As she enters into her 30th year as a recording artist, Doro Pesch shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, she continues to be one of the hardest working and driven musicians in all of rock, yet through it all she remains one of the nicest and down-to-earth people you will ever meet. With her new album “Raise Your Fist” being her most successful in years, Doro is gearing up for a busy 2013 and beyond. That is good enough reason to catch up with the metal queen and get low down on what lies ahead.You were recently on tour in Europe for about a month before Christmas. How were the shows?
Yeah, we were in Germany, England, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, The Netherlands. Everybody was singing along, getting so excited. I really felt the new songs sounded awesome. The tour was mostly so out. 3 or 4 gigs were 99% full and all the other gigs were sold out. As we went on with the tour, every day we had some new news about shows selling out. It was great, so I think the record did really well and that was one of the reasons why there were so many people at the concerts. The whole tour was, I think the best tour we did in, oh god, I don’t know in how many years. Playing packed places that’s always so, so great. I hope when we do the American tour people will be just as excited, I’m so looking forward to it. But Yeah, I think the album was totally embraced by the fans and sometimes I saw some comments on the internet saying ‘you guys don’t play enough of the new album’ and I didn’t expect that because usually everybody wants to hear all of the classics. We did a set list where we combined all of the best songs from each album, but then sometimes we played more of the new record. In the States it came out a little later than in Europe and it made the billboard charts at number 64. I tell you, it moved me to tears, I was so happy to hear that, because you know how much America means to me, and that was the icing on the cake.Congratulations on charting on Billboard, by the way. That was great news.
Yeah, I felt great about it. I felt the new record company Nuclear Blast has done a fantastic job. I still have a great relationship with all the record companies I’ve ever been with, but some of them don’t exist anymore, some of them had to close their doors, so in this time and age it’s really great when you have a record company which is so supportive. The Nuclear Blast team is awesome.How did the fans react to the new songs on the European tour and did you play a lot off “Raise Your Fist”?
I thought the reactions were awesome. “Raise Your Fist in the Air” was the song of all songs from the new album everybody wanted to sing along. It definitely felt like a second “All We Are” and what I mean by that is, “All We Are” is the song that we always got the most audience participation, excitement and the loudest sing along, but “Raise Your Fist” was sometimes the same or louder. We played “Revenge” which is great for people who like more aggressive, harder songs. It reminds me of good old traditional metal, but with a modern sound. Sometimes we played different songs ever day off the album; “Coldhearted Lover” was very much embraced. One of the highlights was our dedication to Ronnie James Dio, the song “Hero”. That actually moved people to tears. Sometimes when I looked in some body’s eyes and saw them filling up with tears, I had to catch my breath. Usually before or after the song “Hero”, the audience would start to chant “DIO!”, “DIO!”, “DIO!”, so I felt that was one of the highlights too.The first single/video was for the song “Raise Your Fist in the Air”. Do you plan on releasing another single and video from the album?
Yeah actually, we want to do something while we are on tour now. Before we will start the American tour we do the 70,000 tons of metal cruise ship. I think there will be some wild, exciting experiences so we definitely want to do another live video, but we haven’t decided which song yet. There’s one video in the making for the song “Engel”, it’s just in German, we started working on it, but I had to go on tour, so it’s not done yet. I definitely want to record a couple of shows on the American tour and see what will happen on the 70, 000 tons of metal and release another single.You mentioned the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise. What are your thoughts on doing that?
That is something so unique, so special. I’m so excited and glad to be a part of it. I’ve always heard from bands that have played on 70,000 Tons of Metal or on other cruises like the Monsters of Rock cruise or the KISS cruise, I’ve heard from musicians and fans that it was always a great experience, so I am super, super excited. The closest thing I’ve done to doing something like this is the Sweden Rock ferry. It actually goes from Sweden to Finland to Norway and back. That was great; everybody had a great time and had a huge party, so I got a little taste. It’s not as long and it’s a ferry, not a big cruise ship. I’m so excited and the guys in the band as well and I think it will be special. We hope we can get it together, but we are planning on a jam session with all of the musicians on the ship, so there will be some great unique sessions and surprises. I think that might be something cool for the fans.Immediately following the 70,000 Tons of Metal you start the U.S. tour. What are your thoughts on that?
You know how much I love playing the United States. I think we are playing 21 gigs altogether, so I’m totally excited and the places we can’t hit now, I hope we can play later in the year. I know a couple of great cities where we have always played in front of great audiences – for example – Boston that are not on the tour rider yet, but I definitely want to push to play more cities later in the year. But I’m so happy to be playing these 21 gigs. I promise I will give my absolute all and my best, and the guys in the band too, we are all so psyched. I definitely want to give the fans something they will never forget. We will be playing all the songs that the fans want to hear and doing songs off the new album. Actually everyday it can be a different set list so when people want to follow us on the tour, every show won’t be exactly the same. Of course the fans can always call out the songs during the encores. We will be prepared. We will have a great support band Sister Sin from Sweden. I think that is great line-up. We played some shows together in Scandinavia and some other countries too. We know each other well.
Yeah, Sister Sin is a great band.
