Interview: Doro Pesch

Doro has been a household name on the international metal scene for many years now, earning herself the title as the Queen of Metal. Kick starting her career in Snakebite, before joining Beast and eventually forming Warlock, as well as having a long standing solo career, Doro has stood against the test of time and proven herself time and time again. With the release of Raise Your Fist [review can be read here], Nico catches up with Doro for a chat about the new album, today’s female fronted metal scene and Terminator!

Nico: Hi Doro, how you doing?

Doro Pesch: I’m good. I’ve played some gigs, ja and I did a tour all over the world. I was in New York last week and I’m back in Germany and I’ve got a new album [Raise Your Fist] coming out next week [19th Oct] and we’re going on tour shortly.

N: Sounds like you’ve had fun then.

D: Ja, ja, ja. It’s always an adventure. Nothing ever gets boring.

N: So you’ve got the new album, Raise Your Fist, coming out on 19th October. Are there any concepts or lyrical themes that run through the album?

D: Ja, actually there is. The whole theme of the album is keep fighting the good fight and there’s a lot of anthems that I think will make people feel good and will really be connected to them, especially the song Raise Your Fist In The Air or the anthem on there called Rock Till Death and there’s some old school metal songs on it; one’s called Take No Prisoner and the other’s Revenge and another called Little Headbanger. And there’s some ballads on it. One of my favourite ballads on it is the one I did with Lemmy called It Still Hurts. It’s definitely one of the highlights and Lemmy sings so great on that song. And there’s another special guest who is Gus G – The guitarist for Firewind and Ozzy Osbourne who is playing on Grab The Bull (last Man Standing) and that’s another uplifting song which has some good metal power, some metal energy.

N: What would you say is your favourite track from the album?

D: Oh, I would say It Still Hurts [Featuring Lemmy] and Raise Your Fist In The Air and the last one on the album that is called Hero which is in honour of Ronnie James Dio and is dedicated to Ronnie because he meant so much to many, many fans including myself and it was a great honour to tour with him a couple of times. The first in ‘87 and again in 2000 and in the last ten years [before his passing] we had become really great friends.

N: If you could go back to when you first began singing for bands like Beast and Warlock, what advice would you give yourself?

D: Actually, I wouldn’t. It’s always been such an adventure and I wouldn’t want to miss anything in the past. It was always a hundred and fifty percent and trying to go for it and ja, to keep the ball rolling. I think the most difficult time was when grunge was suddenly becoming huge. That was the only time that we thought “We hope metal comes back” and when it did come back, I can appreciate it even more and I’m so grateful for everything that’s gone so well. Metal’s so big, so huge right now. I would say that was the only time I could have done with advice but it was not in our hands, but it’s good to live through some hard times and you know, work harder, be stronger, that saying – what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. I think that’s absolutely true. So, that time only when grunge was taking over metal but everything else was great.

N: Speaking of metal, more specifically, female-fronted metal, over the recent years female-fronted metal has become bigger with bands like Epica, Lacuna Coil and Nightwish making huge success on the scene, with younger and smaller bands like Aonia and Alice In Thunderland making a name for themselves as well. How do you feel that the metal scene, in particular, the female-fronted metal scene, has changed since your career first started?

D: Ja, I think it’s great. There are so many great singers, musicians and all girl bands, it’s fantastic! And now, I think it’s much more better than it was in the eighties. Back then, it was just a handful of women and a handful of bands – There were fantastic bands that I loved like Rock Goddess from the UK and Girlschool, The Runaways. But now, I think it’s much more balanced. I think everyone is doing a fantastic job and that women really do get respected. It’s not even a big deal any more in this day and age. In the eighties, I think there was maybe some, you know, sexism going on which personally, I never felt but it was something you read from the articles in the magazines or the video producers would be putting naked, sexy girls in the videos of the bands with guys. It did not look so dignified but in this day and age, I think it is dignified. I like to try and support them on the scene, all the great female singers and musicians. On the next America tour, we’ll be touring with Sister Sin – They’re from Sweden but there’s a great singer with them called Liv. But I think the most important thing is the music, everything else is just secondary. So it doesn’t matter where you come form or if you’re a man or woman. The music always shines through.

N: You’ve done several collaborations and duets with bands and vocalists over the years,  like Tarja Turunen [Ex-Nightwish], Blaze Bayley [Ex-Iron Maiden/Wolfsbane] and Lemmy [Motorhead]. What would you say is the most fun duet or collaboration you’ve done so far?

