DORO INTERVIEW 2/6/05
This interview originally appeared in the June 2005 issue of Metal Maidens. It was conducted by me (Tony Cannella). If anyone wishes to use this interview for their magazines or web sites, you may do so as long as the proper credit is given.
I consider myself to be a very lucky person. Over the course of Metal Maidensí 10-year 40-issue run I have had the pleasure to interview several of my favorite singers, bands and musicians. I have no horror stories to report and I can honestly say that every single band that I interviewed were cool and easy to talk to. Then there is Doro Pesch. I have interviewed Doro far more times then anyone else and she stands alone as the best person I have ever interviewed. To speak to Doro is not so much an interview but it is more like a conversation with an old friend. She is passionate about her music and cares very deeply about it and her fans. It shows in her work and her words. So for the final issue of Metal Maidens it was indeed a pleasure to once again hook-up with the Metal Queen to find out what she has been up to recently. It was another enjoyable experience and the pleasure was all mine. Without further adieu, here are the contents of our last conversation which took place on Super Bowl Sunday 2005.
QUESTION: First, please tell us what you are currently up to.
DORO: We just came off the tour with the orchestra, which was very, very nice. I always wanted to do it one time in my life (play with an orchestra) and it was really great. It was totally different. We just put out a DVD from the tour ("Classic Diamonds") and it will come out in the states in the next couple of months. I think they will put out the DVD and the CD at the same time. Weíre still doing promotion for it. Iím also writing new songs for a new record which will be a normal record without the orchestra - maybe I will combine some things that I have learned - but it will be a regular good metal album. I am just trying to come up with the best songs. I am in the studio usually or working on lyrics and melodies.
QUESTION: How is work progressing on the new album?
DORO: We have four songs so far and I think it is going really well, Iím very excited about it. Iím working on some ideas with my guitar player Joe Taylor. In the past we did some cool things, and now we have some really nice things in-the-making. I think it sounds really good so far. I want to write as many songs as I can in the next couple of months then pick and choose the ones that I think are really the best. I feel really inspired because of all the experiences in 2004 with all the touring and concerts, all kinds of situations I think gave me a lot of inspiration about what I want to write about. I definitely would like to concentrate on a metal album, maybe we are bringing "Triumph and Agony" into 2005.
QUESTION: You have always worked with many talented people on your albums. Who are some of the people that you are working with on this album?
DORO: Iím just planning where I want to go, but I definitely would like to work with Torsten Sickert. He helped me with the "Classic Diamonds" album and I really liked working with him. I would also love to go to Nashville again to write with my old song writer friend Gary Scruggs. With him I can always come up with the best and the nicest ballads. Iím also writing with my band, I think thatís definitely the plan that we do something all together. I donít know yet, I want to feel it out. Sometimes I start somewhere and I end up somewhere completely different, so I let it happen. I definitely want to work with my team, the guys I know already and they have proven to me that theyíre ready to give their heart-and-soul, theyíre definitely good to work with. Iím open to working with new people.
QUESTION: You have recorded some duets with some great artists. Is there anyone you would like to work with on another duet for this album?
DORO: Itís definitely too soon to talk about but I really enjoy doing duets. On the "Classic Diamonds" DVD I love the "Fear Of The Dark" version with Blaze Bayley, I think that was so cool. I must say so far I have done duets with people I have really wanted to work with, people like: LEMMY, BLAZE and UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER (UDO/ACCEPT), it is hard to say who else would come into the picture. I thought it was great on the "Fight" album working with Pete Steele, so I donít know. At the moment, it depends on the song too. Sometimes when there is a song, I have the feeling, Ďthis person would maybe like ití or would be perfect on it. I have some people that I have always admired like RONNIE JAMES DIO, I would love to sing a duet with him, I donít know if that will be possible but that would be one of my choices. GLENN DANZIG I really like. BLACKIE LAWLESS from WASP, I always admired him and I love his voice. So maybe one of those three guys. I love RAMSTEIN, they are one of my favorite bands these days, so maybe something with their singer. If it is meant to be then I am sure that it will happen. But I first want to write the songs then see where it takes me.
QUESTION: Iíd like to ask you a few questions about "Classic Diamonds". What was it like working with an orchestra?
