Jeff Pilson Recalls Dokken’s ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ Experience With ‘Dream Warriors’
After breaking into the Top 40 with 1985's Under Lock and Key LP, Dokken seemed poised for multi-platinum success — and they took the logical next step two years later, cutting a soundtrack anthem for one of the most wildly lucrative horror film franchises of the decade.
For their first post-Lock and Key release, Dokken agreed to supply a song for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist George Lynch used the name of the film as the title of their own composition, making Dokken's "Dream Warriors" the natural choice for a rock single when the film arrived in theaters in late February 1987.
As Pilson told Ultimate Classic Rock's Matt Wardlaw during a recent interview, it all happened because of a business connection, but turned out to be a fun Hollywood adventure for the members of the band.
"It was a great experience," said Pilson. "Our manager at the time, Cliff Burnstein, was very close with Wes Craven, who was the guy behind the whole Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. They were close friends. Cliff got us all a copy of the script. George and I took the script away and we just literally took lines out of it to add into the song and we delivered the song and they loved it. It was pretty damn cool. And then doing the video with Robert Englund, who plays Freddy Krueger, he is just a kick in the ass, funny guy. Just a great guy. We had a lot of fun."
Watch Dokken's 'Dream Warriors' Video
"Dream Warriors" gave Dokken another in a growing collection of rock radio hits, keeping the band in heavy rotation while they prepped their fourth studio album Back for the Attack, which would arrive in stores in November 1987. Unfortunately, as Pilson admitted, even as they built on their early success, the members of the group were coming apart due to a number of personal and creative conflicts.
"I mean, that movie got us a lot of attention. Back for the Attack went platinum in three weeks, so obviously it helped. You know, we had great management, we had some great people behind us. I think that’s part of the leftover feeling I have for that whole period," added Pilson. "It’s like, 'God, you know, we had so many opportunities and great chances. What a shame that we blew it all up and broke up.' But hey, you know, it is what it is. We had a great shot there. I think we came up with some great music too, but even Back for the Attack isn’t as strong as it could have been, had we been more together. That’s just what happens."