We did a song together on their latest album – it was a video clip as well – a cover of the great Motorhead classic “Rock & Roll”. So I hope all the people will come out and see the show.You mentioned earlier about how every show is different. I think that is one of the great things about seeing you live. You can go to multiple shows on a tour and no two shows will be exactly the same.
Yeah, it’s always according to the audience. If I feel they want to hear more old school metal songs, then we’ll put them in, if I feel they want to hear more anthems then we’ll play more anthems, if I feel they want to hear more heartfelt, deep ballads we’ll do that.It’s all very spontaneous. You see some bands and they rarely deviate from their set list at all throughout the course of a tour. It’s always exactly the same. So it’s cool that your set is a little more loose, relaxed and fun.
Fun is the main point. Whatever makes it fun and whatever keeps the energy level as high as it can get.On your recently completed European tour, you were joined by keyboardist/guitarist Harrison Young making it a six piece. Will this be the line-up on the American tour as well?
It’s just in the making. I think Harry will be with us on tour. The management has to sort some things out, but I hope Harry will be with us on tour. He definitely will be with us on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. We get along so great, I love Harry. He’s a great guy on tour, in many ways, he’s always uplifting, and he’s always in good mood, no matter how hard he works. On the European tour, he was a musician and he did part of the road crew stuff too, so he was a tech, and he did great, so I would love to him on the tour. The rest of the lined-up is Johnny Dee on drums, we are going into the 20th year of playing together in the band and I’m so happy to have Johnny and he will be our tour manager as well on the American tour. Nick Douglas is our bass player. We’ve been playing together for 22 years now. Bas Maas is on guitar and we have Luca Princiotta on guitar as well and he also plays keys. We are all great friends, best friends.You put out the 25th anniversary DVD a few years back which was great. Do you there will be another DVD in the making from this album and tour?
I heard that the record company is thinking about doing a box set for the 30th anniversary – which is this year. We will be doing a couple of big shows. The first big celebration we will be doing at the Wacken Open-Air – I definitely think that is one of the greatest heavy metal festivals of all time. Our second one will be in my hometown of Dusseldorf in December. I want to do two nights on the 6th and 7th of December. I want to surprise the people with something really spectacular and sensational because I don’t know how I could top the 25th anniversary DVD. I think it came out so great. The concert was so great, we had the greatest guests. I want to celebrate in New York because I’ve lived there now for so many years and I love it; maybe in L.A., Paris and London. We will definitely try to do something in Spain as well. There will be a 30th anniversary DVD, but it will probably take a couple of years to make.I’ve always wondered. Have you ever considered doing an album in its entirety, like “Burning the Witches” or “Triumph and Agony” for example on tour?
I know many bands have done that. Every album has some great, magical songs and I don’t know if it would do the whole thing justice. If I wanted to do it then I would play each album, but so far we haven’t done it. Since the new record just came out I was not thinking about something like that. I just wanted to concentrate on the new album, making sure it looks great, the stage, the lights, and the whole show. So far we haven’t planned on it, but maybe it would be fun to do just “Burning the Witches”, or just “Triumph and Agony” and even the “Love Me in Black” album which never got an official release in America, but many people love that album.“Love Me in Black” never got a chance in the States. It’s too bad because it is such a great album.
Yeah, I feel the same totally. The die-hard fans know it, but there are so many fans that have never gotten the chance to check it out.You are filming the sequel to the movie “Anuk” as well, right?
In a couple of days I will go back to Switzerland to finish filming “Anuk – The Path of the Warrior 2”. I want to write some more songs for the film. There is always so much stuff to do. Man, the day has only 24 hours and it’s not enough to get everything done. But yeah, I’m doing the movie and then I want to fully concentrate on the American tour.Following the U.S. tour what are your immediate plans?
After the American tour there will be more tour dates. I heard the booking agency was already booking Russia, Scandinavia and more European dates and then all of the big summer festivals – I love playing the summer festivals. I would like to do the second leg of the American tour in autumn. South America is also on the agenda. We have such a huge amount of fans in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. There are some other countries where we have never toured like Peru and Lima. There are so many promoters who have contacted us, so I would love that because South America is always so great to tour. The people are so fantastic, so into it, so passionate.Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. In closing, is there anything you would like to add to this interview, or say to the fans?
I want to thank everyone so much for all of the great years, for the loyalty, for all of the fun we’ve had together, for the great concerts. I love the fans more than anything else in the world and that will never, ever change. I know I’ve said it before, but I feel it every day. They are the most important thing to me in my life. I always try to do my best and to always do something better. I want to say thank you so much to all of the fans. I love you guys and girls. You mean the world to me forever, you’re my family and I hope I see everybody really soon. I also wanted to say that my home is in New York in Long Beach and everything was destroyed. We also wanted do something on this tour for the victims of hurricane Sandy, like selling a t-shirt where lots of the income will go to people who were hurt so bad by hurricane Sandy. I know how it is, my home is in Long Beach, New York and for the second time my home is totally destroyed, so we wanted to dedicate this tour to all the people who suffered through Hurricane Sandy. I wish everybody the very, very best. Rock on guys, all we are, you’re my family, fur immer.
Doro Single photo by Jochen Rolfes
Band Photo by Stig Pallesen