Interview conducted April 25 2013
Interview published April 29 2013
A few hours before Doro's gig in
Stockholm, Sweden, I had the pleasure to talk with the Metal Queen for
30 minutes. There were lots of laughter and smiles and she seems to be
an adorable person from what I could tell and also her behavior seems
a bit shy.
The venue, Klubben, is located in
a former industrial area and has a long wharf by the canal. Nowadays only
harboring new and thereby expensive apartments and mostly offices. A total
make over of the area was done due to its location close to Stockholm's
inner city some decade ago. I park my car and start my mighty two minute
walk down to the venue and soon I hear children's voices and I pass by
kindergarten and think; really? here? The view of the venue's hundred
feet tall Eastern facade, with its gray tone and a stairwell, visible
through the windows are totally depressing. Poor kids.
I pick up my phone to inform Doro's
representative for tonight about my arrival. No answer and I start to
walk to the rear of the building, wait two minutes and pick up my phone
again. 30 seconds later I'm guided through the inner halls of the venue's
backstage area, which actually holds almost nothing more than a tight
corridor and a few rooms. Although I'm listed as Doro's second interview
for the day, we're already 15 minutes behind schedule and I just have
to face that the schedule's are tight in this business, so I actually
don't give it much thought. I talk to her representative and occasionally
to a pair of members of Doro's band and since I'm wearing a Monsters Of
Rock Cruise cap, drummer Johnny Dee, gladly tells me that they will play
that cruise next year.
I'm once again guided through the
hallway and enter a small space and meet Doro. She offers me something
to drink before we get down to business. Beer or water, so there we are
drinking water from bottles. Very metal, huh? We chit chat for a few seconds
as I get my gear set. A recording device also known as iPhone 4. Classy!
I tell her that I'm now recording as Johnny Dee enters and read the logo
on my cap for Doro. She smiles and tell me Johnny were there this year
too, as he close the door and leave.
Tobbe: So let's start with your latest album.
What are your and the fans' reflections of it after about 6 months past
She looks excited when she tells me:
Doro: So far
it's been great. We're always playing Raise Your Fist In The Air.
I think it's like our new All We Are (huge smile). It's a great anthem
and it's going down very well. And Hero, the song dedicated to Ronnie.
That's always something the fans wanna hear. Very touching and a few
lines are just like aah. It's very soulful. Then we usually do Rock
Till Death which has a good sing-a-long part and Revenge is a song
that everybody seem to like.
Yes, I like that song. I think it's the best one on the album. I kinda
like the speedier songs.
Tobbe: Not many people have tributes to
them like with Hero. When will you have songs like this, dedicated to
you? Or have someone already did this?
Doro now twists and turns and she
seems shy trying to answer this straight to the heart-question with good
Tobbe: Yes, they're from Sweden. From Falun,
a town about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Stockholm. You know these
guys have their own festival and recently renamed it to Sabaton Open Air?
Tobbe: What about the duet with Lemmy? I
suppose you're long-time friends.
Doro: Yes, long-time friends. From the early
eighties. We did two duets before on the Calling The Wild album and
one time we covered the Motörhead classic Love Me Forever. I
love that song so much and also we did Alone Again, which is a song
Lemmy wrote and he played it for me on an acoustic guitar and I said;
ooh that's so soulful. So when I wrote It Still Hurts, then I thought
I want to ask (whispering) Lemmy if he wants to learn that song and
I made a little demo and played it for him and he said; let's do it.
I did it the same night as when I did Eddie Trunk's That Metal Show
in L.A. We did that show in the afternoon and at night we recorded
Lemmy's vocals. Every word he sang gave me the chills. It was super,
so it's a great honor to have Lemmy singing on the record. We did
a couple of things together in the past and toured together, I love
Lemmy, but who doesn't? (sighs)
Tobbe: Well, I've never met him, but I've
heard stories. I guess I've got to head for the Rainbow Bar to meet him.
He's probably sitting in his chair or something.
Tobbe: Let's focus on your younger days
for a while. When you where young, like ten years old or so, did you have
hopes to be on stage and perform in front of larger crowds?
Said with great empathy and passion. Whispering,
Doro: Actually I wanted to become a singer
when I was three years old. Back then there was no heavy metal, remember.
