“I really feel a marriage to the music and married to the fans and that’s what means the most…”
It was not only an honour but also a humbling experience for me to be able to touch base with the legendary Doro Pesch. I can recall when she was with Warlock my friends and I singing along to the video “All We Are” and how much we idolized her. Ms. Pesch rocked the world with her double threat, not only was she beautiful but she had pure talent with a killer voice. Whether she realized it when she began her journey in a male dominated Industry, she paved the way for all women in the genre…and here we are some twenty plus years later and she still has it! Performing worldwide leaving her audiences breathless and after meeting her in person, you quickly realize not only is she beautiful on the outside but she is thee genuine article. She possesses one of the purest souls you’ll ever hope to encounter. Join in conversation with Doro, the reigning queen of metal herself, as she shares her pearls of wisdom as well as her life experiences, her love for the music and her family, the fans.
Karma: Hi Doro! It’s a pleasure to be able to finally speak to you at length.
Doro: Oh, did you come to the show?
Karma: I did come to your show; we met briefly in Chicago at the Pearl Room [15-June, 2007].
Doro: Ahhh, you were the one that said that we’d plan an interview in the next couple of days?
Karma: Yes, that was me.
Doro: [Excitement fills her voice] Oh that, good, I had that feeling, that’s good. Oh man, that Chicago show and the venue, it was GREAT!
Karma: Our jaws are still dropped; it was such an awesome show.
Doro: [Laughs] Oh that’s good, that’s good! Ja, the fans were good it was one of our favorite shows at the Pearl Room. Wow, really great venue and we were treated so good so it was an extra treat on this tour.
Karma: And the energy from the crowd was amazing and I was going to ask you about that in a bit but you still have it! I mean you look so amazing, what’s your secret after all these years?
Doro: Actually, let’s see…no sleep just living in the tour bus, a shower, and the music I guess that’s what’s really the secret. I love it so much and when people give you good feedback and when you see you can touch people with something. Wow, it’s so rewarding; the strong fan base, that’s like the secret for all of these years.
Karma: Absolutely! No matter what you have gained mad respect from man, woman alike. Having said that, how hard has it been through the years to make your mark in a predominantly man’s world and to boot your fan base has only gotten stronger never diminishing. You have also paved the way for so many women in the Industry, so on behalf of all of those that have always looked up to you, THANK YOU!
Doro: [Voice quavers] Oh that’s…[pauses momentarily] I never thought about it! I just thought of whatever feels good and it’s what we wanted to do. Exact when we started, it didn’t even hit us, man or woman but then later on, bands said that we were a good inspiration for them. It just makes me happy to know I can do something positive, whatever household it is, that’s good. Ja, there are some great singers out there, some female singers whose first record was Triumph and Agony that made them form their band and stuff. It’s really special. Ja, once in a while there’s some great feedback, especially from females.
Karma: What’s so amazing about all of this is that I have been into your music from the Warlock days [Triumph and Agony to be exact] you’ve been so instrumental to not only women but to men as well. You are truly a living legend, it’s just such an honour, It just means so to even be able to say this to you. [Sorry about going fan girl and having a moment]
Doro: Oh, that’s so sweet! I appreciate it; I am a servant to the fans that’s what I always tried to do, that’s what makes other people happy.
Karma: Well your happiness and love for the music and your fans that energy transfers and trickles down to everyone around you; the fact that you are so dedicated and love what you do, perhaps that’s your secret!
Doro: Karma ja, that’s exactly what you were saying, ja, ja! There’s such a deep connection and such a loving feeling there I think that’s definitely what’s it all about that’s the reason why I didn’t have family of my own, I never got married I don’t have any kids. I really feel a marriage to the music and married to the fans and that’s what means the most to me and getting good feedback! Ja, and even when there were bad times, like in the nineties it was really difficult to survive with our kind of music when grunge was soooo big even though there were still fans out there loving it and were always supporting it. Ja ja, love is the strongest force.
