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Interview conducted July 30 2022
Interview published August 6 2022

"All for the fans, and all for metal, yes."

Doro and her backing band, which has quite recently gone through slight member changes, came to Skogsröjet festival in Sweden in late July, and Metal Covenant got a chance to once again talk with a frontwoman who lives and breathes heavy metal in every single way.

Tobbe: It's been 4 years since the double CD was out, and when can we expect a new Doro record?

Doro: Yeah, it's in the making. Between the Forever Warriors / Forever United we did two releases. I did it on my own label, the Magic Diamonds album, with 56 songs. We re-recorded some songs, there was some special songs, there was some demos on there, and, you know, our favorites. That was, like, a best of.

And then we did the Triumph And Agony - Live. Most of the stuff is from Sweden Rock. On the CD there's a little from our Spain tour. But mainly it's Sweden Rock. Because we celebrated Triumph And Agony, and that was definitely one of my favorite records. Yeah, so that's what we did in the last years, and the new album is to 70 percent done.

Tobbe: But it won't be out until 2023, I guess.

Doro: Yeah, yeah. Because I wanna do vinyl, and colored vinyl, and that's very, very difficult to get these days. You have to wait sometimes 6-9 months to get it manufactured. So yeah, definitely next year.

And next year my 40-year anniversary is coming up, so we wanna celebrate it big, on a couple of festivals and in my former hometown Düsseldorf, where everything started. It's the 28th of October. It was called Philips Halle, where we did our 20-year anniversary, when Lemmy came and everybody. Now it's called Mitsubishi Electric Halle, but it's the Philips Halle. For us it's that historic place, Philips Halle, but, you know, sometimes there's venues that change.

Tobbe: You know, that Triumph And Agony - Live album was released in September last year, but it was recorded in June 2017.

Doro: Actually we recorded a lot, but the first time we did the Triumph And Agony was in Sweden, and it was the best. It had the most magic. That festival is great. They had great cameras. We actually did a little tour before that in the States, but we didn't record anything, and now we thought, "Well, let's do it on the festivals.". And then we got invited and this one, yeah, had the most magic, so that was it. But we recorded some more, to 2019.

Tobbe: Okay, yeah. And that's why it took so long to get it out, because it was over 4 years from Sweden Rock to the album was out.

Doro: Yes, yes. But there's something to be said about doing something for the first time. Even the takes I do in the studio when I sing. Sometimes the first takes are the best. Like almost every time, yeah. Then you can be lucky if the engineer is ready. You know, sometimes it's just a soundcheck, "Did you record it?" - "No.". But it had so much magic, so.

Tobbe: You have talked about that 1987 record, Triumph And Agony, ever since the reunion, like, 6 or 7 years ago. Don't you ever get tired of talking about that album, and the live album now?

Doro: No, no, no. Because I love the songs. I still love the songs as much as, you know, when we first put it out. And it has great memories. Our opener is most of the time I Rule The Ruins, and almost immediately, you know, you are in the right mind frame and then we go, and I love it.

And All We Are and Für Immer. All We Are is a song we always play, and I know people are so happy to sing along. It brings everybody in a good mood, and, you know, you can definitely forget everything around you, or whatever. Everyday shit, all your problems. It's a really feel-good song.

Yeah, so I'm always happy when we play the songs, or when I talk about the songs. And when I love something, then I always love it. It never gets old, or I never change my mind.

With each record or a song… You know, sometimes there were, like, some songs which I thought, "Hmm, I don't know if I feel good about it." and then everybody said, "Oh, you will grow into it. You will learn to love it. In a year you will be so thankful that we put…", but never, no. But when I love something, I always do.

Tobbe: And to keep bugging you about that record. When will you celebrate that record once again?

Doro: [Laughs] Oh, man. Well, maybe. Some fans ask, "Hey! Would you ever celebrate Burning The Witches, or Hellbound, or Force Majeure?". There are so many records now. I think almost 20. But I have no plans, as we speak. Maybe, maybe, someday. But first we wanna do the 40-year anniversary.

Tobbe: Warlock had a lot of member changes in the '80s. Did you guys even get to the point where you could have that real band feeling?

Doro: Well, it was very difficult when the first bandmember had to leave. And it wasn't our decision. The decision was from the record company. Because they read a review in an English magazine, and then they said, "Well, you have to get rid of one of the guitar players." and I'm like, "What?". It was terrible. I said, "No, no. We definitely can't do it. We are all friends.". And then our manager said, "Okay, if you guys don't fire one guitar player, I will go.".