There was some other music and one song that totally got me hooked
was Little Richard's Lucille. I listened to it over and over and over
and my parents thought that there's something wrong with that girl,
and I wanted to become a singer from that day on actually. Then I
grew up in like the glam rock times when I was like seven, eight,
nine years old. Alice Cooper, Sweet, Slade, T-Rex and later Led Zeppelin
and then when I was fifteen I had my first band and I just loved it.
I didn't think of any career or about making a record. We just had
a band and we were rehearsing every day, every day to get better.
Then I had another band and another band and then we founded Warlock
and then we had a fan club and we didn't even know that the fan club
guys sent out little cassette tapes, you know like self-made.
Suddenly we had four record deals on the table from independent record
labels and a couple of the guys in the band said that they didn't
want to make a record and some said; let's do one. You know, then
we convinced the other guys who said they didn't want to do a record
and we said; let's do it, and then we did Burning The Witches. We
had no idea that anybody would know about it or find out and suddenly
it sold like 25000 copies in the first months. We said; what the hell,
who even knows that we exist? It was such a surprise. Yeah, and then
we did another record, Hellbound and a third one, True As Steel and
then we got the Judas Priest tour. That was my first time in Sweden.
That's was actually also the time when I quit my job and wanted to
do this for the rest of my life.
That was actually my next question, you know, when you realized you would
make a career out of this? What eventually brought you into metal then?
You said your influences were mostly early seventies.
Doro: Actually when I had my first bands, we
were just playing what we liked and writing our own songs. Then some
fans came into our rehearsal room and asked us if we were a metal
band and we said; we don't know (whispering), but it sounded cool.
Back then, there weren't any magazines, nothing. Of course no internet,
nothing. It was just like it all went through, you know, mouth to
mouth. If a band came to town, you know, a friend or a brother of
the friend would tell you. It was 1980 and I saw my first concert.
I actually started in 1980, but we count from our first record release.
That's how we count, the real years, like the professional years.
Whitesnake was my first rock concert and then Judas Priest with Accept
and the third one was Dio, and then we kind of knew that we were a
metal band. That's how things went. I've always loved the real deal,
the high energy, very soulful stuff and I never liked pop music. I've
always liked the real shit, the real deal and the more we saw, wow,
the better it was. I saw Raven and Venom and then we played with Metallica.
Actually when they just had their first record out. It was the first
couple of gigs in some small clubs and we didn't even think about
it any more. We were part of the metal community (laughs).
Tobbe: You've been pretty consistent through
the years with album releases and stuff. Don't you ever get fed up with
it and want to go into pottery or something and feel you don't want to
do this anymore?
Doro: Oh no, never (looks surprised). Still
the songs I loved in 1983, I still love. I'm always happy when I see
songs like All We Are, Für Immer and Burning The Witches on the
playlist, because I know the fans will go like crazy and that's my
biggest joy, to see the fans happy. Not one song ever bored me. Not
one song ever got old to me. Every day is a new challenge and I'm
always like highly self motivated, so when I see something it's all
new again. Even if I've been doing this for over twenty-nine years,
I still feel like I've just started a couple of things recently.
Tobbe: Perhaps it's easier for you, considering
what you do and people chanting your name, comparing to a regular guy
going to his office or something where people don't say shit to him? You
have all these fans telling they love you and it's probably easier for
you to get up and do your job.
Doro: Absolutely, absolutely (nods). You always
wanna do something good and give something back and it makes you feel
so good. Even if there's only ten people there, I would act the same
as when playing Sweden Rock and Wacken. It all about feeling connected.
Tobbe: You're playing both those festival
Doro: Yes, what a start to celebrate the thirty
year anniversary in Wacken. You know, Burning The Witches came out
in '83, '84.
Do you sometimes reflect on your past and take pride in what you've done?
Lying in your bed and think that you've achieved pretty much in your life?