Doro: “You’re My Family” is the first song last song off the last record [Warrior Soul] I always felt like that and I always wanted to put it in a song that everybody can be sure that it was bout my heavy metal family.
Karma: It’s wonderful to have a song dedicated to the fans, your family…but having said that, at any point in time was having a family of your own something that you feel that you missed out on?
Doro: Actually, I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago, ja, maybe it was like five-six years ago and I really thought what I wanted to do in the future and then I thought I definitely wanted to dedicate my life to music. And then in our band everybody was starting to think about maybe getting married and stuff…and then I thought, ‘maybe that’s not for me’. Maybe in another lifetime, right now I’m totally happy. [Voice fills with more elation] I don’t miss it at all; I love kids and you know when I was growing up I always thought I would love to have ten kids. But now in the past couple of years I know it’s probably impossible with the lifestyle and the tour bus and doing what we do. I made a decision and that’s good; it definitely makes me happy even [though] it never worked out that I settled down or get married… Sometimes it came close to somebody, where I thought, “Ahh, it could work” and one year later I was on tour and that was the end of the relationship. I’m not unhappy about having a family, it’s just it’s different. I feel like the fans are my family. It’s a little bit different, but ja… I feel so close to them that I don’t miss anything at all. It’s cool!
Karma: You kind of touched on this earlier that when you first started there was not a distinction between man and woman, in comparison, how is it now? Do you think it has changed at all?
Doro: You know I think my fans always knew my heart was in the right place for metal and it didn’t even matter if you were a man or a woman and I think the fans that it goes without saying, like sometimes in the media they made a bigger deal out of it and you know, it wasn’t! They always asked, “How does it feel to be a woman in the metal scene?” I don’t know it’s cool, but if I were a man, I’d probably do the same thing. And now there are great women out there fronting bands, I think it makes all women look really good, they have strong personalities, great voices. I think in the eighties when I started, sometimes there were girls in bands and the record companies just put them there to make the band look good. They had sexy outfits on but nobody thought much about their voices or the musicianship. I think that in this time and age, its pretty good. I think people respect female musicians pretty much and I think that there were some good singers in the eighties like Ann Wilson and Lee Aaron from Canada, I loved and Rock Goddess from England. But sometimes there were videos that made women look really cheap, sleazy, and sexy…I never liked that but now, I think it’s totally the opposite, that totally changed I think everybody’s very respected and the styles are different they are sexy just not in a cheap way, but a very dignified way, so I think that’s really great. As women that are from classic metal bands, there’s almost a “queen’ vibe [laughs]…I love it, I think it’s very good. I definitely think it’s better how women are perceived now and in the eighties and just in general.
Karma: and speaking of queen status, we cannot leave out your good friend Sabina [Classen of Holy Moses] out either.
Doro: [Chuckles] Ja, ja we’ve known each other from the early eighties on and yeah. Pretty much all of the female singers I am friends with. I just did the duet, “Who I Am” with the lady from After Forever, Floor Jansen is her name and we toured together in South America and we liked each other very much. So we said, ‘let’s do something together’. [Excitement fills her voice] And it was the first duet with another woman, and that was very interesting. She already had other singers like from Lacuna Coil Cristina Scabbia and Angela from Arch Enemy. We are all really good friends even though we don’t see each other often but when we do, it’s always a good feeling you know [smiles]. There’s a strong bond there.
Karma: That’s so awesome to have that kind of bond and unity [with other females in the Industry]. Speaking of working with others how was it working with the Classic Night Orchestra, as it was something very new and different for you.
Doro: Ja, ja…I never thought I would do a record with an orchestra but then when we did do it in concert and then the fans said it sounded so good, ‘can you make a record?’ And then after a couple of times, I said, “Man we have to put this on tape and on DVD!” Then we did it, but ja, it took much longer than we thought. I thought the record would maybe take three to four months but it was another twelve months. [Laughs] Like almost every record takes a year and it was a lot more involved. [Chuckles] And I think it was the most expensive record we ever made because it was over sixty people in the studio and live we did this show in Wacken and it was over sixty people. It was just such a great highlight live.