And back then, at the time, to get a manager was, like, there weren't any managers, and you had no idea what a manager was even for, what he or she would do. So he said, "Well, I made a handshake deal with the record company. We will have a new guitar player." and I said, "No way." and then he said, "No, I'm serious. I will leave, and then you guys are nowhere." and I said, "No. We will keep the lineup the way it is." and then he said, "No. The record company boss told me already that if you do that, that's it. They are not giving you another chance to do another record, so.".

So that was pretty tough. And we didn't know that it would be so difficult. And actually we wanted to get the guitar player back. We thought, "Okay. We'll let him go, and then a little bit later we tell everybody that we put him back in the band.".

But the thing was, he was drinking a lot, so everybody said, "This dude has to go because he drinks too much.". I thought, "If it's not a serious problem, I don't care.", but, yeah. So that was the first time that somebody had to leave. And it was not our decision. So that was really tough. Yeah, that was the toughest.

And then everything changed, like the whole chemistry, the whole feeling, and everybody said, "You have to get somebody better." and I thought, "What? It's great already. How can it be better when you feel good?".

And then it was kind of difficult, because there was so much pressure, like from everybody, the management, the record company, the agency, and being a musician under pressure, that doesn't work, you know.

Even in the studio, and then they said, "You have to make a more commercial record. It has to sound more radio friendly.". Then the True As Steel album, which was actually a great album, but then it got mixed, and, you know, it sounded all like really radio friendly. The demos weren't so commercial. They were cool, I thought. Really metal. But when you're a young band… Man, times have changed, thankfully.

But back in the day, the industry was so powerful. Now the industry got really small and you can have your freedom. You can do whatever you want, which I love. But yeah, in the '80s: On one hand, it was great. On the other hand, yeah... You know, the stronger the industry, the bigger the industry, the more people were only interested in selling stuff. That was actually a difficult period.

But all the people we had in the band, I think they were pretty okay. But the first time, when somebody had to leave was like… You know, when your best friend suddenly has to leave, yeah. [Sighs] We always tried our best in every situation, and, you know, you always have to try to move on.

Tobbe: All you guys were young back then. Was it also difficult for the other guys with you being the shining star and they didn't really get the attention that you did?

Doro: You know, when we formed the band, everybody was, like, equal. And then suddenly, like, photo sessions, or journalists, they always want to have the singer, which is the nature of the beast in this, you know. And then being a female singer, you get even more attention. You know, the drummer said, "I wanna be in the spotlight too.", but, "Yeah, but when you're sitting behind the drums…".

You know, it was tough. And then we tried to figure out how we could do it, and then actually we talked to my first drummer and then he said, "I do a little, you know, snare solo, and I go up in front." and I think we did it a few times, but yeah, it didn't work, so. Yeah, that was strange, because we were all, you know, we were one band. Yeah, you live and learn.

But yeah, we were all equal in the beginning. [Laughs] But yeah, I got more attention than, whatever, the bass player, or the drummer, and that was sometimes a little bit tricky, you know.

But then, a little bit later, they were all really happy, because they knew they could rely on me. I would be responsible, I would do it, and I would not say, "Oh, I'm too tired." or "I'm too drunk.", whatever. So then they said, "Okay, Doro. You do it. We'll go party.". [Laughs]

So in the end I think they were all happy about it, yeah. And I love to work, so it's all I care for. And the fans. And, you know, I'm taking care of stuff.

Tobbe: What benefits have you gained over the years, just for being a woman, that men haven't gotten in the music industry?

Doro: Oh, it is hard to tell because I don't know the other side. You know, I'm a normal human being. I think that's above everything, so I don't even feel it's so different being a woman. I do my thing. I try to do the best possible. I love the fans. So sometimes maybe it's easier to sing some soulful songs, because you can really touch people's heart, and maybe that's easier for a woman, because, you know, you can have the sensitive touch.

So maybe you can sing from a really, really, deep, deep… Of course male singers can sing from their heart as well, like stuff from their heart, but I think as a woman you can have maybe a little spin, you know. Like a different aspect, and really make them feel good, like deep inside. And I'm all about feeling, and love, and heart. That's to me the most important thing.

But if I would be a man, I think I would probably feel the same. You know, when I say, "I love you.", you know, I think the audience, they know that's it true, and it's maybe a little easier when a woman tells you, "I love you.". You know, when a guy, like, "I love you.". [Laughs] But I don't know, it depends on the person. And it's really true, the fans are my first love, and that will always stay the same. Yeah, I love them. So, maybe I can easier express love.

But I don't know, everything else is pretty much the same, I guess. It's always hard work, for everybody, for every band, for every bandmember. I think it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman.