DORO: It was amazing in the sense that I really met some great, super-talented musicians. They were from all over the world: From Russia, France, Germany, Korea - it was a great mix of people. I think we really made them fall in love with heavy metal. They were all young - very open. Some of them were die-hard rock fans, which I thought made the work with the Metal Classic Night Orchestra so special, because they werenít like a traditional orchestra, they were mixed in with all young people. It was totally different in the studio. There were sometimes 40 people there and Iím used to being by myself or maybe with the band, but there are never more than 4 or 5 people in the studio, it was hard work to get everybody on the same page. I think Torsten Sickert did a wonderful job to get everybody in the same mind-frame. It was a big challenge too, it was totally different from what I was used to. They were always working with the music and the note sheets and doing the arrangements. That was actually the biggest part that the arrangements would sound cool, I wanted to make sure. Sometimes we wrote three arrangements for one song and then I picked the one that I liked, I had to be totally prepared and ready to do it. The pre-production took much longer than usual because it had to be all put down in writing, so that was different for me but I got used to it. I had some great help with my keyboardist and guitar player Oliver Palotai. He was really, really helpful because he studied all that stuff. Heís a conductor and he studied everything and he helped me a lot, because he is in my band he knows exactly what I like and what I want and what I need. When he wrote arrangements, I was very happy with that. It hit the nail on the head.
QUESTION: How did the idea to work with an orchestra first come about?
DORO: It was just actually a little idea when I first did it in 2001. I did one concert in Dusseldorf and I never thought I would ever do it again. It was great but it was such a big production - it was a lot of work. Then in 2002 on the "Fight" tour there were two people, they came to me and they asked me if I wanted to participate in a benefit concert - it was for a good cause- for animals in need. I thought, Ďyeah sure, Iíd love toí and they said they had the Metal Classic Night Orchestra and I said Ďthat sounds good alreadyí. I went to the rehearsal room and I met most of the guys we recorded the record with and we went on tour with and we all got along right away. There were a couple of songs arranged for this benefit concert and they sounded awesome and the fans really liked it. On the "Fur Immer" DVD there are a couple of songs from the Dusseldorf concert and off the Bochum, Zeche concert which was my first concert with the Metal Classic Night orchestra I thought, Ďman, itís a shame that itís just one concert then itís overí and I thought that we should really record it then we tried to do it, but it was a much, much longer time then we thought. At first we thought two months and then itís done, but it took like eight months. The recording costs were three times as much as we thought they would be, I thought, if we do it, then we have to do it right. At first the idea was to make a little side project, but then the record developed and it wanted to become a real record and we treated it as such.
QUESTION: The video for "Let Love Rain On Me" is also included on the "Classic Diamonds" DVD. Where was the clip filmed?
DORO: It was actually filmed in an old castle in Germany called Sonneck. I always wanted to do a concert or video in a castle. Actually, one time we played in a castle but it was many, many years ago and I always thought doing a video at a castle would be great. We tried to find a castle where people would allow us to do that and actually this castle, some people didnít take care of it. They said we could even film there for free. The day we shot the video, it was a very rainy day and we werenít allowed to get in so we just shot it outside. Sometimes it was a struggle with the weather, but it worked. It was a great location.
QUESTION: It is a really cool video. The scenery is awesome, I think.
DORO: It unfortunately never got played on the video channels.
QUESTION: Wasnít that your biggest selling single ever?
DORO: Yeah! It entered the charts at number seven in Spain. We recorded it in three different languages: English, French and Spanish. In Spain, at first it entered the charts at number 18 and I totally freaked, I couldnít believe it. Then it went to 8 and then it went to 7. Itís overwhelming.
QUESTION: Youíve always enjoyed good success in Spain.
DORO: I just found out two days ago, from the people from the magazine Heavy Rock in Spain that I was voted the best singer of the year again for the 15th time. Iím going there in a couple of weeks to receive the award.
QUESTION: Wow, thatís got to be a great feeling.
DORO: Yeah, I donít know what it is but in Spain thereís like such a strong fan base and itís great. That single was played a lot. It was even played on the radio, which for me is very unusual that people would play it on radio.
QUESTION: Why did you decide to record the JUDAS PRIEST song "Breaking The Law" for "Classic Diamonds"?
