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Interview conducted June 13 2018
Interview published August 3 2018

"I never needed a steady place. I guess it's in my blood to be on tour."

Our very own metal queen Doro puts out a double album, Forever Warriors/Forever United, on August 17th and Metal Covenant met up with the German born singer as she visited Stockholm in mid-June for some promotional work.

Tobbe: My first question is kind of obvious. Why a double album?

Doro: Because we had so many songs. After a while it was 35 songs and I thought "Man! Some of them are really good." and I was weeding out already all the songs down to maybe 10 or 12 and then I called the record company and I said "I have so many songs. I would like to do a double album.". It's very unusual in this day and age. Nobody does it anymore. I said "We have songs of, I think, very high quality" and they said "Okay. Let's think about it." and a couple of months ago they called me and said "Okay. Go for it! Do it!".

And I was so happy because I could put stuff on the record, which I normally can't do, like special songs. We have some cover versions and I love the songs so much. We probably wouldn't put cover versions on a normal album, or maybe one song, but now we have a couple.

Tobbe: But 25 songs [including bonus tracks.]. Isn't that maybe too much for people in 2018?

Doro: I think the fans have so much heart and soul and they would like, you know, listening to more songs. And every song is different; every song is unique. Some are, like, heavy and fast, and many anthems, and some are very soulful, so I guess there's songs for every mood. I guess the fans will like it, yeah.

And it's not something that's going away quick. I think maybe you can stay with this album, you know, for a long time. You know, go back and listen to some songs, which hopefully make you feel good. That was the mission behind the album, that it gives out good energy, that it's empowering.

Tobbe: I would say that the albums are musically a little bit different, because Warriors is more the kick-ass album and United is more the emotional one.

Doro: Yeah, exactly. You're absolutely right. Forever United is more emotional, more personal and there's maybe one more ballad on it. Forever Warriors is, yeah, heavier and has heavy songs like Bastardos on it, which is one of the heaviest songs on this album. But I can't tell you which one I like more. It depends on the mood. I love them both and I love all the songs. It will be so hard to pick the setlist and I wanna have the fans pick the best songs for the setlist. Since we have now so many records, it's getting tough, man. [Laughs]

Tobbe: I think quite a few songs contain a really old school vocal melody, like Love's Gone To Hell and Lift Me Up, and was that something you were looking for, to maybe come out with different types of vocal styles?

Doro: No, it's just what comes out. It's just all natural, the real deal. It's honest and there's nothing fake about it and nothing like "Let's try to write a song like this.". It just comes out from, you know, the heart, the soul, the gut. Yeah, nothing is, like, pre-planned. Usually melody and words are always coming out at the same time, which I think is a good sign. Sometimes it can be different, but most of the time it is that way. And I'm a sucker for good melodies or for good hooks in the chorus, which also have to sound cool of course.

Tobbe: You also have two songs in German and will we ever see a Doro album again without lyrics in German?

Doro: Oh, I don't know. It depends. You know, I did some records where there wasn't any German songs or no real German ideas. Whenever it comes out, that's cool; when it doesn't come out, that's cool too. Yeah, this one is called Freunde Fürs Leben and it means friends for life and I can see, you know, by the end of the night, last encore: You know, everybody's just, like, arm in arm. Maybe having a couple of beers and then Freunde Fürs Leben. You know, singing along. It's a song about deep friendship that will last forever. Same type of song as Für Immer, but this one is more for friends and more in a beer drinking mode.

Tobbe: And the other one.

Doro: It is Metal Is My Alcohol, which just has two German verses. I had this idea for a long time and I always thought "Man, I wanna put it on an album.", but it's a little unusual; it's a little fun/punk. It's not the most important song, but it's so much fun and so I thought "Oh, this one I'll put on the second disc, as a bonus track.". For the die-hard fans, who appreciate, you know, different things. And I can imagine it live. That might be nice too.

Tobbe: Tell me a little bit about the two cover songs, Don't Break My Heart Again and Lost In The Ozone.

Doro: Don't Break My Heart Again: Whitesnake was actually my first live concert. It was in 1980 and it was so awesome and David Coverdale was so great. I've always loved that song and when I heard we can do a double album, I thought "Yeah! I just wanna try it out.", because I love it so much. And then we did it and it worked right away. You can tell when a song is coming out easy.

