Following on from her interview with the one and only Lita Ford we unleashed our metal maiden on THE metal maiden DORO PESCH to talk about her new 2-disc DVD ‘Strong And Proud’, her fans, her soul, smoking a pack of cigarettes in an hour with Lemmy and never doing karaoke!
Doro Pesch is all she is! 30 years on she reigns ‘Strong And Proud’, weaving her metal magik throughout the lands. She rules with a very metal but kind heart! In fact, it actually felt more like we were talking through a dream catcher than a phone line. I felt captured by her warrior spirit, innate positivity and wisdom; only Doro is real!
So how in the hell does this Teutonic maiden manage to keep on doing it or ‘’rockin’ zie haus” as she calls it?!? Hot rockin’ vocals, hot rockin’ headbangin’, martial arts, her commitment as an animal activist and UBER ALLES, her fans sure as hell have something to do with! (I guess you’ll have to watch the movie to find out…)
So who RSVP’d for the extensive one year ‘Strong And Proud’ tour party and where else but Wacken would be more apt for Doro to start spreading her unholy love? You’ll find guest performances from rock and metal sharp shooters – Phil Campbell, Biff, Blaze Bailey, UDO and Uli Jon Roth… yes, there sure is some Earthshaker rock goin’ down!
Time to burn it up with the Metal Racer…
…Lets go HELLBOUND!
How involved were you with the making of your brand new DVD, ‘Strong And Proud’?
Actually 90 percent, I was always there when they cut the stuff and it was actually almost for the whole thing. Everything. Because I know the fans so well, I know what they want to hear, I had to decide which songs should go. On the DVD, there was just not enough time, no way was it going to be one disc, and then I said ‘Okay, let’s do it, the whole load’, but then I thought ‘No, man, that’s way too long, you can’t have 28 bonus tracks’. I talked to the record company and said ‘Let’s do it this way, because every song has some kind of magic on it…
And I always think, I want to give the fans much more than they would expect, always more, more interesting things.
There’s a treat for the die-hards too right?
Yes, on the DVD there is a two-and-a-half-hour documentary, like a music movie and I think it’s really nice, it’s behind-the-curtain stuff; there were these camera guys who worked with us and you can really feel it, stuff you wouldn’t expect or stuff that has never been shown. Two-and-a-half-hours of non-stop fun stuff, fan stuff, all the guys in the band are talking about how they feel, what they are thinking about the whole thing, oh, there’s so many nice things, I had tears in my eyes when I saw some of it.
Your dedication to the fans and your career is unbeatable and I understand you consciously made the decision to not do the ‘2.4 children’ thing?
Yes, that’s the most important thing. I made up my mind, I think it was like age 23, maybe 22 or 23, one day I woke up and I thought I totally want to dedicate my life to the music. Before I loved it but I made a conscious decision to be ‘yeah, this is it’ when we were doing the  ‘Triumph And Agony’ album.
Regrets… changes of heart along the road?
I never, no never changed my mind. There were times when it got harder, like in the ’90s when grunge thing took over, it was a little tricky, but I had enough fans that it was totally cool.
Yeah, MTV and grunge had their secret handshake it seemed, so if you weren’t grunge you weren’t getting the exposure you needed on certain media platforms…
Absolutely, I think we did five records in this time and every time, my hopes were high. I told my record company ‘I think there is some good songs here, such great songs, magical songs, please check it out’. And they would say, but it is grunge right? And I said ‘No, no it’s not grunge at all’. They said but it has to be a little bit grunge. I said ‘No, sorry, it’s not grunge at all’. They said well then we can’t touch it. I thought ‘Oh no’ and then it took eight or nine years, until 1999 when I saw slow but sure metal was coming back.
You are a true powerhaus, your shows are two to two and half hours long – how do you keep the spirit of heavy metal alive on stage?
Sometimes it’s three and half hours, with the orchestra. When we play a normal concert it’s two hours, and then people say ‘oh that’s disappointing, why isn’t it three and a half hours’ and then I said ‘well… maybe if it’s a really special event’. Of course you’re dying if you do everything, you know. It’s easy though, I think of the fans. I always feel 150 percent motivated when I’m on the stage, when I see and feel the fans. They have magic powers!
Do you use any magic potions to keep your voice in tune… you still belt it out?
I like sports and I’m a big fan of martial arts and I have a nice trainer. I fell in love with another art called Escrima, it’s a Philippine martial art and you can do it with sticks or knives or swords and it keeps me in such good shape. I think when the body and mind is in good shape then the voice is in good shape too, there’s nothing to it. If I’m sick it doesn’t matter, if I’m coughing, when I’m on stage it’s all gone, it’s all back to normal. If I’m sick or having a fever, nothing can stop me.
Sometimes I drink a lot of water to keep the vocal chords fresh, and try to get some sleep but it’s hard in the tour bus, you never can sleep with the talking or listening to music or partying or getting wrecked but I always try… I want to have fun.
….Vices, kicks, bad habits?
I gave up smoking. I love cigarette smoking, it made me really feel good but I know it’s so bad so I gave up cigarettes. I only smoked when I was with Lemmy. We would always smoke a pack of cigarettes in an hour. I would always make an exception for him, but usually I don’t smoke anymore. I don’t drink much at all, to me music is the thing, that’s my drug.
I mean when I was growing up everyone was smoking, and when I was a kid, I think I started when I was 11, and I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be a grown-up, and it was hard to kick it but I have two voices in my head, one in the right and the other in the left.
