand surgeries.' So I'm Mr. One Thousand, apparently. So, I'm not happy about it."