by Ryan Meehan
Doro Pesch is a female vocalist, formerly of the German band Warlock and one of the few female singers of the 1980s Heavy Metal scene, which was primarily a male-dominated genre of music. After Warlock underwent many personnel changes, Pesch was the only remaining original member of the band. After changing her record label, she released the fifth album as Doro, as the former label owned the trademark on the Warlock name. Doro has been solo ever since with a solid backing band and lives in Europe. She celebrated her 20th year as a performer with her most recent release “Warrior Soul” in 2006. Originally Pesch was a member of the group Snakebite, but in 1983 she left to join Warlock. In 1987, after Warlock’s fourth album, “Triumph And Agony”, enough band members had been exchanged that Doro Pesch was the only remaining member. What would be Warlock’s fifth album was released titled Force Majeure in 1989. In 1995, Doro made her acting debut on the German television program “Verbotene Liebe” (Forbidden Love). After the “Love Me In Black” tour in 1998, Doro parted ways from WEA and signed at SPV Steamhammer. She also signed a U.S. deal with Koch in 2000. She continues to tour and perform at festivals around the world and her fan base is as loyal as it gets, that’s just one of the reasons why we are honored to have the legendary Doro Pesch as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You’re well known in the metal community not just because of the three decades of music that you’ve shared with the world, but also because other musicians have testified to your high level of professionalism…Why has that been so important to you throughout the years; and do you have any rules or regulations that you set for yourself to ensure that level of professionalism continues?
DP: To me it s a sacred thing to touch people’s hearts and souls. I always wanna give and try my best. I know music can lift you up, make you strong, give you joy or give you power to deal with life in general, and I think it can bring great meaning to people. I was about 23 when I decided I want to dedicate my life to music and the awesome fans worldwide and I feel a great deep connection to everyone, so of course I always want to give it at least 150%….To me the most important thing is to touch, connect and make people happy, and it’ss an honour to play and sing for people every day and on every record…
RM: You have stated in interviews that you knew very early on that your life that your role was to “to give other women self-confidence” when it came to fronting their own bands within the heavy metal landscape. Which bands that have female lead singers do you see being most representative of the vocal sound that you helped create? Conversely, are there any male heavy metal singers who have personally cited you as being a huge influence?
DP: Oh, there are tons of excellent bands with female lead singers and everybody created their own unique sound and style of metal and I love so much of them, that I can just name a few…for example Arch enemy, Halestorm, Nightwish, Sister Sin, Crucified Barbara, Benediction, Liv Christine, Holy Moses, Chastain, Hellion, Lacuna Coil, Epica and many, many, many more…with Liv Christine I just recorded a beautiful song with the title: “Stronghold of Angels” and I think it came out great! I’ve heard of some male singers as well, who got inspired, but everyone has their own style, personality and voice and I d say just do what feels right and always be yourself…
RM: What can you tell us about the new tracks that accompany the re-release of “Raise Your Fist”? Which of those songs was the most fun to record and why?
DP: Every song was really special and we wanted to thank all the great bands and musicians who inspired us for so many years. The Ronnie James Dio Song “Egypt” is one of my absolute favorites, and it means so much to me and our band. We had the greatest moments on tour together. It was so awesome and unforgettable, you can imagine…”Babe, I’m gonna leave you” by Led Zeppelin was one of the nicest studio experiences and “Only you” by Kiss was for all of us KISS fans in the band something really great to play. I think “Nothing else matters” by Metallica came out really great and brought back great memories of our first records in the 80’s. We’ve played a couple of times on some great metal festivals in Europe, it was ‘84, ‘85…Really great time for Metal I must say. Everything was new and soooo exciting….Nutbush City Limits was one of my first moments of being totally blown away by an extremely powerful, energetic woman – Tina Turner! I saw her on TV the first time, when I was about 7 or 8 and I wanted to do a metal version of that song for a long time. The Song “It still hurts”, the duet with Lemmy got a new mix, and of course it s always a great honour to sing with Lemmy. We’re great friends and it means a lot to me. There are 2 new songs on the disc as well. One is called Warfare and is the title track of the 2nd part of the upcoming movie Anuk- The path of the warrior, where I play a warrior called Meha and the song New York City blues, which is a demo I recorded in my NYC home with a friend of mine. It s the first demo ever, I wanted to put on a disc, because it s really honest, emotional and totally pure. Not polished, not overproduced, just real….