I guess I kicked that habit, but sometimes if I’m really nervous… the last cigarette I had to when I was about to go on stage at Rock In Rio. I was a guest and it was this big festival and I thought ‘Oh no’, I was just so nervous, so I had my last cigarette.
What are the best and worst gifts given to you by fans?
Honestly, I never saw anything bad. It was nice stuff. Usually I get wristbands, nice leather wristbands or nice chains but there was a gift once, in London, at the Marquee club, the fan was called Dave and I got a gold ring, with a golden heart and that was my first gift. I still have it and Dave is still a fan. He comes to all the London shows. I thought ‘wow’ and I asked him ‘why do you give me a gift?’ and he looked at me and he said ‘well, I want to give you a gift to show how great you are’. I thought ‘wow, thank you’, I couldn’t even understand. It was so sweet. It was ’84 or ’85, my first gig in London ever.
I always get nice stuff, some chains or leather, and they always say can we exchange? Never anything bad though, I don’t recall anything bad. Sometimes I get a new jean vests with patches, people who love the show and take off their jacket.
You’ve worked with some righteous musicians, talk to me about an experience that you cherish?
Every experience, every single artist, was a highlight in my life. I appreciate every chance to do something together but I must say the last duet ‘It Still Hurts’ with Lemmy on the ‘Raise Your Fist’ album, it was probably now the one that I treasure the most because it was the last time working with him. We always had so much fun in the studio. I imagine the first time, I think it was in ’84 and ever since we stayed great friends and worked together in the studio many times. And the last time, the song is a ballad, it’s a beautiful soulful ballad and we always play it at the end of our shows, when we take a bow and say goodbye. People sometimes even start crying because it’s so emotional.
Lemmy is the best at ballads (writing and singing), his voice is so humble sounding!
Very human, very soulful. I love one song so much, it’s called ‘Lost In The Ozone’, it’s one of my favourite Motorhead songs. I think oh, the melody, the lyrics, I mean I love ‘Ace Of Spades’ and all the heavy stuff, but the soulful stuff, oh boy…
You love America, you’ve said in the past that you feel you were born with an American Heart?
I fell in love with America. Absolutely. I think America is a better place for music, and movie making; more professional, more people who are crazy enough to do stuff. I would never have done the ‘Triumph And Agony’ album if I wouldn’t have gone to New York. For me that was ‘wow’. Great people, great food, not so much any more, most of the studios had to close doors because the music scene is different now but god, it was great.
I was there in ’86 for three days and then I stayed. I fell in love with it. Everything fell into place, I met great people, I wrote great songs like ‘All We Are’, it was the right time and the right place. New York in the ’80s, wow.
Many female musicians talk about how they were predominantly influenced by other females – does this apply to you?
Actually, when I started there weren’t so many female musicians. I love Rock Goddess, I love that band. I remember them from England, but that was about it. I didn’t know many female metal musicians but to me, it never mattered. I was a big fan of Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale and to me it didn’t matter that they were men, I never thought in that way. The main thing was if somebody was singing great, or performing great or having great songs. I loved Ann Wilson from Heart too, but for metal? Rock Goddess and Girlschool too, who were always great friends. They were super cool.
Wendy O, totally ruled!… a true reform school girl on the loose!
I loved her, I thought she was great. Unfortunately I never met her, I met her band. She wanted to come down to a show in America, we were on tour, and then she couldn’t because she had pneumonia and the guys said ‘well she gives her regards, she wanted to come and say hi’. I was on tour too so I totally understand when you’re not feeling well on tour, that’s always hardcore. But I loved her. The attitude, I loved that. So kickass. Good that you mentioned her.
What’s your favourite Karaoke song to sing?
God, oh, I’ve never done karaoke so I’m not sure.
What does ‘Unholy Love’ mean for Doro?
It means the most intense, kind of, romantic, scary, dark feeling of love and relationships. There’s an element of danger, I guess. It can get quite crazy.
OK, this is the quick fire round – the lucky seven:
Judas Priest or Maiden?
Oh, no, oh Judas Priest. It was my first tour and they gave us a big chance to make it and Rob Halford is still a great friend, so… I love Maiden but Judas Priest opened it up for me.
Tapes or Records?
Ah, records. Vinyl, I think, I’m old school. I love vinyl. I put all my records on cassette back in the day, that was the cool thing to do but vinyl, I love having that in my hands, looking at the artwork, having the whole experience.
Bra or Braless?
That depends. Now I think a bra [laughs].
Ozzy or Dio?
God, I love them both but Dio, that was my second tour in 1987 and he was my favourite singer and my main inspiration so Ronnie James Dio. I love them both but Ronnie wins.
Whips or Chains?
Chains. I love chains.
Steins or Pints?
Punk or Hippy?
Finally, magical powers… illustrator Geoffrey Gillespie creates these fantastical illustrations of you, so apart from your vocals what would you say was your magical power?
I would say, my soul. I think I’m a very soulful person and I always do whatever is in line with my soul, what I feel. I would say heart and soul, that’s for me. That’s where the true magic lies.
Oh one more, I love hearing how musicians describe themselves – Ozzy in the ’80s described himself as “Coco the Clown on LSD”; how would you describe yourself?
Oh… that’s very hard. I feel very similar to this woman in the ‘Heavy Metal’ movie, that’s what I want to say I feel like. The one with the white long hair. TAARNA!!!
Don’t burn the witches; they’re not that bad…they only want your soul and blood.
‘Strong And Proud – 30 Years of Rock and Metal’ is currently available to purchase from Nuclear Blast on the following formats: 2 Blu-ray, 3 DVD-Digi, CD, Earbook (also Earbook in a tote bag), 2LP (black, blue, silver).
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