By Jay Oakley
I'm sitting here with Doro Pesch, who just got done playing at Fish Head Cantina in Baltimore. Doro, how did the set go?
It was great. We had some great people, a great crowd, everybody was singing along and I think the new song came across really good, "Love's Gone To Hell." We played "Beyond The Trees" in the encore which we haven't played in a long time but some fans were asking for it. Today was a special day because we didn't have Johnny Dee playing, we had his drum tech (Jeramie Kling) who's in other great bands but he's a death metal drummer. We had a couple of rehearsals, today was the first show and I think it went really well but everybody was extra exited about it and a little bit nervous but then it went great and I think the crowd was awesome. I love to play Baltimore, I played here the first time, I think, in '87, I still remember it and here's good people, good people and soulful.
Obviously, as you know, Hammerjacks is very sacred around here. Did you get to play there?
Yes, yes. Many times, many times and we had awesome shows there.
So this stretch of your US tour is actually very short for you, it's only really about a weeks worth of shows.
Yeah, the first leg we did in the beginning of the year after the Monsters Of Rock cruise and this is the second leg and next year we're coming back. We're always doing either a whole California tour or Texas tour and at first we were supposed to do the Chicago Farm Rock Festival but that got cancelled so that's the reasons we wanted to do all the places between Chicago and New Jersey, where we're playing tomorrow (Rock Carnival) and hopefully it will not rain. The rain was a problem yesterday, on the first day but I'm sure it will be cool.
When you and I talked briefly, earlier, you mentioned that when you're not touring that you're doing a lot of work in the studio and that you take very limited time off. For the fans that want to know, is there a rough time frame for new Doro music?
Yeah, actually next year we want to put out the new record. "Love's Gone To Hell" was one of the first songs for the new record but I thought that I don't want to wait a whole year. I wanted to put it out because it had so much magic and I wanted to use momentum. You never know what will happen, the world is such a crazy place right, worldwide it's hardcore so I thought no, I want to put it out right now and we did one video with two versions. But, that is for the new record and we have already five, six songs for the new record. We recorded them a couple of weeks ago and one song is called "Living Life To The Fullest," that's for Lemmy and that's in the making. So, next year there will be new music.
I wanted to talk briefly about Warlock. If you were willing to talk about it because I'd love to bring the fans in that don't really know. What brought about the decision to step away and bring that chapter to a close?
It was never my decision, actually. I never wanted to do a solo career, I never wanted to call it Doro. It was because we lost the name Warlock to our former manager. He's not alive anymore but it took twenty years to get the rights to the name back. So, I got the rights back a couple of years ago but back then, after the Triumph And Agony album which come out in '87 and was a big success, he was the merchandiser. I had two managers, one in America and one in Europe, and the European manager said that he wanted to quit. We never knew why, there was no conversation about it and then he left, he split. He, actually, went to Turkey which, back then, you could never find anybody in Turkey. There was no internet, there was nothing, the guy was just gone and then it got pretty disastrous. He was the merchandiser and he wanted to keep the name even though he had nothing to do with the name and then we had to go to court and stuff and I thought it would be easy and it wasn't. There was some really shady things going on, really shady and we lost the rights to the name and it was totally unfair because he stole the name, ya know.
Then, when we went to court I started yelling and screaming in the courtroom. I was so upset and then they removed me from the courtroom. We, as a band, we were metal kids with long hair and probably the look alone made the judge not make the right decision. I couldn't believe it and then we couldn't fight again because when you go to fight for stuff again when you already lost you have to pay tons of money to appeal it. It's super complicated and we were pretty young, I was on tour, I was doing the next record, that was the Force Majeure record and we thought we'd use it anyway, we'd call it Warlock anyway. I talked to the record company and they said it was pretty risky and stuff and then we tried that and immediately all the lawyers and stuff came down on us. The record company said, "OK, why don't we call it Doro because maybe the fans could connect and would know who it is." The record company wasn't interested in choosing another name. They said, "Well, we built up Warlock for years now. We supported you guys and stuff so how about we call it Doro." So, that's why it's Doro on the first record one year later.
