"When it comes to the kind of music I listen to, I definitely go through phases," says current Foreigner and former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson. "Lately, I've been on a '70s hard rock kick. It's not that I don't think there are a lot of good modern metal bands out there right now, but a lot of it starts sounding the same to me. But getting back to writing in my older and heavier style was like riding a bike for me. It's natural for me."

Pilson is chatting with Noisecreep about T&N, the new group that also features his former Dokken bandmates, guitarist George Lynch and drummer "Wild" Mick Brown.

The group just released Slave to the Empire, their debut album, which offers seven new original songs and five re-recorded classic Dokken tune that feature guest vocal performances by Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Judas Priest), dUg Pinnick (Kings X), Sebastian Bach, and Robert Mason (Warrant, ex-Cry of Love).

With Pilson in Foreigner, Brown drumming in Ted Nugent's group and Lynch always out with Lynch Mob, Noisecreep asks the bassist how they all found time to record Slave to the Empire. "George actually lives near me, and Brian Tichy -- the drummer who played on the new tracks -- does as well. So getting together wasn't too much of an issue. We wrote the new songs in a room together, old school style. How crazy is that?," Pilson laughs.

With Slave to the Empire, Pilson and company prove that they're back for the attack (see what we did there?). The older tracks are injected with new life as all of the guest vocalists rise to the occasion, delivering stellar performances. Meanwhile, newer cuts like "Mind Control" and the album's hard-charging title track, will silence any of those Noisecreep readers who constantly whine about the current state of hard rock versus its '80s hey dey.

"I do think a lot of musicians that came out of the '80s go through a phase where they're afraid of being identified with just that period. The guys in T&N are way past that. We're proud of what we did in Dokken and yes, we do love writing new music and staying relevant, but T&N is all about mixing the old stuff with the new. We tie it all together."

Boy, do they.