Karma: Sure it did with all of those people to feed off from [energy wise].
Doro: Ja, ja! And playing in Wacken with an orchestra, ahh! It was so good and I really enjoyed it and fell in love with it. I never thought I would but then after doing it, the songs sounded even much more beautiful than the originals. Ja, it was great! I love doing different things and ja, doing more adventures in any kinds of styles and stuff, I really love it and it was a great, great experience. It was just so expensive to put the shows on so that was the reason why the tour wasn’t so long.
Doro: And unfortunately we never toured in America. It would have been so great but it was just too expensive.
Karma: That’s okay, you gave us the DVD so it’s almost like being there anyway!
Doro: Yeah, right, right! Exactly!! [Laughs]
Karma: In regards to the new album, Warrior Soul was in just business as usual as far as song structure, etc or did you run into any outrageously difficulties?
Doro: Every song comes from different moments and it has different magical things or different difficulties, I don’t know. One of the songs, hmmm…which I had some resistance from the record company for the German song “Ungebrochen” but it had such a nice strong feel and I think it sounded so rough and raw, I loved it. And then they said, “No, put it on the Limited Edition.” And I said, “Oh, no, no, no! It’s got to be on the real record!” And then they said actually, “Okay, if you really feel like it, then do it!” [Smiles as satisfaction fills her intonation] And it was a different song and I think some of the fans love it and some of the fans they you know think it’s too different. Usually it’s like the ones, which are not expected, they like the most difficult songs to convince people, you know. I think that one.
The easiest song was another German song called “In Liebe Und Freundschaft” which means “For Love and Friendship” and it actually [voice softens] came out and my dad, which is not alive anymore, but I loved him so much… And I was at his grave and it was his birthday and I was planting some roses some flowers with my mom and one day I got this idea for “In Liebe Und Freundschaft” and the little melody, everything came pouring out and I had my cell phone with me. I recorded this idea on my cell phone and my mom thought that I was totally crazy… [We both laugh] …Well mom, I’ve just got to do it, “Just do your thing.” Then later on that night I went the studio and then I recorded it and finished the lyrics. Every word was written with like hundreds of tears, but it was a very good feeling and it was so emotional. Then I sent it to the record company and I actually didn’t expect anybody else to feel the same but then the girl called back immediately and said, “Man, I know you’re working on a different single,” which was “Above the Ashes,” and she said that, “In Liebe Und Freundschaft, For Love and Friendship, that’s the one, that’s the one! I want that to be the single” [Chuckles] And I said, “Really?” and she said, “Yes!” and actually it was the first single of this album and it was actually the most successful single ever and that was so nice because everybody had a different interpretation of it and didn’t know the story behind it. I didn’t even tell the fans before and it wasn’t until after I did interviews later for the CD but nobody really knew. I was so happy that this deep emotion definitely was felt with many of the fans so on one hand it was the easiest but had the most emotion and I could really feel it came from very, very deep within, you know.
Karma: Yes, I can completely understand!
Doro: Ja, we had to play it live and it’s so hard to play because sometimes the sad feeling sometimes comes but I don’t know, it doesn’t need to be played in every concert, it’s sometimes too heavy.
Karma: Well it’s a beautiful homage to your father; I am sure he is looking down and is very happy about it.
Doro: [Elated] Yes, I think so too because, yeah, yeah. And the record before the Classic Diamonds record it was Fight and it was another song on there and it was called, “Undying” and it was for my dad too and our guitar player that unfortunately died in 2000 when we did the America tour Ronny James Dio and Yngwie Malmsteen. And we had a fantastic second guitar player and his name was Mario Parillo and he was a great guy and a great guitar player and then on the tour he didn’t feel so well and we thought that he maybe just had a bad cold. But later on we found out that he had cancer and he died in, was it ten months. And this song was definitely for Mario and for my dad. It brings so much hope too that as with the song that you meet again in a different time and space. [Smiles] It’s maybe not for everybody who didn’t have an experience like as that, maybe they don’t need a song like that but who did feel like that with painful things, and when somebody left and died. I got so many letters when people said, “Ah, I feel the same, and it gives me some hope.” That’s why I’m happy that’s it’s the whole album and not just one single. The whole album is like different songs for different people and for different experiences.
