Doro – Music is Magic

Sunday, 1st March 2015

Doro Pesch, the Metal Queen, should be a familiar name for many. Starting out with Warlock back in the 1980s, she survived the ‘90s and her solo career has lasted ever since. She’s lived through many changes within the music scene over the years, yet is still confident and passionate in her resolve and mission. In fact, the second leg of her 30 Years Strong & Proud Anniversary tour is set to begin in a few days.

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to talk with a living metal legend, so DR jumped at the chance to chat with Doro about her extensive career. Even after a long day of interviews, it’s clear that Doro wears her passion for the genre on her sleeves and was every bit the down to earth lady everyone says she is. Read on to learn more about her upcoming US tour, the possibility of a new album, her collaborations with a number of artists, and her thoughts about how metal has changed over the years.

Dead Rhetoric: You are going to be starting into the second leg of the Strong and Proud tour. Will there be any surprises in the setlist?

Doro Pesch: We will be playing all the highlights, lots of Warlock stuff. I recently got the rights to the name back so we can play whatever we want. There will be lots of old school stuff. We have been working on some new songs too. There will be some old, unexpected songs and when fans want to hear some songs we haven’t played in the set, they can call out songs they want to hear in the encore.

Dead Rhetoric: For the first part of the tour you had a voting session about what songs fans wanted to hear. Are you doing anything like that this time, or is it like you just said – letting them do some shout-outs?

Pesch: Yeah, when they shout songs out it’s a different adventure every day and I love it. With the list that we had last time we played all the highlights that fans wanted to hear. We will probably make some changes to keep it fresh and exciting. I know that some fans are coming back for this tour, and some fans travel from gig to gig so I want to have different setlists, according to the crowd and venue. I’ve been so happy, we haven’t played Texas now for a while so we will be going to cities I haven’t been in a while.

Dead Rhetoric: For being in the business as long as you have, how do you stay in shape while doing all of these strenuous touring plans?

Pesch: I love martial arts! Right now I’m doing what’s called Eskrima. It’s from the Philippines and it’s like fighting but you can do it with knives and swords. I’m so into it! Then with touring, when you run and jump on stage, the body is getting ripped more than any other workout. It’s the heavy metal workout. It’s got to be better than any other workout I’ve experienced before. When you are singing and moving a lot you get so much oxygen, it’s good for the body and the brain. I think I’m more in shape now than when I was 20 or 21 when I started music! I think I was a little chubby [laughs] and didn’t do any workouts! Now I love sports. Besides the music, sports are my interest. Especially boxing and martial arts.

Dead Rhetoric: Your dedication to heavy metal is pretty incredible. Forgoing family and children for the sake of music. What makes the fans family to you?

Pesch: It’s a deep connection and a deep understanding. We have the same love for music. We are all like soulmates because we know about this thing which a lot of people don’t. They just don’t get it. I was a KISS fan and still am, and I’m still a member of the KISS fanclub. When we meet, there’s instant friendship and understanding and with metalheads it’s the same. When we play, it’s a closeness that I’ve never even had with my closest friends who weren’t into music. I think that music is magic; it’s the glue between us. I’m more excited about the fans and music than anything else in my life. It’s the most profound and meaningful connection. I’ve had many boyfriends and it was all great, but I feel closer to the fans in my heart and my soul. The exchange of energy and vibe and spirit, I think it’s unbelievable. It’s out of this world.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve always participated in a lot of collaborations and duets with other singers. What do you think is the most exciting aspect of doing those collaborations with other people?

Pesch: It’s always a big honor to work with other people. People you grew up with or people that you love, and people who inspired you. There were so many great times in the studio. I spent the longest time with Lemmy. We started doing something together in 2000. We did two songs together, “Love Me Forever” and the song Lemmy wrote, “Alone Again” and it was so intense and sensitive. I thought, I know Lemmy from “Ace of Spades” and I love his raw energy but I tell you, his soulful side is just mindblowing. On the last record, Raise Your Fist, I had this song and I wanted to ask Lemmy again and see if maybe he was into it. Once I sent him the song he said let’s do it.

There are highlights in my life, like playing and collaborating with working with people of this caliber. But with Lemmy, it was dear to me. He’s one of my best friends in the music business. I’ve done stuff with Udo Dirkschneider or Pete Steele or Gene Simmons, I also did a collaboration with the Brazilian band Angra and I think the song came out great. It’s more special than doing a normal, regular song in the studio. It’s always fun and can be very magical but doing something with somebody you love and respect or someone that you looked up to your whole life, it’s like wow! I will never forget working with Gene Simmons. I never thought of ever meeting him or ever working together in the studio. Getting the chance to get close to somebody to talk a little bit or to laugh, or to exchange stories. Even with Ronnie James Dio, I’ll never forget those talks that we had on tour. It’s one of my most sacred friendships and it means so much. It’s an honor to work with people like that.

Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned Dio, what was it like, going back to 2000, when you were sharing the stage for the Magica tour?

Pesch: It was unbelievable! It was so special because you could feel metal was coming back after grunge. I went to the Magica release party and I wanted to say congratulations on the new album. I saw Ronnie and looked at me and said, “I have to tell you something really important. I love your version of Egypt! I think it came out so great.” I thought, wow, coming from Ronnie himself, that was so nice. Then we finished the Calling the Wild record and a couple of months later I was doing an interview with the radio station KNAC promoting the record and was asked if we had any touring plans. I said I wanted to open up for a bigger act or maybe do my own club tour. She asked what my dream band to tour would be and I said Dio. She said that he was calling a few hours later for an interview and asked if she could mention it. I said okay, and to make a long story short, a few months later we were on tour together.

It meant so much to me. The whole tour was sold out and you could tell metal was coming back. That was actually the first time we had some great talks. I actually toured with Ronnie James Dio back in 1987 with Warlock, but it was a different time. Back then, the headliner was the headliner and as the support band we didn’t have a lot of time to talk or spend time together. But with this American tour we had so much time and it was awesome! We became friends and were really close. What he said was always so full of meaning. So intelligent and so funny; he had a great sense of humor. He was actually the reason that I wanted to start music. There were other people, but Ronnie James Dio, he was the one. He outshined everybody.

I remember the NYC gig, I was giving it my all and I was jumping up and down and running and doing whatever. I think the show was great and the fans had a great time, I could feel the high energy. Then later in the tour bus, I took off my boots and I thought, wow, its all wet, maybe from sweat. But it was pure blood. I had blisters all over my feet and it was a puddle of blood. I thought, that’s cool but the next gig, oh my god! I had so much pain, but it was all worth it. I love intensity. You can only get that in music.

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