DORO: I was always a big JUDAS PRIEST fan, they were always one of my biggest influences when I started doing music and I always wanted to sing a PRIEST song. I saw them here in Germany on their reunion tour and we talked. I asked if it would be okay if I could cover a JUDAS PRIEST song and they said "yeah sure, go for it, it would be great". I went back into the studio and I thought I would love to try it, if it doesnít work than I will not put it on the record. We tried out "Breaking The Law" and immediately I thought this would sound great. Itís totally different, itís a version which has a different arrangement and I thought if I cover the song then maybe I want to do it differently. "Breaking The Law" is one of my favorite songs off this record and doing it as a duet with Udo Dirkschneider - that makes it even more special. I love Udo and we had so much fun singing it together. "Breaking The Law" was always one of my favorite PRIEST songs. We played it live on the tour and it was always one of the highlights on the tour.
QUESTION: On the "Fur Immer" DVD you filmed a concert in a cave in Balve, Germany. What was that experience like?
DORO: That was like two years ago on the "Fight" tour. That was great. We played the cave again this year with the orchestra. Now they said they wouldnít do any concerts there anymore, so I am so glad that we had the chance to play there for a second time. It was awesome and I think the "Fur Immer" DVD came out really, really good. It was like one year of work and it shows the whole history. The cave gig was definitely very special, it was totally different from all the venues I have played in the world. It had a different vibe - it was a little bit spooky, it had like a heavy vibe but it was really cool - I enjoyed it. It was just pretty difficult because it was very wet, moist and cold and for my voice, I got a bad cold after the concert. I heard from other artists that when you play the cave that you can be dead sure that you will be so sick afterwards. It is very cold and when you sweat you immediately can catch a big cold, so thatís what I got, but it didnít matter because the concert went over great.
QUESTION: I have to say that the Fur Immer DVD is great. Itís one of the best music DVDs I have ever seen. Itís everything the fans have waited for: videos, documentary stuff, the concert.
DORO: Tony, thatís great to hear! Even the making of the DVD, the whole process, I could feel, we were working on something special. It was totally interesting to watch the footage from when we started or from 10 or 20 years ago.
QUESTION: It pretty much spans your whole career. Itís a pretty good overview.
DORO: I had so much great help from all of the fans. All the fans, they sent in their tapes, everybody was contributing to it. It was great to make it and I could really feel that it would come out good. We had great people working on it. Unfortunately, the company that did it went bankrupt. Itís the last DVD they did and they were a wonderful company. I wanted to work with them again, but it didnít happen, but I was glad they did our DVD.
QUESTION: You toured extensively off your last record "Fight" in 2002. How did that go?
DORO: Super! That was the longest tour we have done since 1987. It was a great tour. We played countries and territories where we had never been before, it was phenomenal. All the countries where it wasnít possible to tour before, like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary. That was really, really cool. The "Fight" tour went on even into last year and we did Australia and Thailand. It was mind blowing. The whole record had a long life, which I loved and that was good. You could really feel in every country metal is getting more and more important again, so thatís really great to see and hear. The "Fight" tour was definitely one of the best tours we have ever done.
QUESTION: After touring the U.S. extensively for "Calling The Wild". How come you didnít make it over here for the "Fight" tour? I think a lot of fans were disappointed.
DORO: We wanted to tour there - we tried. Actually, we were hoping for the DIO tour. And then we had to make plans and we booked the European tour and then we heard from DIO or from his management that they would like to take us on the road and we thought "oh shit", and now everything was booked already and we couldnít cancel all of the European dates that were already confirmed. Otherwise, we would have been on the DIO tour again. That was a total shame, I wanted to do it so bad. This year we definitely want to do a tour again in the states. There are a couple of possibilities already. Last year was just a shame that it didnít work out, Itís always complicated.
I have some other good news, in September I will do my first film. Itís called "The Way of the Warrior", itís a Swiss film and has a great story. Itís like a science fiction movie but it plays like in the stone age or something. Itís a cross between Highlander or Mad Max, something like that. I saw the script and I met him (the producer) on this tour with the orchestra, he came to one of the concerts and he asked me if I would be interested and I thought, "maybe". I read the script and I thought it was great! He said to "check out the script and tell me what kind of character you would like to play" and he said maybe he could write another small role or something. To make a long story short there is this girl in the script- her name is Meha - sheís a hunter who then develops into a warrior, itís one of the major female roles in the movie. I met him again and he asked me what I would love to play and I said, "well, there is this one role" and he said, "well can I tell you what I would like for you to play" and I said, "yeah" and he said, "this girl Meha", and I said "Yeah, this is great!" I thought exactly the same thing when I was reading the script and I want to do it. I definitely would like to write some music for the movie as well. That will be in September.