Karma: Wow, that’s a great story, I totally understand and to be able to personally connect. Now would you have a favorite song off the latest album? Would it be, “You’re My Family?”
Doro: [Intonation fills with excitement] Oh… oh god, I love them all so much. Oh god, I don’t know. When I’m in different moods, then different songs for different days but I definitely love “You’re My Family” and “Warrior Soul” because it was connected with this movie ["20 Years A Warrior Soul], which was much fun to do and ja… I love them all so much. It’s like I couldn’t even pick one.
Karma: I totally understand that Doro. Well what can be said about your progression as a singer/musician over the past twenty+ years?
Doro: Karma, I just do what I feel and it always comes from the heart and soul and from the gut and ja… I don’t know, I always try not to think about it and stuff. Actually, in the eighties people, they got on my nerves when they said, “Man, you’re not classically trained?” “Did you ever get vocal lessons?” Then I thought, ‘oh man, I’ve got to do it!” because everybody was like bothering me with it so I took vocal lessons, the whole thing. And then after two years, so many people came up to me and said, “Can’t you sing the way you used to sing before?” “That [new way] is like strange and stuff!” [We both laugh] I’m like oh man! So I didn’t go anymore and for two years I had vocal training. But I think with rock n’ roll and metal, you have to sing from your gut! For classical, I think it’s a bit different, but for rock, you have to just feel, it’s all it takes. And then try to sing your best and give your best but when you’re truthful and honest, I think that has a beauty to it. I always try to do it!
When I’m [playing] live, and I feel the fans and get some good feedback, I can sing songs thousand times better than when I’m in the studio when it’s just like the engineer and me, and there are no fans, but he is definitely the sixth band member. So that’s the reason why the DVD or the live concerts are much better than the studio work.
Karma: Gotcha, on a personal note, what’s the first music you remember hearing in your house?
Doro: Oh, I was actually like three-years old and it was Little Richard’s “Lucille” and I went crazy! It was the first music that was like rock and I was so taken, so blown away by it and I loved it; I still love it! And then I grew up into Glam Rock it was T.Rex, Sweet, and Slade; and then when I was fifteen I had my first band and it was just like the beginning of heavy metal and we did music that wasn’t quite heavy metal, we just did it. [Laughs] And then later on, I found out that it was definitely heavy metal. Yeah, I grew up with Little Richard; it was definitely my first eye opening experience. I will never forget it; I always wanted to meet him and to say, “Thank you man! You changed my life!”
Karma: Well hopefully someday you still will. Does it still floor you that you STILL as respected as you are? And are there any other band(s), performers you are in awe of?
Doro: Oh yes, oh yes, yes! Actually there are so many bands and singers and still it’s Ronny James Dio, KISS, Accept, Motörhead (I love them so much), Metallica, I love them so much! Blackie Lawless…was on our first England tour which was awesome and Judas Priest was our first world tour, which I’ll never, ever forget. And another concert was like Whitesnake, actually it was rock/metal, however you want to call it. [We both laugh] but it was like our first real concert but man, it was like raw! David Coverdale was like a god! And Rammstein I love and Pink Floyd… there are just so many people I love and I still get so much so much motivation when I see them or when I hear them; it’s still the same. I guess when I love something once, I always love it; it never changes. It never fades; it’s always the same strong feeling. And ja, there are so many female singers like Ann Wilson from Heart and Janis Joplin and Jody Turner from Rock Goddess. She was a great, great, great singer and ja!
Karma: Who are you listening to right now?
