INTERVIEW: DORO – August 2017

According to a recent press release,”Triumph And Agony was our breakthrough album in America,” issues Pesch, “and it’s still one of my absolute favorites! I’m so excited to play some of these songs for the first time and I’m so much looking forward to play with Tommy again. I’m sure it’s gonna sound great and we’ll put on a killer show.” Released in 1987, Triumph And Agony is the fourth studio album from the German heavy metal titans. The record was a mammoth success globally with hit singles and MTV’s Headbangers Ball favorites “All We Are” and “Für Immer” among other now-pinnacle anthems like “East Meets West”, “Metal Tango,” “I Rule The Ruins,” and “Touch Of Evil.” Triumph And Agony stands among heavy metal’s true cult classics. And three decades later, the record has lost none of its charm. In honor of its 30th anniversary, this September, WARLOCK vocalist Doro Pesch will, for the first time ever, perform the fist-raising full-length in its entirety on two European festival dates this Summer and a special run of US live performances. Joined by original Triumph And Agony guitarist Tommy Bolan alongside bassist Nick Douglas, drummer Johnny Dee, guitarist Bas Maas and guitarist/keyboardist Luca Princiotta, Pesch will hit Worcester, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  In advance of this short US run, we were able to get Doro on the phone for a quick chat to discuss the tour, the album, and more…

Toddstar: Doro, thank you so much for taking time out for us, we really appreciate it.

Doro: Oh, thank you for having me, Todd. Where are you located?

Toddstar: In Detroit.

Doro: In Detroit? Oh, cool, so you maybe have a chance to see the show? Are you coming to the show?

Toddstar: Oh, I wouldn’t miss this show. It’s been a few years since you’ve been here.

Doro: Yes, I wanted to go back to Detroit so bad. Now with the Warlock show… I will never forget my first time playing Detroit with Warlock, and I thought, “Man, that’s here. Detroit Rock City!” I was always a big KISS fan. I couldn’t believe it, and so I’m very excited now.

Toddstar: Well we’re very excited you’re coming through. In 2016, you weren’t able to get here. Had a small tour, you were doing the full Warlock show, but now you’re doing something very exciting, you’re celebrating 30 years of Triumph And Agony. What made you decide to dust that record off and play it top to bottom?

Doro: Oh man, I think it is one of our best records.  I think it was the right time and we were in the right place and I think it was, for us, the biggest record. I think all the songs they were like little unique masterpieces. I think every word, every melody, the sound I think was taken care of in the right way. Some songs got mixed six times, and then I thought, “Oh, I know, it’s nice.” And I think it was definitely, I think, one of our best Warlock records. Last year somebody said, “Hey, next year’s the 30th anniversary of the record,” and I thought, “That’s right.” Then I called my old guitar player Tommy Bolan, which we were still friends, always, and I said “Hey Tommy, it’s 30 years ago that we were rocking out. Want to do a special show?” And he said “I’m there, I’m there.” And then we started talking and doing stuff, and then we did some rehearsals. We played, already 2 festivals in Europe and it was great! All the songs we’ve never played off this record, they sound great and I couldn’t believe it. It all came together so nice. Songs like “Make Time For Love” and “Kiss Of Death” was never played before, but when we were rehearsing them, we thought “Oh, they’re beautiful” and we thought why didn’t they make the set list? They’re so nice. So I think, people will like it a lot – diehard Warlock fans, I think they will really, really like it.

Toddstar: I think there’s nothing about this album to dislike. It’s just a bunch of great songs, but you seem to do that on every album. You always seem to pull together the best of best and not put out a bunch of songs that wouldn’t sound good live or wouldn’t sound good with you on them.

Doro: I try.  Some people like more anthems, sometimes more hard and fast, some people like more ballads so, I always follow my heart and then put on the record what I feel could touch peoples heart and soul and have some magic. Actually on each record I will say there’s not one song that I didn’t like. I always put on the songs what I was hoping fans would love and would be meaningful or special.

Toddstar: What’s it like for the guys in your solo band? How did they feel when you told them Tommy was going to join you for these dates?