QUESTION: Is it going to be just a European release or will it get released in North America as well?
DORO: I hope it wonít be just released in Europe. I know it is coming out on DVD. It is a bit difficult to compete with all of the big Hollywood productions, thatís tough. We are hoping for the best. But itís definitely coming out on DVD, thatís for sure and we hope that it will come into the cinemas.
QUESTION: Will the movie be an English language release?
DORO: I donít even know how he wants to do it, but I think it will be English than it will be translated in all the other languages.
QUESTION: Letís talk a little bit about the 20th anniversary. What was that like to celebrate your 20th anniversary on stage?
DORO: That was the biggest moment of my life, after the great monsters of rock festival (in England in Ď86), since then I donít think I had a better day in my life. It was so cool, people came from all over the world: from Spain, Australia, America, Holland and from Germany - of course - from all over. At first we thought maybe 3000 people would come and then it was like 6000 people or even more than 6000 people showed up. It was a tremendous show. We had a lot of guests show up like Lemmy and Mikkey Dee from MOTORHEAD - we played "Love Me Forever" together - which was great. SAXON played, Udo Dirkschneider, Blaze Bayley, Jean Beauvoir, BONFIRE. It was great seeing all of the fans, I think I did the longest show I ever played in my life, it was three hours and fifteen minutes. We made sure that we played all of the songs that I thought people would like to hear like from the first record to the "Fight" record - we did everything. It was a hell of a day and I didnít expect that so many people would come, that was actually the biggest surprise. I got so many cool gifts. Everybody had nice little things from nice things like hearts and little gifts , it was so good and I still have it here. My whole living room is filled with gifts from that day and old pictures. Not that I even expected gifts but suddenly everybody had something. I felt even it was too much, but it was really nice and everyone was so thoughtful.
QUESTION: You also played Wacken last year. How was that?
DORO: Wacken was so good, too. This year Wacken with the orchestra, it was another phenomenal day. For me itís always so much pressure, I was so nervous and sometimes I am so glad when itís over because itís too much for the nerves. But then Iím even happier when things go over well.
QUESTION: Do you think the anniversary show will ever be released on DVD?
DORO: Yes, it will. I saw it already. It was filmed beautifully. There were like twelve cameras there filming. The only problem is to get the permission from all of the companies of all the people that played at the show. But Iím hoping that we can do it soon.
QUESTION: Iíd like to ask you about the WARLOCK reunion. How did that come about?
DORO: It came about because we met at my 20th anniversary concert. I invited all kinds of people to the show and I thought I wanted to give my old band members a call. I asked them if they wanted to come and party. We said how about doing something for the fans that they wouldnít expect and play a couple of songs together. We did some rehearsals and they went really well. It was the last thing we did at this concert and I think the fans really enjoyed it because there were so many old fans from the 80s. That was actually the start of us talking again. Then we were talking to the Wacken people and they said they were celebrating their 15-year anniversary and they would like every act to do something special and I was thought, "yeah, maybe we can come with the orchestra and maybe I can call up the WARLOCK guys to see if they maybe want to play together". Everybody was so happy that it would work, then actually we got into some heavy lawsuits and we still are with one of the old bandmembers. A couple of days before the show we thought everything would fall through, because it was heavy with all kinds of lawyers and there were so many problems. But then we could play under the name WARLOCK 1986. That was the only solution - thank god. Now we have to go to court again, actually next week I have to go to court. Itís still the fight over the name, the rights over the name. Itís a mess again. I donít know, I hope for the best but itís a mess.
QUESTION: One more question about the WARLOCK then weíll move on. Do think youíll ever get together and do more shows with them?
DORO: If we are allowed, then it could be possible. We have to solve it in court that we can use the name WARLOCK.
QUESTION: I wanted to get your reaction to what happened to Dimebag Darrell of DAMAGEPLAN at that show in Ohio. It was a very tragic situation.
