DORO PESCH INTERVIEW:
July 24, 2011
Websites: www.doromusic.de – www.myspace.com/doroband
Interviewer: Dirk Ballerstadt
The very first time I realized how much charisma Doro Pesch had was at a show in Berlin in 1989. As she sang her hit “Fur Immer (Forever)” tears rolled down her face as the crowd sang the verses along with her — and I saw this spectacle again during one of her shows last April. To me, “Fur Immer” is the climax of any of Doro’s shows — and I think many of her fans would agree. I have even heard from fans who say she always has an open ear, time for questions, or even makes time to go to a fan’s wedding. It is that type of honesty that has led to people referring to her as the ‘Metal Queen’ for more than twenty seven years.
Doro has been in the rock business since 1983 when she started out with a band called Warlock — recording a couple of demos before releasing their debut album ‘Burning The Witches’. Doro was born under the Gemini sign, and while I can’t tell you what her personal weaknesses or strengths are, I do know that she has constantly recorded music throughout the years (over 30 albums, including best of’s) including five excellent DVD’s which give you a look into the world of the female metal singer from Dusseldorf, Germany who started as a young girl in a metal man’s world and eventually become the one and only ‘Metal Queen’. While many female artists lead normal lives that include day jobs, husbands and/or families, Doro decided on a path that consists of fans, recording studios, tour buses, airplanes, concerts, and bandmates — THAT is her family.
This year Doro played some shows in South America, constantly plays in Germany and other European states, and is doing shows in North America later this year to promote her new DVD ’25 Years In Rock… And Still Going Strong’. So this rocking whirlwind is always busy and it appears she loves life on the road, perhaps due to travelling with her truck driving father as a young girl. Maybe the years of travelling and discovering as a kid helped form Doro’s character — even her illness (tuberculosis) of the age of sixteen, where she laid in a hospital for almost a year, only made her stronger.
After forming bands like Snakebite and Attack in her hometown of Dusseldorf, Doro finally found the perfect match with Warlock and released strong albums such as ‘Hellbound’, ‘True As Steel’, and ‘Triumph & Agony’ before the group split apart. In 1989 she released ‘Force Majeure’ as Doro & Warlock before hooking up with KISS’ Gene Simmons under her current band name Doro. Since then she has survived the Grunge Rock invasion and still does what she knows best — heavy metal with an energetic live show. And when you see Doro onstage banging her head with her beautiful blond mane, you’d swear she was still in her 20’s.
I last chatted with Doro in 1989, so we were overdue to speak again — so I met Doro after one of her shows and stood quietly in line for my time with the one and only… ‘Metal Queen’.
Sleaze Roxx: After watching your show I’m impressed that you are so intensive and personally involved in your live shows.
Doro Pesch: I’m always so happy and it is a great honor to play in front of the fans. I’m highly motivated when I see the fans, and when I hit the stage and see the excitement in their eyes — when the intro tape is running I can hear the “hey, hey, hey” of the fans — all I can say is that I’m always happy when I see the fans.
The fans are the most important thing in my life and the feeling is growing more and more, deeper and deeper, all the time. I don’t only say that — the fans are my life, and to be honest I think of them every day. I think about what I have to do next, which city I have to drive to… and it’s very easy to be motivated when I see the crowd at my shows. It’s like if you want to see your favorite person and to make that person happy — it is like a deep friendship for many, many years. It is like close friends, even closer than my closest friends — because with normal friends I don’t feel that close. With my fans it is a deep, musical connection.
Sleaze Roxx: Would you agree that the energy that you get from the fans is the motor that keeps you running — the living for your fans? That this kind of energy gives you more than a private or normal friendship?
Doro Pesch: Yes, I fell in love with music when I was about three years old. Later, as I formed my first bands back in 1982, I was not so connected with the fan base. But then as I got older, I was even happier with the fans — to see that so many other people liked the same music as I did (and do). That was the time where I decided notto settle down or get married or have kids. The fan base… that’s my world… it’s kind of my family. It’s not a traditional family, but a global musical family. It is so exciting that in the farthest part of the World there is a member of the Doro family. And that feeling is more intensive than I can tell you. I don’t miss anything — like having a normal family or kids — we are always on the road or on the tour bus going from gig to gig. That’s my family life.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any specific difference between fan reactions around the world?