And then Lost In The Ozone: It's a cover song of Motörhead. Lemmy wrote lyrics, which I think is so soulful and sad and I thought "Man, that's nice.". That's maybe for people to connect when you feel lonely, isolated, sad. When you listen to that song, you know you're not alone.

Lemmy felt at times the same, or many people feel the same, so I think that's positive too and I think it has beautiful melodies. I'm a big Motörhead fan. I love Lemmy and I got this nice bootleg t-shirt on. He's always in my heart and I think of him almost every day and he was a big inspiration for this album.

Tobbe: And this is not the first time you kind of celebrate one of our fallen heroes.

Doro: Yeah, when Dio left. On the last record we wrote the song Hero for Ronnie. Ronnie James Dio and Lemmy were my closest friends and the most important people in the music world. We all miss them so much. And I hope, for young fans, you know 13 or 14 years old, that we can keep their legacy alive. You know, that the young metalheads will get to know all the great music.

And if you didn't have the chance to see them live: I mean, now, in this day and age, you can watch YouTube and DVDs and stuff. I definitely wanna make sure that they will never be forgotten, because, you know, time flies and so much stuff is going on, but especially for the young metalheads.

Tobbe: Is dying on stage or maybe going until the bitter end something that will suit Doro Pesch as well?

Doro: Yeah, yeah. I think I would take Lemmy as a role model: "Do it 'til the very last breath.". As long as I can do it and as long as the fans wanna see it and hear it, you know. I wanna do it to the very last day.

Tobbe: So what does death mean to you personally?

Doro: Actually, that's a good question, because there was one song on the album Love Me In Black [1998] that was called Tausend Mal Gelebt. It was a German song and it was about having many lives and if there is another lifetime. Many people asked me about the lyrics and stuff and I was so curious myself, "What is happening after you die? Is it possible to have another lifetime?". And then I met this woman, actually by accident, and she's doing reincarnations, where you go into a past life.

And I'll tell you: At first I didn't believe it, but then I had many, many experiences where I was in a past life and one time it was so awesome: I was a guy, and I almost looked like Gérard Depardieu, and I was living in Dubrovnik [In today's Croatia] in 1648. I was a guy and I loved beer and I loved prostitutes and I think I wasn't the best guy, you know. I was very selfish. I think I had a family, but I didn't take care of them and I died in jail in Dubrovnik. And the cool thing about it was: I did it once, and it was for a TV channel, and then I thought "That's so absurd.", because the people who were watching that show can't imagine that a little girl would be a big guy who looks like Gérard Depardieu, like "That is impossible.". So one year later they called me up and there was another guy working at this TV thing and I said "You know what? We would like to do it again. It sounds so absurd. Can we do it again?".

So I met this lady again, her name is Ursula Demarmels, and we did it again, and it was actually pretty difficult to go right back into that life. Anyhow, I went back into that life, it was filmed again, and then I went to Dubrovnik, where I have never played before. We have played all over the world, but I was never in Dubrovnik. So we went there with the film team and then they were just putting me somewhere and they said "Okay. Now lead us." and I said "I don't know the way." and they said "Well, maybe you can feel it out." and I'll tell you: instantly it started, and then I said "Okay. That's where I met the prostitute. That's where I went to drink beer. That's where I died.". It was a jail underneath the mayor's office. I could tell them everything and it was really weird.

So to make a long story short, I'm a good friend of this woman, Ursula, and we did this a couple of times and I really believe in many, many lifetimes and I believe you have to do good in your life. That was always the message I got when I was waking up. It's kind of a trance; you can still talk. So I believe that there are many lives and that it's not the end when you die and that the soul has no beginning/no end. That's what I kind of felt and I'm still curious about how it really is, but I got, you know, a little bit more, and I thought "Man, that's really cool, that it's not all gone.", so I definitely have that feeling that I will meet Lemmy and Dio again, you know. So, who knows?

And that's so cool when you write a song, that you can write about stuff like this, which is a little bit, you know, unusual, or a little bit out there, and then when a song actually leads you to some other people or some other situations… Man, to me music is magic and that's what I live for; for the fans and for music and I would like to do it, you know, for a long, long, long, long time and many, many, many more records and many more, like, duets and doing stuff with many other friends and musicians.

