There is a genuine excitement in DORO’s voice, when she talks about her fans, her music and in particular her new album “Raise Your Fist”. After listening to the album, it is easy to see why she is so excited about it. “Raise Your Fist” features some of the strongest material that DORO has done in many years – and that is saying something because her body of work has remained strong and consistent throughout her 30-year career. I recently had the chance to interview DORO on the eve of “Raise Your Fist” being released in Europe and weeks ahead of the North American release. As always it was another great experience to interview the Metal Queen as she shares her thoughts on her new album, upcoming touring plans and more.
The new album “Raise Your Fist” comes out soon. I think it is one of the best you’ve done in years. What can you tell us about some of the songs and the direction of the album?
DORO: “Every record, I always want to do something that makes the fans happy, what is exciting, with great songs, a great sound, some surprises, some special guests. I love every record for different reasons. This one reminds a little bit of the “Triumph And Agony” album, when everything was just a little bigger and more powerful. I somehow can sense, that this can be a big album. I’ve done so many interviews with so many journalists and I’ve gotten great feedback, I think some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten, so I’m really excited and I hope the fans will love it. I wanted to do the best songs possible. I wanted to do what I can do best like great anthems, great fast metal songs. I know many people like an old school style, so I wanted to do some songs in an old school style. For example “Take No Prisoners”, “Little Headbanger” or “Revenge”, but to give it a little fresh, modern sound. It has some very nice ballads, which I love. I love deep soulful stuff with great melodies. We worked on it for two and a half years and we recorded and mixed it all over the world.”
I wanted to ask you about two songs in particular, “Revenge” and “Take No Prisoners”. To me they sound like early WARLOCK stuff (“Burning The Witches” and “Hellbound” era), and those are two of my favorite songs.
DORO: Oh good, I’m so glad to hear that. I think “Take No Prisoners” has maybe a bit of a JUDAS PRIEST kind of feel. When we play live, because we are on tour so much, I could always witness that the fans love the old school WARLOCK stuff, like “Burning The Witches”, “Metal Racer”, “I Rule the Ruins”, “Hellbound”, “Earthshaker Rock” and I definitely thought that I want to have a couple of songs in that vein and bring it into 2012. So we did a couple of really, like almost speed metal tunes. Bas Maas (DORO’s guitarist) came up with the original idea on “Revenge”, I wrote “Take No Prisoners” and “Little Headbanger” with Andreas Bruhn. I like “Little Headbanger” very much, too. It actually has a double title. It’s called “Little Headbanger (Nackenbrecher)” and that is the German word for neckbreaker. Yeah, I’m happy that you say you like “Take No Prisoners” and “Revenge”. I can imagine, that they will go over really well live.”
You’ve done versions of some of your songs in different languages like Spanish, French and Portuguese. Is it difficult to do?
DORO: “Yeah, I must say Portuguese was a little bit trickier than French or Spanish, but I always have people who help me, who are really patient and take the time to really show me and help me with pronunciations. It’s always a team effort to sing any song in a different language. I always have good people or friends or musicians or singers. Without help, it would probably be impossible, but with some support and help I think it’s turning out really, really good. Since I was just in France everybody says “Leve Ton Poing Vers Le Ciel” came out really great. I always love to sing in each country where we go, to sing one thing in their language or to say something or to sing a chorus. I think, that it shows respect. Wherever we go, if it’s Russia or Spain or South America, even Japan, sometimes I try but Japan is actually a little tricky, but I try to make everyone feel good even when it’s not pronounced 100% right. Everyone usually gets a kick out of it.”
I think, it also gives the fans of that particular country more of a connection to that song when it is sung in their language.
DORO: “Yeah, absolutely. I must say, I have always liked different languages and to be honest, some songs in different languages totally come alive.”
The limited edition comes with a bonus track, “Strong And Proud”.