RM: When you lost your Long Island house due to damage caused by Hurricane Irene back in 2011, what was the most important thing that you had to do mentally in order to refocus your energy into getting back onstage again? What was the most valuable thing that you lost during that disaster, and how did you cope with losing it?
DP: I was always thinking of the great fans who supported me so much and that kept me going right away. But Hurricane Irene was just the beginning. One year later, after everything was rebuilt, the total nightmare happened when hurricane Sandy hit. That was really bad, and it’s still not alright. I can t live in that house right now, and it will take probably 4 or 5 months or even more time to get it all back to normal…It s kind of scary, that you can see and feel almost everywhere in the world, nature is fighting back and there are so many disasters all over. I hope we can do something to stop it. It worries me so much. Even touring is sometimes hardcore…Last year when we toured the US there was so much snow and ice, sometimes we thought we wouldn’t t make it. But by luck, we made it through every snowstorm alright and had great, awesome shows and the fans came as well. Some people had to drive 20 hours and more…it was insane. But I deeply appreciate that the fans came out to see the shows. I hope we’ll be alright on this upcoming tour. We’ll play the US and 3 shows in Canada and I’ve heard from some fans that it snowed in some parts of Canada. Well, we’ll see, I’m so much looking forward to play and no matter what, we’ll be there!
RM: Looking back on all of the hard rock and heavy metal albums that shaped the way you wanted to create your own music in Warlock and eventually with Doro, what artists taught you the most about really powerful songwriting? Are there any lesser-known German bands people here in the States might not be aware of that were really influential to you?
DP: So many great bands and songs influenced us in so many ways…Just to name a few: Ronnie James DIO, KISS, Accept, Judas Priest, Metallica, Whitesnake, Motorhead, WASP, Venom, Thin Lizzy, Saxon, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Megadeth, Raven, Trust. By the way, that was one of my favorite bands in the 80’s – Trust from France…I loved the French versions of their records a lot. That s one reason I love to sing in French sometimes. I think it sounds very heavy. The version of our song Raise your fist is called “Leve ton poing vers le ciel” and I totally love it. It s on the special bonus disc as well. Check it out, I think it sounds really cool. And I always try to sing or say something in the language of the country we play in to show appreciation to the people….It is fun too, to sing, speak and think in different languages. It makes you understand and connect deeper with the fans. When I had my first bands, I did not know of so many other German bands, except, may be the Scorpions and Accept and I was influenced more by the BWONHM (British wave of new heavy metal) for the most part. But when it came to songwriting, honestly it always came straight from the gut and heart and felt pretty real and was entirely our own. Even though we loved all these great bands above, the songs were always done by ourselves, I remember.
RM: Are there other genres of music that you might want to eventually explore, but you don’t feel like now is the time to do it? As an artist, you feel like there would be a lot of people who viewed you pursuing another musical style as being disloyal to the metal community?
DP: To me Heavy Metal was always freedom. Freedom to say, play, sing and do whatever feels good, is powerful, deep, real, from the heart and honest. I always do what feels good and right to me and it doesn’t have to have any cliché or is in any corset. I just go with what I feel. I think it is very exciting to come up with unexpected, new powerful ideas. I think the fans wanna get some new exciting stuff and wanna be blown away by new ideas and songs, as long as it carries MAGIC and has the metal attitude, has substance and is real.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about aside from the North American tour?
DP: Oh, Yes, so much good stuff is coming up. A new record is in the making and the first song ideas are really killer, I think. And we’re just in the middle of working on this big DVD set which will have all the really big shows of our 30 year anniversary concerts on it with many amazing guests, many unforgettable moments and highlights, like for example the very special show in WACKEN and 2 big and long shows in my former hometown in Germany and we want to record the last and very special show in NYC on the 20th of October at the Gramercy Theatre with many special guests and surprises. So come along guys, it would make me so happy to see you there or on any other gig of this US tour or in Canada. And by the way the 2nd leg of the US tour in March next year will be announced next week. We’ll hit California and Texas and more cities we haven t played in a while. I’m so excited and I can t wait. See you soon, loud and proud and True as steel.
Thank you very, very much everybody for this amazing, great support in all these years, I m deeply grateful for that and I love you so much! You mean the world to me! Keep on rocking keep metal alive See you on tour!
Official Website: http://www.DORO.de
Doro on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DOROOFFICIAL
Doro on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DoroOfficial
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