Tobbe: You were a guest singer on Amon Amarth's last album [Jomsviking, 2016.], so having Johan Hegg on your album was kind of returning the favor, right?

Doro: Yeah actually, but it wasn't planned. I was watching Amon Amarth in Wacken, maybe 4 years ago. I was on stage and I loved it and I thought it was so cool. I loved Johan's energy and I loved how he was, you know, working the crowd. Everybody was happy, the energy was awesome. So I told my tour manager, who was with me on stage, "Hans. Man, I love that band. I would love to do something together.". And then I didn't do anything; I didn't tell anybody else.

And we went on tour and were doing stuff in the studio and then a couple of months later I got an e-mail from Amon Amarth and it said "Hey Doro. Would you like to do a duet? We are doing a new album." and I thought "Oh, my God. They felt the same." and I said "Yes, absolutely.". So they sent me the song. The title wasn't there yet, but I loved the song.

Then I flew to Birmingham [England] and actually Andy Sneap, who's now in Judas Priest, was the recording engineer and the producer, and he and Johan picked me up and I said "Well, let's have dinner and then tomorrow we'll do it.". They said "Do you wanna check out the new record?". It wasn't mixed yet, but it was pretty done, and I was blown away and I said "No dinner! Let's go right to the studio. I would love to do it tonight.". We grabbed a little bite, but then we went right to the studio that night to record that song and I think it came out great.

Next day we just did a little touch-ups and then it came out so nice. It's called A Dream That Cannot Be and I was a guest on their shows a couple of times, in Wacken, and some of those festivals, Rock am Ring, which is another big festival in Germany. And then I had Johan sing on All For Metal actually, when we were doing the Wacken show. We didn't have If I Can't Have You - No One Will yet. And then I played last year: We celebrated the Warlock album Triumph And Agony. It was out 30 years ago and my old guitar player Tommy Bolan and I were always staying friends and I said "Hey Tommy! Shall we rehearse a little bit?", because, you know, this album was great.

So we said "Let's do it in its entirety for the first time." and the first gig was actually Sweden Rock. And the next time we did Norway Rock, the same Triumph And Agony show, and we got along great. Tommy is full of energy. He's a great guy. Very unique guitar player. Always sweating and, you know, jumping around like a maniac. He is a real powerhouse. And then we had enough energy left after the gig and we went to our hotel room and said "Shall we jam a little bit?" and then 5 o'clock in the morning we came up with this idea If I Can't Have You - No One Will and then I thought "Maybe that's a song for Johan.".

It's a passionate, brutal love story. It's not a ballad; it's a brutal song. Yeah, and then Johan wrote the verses for it and I think it might be the second single. It makes me so happy and I'm so proud. I think he's a great singer and front person and, yeah, I love his energy.

Tobbe: Will we ever see another Warlock tour maybe? And maybe not celebrating an album that time.

Doro: Yeah, actually I would like to play maybe a couple of more shows here and there, doing the Triumph And Agony album and then maybe doing a Triumph And Agony live album next year and then maybe write some new songs for it. And of course we will always play the classics. You know, when we do our own gig, sometimes on a festival it's limited time, but when we do our own gig we always play of course Burning The Witches and all the other goodies. Tommy and I get along so good. So here and there, some more gigs. I would like that.

Tobbe: Will there ever come a time where you might celebrate a full Doro album instead of a full Warlock album?

Doro: I didn't think about it yet, but yesterday when I was doing the promo tour, a journalist in Helsinki asked me the same question and I thought "Wow!" and that was the first time that I was thinking about it and why not tell you, I don't know. I think the Triumph And Agony album was such a strong album. I love that album and I don't know if I wanna do another album in its entirety. Maybe put in 2 or 3 albums together.

And now when this record is coming out I hope it will have a long life and that we will tour all over, you know, and play all these songs, so I definitely wanna concentrate on the new one first before anything else, you know. But yeah, we'll see, you know. Sometimes things just come up and you never know. I always go with the flow, I always go by instinct and when it feels right, you know. Any idea can be a good idea, even when it is a little bit different.

Tobbe: You live in the States and have been for a long time, even if you still spend a lot of time in Europe, and you told me earlier that you have found a new place over there.

