INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
Former model Doro Pesch formed a band Warlock in the early eighties and together they reached a great success worldwide until they called it quits by 1988, as Pesch launched a solo career. She just released her new album called “Classic Diamonds” and now after seventeen years, she finally returned to play in Finland. This interview was done right before their show in Helsinki last November.
THE LATEST NEWS
First of all congratulations on being finally here in Helsinki. It?s been a while since your last visit in here!
Thank you, Marko. Yesterday in Oulu, the fans were so excited and so amazing. I think everybody had such a good time then!? It was totally a worthwhile thing to do. First, we flew at 6 o’clock from Oslo to Helsinki and then we took the train to Oulu which lasted something like eight hours. It was the longest trip I’ve done with a train in my life. Six o’clock in the morning we took the first plane and it was snowing so hard that it was difficult to get into airport and after flight we waited a couple of hours and then we jumped into train and it was eight more hours until we were in Oulu, but it was all worth it (laughs). It was so great to play there and today we took another train from Oulu to Helsinki. It was another eight hours and you know? that was really hard. I’m not used to doing things like that but here we are (laughs)! We are also having a new record company AFM now which is good. It feels like the first time in years someone is really taking care of us (laughs)!
SPV released your last couple of records here in Europe and now you are with AFM. Do you know who is releasing your albums in the USA now?
Yes SPV released a last couple of records and I was extremely happy with SPV because what they did for us. When our deal was up we looked around and then AFM, you know the guy Andy? He’s a musician himself and he said “I would love to do it” and “I would love to do something special” because the orchestra stuff is a risk for any record company and he said, “It?s a good idea let?s go for it”.
We then said let?s try it and they were really supportive and I think in the States? I was just over there last week. It?s like three letters like in AFM but do you know Tuula who is the distributor for our new album in the US?
I can’t remember?
Well, I can’t remember but I know it’s the same company that Udo Dirkschneider is using. That’s all I know because they said that Udo is on the same label, on the same distributor and so on. In Europe it’s AFM but in the States? I know that album will be out there at the end of January or in early February and I think that the label is called “The End” something?
The End Records?
Yeah. That is the name.
This is your first time ever in Finland with your own band Doro?
Didn?t I play here in 1989 with Bobby Rondinelli on drums?
No, you didn’t.
I’ve told everybody, on the other interviews, I said that I was here in 1989 so I was wrong then (laughs).
Last time you played here was back in 1986 when Warlock supported Judas Priest.
But 1989 we did a Scandinavian tour with Bobby Rondinelli but we didn’t come to Finland at all?
Unfortunately, you didn?t…
You know that for sure? I believe you. When you read all the other magazines it?s all wrong (laughs). Because I said that for them all. But you could be wrong Marko?
No, I’m not. I’m not wrong, I know! (laughs)
Well, you know. I?m really sorry when I make people here write the wrong stuff but so the last time was 1986 with Warlock. Yesterday our first Finland concert in Oulu was fucking great. I think the fans were so happy.
Last year when we met again in Sweden?
That was two years ago?
No, I mean last year in Swedenrock pre-party…
Ah. Swedenrock warm-up party. I do remember now…
At that time you were saying that there is a brand new studio album also coming out soon?
Yeah, actually that “Classic Diamonds” album is the one I meant then (laughs). This album took eight months instead of two months to get finished. Originally we thought we can do it really quick but then it took eight months to do and now I?m doing a new studio album. I think that when we spoke last time the new studio album was just on planning stage no more. I think (laughs).
Ok. But then you said there might be a live album, classic album, and studio album everything coming out within one year?
Did I say classic album then?
Yes you did 😉
I must have been like that. Some things happen some don’t? (laughs)
How about the new actual studio album then? Do you have any songs already finished for that one?
I have a couple of songs already and I would like to have it out like at the end of next year?
Have you used any outside writers with you this time?
Not yet. I have done stuff just alone. There are some songs which are really nice already and after this tour is finished I?m going to really start focusing on songwriting process. The recording will start in January, February or in March for sure.
CLASSIC DIAMONDS album has been mixed in Finland am I right?
Yes. We did it in the “Finnvox Studio” and it was really great. There is that guy called Mika Jussila who did the mastering do you knew him?
Yes, I know him.
