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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Doro Pesch - Interview
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Doro Pesch
Photo: Guido Raschke

Legendary singer Doro Pesch celebrated 30 years of her music career on the 2013/2014 tour with a series of concerts which were documented for a new live boxset release which captures an extensive career. Amongst the many tracks were a number of guests who performed with Doro which is something that has been a big part of her career over the years. We discuss many of those great musicians she has worked with along with her friendship with Lemmy and Ronnie James Dio on the eve of the release of "Strong And Proud - 30 Years Of Rock And Metal".



Andrew: So how is things with you at the moment?

Doro: Pretty good! Tomorrow is the big DVD premiere in Berlin at a big movie theater and then summer festivals so that's why we're doing this on a Sunday as it's the only night we don't have a gig. So non-stop on tour and hopefully coming to Australia soon again! There's already talks that we will come on tour there.

Andrew: Yeah it's been some time since you have been down to Australia right?

Doro: Yeah and I just met the guy who got us there who actually on our first DVD did some Australia special and made some video stuff. So I just met him and man it was such a long time ago but there was some connections and got in touch with our booking agent so we're definitely planning something! I have some great memories there, it was so awesome touring there. The audience me, the fans are always the most important thing. It doesn't matter if it's in a club or wherever, it's all about the fans.

Andrew: Well it will be great to have you back! But looking at this DVD you have coming out, man it's really extensive! It's got a lot of the great songs, the classics and a lot of great guests on there. Tell me a little about how you guys put all this together, it must have been a lot of work.

Doro: Yeah it was one and a half years work! Did you see the whole DVD or did you just see snippets?

Andrew: We couldn't get a copy of the whole DVD but we did get a whole bunch of tracks from the DVD which looked really cool.

Doro: One of the coolest things on there is the movie on it, it's like 2 and a half hours long. It's called "Behind The Curtain" and I think that's one of the nicest things on the DVD besides the 3 concerts like Wacken. I think Wacken looks so good and the 2 concerts, one wth the orchestra and the other a full metal show. But I think it's something that the fans want since everyone always has everything on the DVD, all the records but the movie shows some insight and how the whole idea was how somebody says it was the 30th anniversary and it talks a little bit, the guests, the band, the road crew. I think it's a very nice music/movie documentary and it took a long time to do it right and then having all the concerts and taking care of the sound but it looks great. Took one and a half years and the whole packaging, I think if you get the packaging, I think it's beautiful. It's a year book, it has 60 pages with beautiful photos and it's our first year book and I always know the fans like something special and with limited editions, those are always the ones the fans want to have but you can get the bonus stuff too. Then there's the 2 vinyls and the live CD.

Andrew: Amazing stuff! Obviously because of the 30 years being the reason that you did this, looking back on your career where some of the most amazing stuff has happened, what do you consider to be some of the biggest highlights that you have achieved in your career?

Doro: I must say that one of the most important festivals was the 1986 Monsters Of Rock festival in Castle Donnington in England. We had no idea it was such a big festival but that one opened doors and we did pretty good, the fans liked it and everybody was happy. I think there was about 100,000 people there or 80,000, it looked massive! And then important people back then like record company agents and a lot of people said, 'Hey the fans like that band, let's give the band a chance'. And we could go on tour with Judas Priest and then I went to America and I did the "Triumph and Agony" album which I think was one of our best records and after that record we toured with Ronnie James Dio. I would say all the great people we met, all the great bands, all of our heroes I think was the highlight in my over 30 year career.

The Monsters Of Rock Festival, Judas Priest tour, Dio tour, Wasp tour in England, Megadeth tour in America, Motorhead tour, Saxon tour and I had this great opportunity to tour with all my heroes that was unbelievable. They were very supportive, everybody was super nice and I could always learn from the best. I was always a big Judas Priest fan and when we went on tour together, I was looking at their show every day. same with Dio, some stuff I was like, 'Wow it was so dead on'. I'm so happy that I had a chance to feel it, to experience it but I never thought it would last that long. Maybe 4 or 5, maybe 6 years and now it's over 30 years.

Andrew: That is amazing. One of things I do want to ask you about when speaking of doing stuff with some of the great bands over the years is something more recently where you did a guest spot on Amon Amarth's latest album which I found really amazing! How was it working with those guys?

Doro: I'm so glad you liked it! I always liked that band, I thought they were a great band and is one of my favorite bands. I saw them in Wacken - and like when you asked me what was important, all the Wacken gigs have been very important in our career - And in Wacken I saw Amon Amarth and I was standing on the side of the stage and I thought, 'Wow great!' And then we looked at each other and said, 'Hey one of these days we should do something together', and then last year I got a phone call and an email and they said they were in the middle of doing a new record and there is one song where we would love you to do a duet part with Johan and I listened to the song and I immediately said yes I want to do it. So then they flew me over to England and we spent many days in the studio, all the guys from the band were there and we were talking saying how we should do it and they were all cheering me on, it was so great! We became great friends, it was really special to me.