DORO: I was so shocked. I couldnít believe it. I just read today the Rock Hard issue, they had a long article on him and man I couldnít believe it - I was really shocked and very sad. Iím so sorry that it happened. I couldnít believe that things like this would happen. Sometimes I always thought that security is a joke. I always thought, I donít want to have any security but in that case there are many crazy people out there. The world became such an unsafe place and itís maybe good to watch out for one another. Definitely have more security checks so stuff like that wonít happen. That somebody can even take a gun to a show. Thatís unbelievable.
TONY: And get on the stage with it.
DORO: Yeah. I always thought that metal stands for family and unity. I heard this guy was out of his mind. I was very sad and shocked when I heard about it. Johnny Dee, my drummer, gave me a phone call and he told me about it the next day. I couldnít believe it.
QUESTION: Does this incident change how you feel about performing live?
DORO: I always try to do the best I can and I know not all of the people will like it always at all times. I hope that when I give my best that everything will be okay. You canít check every situation, you canít check every venue. Itís difficult to control everybody, even though some more security would be better. I try to do the best I can. I feel like in our band we watch out for one another a little bit more. The guys pay more attention when I am in the front headbanging away. I could feel they are a little bit more alert.
QUESTION: Nick Douglas and Oliver Palotai have been on tour with BLAZE. What is the status with them? Are they still a part of your band?
DORO: Absolutely, they are still in my band. Just to make that clear, they were just borrowed by BLAZE. They just played his tour - a couple of gigs. At the moment they are not on tour anymore. I was totally okay with it that they did some other stuff because being a musician you have to survive, itís really difficult these days. So I was even glad that they could play with BLAZE, but they are definitely in my band. If a guy in the band wants to do something, like a festival or a gig or play another tour, thatís okay. Thatís totally cool, as long as everybody knows we are the band. That was the only thing with the situation, when they played with BLAZE, I think it came across a little bit weird that it wasnít clear that they would still be in our band so that was maybe a little bit unfortunate. Other than that everything was okay.
QUESTION: Do you ever get the chance to go online and check out some of the web sites dedicated to you? Whatís your opinion of them?
DORO: Sometimes I do, but I want to do it more. I highly appreciate that people put so much work into them. I love it because when the fans do something, Iím the happiest. I can truly say that. To have a good vibe with the fans. I really deeply appreciate it when people put work into it and sometimes I check the web sites. I probably havenít seen all of them yet. I guess Iím more old school I donít surf the internet so much. Sometimes here and there, usually I am in the studio or working on songs and lyrics - always working. When I come home from the studio itís usually like 4 or 5 oíclock in the morning and I donít even feel like going on line. Iím really grateful that people put so much work into it. Thatís cool. From all over the world. I heard that there are fans that are doing it from all different countries.
QUESTION: What bands are you currently listening to?
DORO: I listen to all kinds of bands. I am a big RAMSTEIN fan, I really love that band. I love all of their artistic stuff and the videos, the photo sessions, I think it always has such a good sense of humor, very artistic. I love the "Amerika" video. Iím very curious about the new JUDAS PRIEST record, I havenít heard it yet, but I definitely want to get it as soon as it comes out. I like the band CHILDREN OF BODOM. I like this Hungarian band called OCTOMORS, they are pretty cool.
QUESTION: Do you have any hobbies/interests besides music?
DORO: Actually there is not much time to do anything else. I have to learn for this movie to work with all kinds of weapons and I am just starting to do this to practice. So thatís what I am doing at the moment to get ready for the movie and to get into the character and to start getting familiar with all kinds of weapons. In the movie I play a warrior so I had better know my shit (laughs). So that is what I am doing besides the music at the moment.
QUESTION: What are your plans for 2005?
DORO: To come up with some great songs, which I hope the fans will love. Playing some kick ass shows - we will play a couple of summer festivals. I hope we can get on a great American tour. I hope we can come up with a great record, which I hope will be ready in early 2006.
QUESTION: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Doro. In closing, is there anything you would like to say to the fans?
DORO: I want to tell the fans that they are the most important thing in my life. I can truly and wholeheartedly say that and that nothing ever came close to that feeling that when we are together. When we share great concerts, great moments, great music together. I am so happy to belong to this great family of heavy metal. I hope that we will have many, many more great years together and I wish everybody the best. Keep metal alive and I hope to see you all soon. I would also like to thank Metal Maidens for all the great years of support.