Doro: Pretty much all the bands that I just spoke of and I’ve toured with, Rammstein, Dio, W.A.S.P. and KISS, Motörhead, and the eighties bands. But from now I love Rammstein and Children of Bodom, I love the Canadian scene a lot and we always take them on the road when we’re on touring in Europe. We pretty much take Scandinavian bands out on the road, ja, ja! At the moment, it’s really really happening over there.
Karma: Yes, it is.
Doro: We toured with Sonata Arctica and on the last tour we took out Benedictum, which is a band from the States.
Doro: They have a female singer [Veronica Freeman], she’s a fantastic singer…wow, she is awesome! And then we took another band from Scandinavia it’s called Winterborn. Scandinavia has so many great bands out there!
Karma: Ja, I couldn’t agree with you more!
Doro: But still my all time favorites still have so much to offer and it’s really great to see when really young metal fans are just finding out about all of the great, great classics. It’s so good, like with Ronny James Dio it’s still like, “Wow” every time I put on one of his records. We toured a lot together, we toured in ’87 for the first time and then we toured in 2000 in the States and he’s just gotten better you know! [Chuckles] The British Heavy Metal scene was very inspiring. People like Biff from Saxon I still love.
Karma: Oh yes!
Doro: I still love the eighties; they definitely had some magic going.
Karma: And speaking of bands like Saxon, etc. It’s so great to see a lot of the bands that made such an impact on our lives are still out there creating new and good music. Many sound just as phenomenal as they did back when they first broke.
Doro: Absolutely, absolutely! Ja, ja! Totally!
Karma: It’s pretty awesome! If you could commission anyone in world to cover one of your songs, who would do it and which song would they cover?
Doro: Oooohh, oh… [Pauses] Oh man, that’s a tough question! I would maybe love Rammstein to do a cover of ours, and maybe “All We Are”, that could be very, very interesting!
Karma: Oh yeah, it would be.
Doro: Very different, ja. Rammstein is definitely one of the most unique bands in the world.
Karma: It would be interesting to hear Til sing the chorus! [We both laugh]
Doro: Definitely! I just saw the new DVD, it’s called Volkerball. I am not sure when it’s coming out in the States but it’s so great! And they did a big stage in France and all the French fans were singing the German lyrics. It was so great and show wise… god, it was phenomenal! But I hope they can do the States again but I know they didn’t tour in the States for a long time. I hope they can come back and show their American fans like they have the great shows here. They have such great pyros; there’s something very unbelievable about them from really, really funny to very artistic.
Karma: It’s been way too long, but they’ll have to do it sans the fire play. I hope they will make it back though. Now peering ahead as we look into the crystal ball, what does the next twenty years hold for you?
Doro: Oh god, I hope that we can continue like this now. That we can tour all over the world, that we can tour in countries and places where we haven’t toured yet and hope that metal will become bigger and bigger again. I feel it’s in pretty good shape but it would be nice if it could be as big as it was in the eighties and I hope that we can just continue and that everybody stays happy and healthy, that the fans will still love it and I will try my best to give the fans something spectacular. I hope we will see the future and of course like World Peace and stuff like that. Ja… that there will not be a disaster like Green House Effect, I hope for the best! [Voice softens] I have good feeling. I just hope that good people will connect and that we will make the world a better place, that we can have freedom and that we do the right thing. I pray for putting good people in charge so that good politicians will make the right decisions. So I think it will be all better, yeah! [Voice softens to a whisper]
Karma: That was very well said, thank you Doro! I cannot thank you enough!
Doro: Oh Karma, you are such a sweet lady, I had a great time talking to you.
Doro: I am so happy that you’re involved in metal and can feel you have so much to offer metal and the music scene, and I will see you very, very soon. We will fight, we will continue fighting!
Thanks to Doro for being so amazing and her camp for making this a possibility! We indeed will continue the fight!!
oClick here for album review of Warrior Soul
o Stay tuned for photos/review of the the Warrior Soul Tour (Chicago - Pearl Room)