German metal queen Doro Pesch is a household name in metal ever since the early days with Warlock almost four decades ago. When she decided to go ‘solo’ her career sky rocketed and now, because it is quiet regarding touring although she plays the additional live show, she found the time to compile 3 (!) CDs filled with songs that are close to her (and her fans) heart. HeadBangers LifeStyle was invited over to the Rockpit in Cologne, Germany to sit down with the ever charming singer to talk about the album and the current situation for musicians in general. Raymond Helebrand volunteered for the job and came back with a story.
Hello Doro, for starters, I would like to congratulate you with the upcoming release of ‘Magic Diamonds - Best Of Rock, Ballads & Rare Treasures’.
I assume you are very pleased with the outcome of this one, especially because of the way it will hit the stores. Is this release in a way more special to you?
,,Yes 56 songs, wow. As you know all the festivals and tours are postponed and last year I was already doing some work for a new release, which will be released next year via Nuclear Blast. Because of this whole lock down we could not go further because it was not possible for the musicians to be together in the studio. Instead of working further on that release I went to the studio by myself to work on a ‘best of’ album. At first I thought to pick my 12 to 14 favorite songs but I listened to all kind of recordings and also live recordings from our last tour (the ‘Forever Warriors’-tour) and suddenly there were 20, 25, 40 songs. Oh man, and then I went to the max. Everything that could be included on a 4 vinyl release, which would be approximately 22 minutes per side and the CDs +/- 78 minutes and I ended up with 56 songs that are on the release, including a lot of unreleased stuff and versions of songs that were never released before. For example ,,Prisoner Of Love” which is a beautiful first version of the song together with stuff that has been re-recorded and some live versions. Also there is a new version of ,,Love Me In Black”, which will be released as a clear 7” vinyl single. To get these things going is a hell of a job because of the record pressing plants that are closed and everybody working from home but we managed to get things done. I love the newly arranged songs, the songs with Lemmy and Pete Steele, cover songs like Dio’s ,,Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, ,,Nothing Else Matters” and some pearls that were not heard for a long time.’'
So it is fair to conclude that this is a very personal release to you?
,,Yes, absolutely. On one side very personal and on the other side also songs that are special to the fans, that are really important to me. When I talk with them I frequently ask which songs they would really want to hear which led to gems like ,,Even Angels Cry” and ,,Whenever I Think Of You” that were also desired by the fans. So it really is a mix of my and the fans most beloved songs. There were so many songs to choose from that there might be a volume two in the future, you never know.’’
The 3 CD boxes also come with a special Doro 'True At Heart' perfume. Will that be an exclusive with the box or will it also be sold in the retail stores?
,,Yes yes, the perfume. We have to see what happens with that. For now it is meant to be as a lovely gadget in the 3 CD box release. There has also been some interest from retailers like for instance Mueller in Germany, but at the moment we are still looking what the options are in that department. For now it was meant to include something special within the box sets and to be honest, ever since 1993 I tried to get a perfume of my own. Haha, I have even tried to mix the right smell till early in the morning, which kind of drove my friends crazy. By the time I had something I liked I asked them to smell and with some more drops I also destroyed the brew. So the desire always was there since 1993 and now the time has come. A fragrance for men and a fragrance for women. For women is a bit with a vanilla smell and for the men the smell is soft and not in the face because in the tour bus I got used to all different kind of smells, with 20 people and no shower a good perfume can absolutely be a benefit.
On the other hand I also got questions about why I did not include a Doro Whiskey or stuff like that, which could also have been an option, but for now this felt like the right decision. Just something special and if you don’t like it, it might be just a collectible for the fans.’’
Through the years you have had an almost endless list of collaborations and guest appearances on your albums and during your live performances. Do you still have a wish list of people you would love to work with in the future?