So, we've been able to call it Warlock again since we got the rights back but it took twenty years. So, it was never my decision to make a solo career, I just always wanted to do music, always wanted to do metal. To me, metal is freedom, to do and say and sing whatever you feel. From super hardcore to speed metal to anthems to ballads, I love it all. Whatever soulful comes out of your heart.
Wow, so that was never your decision, not your plan.
Yeah, that's the reason why it was called Doro. No, no, not my plan. And then, actually, it was '89 when we lost the name and then it was '90 and I did this record with Gene Simmons (Doro) which was awesome, it was great and then, actually, grunge made it pretty big. So, nobody really cared anymore about Warlock, about the band, about metal. Suddenly the whole scene became so small.
After you lost the rights to Warlock, in the really stages of Doro in the early 90s, did you ever have any issues when you wanted to play the Warlock songs live?
No, that I was still able to do because I wrote most of them. I wrote "All We Are," "Für Immer," "East Meets West," "I Rule The Ruins" and "Without You." Most of the them I wrote myself or with somebody like Joey Balin who did the production on Triumph And Agony and on Force Majeure. That wasn't a problem at all.
Again, we tried that on the Force Majeure record, we put a little sticker on it but that had to get removed and I was heart broken. I just wanted to add that, all the fans were heartbroken. It was a disaster but when you're a young musician, I started when I was fifteen, my drummer was fourteen, you want to do music and you want to give it all you've got and then suddenly you realize you're in the music business and sometimes the music business is like any other business, it's a shark business and there are many people that don't have the best interest of the band.
It's that second word. The word "business" has over taken "music" and it's sad.
Exactly, exactly. It is so there were many things we couldn't believe when we go that little, tiny bit of success so some of the people lost their fucking minds. [Laughs]
With your current band, you have actually been one of those bands that doesn't really do the rotating members thing. You have a couple of gentlemen who are very much the guys and I'd love for you to talk about them.
Oh, I'd love to. We are all a great family, I feel they are my brothers and my best friends. Nick Douglas, he's been in the band twenty-six years. He joined in 1990. He was one of one hundred and twenty bass players and walked into the audition in New York, the first guy and I new it was him. My manager said, "No, you have to let everybody play to make sure." and I said, "No, I am sure." But, I let everybody play but I was still sure. Johnny Dee, he is twenty-three years in the band and Luca Princiotta, our guitar player, he and Nick play keyboards as well, Luca's in the band ten years and Bas (Maas, guitar) eight years. We're all best friends and Johnny had a gig on the Monsters Of Rock cruise with Britny Fox because that was booked a year ago and we got offered the festivals, Rock Carnival in New Jersey and Farm Rock in Chicago just a couple of weeks ago so that's the reason why he wasn't with us. But, I think Jeramie did great.
And, to wrap this up, you and I got to spend a little bit of casual time together out earlier today and no sooner had we left the bus that your fans came running up to you with gifts for you. I need you to talk about how much the fans care about you and you care about them.
I love the fans more then anything in this world. I always, always have and I think from the first gig on we had a great connection. They fans, they are actually my best friends. I feel closer to them then I do with my close friends from, whatever, back in the day because they fans, they understand. Metal people are the coolest people in the world. They have their heart in the right place, they feel something, they're not superficial, they have depth and they don't take stuff lightly. There is something so great about them and I'm so happy to be a part of the metal family. For my thirty year anniversary, because so many people have tattoos of the album covers and stuff I had to get this tattoo. "The One Who Loves The Fans - Für Immer." "Für Immer" means "Forever" and that's off the Triumph And Agony album. It's one of my favorite songs and just so you know, I love the fans. It's the reason I could always go on doing this even when we had not so good times. Like, when we were talking about grunge times. That was very difficult to survive. It's all because of the fans, I love them so much and I'm always honored when I get nice things and nice gifts.
But, at the same time, it's worth mentioning and realizing that your treatment of the fans has everything to do with why it's that way.
That's sweet that you say that.
Yes. It's after 2am right now. You did it for me but I also watched you take endless pictures, you signed everything they put in front of you.
I love the fans, I love people and I want to make them feel good, happy and give them positive energy. It's definitely vise versa.
Doro, Thank you so much, it's time to let you rest.
Thank you so much for having me. It was awesome, it was awesome.