Doro: Yeah, I had to, because two times my place in Long Island got flooded and everything got, like, destroyed. So everything is in the ocean; everything I've ever collected. I have another place in Düsseldorf, because my mom is still living there and I always have to take care of her. You know, when I'm not on the road. It's now my time, and when parents get older it's difficult.

And I have another place in Florida, because I couldn't take the cold anymore. Sometimes I was finishing a tour and I was so sick and then I went back to New York and then it was even more snow than in Europe. I thought I needed to go somewhere where it's a little bit warmer, but I'll tell you: the whole climate changed. I was just in Florida two weeks ago and it rained, it was cold, and then in Germany it was hot as hell, you know. But yeah, I found a little place in Florida. I still have a little something in New York, but we couldn't get it together anymore, because the first time when it was this hurricane, the water was, like, one meter high, everything was pretty bad, but we thought "Well, we will manage.".

But then one year later it was the same, but even more severe. And then I waited for a long time, because when always being on tour and doing a new record, I could never really, you know, take care of it. It takes years to really build something up again. I have an apartment in Florida, but the hurricane season just started, so we'll see. [Laughs]

Tobbe: Are there many mixed emotions when you travel back and forth between those places? Like, is this home, or is this home?

Doro: Yeah. When I'm in America, after a little while I miss Europe, and when I'm in Europe, then I miss America. Somehow you gain something and you lose something. And usually I'm on tour, so I feel at home everywhere. When we do a record, wherever it is, I feel: that's my home. And the tour bus, that's the greatest place for me, because I grew up in a truck. My dad was a truck driver and I was always, you know, riding with him. I never needed a steady place. I guess it's in my blood to be on tour. Having one suitcase and, yeah, that's good enough.

Tobbe: I'm mostly the opposite. I like to travel a little bit, but I always love being home.

Doro: Yeah, I don't have a real nice home. It's just: I put my stuff, my records, my magazines, my stage clothes there. It's not as cozy as other apartments. It's more like a work thing. And then I get all these things, like I get equipment: "Can you put it in your flat?" and "Yeah, yeah.", so I have, you know, tons of stuff from the band there. [Laughs]

Tobbe: If you hadn't moved from Germany when you did, do you think you would have considered moving later or would you have stayed there for the rest of your life?

Doro: I think it would have been impossible to stay only in Germany, because when you see the world and when you go on tour once, you see so many great places, you meet so many cool people, you learn about different mentalities, different ways of life. Yeah, you can't go back anymore. You can't just go back to one place.

Germany is pretty cool, but it's very serious, and in the '80s it was a darker place, not so happy and uplifting. Everybody was a little bit more critical when I had an idea, like a song idea or a crazy idea. It was immediately "Oh, not that shit.", you know. And when I came to America, when I had an idea, maybe a little bit crazy, then the crazier the better and the engineer and the musicians said "Yeah! Let's go for it! Let's do it!" and I was like "Wow!", because I wasn't used to that in Germany. Yeah, stuff like that.

The Triumph And Agony album would have never been recorded in Germany. No way. I felt more support in America. For example, when I was singing in Germany they said "Do you have to sing that loud and scream all the time?" and in America they said "That scream is awesome! Do it again!". I could be myself more and that was a good feeling, you know.

But everywhere in this world, wherever there are metalheads and rock fans, that's where I feel good, you know. It doesn't have to be fancy. It can be the shittiest club, you know. I would play and we'll have a good time and make sure everybody has a good time and that the fans take something home, like "Man, I had an awesome evening.".

Tobbe: And when you're back in Germany, besides visiting your mother and stuff, do you have a special place where you like to go?

Doro: Actually I'm a big fan of martial arts. I love martial arts. I did Thai boxing in the mid '90s and then I started with Wing Chun and another one I love is called Eskrima, which is like fighting with sticks, knives and stuff. But I toured for too long, so that group isn't anymore and my trainer said "Nobody showed up anymore. When you were on tour, then we could keep it going for a couple of months, but it was too long.".

So now I'm back to doing Wing Chun, but it's hard when you're not there every week and you don't know what the guys and girls have learned. Sometimes I take some private lessons to keep up. And it's good, you know. Physically you feel fit, and you might defend yourself just in case you get into trouble, you know.

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