,,Oh definitely!!! There would be absolutely some artists, like for instance Rob Halford or James Hetfield would be superb, or Blackie Lawless. I am a huge WASP fan ever since my first tour in England with them in 1986 and we had an instant click. I love WASP and Blackie Lawless. Also Glenn Danzig would be great to work with and Dave Mustaine, Bruce Dickinson or Till Lindemann of Rammstein but it just has to happen as it goes. Most collaborations happened spontaneously and were not really planned. I mean, my first duet was with Lemmy. I wrote him a letter, back in 2000 and he replied to it. At that time my father was ill and died and honestly, I did not want to do anything anymore. When I spoke to Lemmy on the phone he invited me over to Los Angeles to record a song together. At first I did not really want to, but he convinced me to come anyway. In that time I was pretty depressed and if it wasn’t for Lemmy I do not know if I would have been in the music business anymore. Once we were in the studio in L.A. we recorded two songs instead of one. ,,Love Me Forever”, also included on the record, and ,,Alone Again” which he played for me. In his mind not really a fit for a Motörhead album, so he played it for me on his acoustic guitar and I really got tears in my eyes, because it was such a great song and I was in a very emotional state at the time.
The second duet was with Udo Dirkschneider, right around the time I was working on the ‘Fight’ album in Pennsylvania. Back then I stayed at a small motel, somewhere in the mountains and one night I came home from the studio and the lady at the reception had a short note that somebody had called for me from Germany. At first I thought someone did pull a joke on me, because the writing on the note said, Darkschneider and I was like who?? So I wondered is that really the right name, but once I did return the call it became clear it was Udo Dirkschneider and he asked me if I was interested to perform on ,,Dancing With An Angel” for his then upcoming release. It was our first ballad together and a while later I asked him to do a special orchestrated version of ,,Breaking The Law” for the ‘Classic Diamonds’ record. So that is actually always how things developed.’’
Because of this worldwide pandemic the whole music industry seems to be in an almost winter sleep. You have done a few gigs in the car cinema vibe. How did that feel for you, because I know you are always very close and interacting with your fans. Did it feel more distant than regular gigs?
,,Absolutely. With the first car cinema gig I really had a hard time to connect. The fans were almost 50m distanced from the band, but once I went into the crowd, people started interacting and sang the songs with us. Really a good vibe and by accident a fan filmed the thing, posted on the web and in a blink of an eye there were 600.000 viewers. It was all new to us and once the promoters and journalists got notice of the thing they asked us if we would like to do more of these gigs. I agreed but nevertheless it was hard for me with the fans so distant, without feedback from them. To make things even worse the next car cinema gigs had really hard restrictions like the fans had to stay in the cars, windows closed in 40 degrees. Nothing to hear from them when they sang with us. By that time I did ask them to blink the lights of the cars and honk when they love the show but not every city was happy with the honking and in some cases they even prohibited it. So these shows were absolute challenges to us. One of the best was the beach like vibe show we did where I could see and hear the fans but going into the audience was out of the question. That was strictly prohibited and if we would have done something like that, the show would have been over immediately. In the end everything is better than doing nothing! For now we have some acoustic gigs ahead of us, promoted by Rock Antenne radio and the gig at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on December 17th is going to be pretty exciting with people sitting in some kind of plexi glass boxes. With the audience sitting down it is extremely hard to get things going but like I said, everything is better than doing nothing. It is also important to do these shows because of the band and the crew. I mean some of them have young kids now and I always feel responsible for them, even though they are grown men. I guess it is the mother instinct in me so whenever we have a chance to do a gig we will do it, although financially it is not even paying the bills, because of the small amount of people that are allowed to see a show. Difficult times but we did and do love to do these shows. It is a new way of playing shows and nothing compared to the shows a year ago.’’
What is the ONE SONG of Doro/Warlock that really defines the band?
,,Without any doubt ,,All We Are”. That song has been played live at every concert since 1987. A positive song that always cheers up the fans.’’
Doro, it has been a true pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you so much for taking the time for the readers of HeadbangersLifestyle.
,,Thank you and a big hello to the readers of Headbangers Lifestyle. Stay metal!’’
All photos by Raymond Helebrand/RH-Design
HBLS review Doro live 2019 here
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