Doro: Oh, you know what, I
moment followed by a long pause and she really don't know what to
say). Not really, because every day is a new place. You know going
to Stockholm and to another place the next day and I want to concentrate
at the moment and make a great concert, so it doesn't matter what
you've done ten years ago, or what you've done yesterday or twenty
years ago. You wanna do good right now and that's always a big challenge
to do your best every day. I face every day like this could be the
last concert, but then when you're totally exhausted, totally you
know. like tired and beaten and the body is like oh, you know, and
you know the next day is coming in a couple of hours, it's sometimes
rough, but it's okay. I mean, sometimes when I see all the photos
and special fans have their record collections and they bring old
photos (now excited). My first tour was actually with Judas Priest
in Europe and then we hopped on the W.A.S.P. tour and then on the
Dio tour in '87 and when I see photos or old tickets, that's wow.
Was that me thirty years ago? Wow, that's something. That's sometimes
But yes, there are times I think about it,
but it always motivates me to do every day my best. Sometimes you
know, when everybody were going crazy on metal and then in the nineties
it was so tough, when Guns was big. Some bands weren't given any support
by the industry. I think the fans were still there, but the industry
suddenly dropped bands, so it was hard to hang in there. I know the
best and the worst times of metal and I wanna concentrate on the positive
things (whispers). Actually we always had enough fans in the nineties
just to go and play. Not everywhere, because the records weren't released
world wide anymore.
For example, in America it was totally dead. It was only grunge. I
did pretty much all the records in America and I was so happy when
something was done and finished, and then I went to the record company
and said the new record is done and they were all excited and said;
that's great, let's hear it and they said it doesn't sound grunge.
I said; no, what do you mean? They told me this is the grunge times
and I said I didn't feel it and that's not my thing. I could never
do that and I can't even listen to it, so it was record after record
like that. But then in 1999, I felt metal is slowly, but truly coming
back and then in 2000 we did a long tour with Ronnie James Dio in
America and there we became really good friends. In '87, we toured
together for the first time, but I couldn't speak English that well.
Our conversations were very limited. Then it was in 2000 and he was
very, very funny. He definitely could crack the best jokes.
Tobbe: So where do you see yourself in ten
Doro: (thinking) I hope I will have done (whispers
in excitement) many more records that hopefully mean something to
the fans. More great songs, more great collaborations. At the moment
I'm just in the middle of writing music for the movie Anuk - The Path
Of The Warrior part 2. I just filmed it. We filmed the first part
in 2007 and I did all the music together with the guy who's doing
the movie, Luke Gasser. So now we're just in the middle of doing the
second part and it's always a big challenge to do nice music for movies.
Usually it's without words, maybe just in the end of the movie, but
that's nice and it will come out next year and then we're ready to
celebrate the thirty year anniversary. Maybe I wanna do another record,
maybe with an orchestra or an unplugged thing. Something special and
then playing all the nice ruins and castles, something magical and
mystical. But basically just doing more records, more shows, touring
around the world. Doing like the cruise ships. Now it's the Full Metal
Cruise coming up in May, departing from Hamburg, goes to Amsterdam,
Paris, London and then I guess the Monsters Of Rock Cruise next year
(she has spotted my cap with the cruise's logo).
Tobbe: And 70000 Tons Of Metal this January
too. What's your thing with cruises?
Yes, there's a good atmosphere there and the weather is great on the Florida
cruises. People are having a good time, drinking beer or whatever.
Tobbe: Yeah, that's a great cruise. I was
there in '11 and '12, but this year I went to the Monsters Of Rock Cruise,
because my buddies wanted to go on that one.
Tobbe: Let's focus on an infected topic.
Illegal downloading. What are your thoughts about that?
She sighs and says:
Doro: I'll tell you what. On one hand it's
great that everybody have access to all kinds of music. On the other
hand, I know it hurts the music business so much (heavy sighing) and
some of the record companies I've been with don't exist anymore. They
couldn't keep it going anymore, because there's not enough record
sales. That's really sad. They were good people, good companies and
I'm missing all the record stores. For example, in America there are
no more record stores. Just very rare, hard to find. All the big record
chains, like Tower Records, which I remember we always did great on
sessions at and they supported the new record and they always did
something special. You could go there 24 hours. At 6 a.m. to get your
favorite records or just to look at them. I miss that so much.
Today, you can get everything online, but I'm an old school person.