He’s a fantastic guy, super good. He did a great job actually I knew for a last couple of years that there are great sounds coming out from Scandinavia so I was always going to mastering all over the world. The last album we did in America but sometimes I wasn?t too happy for the results and this time we booked mastering studio already but then somebody told me about Finnvox Studio in Finland. We sent a couple of songs to Mika and he did it for free actually. He said, “I?m doing a few songs for you and we?ll see if you like it?” Then he sent those songs back for us and it sounded great. I was like okay “I can?t say my mastering studio whoever we were booked already that we are not using him?” When I told him that he was so cool for us. He said “I would love doing it but it?s more like? this is not my work but it?s my hobby” so we were “free” to use Mika and Finnvox instead of his studio.
Some songs on the record are quite different than the original versions?
They are different from the originals. That’s true. There are some new arrangements and there is a lot of stuff added here and there.
“I Rule The Ruins” and “All We Are” are my personal favorites on this album. Which is yours?
On this record? I think my favorite is “Breaking The Law”?
A new version of “Love Me In Black” is also cool here.
Yes it is. ,”Let Love Rain On Me” I like a lot too. It is actually the single from this album. I don’t know if it’s sale in here? On the single version, there are four different versions of that song with different languages. We did in French, Spanish and English. The Spanish version specially sounds really beautiful. It’s so nice that it tops everything I think? Also doing a duet version “Breaking the Law” together with Udo was extra special and cool thing to do.
“Let Love Rain On Me” was doing very well in charts in Europe too?
Yes, that’s true. It was definitely the best selling single release in our history. In Spain it was number seven and that has never ever happened before. We have never been on the charts ever. I just saw Rock Hard magazine and that single was like a number one record in Rock Hard in Spain. So in Spain, it’s a real hit I think? We have never been in TOP 10 before. We were in that list before Anastacia and Madonna and that’s unbelievable! But in Germany, it was like three weeks on the charts the single which was better than we had with “Bad Blood” which stayed for one week on the charts. The single charts usually don’t have too many metal bands there as we all know (laughs).
But this time you did quite well?
Sometimes I get a breakthrough too and that’s good (laughs).
WACKEN FESTIVAL 2004 AND WARLOCK
I saw your show at Wacken recently.
Yes, this year (2004). You actually did two shows there – one with your band together with Heavy Metal Orchestra and another one with your old band Warlock. I also know that you filmed those shows. Are you going to release a DVD or live album from those shows?
Well, I don?t know at the moment. With the orchestra stuff, we will release a new DVD just in a couple of weeks and it’s called “Classic Diamonds Live” and there’s Wacken show included there.
What other stuff there will be on that DVD?
Highlights of the tour, behind the scenes and that usual stuff you know? And that Warlock stuff we don’t know? We have no so many lawsuits because of the **** I don?t know if are allowed to release anything?
When we spoke two years ago in Swedenrock Festival you said then that you are not able to use name Warlock?
That’s true. The case is still going on and we tried to do the show under that name. It was so touch and go because we weren?t allowed to do that show and then we had to name it “Warlock 1986” and that’s how we did it but now. There might a couple of lawsuits waiting because of that? It’s a complete mess. Like it was in the eighties it’s still the mess I don’t know what will happen but I hope that we win this time? It?s all about the name so if we could get the name back then no problem. Next year we have to go to court once again and it?s horrible because just we just wanted to do a great gig for the fans and then shit like that happens.
Warlock actually sounded surprisingly good at Wacken. If I remember correctly, some of the guys gave music a long time ago?
Yeah like Frank. He didn’t play bass in sixteen years. He didn’t touch his bass in sixteen years and when we did our twentieth-year anniversary gig of mine in Dusseldorf last year in December I invited everybody. I said I want to invite them all of the guys to come and then I did phone calls and asked if they want to come? They said that it would be nice to play a few songs together but the bass player said “No. I haven’t played my bass in ages!!” Then we borrowed a bass for him from somewhere and actually, we played three songs and he did it very well. We had a good time and we all get along well and it was like three hours and fifteen minutes and fans really loved it. Next thing what happened was that Wacken people called us and they asked if we could do something very special because it was their fifteenth-anniversary concert. I said, maybe we could bring the orchestra people and maybe I could call the Warlock guys? And that’s what I did. They had to think about it a little bit and Frank said again “Well I didn?t played the bass in a long time which is almost like a half of my lifetime” and I said, “C’mon just practice and do it!” I think he did, remember he didn?t play in a long time, he did pretty well?
Well, he did okay in Wacken…
I think he gave up playing 198…? whatever 1987 or 1988.
He totally quit?
Yes. He never touched his bass again. He sold all his stuff and quit.
Do you know what he was doing after that?
Just normal stuff, normal jobs and so on. I think that nobody else except the drummer has a kid. He was trying to get paid but not for music anymore. He was so fed up with the music business that he gave up.
