“I was just coming from the hospital right now where I do my therapy, and yeah, my right hand … I can’t play guitar anymore,” he told Eon Music. “It’s over. My right hand is paralyzed.”
The singer-songwriter, the metal band’s last remaining original member, told Classic Metal Show in January that his hands were “dead.” A spokesperson responded to news coverage by clarifying that the singer was “doing much better” and expected to “fully recover.” While he was unable to play guitar, his voice was not affected, and the band’s tour schedule remained intact at the time.
Despite the optimism, Dokken’s condition didn’t improve to the extent expected. “It’s been seven months since the surgery,” he told Eon Music. “I’d just gotten my surgery a couple of months before the Metal Hall of Fame, and they said, ‘Just be patient. Your hand will come back, you’ll get your feeling back. Be patient, be patient.’ But it’s been seven months, and my hand still doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work, and it’s the way it is. Sometimes bad things happen, you know? I’m not happy about it, but I played guitar for 50 years, so I guess I got some good time in.”
That latest interview promotes Dokken’s upcoming LP The Lost Songs: 1978-1981, which features material written during the group’s early days but never officially released. The singer also addressed the band’s live plans in the piece, noting that they played a pair of July shows but are likely tabling the rest of their planned tour with Lynch Mob (featuring former Dokken guitarist George Lynch) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think after this week, that’s it,” the frontman said, referring to their latest performances.