I love the album artworks, I still love vinyls. (her whole body is
now talking to me) I love the old stuff, like the package, the booklets,
the photos, the paintings. Most of the time, we had a painting and
I think it's so sad when you just get the song over the internet.
I think, for a band, usually it's the whole package of art, artwork
and music. It's all one. It's not just only one song, so I think,
on one hand it's very ambivalent and it's sad that some really good
stuff is totally gone. (a knock on the door and I see an index finger,
meaning we've got one minute to go.) On the other hand, I guess it's
great, very convenient. It's good and bad at the same. But all the
record companies I loved, the people are out of jobs and it's tough.
We are now interrupted when a pair of guys enter
the room and Doro's schedule is checked. She says no to food at the moment
and says she's in a talking mode right now, so we get about five minutes
You seem to have a thing for singing a few tracks on your records in different
languages. Why don't you do all of them in English? Is this a way to express
Doro: I love to sing in different languages.
On some records, I've sung in French, Portuguese and Spanish. It feels
good. For example, in Spain, not many people speak English, so sometimes
I feel an extra connection when I sing in Spanish. The same with Brazil,
with Portuguese. It's like making an effort to click with the fans,
you know. I know in Sweden, everybody speaks English, but sometimes
the lyrics just pop up in German. The first idea was actually Für
Immer on the Triumph And Agony album and it was a big, big song. World
wide I sing the song in German. Actually a little English and a Spanish
sentence, but when something comes out, maybe it's meant to be? On
the last record it was Herzblut. I translated it into other languages,
but English didn't work, because the word Herzblut has a special meaning.
I tried to describe it in different ways in French and it was okay.
Spanish was okay, but the English version somehow didn't feel right,
so sometimes the song tells you what it wants. It's very interesting
when you listen close. Once in a while, I think it's something different
and if people are into it that's good and (whispers) if they don't
like the German ones, they can skip it.
Tobbe: So what's easiest or most difficult
to write lyrics to? The ballads or the metal songs? You know, emotions
versus raw power.
Doro: I can't say which is easiest. Everything
is always equal. Sometimes something just pops out and it's just like
wow. For example, I'll tell you, for the Triumph And Agony album,
we had the whole album written. Everything was done and I was completely
happy. I was satisfied and I was at peace, that's when I can sleep.
I now have the songs and I'm happy and then I talked to the producer
Joey Balin and said I wanted to do just one more song and he said;
what the hell, we've got nothing to lose, what do you wanna do? (really
excited now) I said; I wanna have the most brutal, the most aggressive,
the most speed, hard core song in the world, and out came Für
Immer. So sometimes it's a miracle when stuff comes out. Don't think
about it too much, just let it come out of your deepest soul and heart.
I think that's the best.
Sometimes a song is written immediately, sometimes it takes a longer
time and sometimes something is very important to me like the Ronnie
James Dio song, Hero. It was very important to me, so I went to sleep
and suddenly I had the melody and the lyrics in my head, and then
I asked Joey to help me finish the verses, because it needs to be
perfect. He was on tour with me in '87, so that's why I called him
and he knew Ronnie, and I wanted to make sure that every word was
just right. So if you wanna write a song about a certain person or
a certain subject, that's actually very easy, I would say. Because
you know exactly what you wanna say or how you wanna do it, but if
you just like let it flow, it's sometimes an adventure. Usually it's
not easy, but once in a while you get that magical thing that happens
very fast. When I hear my heart is beating like crazy and I can't
sleep because I'm so excited about it. Then I know it's something
and then I feel if I get totally excited about it, then I think, yes
I can show it to the fans and maybe they'll feel the same. When you
love something totally, then you can present it to other people and
there's a big chance they might love it as well.
Tobbe: Well, that's it. We're out of time.
I guess we're done here. They'll probably break the door soon. Thank you
very much, Doro. It was a pleasure to see you.
Tobbe: There were a few left, but you will
never get to see them.
(This is where I turned off my recordings, which
was rather stupid, because we talked for a couple of minutes in the hallway
about tonight's show, and among other things she asked me which songs
I wanted to hear and also we talked more about the Florida/Caribbean/Bahamas
cruises, before we eventually said goodbye.)
See also: review
of the gig the same night