Some more questions about Warlock? If you are lucky enough and you win all the lawsuits and stuff would you still do something together in the future?
Like I said before we have so many lawsuits going on that I don’t know if it’s even possible?
How about doing something with just a little bit different name? If you just switch one letter to another or something??
One letter hmmm? I would then too close to “name” We tried to all options and stuff and I would be a completely different name and in Wacken we used that name “Warlock 1986” but I hope that judge will change the thing. We are not as stupid as we were twenty years ago and the whole thing still sounds so unbelievable that I can?t understand it at all.
How about the guys? Would they want to do something?
Yes, but I mean not things like a long tour and stuff because they all have regular jobs and the drummer has family and other things but maybe we would do some festivals. If we have the name back we could definitely make plans and I must say to be honest it’s a little bit tricky because with my band I know, we have been together for so long. Nick is been in a band fourteen years, Joe and Johnny the drummer have been eleven years. I have to find a way that all goes smoothly because you know they have been with me all ups and downs and I don’t wanna let them go.
Ok. Then we just wait and see what’s going to happen in court.
Just wait and see “laughs”
It was announced that Udo Dirkschneider was coming to sing a few songs with you at Wacken but he never did it. Chris Caffery said in Wacken that you were waiting for him but he never showed up. What really happened in Wacken? When I met Udo a month ago he said…
What did he say…?
He said, “I was on holiday then and nobody told me about the Wacken thing?”
SHIT… Really I don’t know what to say? Sometimes the fucking manager or whoever organizes things mess things like that. The next time I will do it by myself (laughs). We were planning that Udo would come and we actually arranged “Princess Of The Dawn” and “Balls To The Wall” for the orchestra because of that.
And Udo was lying on the beach at the same time (laughs)……
Yeah (laughs). It was a shame because I think, it would have been great but I guess that people didn’t understand what was going on I mean the communication was fucked up and it would have been great. Next time I just have to do by myself (laughs). When you count on other people you can never be sure what’s going to happen you know. That was the reason it didn?t happened and we are very sorry about that. Next time??
I can tell you that with or without Udo, it was a classic show plus with Warlock it was a true highlight of the whole Wacken festival. You arranged a great show for Wacken festival fifteenth year anniversary!
That’s great to hear.
Even the Warlock thing was a kind of nostalgic and it was nice to see and hear. I still personally think that classic show was even better?
That?s also nice to hear. Of course, it makes me extremely happy because it was a big risk to do. Like a do symphony show because everybody was like “pure metal” and I was soooo nervous before and thru that show.
Blaze Bailey (ex-Iron Maiden) was one of the special guests who showed up in Wacken. You opened the classic orchestra show with Iron Maiden classic “Fear Of The Dark” and you shared vocal parts with him on that song which was a really nice idea to do in Wacken. How did you come up with that idea?
Actually, it was originally Blaze’s idea. He came with us on this classic tour what we did like a year. Blaze is a great guy.
How did you decide to pick him on tour in a first place?
Because we toured together many times before like just regular, not symphony stuff and then I was asked by two people if I wanna participate in a concert which was like benefit concert for little organization they called “Animals in Need” and that’s how I met the classic, the metal classic orchestra, and all these people and I said yeah definitely I want to do it and then I said well maybe we could get some other musicians involved and I called Blaze and asked do you wanna do something together and he said yeah. Then he had his new record coming out. We did “Fear Of The Dark” together and then we decided to make a tour together and that was cool. He is a really nice guy and I do think that he’s very talented and he deserves all support from the fans.
Should he get more respect from the people?
Entirely. I thought that that’s good for him and for me. Especially in Wacken many people many journalists and other people saw the show and really liked what we did together.
You also had Chris Caffery (Savatage, TSO) playing with you. How did he come on this picture?
He played on the last Doro album, on the FIGHT record, and we met then again in Belgium in Graspop Festival. There we did some commercial stuff together we were giving autographs and we did some signing sessions and we were talking and I said “You know we are playing in Wacken this year?” and “Do you want to join us on stage as a special guest? Maybe we can do Udo songs I knew that he’s used to playing with the orchestra because he plays with Trans Siberian Orchestra and he said of course and then he did it. I was just an idea which happened.
By the way. Why wasn’t your regular drummer Johnny Dee sitting behind the drum kit in Wacken at all?