Doro Pesch: I try to do every gig as if it is my last, and when I see that the people are getting quiet I try to get the party started again. In South America the fans get pretty wild, very passionate — I think it is their mentality. But all over the world, even if it is Russia or China, Japan or America, it is pretty exciting. We just came back from Scandinavia and even there the fans got wild. And we played on a cruise ship and that was crazy.
We have fans that travel with us from country to country and it makes me happy to see when fans travel from England or Norway just to see our shows. It’s unbelievable. Every gig and every club has a different vibe… and I love it all.For example, in China the people are very quiet at shows and clap a little bit with their hands — but as I demanded a little bit more power and energy, everyone started jumping up and down and headbanging. The security just stared because they aren’t used to fans getting crazy at live gigs like that, because it is not allowed… but it was fantastic.
When you play music you usually get the same response all over the world. Sometimes the fans get crazy and we have to play one song three times at a show — mostly “All We Are”. And when we tour Germany for a winter tour or a Christmas show it is very special — everyone is so excited around Christmas Eve. We toured last December through Germany with Motorhead and we had such massive snow and ice that Motorhead’s crew bus had an accident. And there was massive snow as we had our headlining tour and all the fans came to see us — they didn’t care about the bad weather conditions. That made me feel lucky.
Sleaze Roxx: Which country is the most successful for Doro? Is it your home country of Germany?
Doro Pesch: Germany is great! We also have a strong following in Spain, and Scandinavia is great to play with a huge fanship — Russia is very good and South America is pretty good. You always need good promoters, when a show is properly promoted then the event works out pretty well. In every country you have die-hard metal fans that work at radio stations or magazines.
Sleaze Roxx: Last January the first three Warlock albums were re-released and with the DVD coming out next — are there any plans to tour America again? Or are the costs way to high to tour the USA and Canada?
Doro Pesch: In America you can’t even find typical record stores anymore like it used to be. You find the CDs in the supermarkets or buy them online. America is a tough market, but it’s actually fun to tour, even though there are many hardcore clubs with no showers or bathrooms. In America there isn’t a solid fan base like here in Europe. The Europeanfans are a little bit more connected and we have so many festivals on the continent. One thing that is much better in America is that they have huge radio stations, every city has a couple of metal stations — every university has radio stations with metal shows and that is great. We don’t have any of that in Europe — just a few metal stations.
Thank God for the internet, the music can be distributed globally and the diehard fans always know what’s going on in the scene. They know about record releases and even buy import CDs, which can be really expensive.
Sleaze Roxx: Isn’t it tough while being on tour, especially as a singer, to take care of the voice — with all of the temperature and climate changes and long distances?
Doro Pesch: Usually I try to get some sleep on the tour bus. But it’s kinda difficult with thirty people on a bus, and taking a few hours to talk with the fans, doing some interviews and finally going to sleep in the early morning — then arriving in another city. To get sleep is the most important thing when being on tour, and when you are sick as a dog and when it hurts to sing you have to fight it — and at showtime it is all forgotten.
Sleaze Roxx: As an artist, what have been some of the highlights of your career?
Doro Pesch: So many highlights, but I would say the first major tour with Judas Priest back in 1986 was awesome. Then the second highlight was the big tour with Ronnie James Dio, who I admire so much and is one of my main inspirations. I love Ronnie’s voice, his music and his personality. Then the Monsters of Rock festivals in 1986 and 1988 were great as I had the chance to meet all the famous people likeLemmy of Motorhead, Gene Simmons, Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne… it is always cool to meet the bands you like. Recording albums is also a highlight every time, and every new tour with all the planning regarding pre-production.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your plans for the rest of 2011?
Doro Pesch: During the summer we are doing some festivals, in October we are touring Europe again with shows in Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium, and before Christmas we will tour our home country again. And we will probably tour America in the autumn when our new DVD ’25 Years In Rock’ comes out.
After all the touring we will concentrate on the new album — we already have some new songs written which are awesome. We hope to have the CD out next spring and we will probably be filming the second part of the movie ‘Anuk – The Path Of The Warrior’ next year…
Sleaze Roxx: Oh yes, I remember that movie. I didn’t get the storyline that much and well…
Doro Pesch: The guy who made this film, Luke Gasser, is a great person from Switzerland.
Sleaze Roxx: it was a bit difficult to understand, but the song you did as a duet with Marc Storace (of Krokus) was a very strong metal anthem — “On My Own” was the title.
Doro Pesch: It was a very, very low budget movie, and to me it was fun to be a part of that movie with all the great ideas that Luke Gasser had. The second part will be even greater, maybe then you will get the storyline…