D: Every collaboration I’ve done so far has been a total highlight in my life. Everyone was different, sometimes you just had one or two days in the studio and I loved doing the duet with Pete Steele, but unfortunately he’s not alive any more. It was great, it means so much to me. But with Lemmy, ja, I’d say that was the greatest for me because it was at a time, when we did our first duet on my Calling The Wild album about twelve years ago, I was in in a sad desperate state of mind because my dad, he died, he was my best friend. I love him so much, he was so supportive. I had wrote Lemmy a letter weeks before that and I said “Hey Lemmy, we’re label mates now. I don’t know if you remember me but I was the little girl at the Monsters of Rock festival” and I put a picture of me with Lemmy in the letter and I said “If you feel like it’s a good idea, maybe we could do a song together or something” and then some weeks later, my dad passed away and I was devastated. A few days later, I was picking up black clothes for my mum because of the funeral and then the phone rang. I didn’t feel like picking up the phone because I was so sad and I didn’t feel like talking with any body. And my mum said “Hey, don’t you want to see who it is?” and I said “No, mum. I don’t want to talk to anybody” and she “Well, how about you check who it is?” and then I looked at my phone and it was an AA number and I just wow and she said to pick it up, and I picked up the phone and it was Lemmy. I just thought oh my god, it’s Lemmy, you know and just wow. He said he’d got my letter and that we should do something together then I said “Lemmy, I’m so sad, I don’t even know if I want to do anything, my dad passed away recently”. He said “Doro, you know what? I can hear that you’re in pain and it’s very important that you do something. Come to AA and we’ll do something nice”. Then I went to AA and we did two duets, Alone Again which Lemmy wrote a beautiful acoustic guitar piece for and the Motorhead classic Love Me Forever. I must say, Lemmy was a kind of angel for me. He gave me something which, you know, nobody could have done for me. That was probably the most important duet for me but the other duets were great too and it was a great honour for me to work with such lovely people. But Lemmy might have saved my life, so I’m happy he came to sing on my new album again as well on the song It Still Hurts.

N: How would you describe the new album in five words?

D: Only in five words? Oh god! I would say: Powerful! High energy! Very emotional! Very positive! And a good mixture between old school metal and fresh new powerful sounds!

N: You’ve been active for the metal scene for years now, so what do you feel that you owe the longevity of your career to?

D: The most important part… The fans! Always, always the fans! I owe it all to the fans because their energy, their love, their support, was what was always made me wanna go on! They helped me through the hard times like the nineties when grunge was so, so big. The fans were always there, always supporting me. They [the fans] are the most important thing in my career and in my life, it always was the fans and always will be the fans and to me, that’s the important thing. I made a conscious decision at 24 or 25 that I wanted to totally dedicate my life to the fans and not like, have babies or get married and I’m so grateful to be part of the metal family.

N: Speaking of the fans, in particular, the female ones. What’s it like being an inspiration to female metalheads around the world?

D: It makes me so happy! Somebody feels inspired and when people are like “Oh, we saw your video and started a band” or when the girls start singing or playing drums or the guitar, it always makes me so happy! If I can give somebody good energy or inspire someone to go into music and try, even if it’s as a hobby – Music is the greatest thing in my life and it’s so great when people feel inspired to make music.

N: Speaking of bands, given your years of experience as a musician, both touring and studio based, what advice do you have for young bands that are appearing on the scene today?

D: GIVE IT YOUR ALL! Hang in there! Follow your heart, your gut, your instincts! Do what you feel is right! Always got for it! Never, ever give up! Be yourself, even when people tell you that you should this or this or go in this direction. Give it your all and try and find good people who will always support you and believe in you and even if there’s nobody there or nobody believes in yourself, try believe in yourselves, give it one hundred and fifty percent, even if it takes longer than you think. Just keep at it, you will definitely be rewarded. Try and find good people who like the same music or the same style to form a band where everyone gets along. Do what you feel is right, even it’s not the latest trend or the flavour of the month. And take the advice of a good lawyer when it comes to signing contracts and stuff and always look after the business stuff as well. I always so into the music that I didn’t care or pay attention to the business and sometimes we’d sign stuff without the advice of a lawyer and I did stupid things. The rock and roll is all good fun but always get someone to help you when it comes to signing contracts just to make sure you don’t sign your life away and that you always keep your freedom to do what you want to do.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any movie with your own music, which one would it be and why?

D: Let’s put it this way, I would love the chance to add some parts to my favourite movies, Terminator and Terminator 2. I would love to add some parts to give it a hardcore feel or maybe some powerful guitars to the scenes where people are being chased and make it even more intense and make it a little bit more metal but I wouldn’t replace the whole soundtrack but only add to where I think I could add things and give it our own little metal touch.

N: Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers?

D: Yeah, I wanna say to all the readers that I’m looking forward so much to coming back to the UK in November and that I hope everyone is doing well! I wanna thank everyone for their tremendous support and that the start of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was the start for me and it’s what influenced me the most, bands like Saxon and Judas Priest, so I feel at home in the UK and that I hope to see everyone in the UK in November and that I hope everyone loves the new record. I love you guys and girls, keep metal alive!

N: Thanks for your time, Doro! Have a good night and take care.

D: Thanks, Nico. It was every good talking with you. Take care.

 

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4 Responses to “Interview: Doro Pesch”

  1. michaela goodale-truelove Says:

    Well done Nico great view and thanks for the plug, Kev and I were lucky to see Doro at the Monsters of Rock and have loved her music since then and respected her as a performer and human being too.

  2. Pesch’s pathetic attempt at vocals rings true once again. My God, when is she gonna quit embarrassing herself?! My 7 year old can come come up with better lyrics besides the same few sentences Pesch screachs out for each “song”. And whats with the cartoon cover albums, really???? Each photo is so fixed who knows what she really looks like!

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