And then it sounded so great and so cool, even the last mix I thought, 'Wow it sounds great'. It's a little bit different, of course they are heavier than we are but I think it fits perfect and when I heard the finished product I thought 'Wow!'. And I just did 2 weeks ago on my birthday which they asked me, this big festival Rock Am Ring which is something like Wacken but more rock bands and not just pure metal. It's huge, like 80,000 people and it was my birthday and I said, 'Shall we do it live' and so we did it for the first time live and I think it came over great, I saw it on youtube. It started to rain but it didn't matter, it was so cool so I really love it! And here in Germany the album was number 1 on the charts which is so great when a band gets number 1 but I like it a lot, I'm so glad you mentioned it!

Andrew: It was one of those cool things that I never expected because your music and Amon Amarth's music is quite different to each other. But that song A Dream That Cannot Be" just fitted perfectly with your voice so it was a great thing to see.

Doro: Yeah I like all kinds of music as long as it's weird and cool and it was weird for me to do it but I'm so happy to be a guest on that. And then the guys are so cool and Johan, oh man what a great singer! What a great frontman and I think it's awesome, it was a privilege.

Andrew: With all the people that you have worked with over the years and done guest spots for and so on and so forth, is there anyone you want to work with which you have not had the opportunity to have so far?

Doro: Yeah if it feels right and the song is right, Rob Halford would be awesome! Blackie Lawless or Glenn Danzig, I would love that. But it needs to be the right song and the right time and all that, if the song calls for the right people somehow. I always say all the collaborations I did is always something very deep or meaningful, it's not like, 'Hey let's do a song together'. There was always something behind it, some magic or some force behind it that's meant to be. And sometimes I thought yeah let's do something together and it didn't work out for whatever reason but when something worked out, oh it was always great. The last duet I did before Amon Amarth was actually with Lemmy.

Andrew: Yeah and you've had a great friendship with Lemmy over the years. What are your thoughts on his legacy and his recent passing?

Doro: To be honest I always had 2 people that I always said were like my mentors and main inspirations and are great musicians and great friends, Lemmy and Dio were 2 of my greatest friends and mentors. I had the great chance to tour with Dio many times and we never went into the studio together but with Lemmy, I don't know how many weeks we spent in the studio talking and laughing. He always had such a great sense of humour, very dark [laughs]. He was the real thing and I think musically Lemmy and Dio were totally different in their music and their personality but they had so much greatness and personality, it was something so amazing. I went to the funeral and when Lemmy got buried and I wrote a little song on the way over called "Living Life To The Fullest" and I want to put it on the new record. But I think Lemmy was one of the greatest musicians, he was such a sweetheart, a total gentleman. We were great friends, I could always call him, we text messaged a lot. He always had great things to say, it was always some positive things. We always spent the most important things [together] like anniversary concerts like the Motorhead 25th anniversary and he came to my 25th anniversary and we always hung out together. When we go on tour we always met like before the gig and have conversations, it was awesome.

He loved Berlin, I'm just in Berlin now for the DVD showing and I remember one time I took a train and I just thought I want to visit Lemmy. When he wasn't feeling well I thought I would go visit him and he would probably like it and he always played me his new songs or demos for the new record. That's what he liked the most, talking about music, playing music, singing along and I think that was the deep friendship level. I think that was so important because when my dad passed away in 2000, I was totally devastated and then I got a phone call from Lemmy and I told him I was so down and he asked what happened and I told him what happened and he said, 'Let's do something together, come to L.A. and we will work on something together'. And at first I was like, 'I don't want to work on anything anymore', and he said, 'No just come to L.A.'. So I flew to L.A. a couple of weeks later and we did our first 2 songs together on the "Calling The Wild" album, it was "Alone Again" which Lemmy wrote that song. A beautiful song with an acoustic guitar and then "Love Me Forever" which is a Motorhead classic. He was an angel to me, he probably saved my life.

Andrew: Yeah a very inspirational person indeed and a very influential person on many musicians and just his personality, such a great person.

Doro: Yeah and I can totally relate to all the fans who miss Lemmy so much and to all the fans who miss all the great musicians. But yeah I was the closest to him, I would say Lemmy and Dio were the closest friends I had in the metal music. I miss Lemmy so much but yeah he was strong and always funny and he took things very light, I like that. He was always cool about it.

Andrew: Well anyway the DVD is very cool, such an extensive set. A massive congratulations to you on the release and to your career as well, it's been a pleasure having you on the music scene and being an influence on many singers. Thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and we look forward to seeing you in Australia hopefully!

Doro: Yeah we are definitely working on it, there's something cooking so I will let you know as soon as we have something like the dates. It's been very nice talking to you too!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on June 19th 2016
Main Photo: Guido Raschke