DORO: “Yeah, it comes with two bonus tracks actually and one is “Strong And Proud”. Nick Douglas (DORO’s bass player) came up with the idea and I put the lyrics to it. It’s a song for all the female rockers out there, all the female musicians, all the female fans. I wanted to dedicate it to the Metal Female Voices Festival, because it’s a great festival. I think, it’s good to support all the female rockers out there. There’s another song on the limited edition, which is called “Sealed In Blood (Human Rights)”. There’s a German version, called “Freiheit”, which means “Freedom”. It is a very political song for and about human rights and this one is dedicated to a human rights organization, called Terre Des Femmes (www.terre-des-femmes.de). Three years ago I got in contact with them. They try to help especially young women in many countries around the world, where it is absolutely horrible. It’s really hardcore. If you go on their web site, if anybody is interested, it’s heavy. I love to rock and sing about everything, but sometimes it is important to take a stand as well and to give out a very important message.”
The song “Hero” is dedicated to Ronnie James Dio. How did you come to write one for Ronnie?
DORO: “I had the chance and honor to meet and to tour with him many times. It started when we were on tour together in 1987; it was a big tour in Europe. I had the great chance to tour the United States in 2000, it was YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, DIO and us and there we became really, really great friends. He had a heart of gold; he was so super nice, so gentle, and so full of energy. His personality, spirit, his voice – it meant the world to me. It was actually a couple of weeks after I heard that he was not alive anymore, I couldn’t speak for a couple of days. It was unbelievable and I knew so many people were feeling the same – it was such a big loss. I was in New York in my apartment and I was thinking about the new songs, the new record, and I was almost falling asleep and then it suddenly came shooting out – the idea, the melody, the lyrics, the chorus, it was all there. I sang it on my iPhone. I always have a little pad and pen behind my bed, because I always feel that the ideas shortly before you go to sleep are always the most pure, the most powerful, and the most magical ideas. When I got this melody I thought ‘This is for Ronnie’, this is our hero. I was working on the song and I thought this is so important to me; I definitely want to make sure that every word is perfect, so I contacted an old friend of mine Joey Balin. Joey also worked with me on the “Triumph And Agony” and “Force Majeure” records and we also did the songs “Celebrate” and “Walking With The Angels” from the last album together. I called Joey and I told him about the idea I had. Joey was on the tour with me in ’87, when we toured in Europe, he was kind of like the tour manager, so he knew Ronnie very well, too. We wrote the verses together and we went into the studio in New Jersey and we recorded the song. It felt like the most important song on the record or one of the most important songs on the record. I did some more recordings in Germany with Rudy Kronenberger, the guy who did the song “Egypt” with us on the Ronnie James Dio tribute twelve years ago. He also mixed it and that was it. Ronnie always commented on the song, that he loved the feel, the version, the atmosphere. At first I planned on mixing the song in Scandinavia with Jacob Hansen, because he was the one who already mixed “Raise Your Fist In The Air”, “Rock Till Death” and he was in the process of mixing “Revenge”. We all love Ronnie and we all miss him so much. I had the great chance to be part of The Dio Disciples in Spain. I filled in for Ripper Owens, because his daughter got married, so he attended the wedding. The DIO office called me and asked if I wanted to fill in for Ripper Owens and I thought it would be a great honor. We did some great shows in Spain and it was so lovely to play with the guys we were on tour with from the DIO band: Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren.”
In 2013, you will do a tour of the U.S., which I’m very excited about, in fact a lot of people are. What can fans expect, when they come see you live this time around?
DORO: “They can expect the best of the best. We only pick the best of the best of the last seventeen records, all the highlights, all the great old school WARLOCK stuff. All the songs people want to hear. They can always shout out the songs they want to hear in the encores, if we haven’t played all the songs they want to hear. We will play the best stuff off the new record, some surprises, and some songs we’ve never played before. We will give 150% power and energy; I want to give them shows they will never forget in their lives. I’ve always tried my best, but I know I can do a couple of notches up. We will play as long as the fans want. Sometimes here in Europe the shows are three hours long, so I don’t know, sometimes there’s a curfew in America so the club owners will probably tell us ‘don’t play for two days’ (laughs). I’m so excited. You know how much it means to me play the States. Before the U.S. tour, we will play the 70,000 tons of metal, the cruise ship, which I heard so many great things about. I’m so excited about it and it will be great fun to be together with the fans and all the other great musicians.”
Have you ever played on a cruise before?