But I always felt really good with the audience. From day 1. From the first show I had a deep, deep connection, and that's still there. I'm so happy about it. It's something really intense and deep, and I love it. That's, to me, metal. That's so metal. I love it. The intensity and the power of that, you know, "I love it! Aggressive, and heavy, and hard, and fast!", but I love it really, really soulful.

And today I saw a couple of people having tears in their eyes when they sang Für Immer. Yeah, it was nice. And some people gave me the heart, you know, and it was so touching. It was really great, yeah, yeah.

Tobbe: About the drive-in shows you did a couple of years ago. I personally think that it was a fun thing to do, even if I wasn't there. But still, some other artists got upset when you did that, and don't you think that their reaction was kind of weird and unexpected?

Doro: Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally weird, totally weird. Because, you know, it's always better to play live, in any situation, than to sit on the couch and watch TV. I mean, I was so happy that we could even have a chance to still, you know, connect with the fans. Two shows. And it was good for us, because you could keep it going, you know. Nobody had to take a break. So we did some drive-in shows.

And some beach chair shows as well, which, you know, was safe, because of the Corona thing. But they had such a good time and they were sometimes so loud. And the drive-in shows, that was great, and I tried to figure out little games where people had to sit in their car, like, "OK, let me see the lights on! Honk your horn!". It was sometimes louder than our PA system. So we really had fun. You have to make the best out of it, and take chances.

At first it was different, totally different, but I thought, "OK. We have to work 10 times harder, to reach them, to get them, to make everybody feel good, to have fun.". So, it worked for us, totally, totally. But I think people who said it's not a good idea, maybe they never tried it, you know. But the option of just sitting home, to me, that's not a good option. [Laughs] And the fans were really happy. Really happy.

And sometimes I could walk into the audience, and they were all standing in front of their cars and having a great time. And it was great. Sometimes they had some little trucks, with, whatever, 6-7 people on the truck, drinking beer and having the time of their lives. It was awesome.

So, I think I would do it again, if it calls for it, yeah. But maybe it looks weird from the outside. But everybody has to do what they feel good about, and I was really happy to do it, and the guys too. The road crew too, because everybody had, you know, some work, so.

Tobbe: And today, besides music. There must be something else than music in your life. What else than music occupies time in your life today?

Doro: Everything is always connected to music. So yeah, we are doing some exciting things, like doing some movies. But we perform in the movies, so, that's pretty good. And we are doing some TV shows, and actually, in two days it starts, and then in three days we do another TV thing. Yeah, and there's a movie coming out, about a festival in Germany, a big festival. [Laughs]

I think I'm maybe not supposed to tell you the exact thing. But it's great. So we will perform All For Metal and then play a little part in the movie. And doing little movies on the side, I love that. And I'm a lover of martial arts. I always, you know, try to keep fit. In the Corona times that was impossible, because schools closed.

So, I love doing sports. And I picked up Wing Chun and then Eskrima. I started with Thai boxing in '95. And I love animals, so whatever I can do to, you know, help people save animals, so. I adopted two horses, in Austria actually. I didn't see them in a long time, but. So yeah, I'm a total animal lover. So, that's apart from music, yeah.

Tobbe: I didn't see Nick [Mitchell/Douglas, bass] on stage. Is he still in the band?

Doro: Yah, nah, not really. It's a simple thing. He didn't want to get the shot, the vaccine, and in certain countries you cannot play when you have no vaccine proof. And it started to get really serious last November with an England tour with Michael Schenker. It was actually the first tour when it opened up a little bit again.

And then, you know, we talked and stuff, and he said, "No, I will not get it.", so that's the reason Stefan [Herkenhoff] is now with us. And even in some clubs. And you cannot travel sometimes, you know.

Now it got a little bit more open, but the last two years, impossible to go anywhere. So, that was the simple thing. After 31 years, you know, I was quite shocked. Yeah, because we were the best of friends. It always worked great.

But now I'm really happy that Stefan is with us, and I think, you know, it's good energy. And people really have to want it, you know. If somebody say, "Oh, I don't know.", that's not good. Everybody has to be a 100 percent into it.

We played one festival last month in America, but then he didn't participate in, you know, meet & greet, or photo session, and I thought, "Oh, man.". You know, you have to be present and you have to take the risk. So it was as simple as that.

And Luca [Princiotta, guitar] has a kid now and he said he doesn't wanna go on tour so much anymore. Maybe one or two gigs. And therefore we have Bill [Hudson] now. And we've played together many times in the States and in Russia and stuff. And Luca will jump in when Bill has some stuff to do, so. Yeah, Luca has his family now, and he has his own studio. He is long-time with us.

But sometimes you have to be flexible, especially in the Corona times, or after the Corona times. Many things changed, but I always want to go on, no matter what, so. [Laughs] All for the fans, and all for metal, yes.

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