Doro: (Laughter) Actually at first,  it was Oh man, we have three guitar players and stuff, but I tell you it was great. And Luca, our guitar player, he plays keyboard for the ballads like “Für Immer” or “Make Time for Love,” so that’s good. think it’s all very powerful. Everybody gets along great and Tommy, he plays all the solos of Triumph And Agony album. I thought that’s good because it sounds exactly like the record, just wilder. He was a big part of the record, so we worked it out without long discussions. We went with what feels right. We play first the album and then in the encore the fans, they can call out songs they want to hear and our guys will play the songs they’re used to playing. It’s all a good team and everybody is very into it and excited and I think it sounds even more powerful with three guitars. Some songs they’re like wow, like high energy and power and lots of guitar solo stuff. Yeah, I think it sounds really good.

Toddstar: That’s great. When you’ve got three guitars in a band like that, the different sounds everybody brings together, has it changed the way you’re bringing your voice across or the way that you’re performing the songs having the extra guitarist on stage?

Doro: Yes, absolutely. I always feel when Tommy puts in so much energy then I can shout and scream even more intense. Like, for example when we play “Touch of Evil” or “Cold Cold World” or “East Meets West,” I can definitely put it a notch up. It’s wilder, yeah. We always play off each other’s energies and it’s great and Tommy says okay, you know, when you hop on my shoulders, usually we do it in “East Meets West,” he said just put your feet really into my back that you sit like tight, and get a tight grip. And I thought wow, nobody would ever say that because it hurts like hell, you know, you can really get hurt. And he said no, no you gotta sit good on there and we can rock out good and it’s like great. It definitely reminds me of the great 80’s where, you know, everybody was doing the impossible with pyrotechnics, setting yourself on fire, or doing stuff. Yeah and then when I hop on Tommy’s shoulders it feels, man, that’s like, it’s good show element and I haven’t done it in a long time. When you play with different people, different ideas come up and we can certainly do the stuff we did like when this record came out, it’s so nice, I love it, I love it.

Toddstar: Awesome. Well when we first got on the phone you’d mentioned you’re in the studio working on some music and last time we spoke you had just put out or were about to put out “Love’s Gone to Hell.” How was the fan reaction to that music? Is that what you’re building on with your new material, the “Loves Gone to Hell” sound or have you gone in a different type of direction?

Doro: It was just one song, it’s like a mid-tempo song, so the new material I would say it’s in the vein somewhere between Raise Your Fist and Triumph And Agony. Everything is in there including many anthems; more anthems than usual. Some hard and fast stuff and some dark romantic ballads. It’s the whole spectrum again. But “Love’s Gone to Hell,” I love the song so much. The melody and I think it’s such a unique song.  It will be one of the songs on the new album. I always try to treat every song like it deserves. Whatever mix-wise or playing-wise or even in a different studio in a different country, I always feel it out, where the best magic is for this particular song. So I will, record all over the world again. It’s 80% done and it will probably come out next year. I have to deliver it in April and then it will come out for the Wacken festival. It was like the date was set so probably next year in the summer time. But it’s I think it, so far it sounds really good and the songs are really, really nice.

Toddstar: As a huge fan of your music, I cannot wait to hear the album because I thought what you did with “Loves Gone to Hell” was awesome.

Doro: You liked it? Todd, I am so glad. Everything is so personal taste, but I’m so glad you say it. I love the melody, I love the vibe of the song. I think it’s a unique song – it can’t compare to any other material I have done and I’m glad you liked it.

Toddstar: Doro, you’ve had a great career – over 30 years. When you look back over your career, are there any missteps that you regret? Anything that you would change if you could go back?

