Germany has always had a tradition of providing the music world with some amazingly memorable voices, especially when it comes to the rock genre.
Singers such as Klaus Meine, Udo Dirkschneider, Michael Kiske, Ralf Scheepers and Hansi Kursch have given heavy metal fans a whole lot to cheer about, but besides these, one name that will always be mentioned in the same vein is that of Doro Pesch.
Doro has reigned supreme as the queen of heavy metal for the past 25 years. She initially fronted the band Warlock in the early to mid-'80s and moved on to form her own band thereafter. Throughout her career, she has won accolades for her incredible voice, stage presence and genuine love for the fans, and even today after all these years, none of these traits have faded away.
In 2008, Doro celebrated her 25th anniversary concert at the ISS Dome in her hometown of Dusseldorf. With more than 8,500 people in attendance, the magical, full-documented performance included a multitude of guest appearances and was recorded in its entirety for the mammoth 25 Years In Rock 2 DVD/CD set, which includes the once-on-a-lifetime concert as well as outtakes from other concerts.
25 Years In Rock will finally be available to North American fans on September 13 via Nuclear Blast Records.
The gentle, good-natured, soft-spoken Doro was kind enough to have a chat with me to talk in detail about this new release and other plans she has in store for her band.
The 25 Years In Rock DVD/CD package is set to release in North America very soon. It looks like you've put a lot of work into making it special, so it must be a good feeling that it's finally ready to release.
Yeah, I have been waiting for so long! It's a great package. It has two discs, and it has the anniversary concert we did a while ago with great guests Bobby Blitz from Overkill, Tarja Turunen and all the ladies of metal, and many others. It's a lot of metal and it's all in this package. I think the package is nice, it looks great and the artwork is done by my favorite artist, Geoffrey Gillespie, who painted some of the other artwork for my albums. I am happy that it's finally coming out in the States!
I believe the first disc of the 2-DVD set is the Dusseldorf concert. Can you specify as to what the second disc offers?
Yeah, the bonus DVD has all kinds of highlights from my favorite festivals like the Bang Your Head festival, and, of course, Wacken, which is my ultimate favorite. Then there is also the China special, from the time when we went to play in China couple of months ago. There's something from our 2,500th concert that was last year. In that show we had great guests like Schmier from Destruction on vocals.
So yeah, in total it's like 10 hours of pure metal, including some fun stuff like documentaries as well. I think it's a worthy package to celebrate our 25th anniversary with the fans. It sums up the last 25 years of our career very well, I would say.
When you do shows that are being recorded for a DVD release, is it any different for the band on stage? I mean, do you perform better because it's being recorded?
Yeah, I think everybody expects something special from us in such cases, and they expect it to be the best show we've ever done. The shows we recorded are each over three-and-a-half hours long, with great guests and stuff, little Warlock reunions, lights and pyrotechnics and all of that stuff. Having the whole of Warlock on stage was really one of the biggest highlights for me. It was so huge, I can never do that again, but on the DVD you will see for yourself that it looks massive and very impressive. We normally give our 110 per cent for every single show, but I think that night in Dusseldorf we gave it 150 per cent.
You are also doing two shows to celebrate this DVD release in New York and Chicago in September. So is it going to be a similar sort of set list for these shows?
Yes, it will be similar and we are expecting some guest musicians. So yeah we will play these songs and may be a few more songs, depending on how many people we can get together. We'll try to get couple of friends in New York, couple in Chicago, and so it will definitely be like a DVD release party, different from all of our regular shows. We will have special guests for different songs, so I'm very excited. We definitely want to put on our three-hour set, so it should be really good.
Other than those two shows, what plans do you have in terms of touring, specially in the States?
Yeah, actually toward the end of the year, we're looking to book some more US dates. Right now we are wrapping up the summer festivals in Russia, Czech Republic, Spain and of course Germany, and then we're coming back to the States. I hope it will be at the end of this year or at least may be the beginning of next year, but yeah, it's in the making. I am certainly pushing for it because I love playing in the States. We have great fans everywhere but playing here in the States means a lot to me and it's like playing at home.
A lot of new festivals have come up in Europe in the last couple of years, like Sonisphere and others. It must be good to have so many festivals to pick from.
Yeah, in Europe we have played in France at a festival called Hellfest, which is a great festival and it's growing bigger and bigger every year. This time we played right in front of Judas Priest and it was awesome! So that's a great new festival and as always, Germany is coming up with tons of new metal festivals in all kinds of metal genres, sometimes more hardcore and at other times more traditional metal, or viking metal, or grindcore (laughs), and there are lots of these different styles. So as I said, playing in the States is always fun but I really love playing these festivals.
Your last studio album, Fear No Evil, came out two years back. You must be thinking of the next album now. Have you started writing songs for it?
A. Yes I am already working on it. I've got some really nice songs and ideas in the making. I'm super excited about it and I'm going to play one new song at Wacken to get all the metalheads into an anthem. The record is not done yet, but it's on the way. It's good stuff, about eight or nine songs, and may be it will come out at the beginning of next year and we will release a single or two before that. But it's really fun stuff but at the same time powerful and anthemic. We put our whole heart and soul into it, so it takes us a little while to finish the album.
Andrew is a Los Angeles-based writer who has been running his own website, Metal Assault, since early 2010, and has been prolific in covering the hard rock and heavy metal scene by posting interviews, reviews and pictures on his website -- with the help of a small group of people. Besides being hugely passionate about heavy metal, he is an avid follower of jazz music and recently started a blog called Jazz Explorer to pursue that interest.