Known best for his work with the Los Angeles-based heavy metal group Dokken, Pilson also performed with the New York bands Dio and Foreigner and released four albums with his own band Flesh & Blood (later re-named War & Peace).
Before joining Dokken, he recorded one album with a group called Rock Justice and also contributed to Randy Hansen's 1983 Astral Projection Live album.
An occasional actor as well as a musician, he appeared in the 2001 film Rock Star.
He was born in Lake Forest, Illinois.
He and guitarist and fellow Dokken member George Lynch formed a music duo called Lynch/Pilson and released a 2003 album titled Wicked Underground.