Doro: Gee, it was always a lot of excitement, a lot of highlights, and sometimes there were stuff what you couldn’t foresee. I must say, in the 90’s it was pretty hard time when grunge was making it so huge and rock metal bands got like a little bit shoveled on the side, that was hard, that was hard to survive. But you know, you can’t change it. I always tried to do the best I can, you know with the stuff you have. That was rough. We could tour and do everything in different countries, but in America they didn’t release four or five of our records. And it was heartbreaking but there was nothing you could do. So I just thought I’m hanging in there and I just have to wait to the climate change. Then it changed and in 2000 I felt metal’s coming back and there was my first tour again in the states with Ronnie James Dio.  When the Calling the Wild album came out and the situation started to get really, really good again. So sometimes you can’t do anything about it. I always tried to give it 100% with each album, each song, no matter what. Sometimes you know it is all about the right time and right place. Sometimes it’s not trendy, what people like, or what gets supported. You know the industry sometimes supported different styles of music. The fans were still there, but when you can’t release an album anymore or when it doesn’t get played anymore, you can’t tour so it’s a domino effect but, that time in the 90’s, it was pretty rough. But you do what you can, no regrets. It was just like, you have to work a little bit harder and just wait a little bit longer. Also, there was a dispute over the name Warlock and there was always big fights going on and it was one thing I didn’t foresee either. After the Warlock Triumph and Agony album, suddenly we couldn’t use the name anymore and it was really tough as well. And I thought maybe a year later and then it took 20 years to get the name back. So sometimes things take so much longer. You couldn’t do anything about it. Then you have to wait till things change for the better again and meanwhile you do the best you can. So I definitely have no regrets. It’s always a learning experience. The saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” I definitely believe in that. I think in every problematic situation there is something you can learn. And it always made a good song; tragic stuff always makes better songs, like you know better ballads. When you’re super happy, then you couldn’t write ballads. But experiences are always good and take the good with the bad.

Toddstar: That’s cool. Doro you’ve always been able to put your own touch, your own sound into some very cool covers. You’ve done it on albums through your career. You also put out the collection called Powerful Passionate Favorites. But the one song, and again, we kinda touched on this when we spoke a little over a year ago, I’m still waiting to hear your version of “Lucille.”

Doro: Ohhhhhh wow! Yeah, (laughter) you’re right, you’re right. One time there was a TV show in Germany, they said can you sing that, can you sing that? And then I prepared for it and then I went to the TV show and they said the band canceled so we can’t do a live performance.  And I thought that would have been interesting but yeah, I haven’t done it yet. That’s good that you brought it up again. I would love to do it eventually. It would sound great. It’s one of my favorite songs because everything started for me with that song, that’s right.

Toddstar: Well maybe that should make the set list in Detroit.

Doro: Yeah! (laughter) We want to play one other cover song that’s already in the set and it’s from somebody we all miss and love so much, so I don’t know.

Toddstar: Yeah, I know one of your dearest friends passed, so I can imagine what that song is going to be. Doro, I know you’re busy so I want to let you go, but I’ve got one more for you. When you’re looking over your set list and especially the 10 tracks you guys are going to play from the Triumph and Agony, what’s the one song that excites you the most, that you’re most excited to sing once again on stage with Tommy at your side?

Doro: Oh I tell you, there are two songs. One song is for “Für Immer” because some fans in America, they made up a little sing-along when I say the Spanish sentence. It was the first time that I heard it was in the Chicago area. It blows my mind.  It’s so beautiful so that’s something I totally look forward. And everybody seems to go nuts over that song it’s so much fun. It’s so overwhelming. The other is “All We Are.” When the video was filmed it was so special and MTV put it on heavy rotation. And man, you can’t beat that one. Everybody kind of knows the song. It’s was totally unexpected but great. And “Für Immer” many people got married to it or fell in love. It’s such a soulful song. It talks about deep friendship. I didn’t even mean it in the way, like boyfriend girlfriend thing. It was just about a deep connection, deep friendship, very human. But many people, it’s their song when they fell in love. I couldn’t tell you one over the other but yeah these two.

Toddstar: It doesn’t matter which version I hear, whether it’s the original or whether it’s the rerecording you did on compilation, I love that song and I can’t wait to hear it live when you’re in Detroit at the Token Lounge on September 12 and I look forward to seeing you!

Doro: Yeah I’m so looking forward, I’m so psyched. I’m so looking forward to seeing all the fans and thank you so much for all the support. The show will be really wild and powerful. Old school in a high energy way and playing together with Tommy Bolan, it’s so awesome. We are so excited and I’ll see you there, and thank you so much for having me and for all the support. It’s awesome.

Toddstar: Awesome Doro, we’ll talk to you in a couple weeks.

Doro: Okay see you in Detroit, Todd. Have a good one. Ciao.

DORO LINKS:

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INTERVIEW: DORO - August 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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