Doro – Metal ForeverTuesday, 7th August 2018
While Doro has been on the road quite frequently in the past few years, it’s been six years since her last studio album, Raise Your Fist (though there was a DVD within that window as well). Given her productivity, there was almost little surprise that Doro’s new release would be a double album affair. One could imagine the number of ideas that had been building up over that time, particularly when said span of time included some big losses in the metal world, including her close friend Lemmy.
Forever Warriors Forever United isn’t just a massive collection of Doro tracks, but one that nicely exudes some personality on each disc. There’s a different feel to each record, even if they do share a unifying vision behind them. It’s another case of Doro being at her creative best. We were able to speak with her about the double album, the collection of guests that come with it, and much more, with her usual charismatic charm and energy all at hand.
Dead Rhetoric: What does the title, Forever Warriors Forever United, mean to you personally?
Doro Pesch: It means fighting the good fight, and that we all stick together. I always stay very connected to the metalheads and fans. People with a good heart that are fighting the good fight. I think that in this day and age, it’s important. It’s so confusing out there – the metalheads know what’s right and wrong I think. With “All for Metal,” it’s about relying on each other. I have trusted fans with my life for the last 35 years and it’s turned out great.
Dead Rhetoric: Is that also the reason that you push for more of a positive outlook with your recent albums, including this one?
Pesch: Yeah, in the ‘80s it was war and I loved dark and destructive stuff but for the last ten years I have definitely changed my mind and wanted to give people positive energy and empower them. It’s hard sometimes to write positive lyrics – it’s so much easier to destroy everything [laughs]! I want to give something good for their heart and soul. All these songs are meant in a positive way, even when they sound very heavy and hardcore, like “Bastardos” for example, which is one of my favorite songs. It’s heavy but still has a positive message.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that doing a double album allowed you to go for more of a diverse range with the tracks?
Pesch: Yeah – I had about 35-40 songs and I usually have to pick like 12 and I said, “Oh no!” I love them all – they have good quality and deep meanings behind them. So I called the record company and asked if I could do a double album and they said that in this day and age it was unusual. But a few months ago, they told me I could do it. So I got to pick my 25 favorites. I guess every song is different – there are many anthems, soulful ballads…I love them all. From the super hardcore to the super sensitive.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you think the albums have a particular vibe that is unique to them – would it be correct to say that Warriors is a bit heavier and United is a bit more melodic?
Pesch: I would say that’s right, yeah. But I couldn’t tell you which one I like more! I love them both the same. Forever Warriors has heavier songs on it, and anthems like “Bastardos” and a duet with Johan Hegg called “If I Can’t Have You, No One Will,” which is very different for a love story. United is a bit more soulful and melodic with a few heavy songs on it, but it’s more personal. It was so difficult to make the right sequence for the tracks. I went through five times, but you can feel it when it’s good. It’s very interesting – the whole process of mixing, recording, mastering, and putting the sequence together. But when you can sleep well, it’s a good sign [laughs]!
Dead Rhetoric: With your very large discography of songs, and now putting out a double album, how are you going to decide which are you going to play off the album live?
Pesch: I would like to have the fans decide, because I love them all. Of course, the singles like “All for Metal,” have been played in the festivals and it’s been great, so that’s in our setlist. It makes people feel so good. All the other songs, I don’t know yet. When I am playing festivals, I tend to play maybe one or two ballads max. When I play 2-2.5 hours shows, I can play some more ballads but I think the fans should decide the songs. We’ll do it over the Internet or Facebook or something.
We want to release more singles – the first was “All for Metal,” the second one was “Lift Me Up,” which was a very nice song – very uplifting lyrics and melodies. The third one is the duet with Johan, “If I Can’t Have You, No One Will,” and then there’s a nice ballad called “It Cuts So Deep.” I’m pretty sure we will play a few gigs and see. There’s some bonus tracks too! There are some nice ones in there as well – I can imagine fans will probably want to hear some of them too. One is called “Metal is My Alcohol,” and it’s very fun. Then we have all the other 19 records – oh god, this is going to be really tough!
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been doing a ton of touring and looking back at your older material through the last few years, like the Triumph and Agony tour last year. Did any of that influence your writing for this album?
Pesch: Totally. When we did the Triumph and Agony tour, I called up my guitar player Tommy Bolan and asked if he wanted to be on the tour and he said yes. He’s such a great guy and a powerful player – tons of energy. The first show was Sweden Rock, and we did the album in its entirety and it was great. The second festival was Norway Rock and we had such a great time. At 7AM I had to leave to catch a plan and it was 5AM, so I said we should jam a little bit. As we jammed, the duet with Johan came out, “If I Can’t Have You, No One Will” – we had so much fun.