He was the percussionist on that show. I tell you. On this DVD “Classic Diamonds” he’s on drums. He played on the whole tour and he was so good and he had so much fun. It was like I think he really stepped out of the plate with the percussion. At first, I was like no one knew what to do. We only had like two days rehearsal before that show and it was really stressful as it’s always in Wacken. There is so much pressure in the air because there are so many people there with big expectations and that was a little bit tricky but on the tour and you will see that on DVD. There’s a Hamburg concert on it and some other concerts and Johnny is really shining there. I mean really enjoying and after the tour he said that he didn’t think that it would be so great but it was like… Everybody has to change stuff a little bit like Joe with all acoustic guitars they definitely had to get into the wide mind frame and of course it’s hard when there are forty people on stage. Forty people who all are important, not only five people in the band so it was like we had to adjust a little bit to get it to work.
Do you have plans to do some more concerts with the classical orchestra in the future?
You know it’s financially a huge production with forty people and there are lot’s of things you have to take care of with such a group of people but if somebody like promoters are into it are willing to put on a show that’s good. Even we would play for free, the cost of hotel, food, flights, and stuff is tremendous but if somebody wants us to do it we would do it? Maybe some special stuff ?. We would love to do it but when we finished the tour we told everybody that this was the tour and it’s over. Even getting everybody together is hard because they came from all over the world. There were people from Russia, Korea, Poland, Germany it’s a big production and in Wacken we did like the full production when on tour we only had about half of the people with us. All the things, rehearsals and stuff it’s really hard but for special thing maybe? A rock Christmas or something would be a great thing to do.
KISS AND TELL
Well we have always spoked a few words about our favorite band KISS so let’s keep on tradition alive this time too… Have you seen Gene Simmons lately?
I haven’t seen him like in the last years (laughs).
Did he ever say any comment of your version of his song “Legends Never Die” which you recorded for the “Fight” album?
No. I just hope that he loves it a lot (laughs).
Did he ever ask for any money for using that song?
No? For the songwriting and stuff, you know he should? He?s always good connected so I really hope he likes my version of his song (laughs).
Have you heard his solo album “Asshole”?
What are your opinions of that album?
The title is like? I must say I was a little bit shocked by the title. At first, I thought it was a working title, but when it really came out I was like…what? I love his version of “Firestarter” I think that’s really cool how it’s done and everything else I think it’s very unique and different. I think he did something totally different on the side even some acoustic songs. There are some songs I like a lot but overall the whole album was very surprising. Everybody knew it would be something different but “Firestarter” I heard it one time on MTV sort of video night and immediately I had to have it. That sounded really cool and to be honest I always want to hear “Firestarter” and then just a couple of other songs. I haven?t heard the complete record yet. Usually, when I have one song which I like it’s always this one song and rest.
Have you heard that there’s also a solo album coming from Paul Stanley?
That’s interesting. Everybody’s gotta do what they have to do? (laughs). Do you know if there is a new KISS album in the making too?
Maybe? Who knows? The problem with these older bands is that they sure can sell a lot of concert tickets but who’s buying their new albums?
It’s terrible I know that by myself?
Many great metal bands who sold millions of records in the eighties are now selling only a few thousands?
It’s not fair. I know?
Do you have any ideas what kind of numbers your own albums are selling these days?
I think that I remember that TRIUMPH AND AGONY sold something like two million copies or something like that? And now the last one called FIGHT I can’t remember it now but I know that previous one CALLING THE WILD more than 70 000 and FIGHT was a little bit less. The record company said that market overall went down for the record sales about 25% and that actually was true in my case so I think that FIGHT sold about 40 000 copies. The new album with the orchestra has sold so far about the same number as FIGHT did so it?s also about 40 000 copies.
Our time seems to be running out now so I have to ask one more last question. Is there any chance that you could play any KISS songs time this especially for me (laughs)?
Oh no. Now you are telling me that just five minutes before the show (laughs). I think that?s the guys in the band aren’t ready to do that but I’ll ask them of course (laughs). I have to talk to them but they always hate me when I say “could we please do this and that song?” …and they don’t know it. It’s like I don’t wanna have a trouble with the band but I will ask. We do play everything from the eighties, from the nineties and we do a good mix of songs then I think. Maybe we don?t do that cappella song because I know that the guys don?t want to do it. But Kiss.. I don’t know (laughs). Yeah, Johnny would do that but Joe the guitar player. He’s a guitar player and if we would play “Legends Never Die” as an encore he would kill me because of that (laughs). I’m pretty sure about that. But I’ll do my best.
Ok, I can’t wait to see what?s going to happen… It’s time to finish now. Thank once again for your time and see you on the gig!
Special thanx to Spinefarm and Tuula Salminen to get this interview done !!