DORO: “No, not really. The first thing I did that came close is playing on the Sweden Rock Ferry going from Sweden to the other Scandinavian countries. It was actually a couple of days and it was awesome. Many people got sea sick, the boat was shaking so much and the wind was blowing like crazy. I tell you – all the metalheads – nobody cared, it was so cool. I got a little appetizer, but it was awesome. Actually we will do two cruise ships. The one that starts in Florida, the 70,000 tons of metal and then in Europe there is another cruise, it’s called the Full Metal Cruise and it starts in Hamburg, Germany and it goes to London, Paris, Amsterdam and back to Hamburg. I think, it’s great that people come up with great ideas where to put metal shows on, I think it’s super. I love different stuff, but what I love the most is playing a gig. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big venue, small venue, big festival or a small club. Especially playing the United States – I’m a proud green card holder and I hope eventually I will become an American citizen – I definitely want to. America means so much to me and it’s my home. When I came there in ’87, I fell in love with the States and I’m still living in New York. I have a little apartment in Germany too, but I love the States. From touring worldwide I’m never really in one place too long. It’s always being on the road or making records, writing songs. This time we recorded in L.A., New York, New Jersey and Hamburg and in Denmark. I love to work in many different studios with many different people. Whatever it takes to gives the fans something that they can really enjoy, what has staying power. I also want to say thank you to my great band. They’ve been with me now for so many years. Nick Douglas our bass player – he’s been in the band for twenty-two years now and I love him so much. We’ve been through thick and thin and it was always great. Our great drummer Johnny Dee – he’s been in the band for nineteen years and he’s awesome. Luca Princiotta (guitar, keyboards), he’s now six years in the band and Bas Maas (guitar) has been with us for three years now. Sometimes we have Harry – his name is Harrison Young (guitar, keyboards) – he plays with us, when we tour the States and he’s now coming over to the European tour as well.”
You are also going to be in the sequel to the Swiss film Anuk. Do you like acting and is that something you might want to pursue in the future?
DORO: “It’s very inspirational and it always gets me some great ideas for music and songs. On the last movie the movie producer, Luke Gasser – he’s an independent movie maker – asked me if I want to write a song for his movie, and that’s how we met in 2006-07. I said I’d love to; I always wanted to write something for movies. Then we met and we talked more and he told me he would love to have me play a part in the movie – it was the main female role. I didn’t know if I could do it – I’ve just done video shoots, but that’s about it. He said, ‘I know it would work out great’, so I did it. I had so much fun doing it. It was very intense, I felt like being in boot camp. This time, the second part – actually we have to do some more filming in January. It was getting up in the morning everyday around 4 or 5 o’clock. For ten, fifteen, eighteen hours, you always have to be concentrating and be at your best. It always prepares me great for any tour, because it’s so hardcore that when you survive it, then you feel like, I can definitely survive the next tour easy. It was always in the mountains, sometimes this movie takes place in the water, so I had to be in the water and it was so cold. Of course music is always the top priority and doing movies inspires me for a new record or maybe a new song. It’s something that I get inspiration from, but I would never change careers, it’s always music. Luke said we will do some songs for the new movie as well. I think “Free My Heart” is one of the songs for the movie soundtrack. He picked that one already so I think it will be in the movie, but we will write some more stuff. Doing movie soundtracks is always a little bit different, because sometimes you don’t need so much words, sometimes it’s just more chants or atmospheric sounds, so it’s different.”
Thank you DORO for taking the time to us, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Do you have any messages for the fans to wrap this up?
DORO: “Yeah, yeah, I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. It’s been so great. It’s been so many years now and the support of the fans was always there. I could always feel their love. Even when times were hard, it was always there and it was always about the fans. I love the fans more than anything else in this world and I will give it my all on the next tour. I hope that everybody enjoys the new “Raise Your Fist” album. I hope I see you guys on tour, I wish you all the best, stay metal and stay heavy. I will never do a farewell tour, I will never do a goodbye tour, I want to do it as long as I live and as long as the fans enjoy it!”
Visit DORO's official website at: www.doropesch.com/
or go to her German website at: www.doromusic.de/
or go her US Fanclub (by Tony Cannella) at: www.dororocks.net/