I told Tommy he needed to play on the new album. That’s the reason that in some countries I can use Doro Pesch of Warlock, and I can use the Warlock name again. He plays on “All for Metal,” “Turn it Up” and “If I Can’t Have You, No One Will,” which we wrote together. Sometimes when he joins us, he’s a special guest, so we have 3 guitar players! As you can imagine, we have a lot of shredding and solos. Tommy still has a such a great spirit. When we did the Triumph and Agony album, he was always in a good mood. When you tour so long, it’s great to have someone who is always ready to go. He has the same attitude with the fans as being the most important. He’s like me too, with there being no kids/family – it’s just the music and the fans. All the other guys in the band, they are the same; that’s the reason why we get along so well. It’s all for metal.
Dead Rhetoric: With the extent of touring that you’ve done, how has it changed over the years?
Pesch: From touring all over the world – it got harder. In the ‘80s, in the ‘90s, we weren’t having so many problems. Sometimes we would tour and would get caught in a hurricane or snow storm. You have to be happy when you survive a tour. I don’t remember those things in the ‘80s/’90s. We can’t tour in some countries anymore because of wars going on. I think things got harder for everyone to survive.
Dead Rhetoric: There are a few songs that include ‘metal’ in the title. Are you proud to be considered someone who is carrying the torch for metal?
Pesch: To me, metal was always freedom and to do whatever you feel – express yourself and let It out. Metal is definitely my life and I love metalheads – they are special. They have their hearts in the right place. We can feel it when we tour around the world. I always feel right at home. They are great people. I’m happy to belong to the metal scene. Metal is about deep friendship – brotherhood, sisterhood. It’s more than just music. I think we are all connected and it’s awesome. It makes me so happy. That’s the reason why I still do it – the fans! We had our first fans in the early ‘80s and they are still coming to every show. Of course there are new fans, and those fans bring their kids. People who support a band, they will always do it, and I deeply appreciate that.
Dead Rhetoric: How did you line up some of the guests for the new album?
Pesch: When we are touring so much, when you get to know someone or do a festival together, you make a friendship. In the case of Amon Amarth, I’ll tell you how it came about. I was actually at Wacken watching their show 3-4 years ago and I loved Johan. I thought he was an awesome frontman, with great singing and positive energy. I told my tour manager that I would love to work with that band. I went on tour and a few months later I got an email from Amon Amarth saying that they were working on a new album and asked if I wanted to do a duet with Johan. I was so blown away! It was good chemistry and I said absolutely. I flew to Birmingham to meet Johan and the producer Andy Sneap, who is now in Judas Priest. They picked me up at the airport and right away we became great friends. In the studio, all the guys liked it and we had this great friendship.
I did the song with them live at a few festivals with them last year and because I only did one song, I could walk around and talk to people. When I have my own shows, I have no time – I’m nervous and focused on a million things to do. So I was having a great time. I was walking around and I ran into Jeff Waters. I talked to him about being on “All for Metal” and he said absolutely. Then I ran into Warrel Dane, who I toured with in 1988 with Megadeth and he was a great guy. We were friends for many years so I asked him to sing on the song, as well as Johan Hegg. There’s always a connection between old friends and new ones – when you are playing shows, new ideas pop up.
I’m always so excited to do a new record and songs. When there are other great people on board, its always great. When I was touring in America two years ago, I met Doug Aldrich and we played many festivals together so I asked if he wanted to do a song together. We decided to do “Breaking the Law,” since it was my first tour in the early ‘80s with Judas Priest. He sounded so awesome, so I asked him if he wanted to do a solo on the new album. When I wrote “Heartbroken,” I sent it to him and he loved it. Everything came about easily – it wasn’t planned but it flowed together. All of these great musicians, either young or friends from the ‘80s.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your plan for touring once the double-album is released?
Pesch: There are some dates confirmed – we will start in Europe. We will come to the States either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. There’s nothing confirmed but it’s coming. I’m super excited, and I hope that the fans will tell us what they want to hear. It should be really interesting to see what they like the most, since no one has heard it yet besides the journalists. I have a couple of my favorites, but I want to see what they love the most.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of your favorites from the new release?
Pesch: “Soldier of Metal” is one of my favorite songs, and a song for Lemmy, “Living Life to the Fullest” – it’s for him. It means so much to me. But also songs like “Bastardos” and “All for Metal.” Its something that people love to sing a long with. Since I’ve done it a few times, I think it will always be in the setlist. “Metal is My Alcohol,” which is a bonus track – I love that one as well. There’s so many!