Heart of Steel: Interviews

Interview With Doro Pesch
Interviewed in November 2003 by Marko
Live pics by Marko

This interview was done last November in Stockholm just before band was doing their performance in Swedenrock warm up party. Some of the stories here are a little bit out of date but surely there is enough interesting stuff to read. Enjoy!

You are doing your twentieth anniversary tour at the moment. How does that feel I have to ask?

It's amazing how time flew by. All things have happened very quick and... now it's really twenty years later. It's hard to believe that. Actually we have a special twentieth anniversary show and the real date that is 14.12. It will be in Phillipshall in Dusseldorf. That's my hometown. Phillipshall is a beautiful venue. The sound is not good there, but place is otherwise really great. Well it's still hard to believe all these things…

We invited many people there like the guys from my first band before it was called Warlock and there are also a couple of other guys who are familiar with my career and some other bands also. It's going to really strange to see everybody there in a same place. I'm really looking forward for that night. It's been twenty amazing years. Lot's of ups and downs … but it was always worth of it.


Do you actually know who of your old mates will be there?

I think that all of them are coming.

Even Bobby Rondinelli?

No he's probably not coming. But most of the Warlock band members are coming. Some of them totally gave up music a long time a go so it's going to be interesting. I don't know if the bass player can even play anymore, because he hasn't touched his bass in fifteen, eighteen years so… we don't' know. We should rehearse a lot. Still I'm not sure how it will work out. Last week we tried to do that but they couldn't make it. So it will be interesting. We will definitely do at least something together. We'll see then what? (laughs) We have some other special guests also. Lemmy is coming. We will probably do something together and then with Udo Dirkschneider we will do something. Udo and his band U.D.O. just toured in Russia so I think we will do a song "East Meets West" together. Blaze Bailey is also coming, the ex-singer of Maiden and Jon Oliva (Savatage) might come. There was some problems in his family so it is not sure if can do it. At first he said he wanted to definitely come but I don't know if everything is fine now? And of course there are lot's of German guests coming. All the German metal bands …So I think it will a good party!?


Do you have any plans to tape these shows and maybe release it as a DVD or something??

Yes we will definitely record all that stuff. And as soon as ... You know?

We are just releasing a new DVD which is coming out 8'th of December. I don't know if it's too short of a period if you film two DVDs within one year but we'll see. We will record it and see how and when we wanna put it out. Maybe a new studio album first and then put this thing out? I don't know yet.


Well it might depends how well your old band members are playing?!

That's a good point (laughs)..

After the show you will know if you want to release it at all .. (laughs)

True… But on that night we are playing at least three hours or something. So I'm sure we can sort things out. Cut off the breaks between the songs and so on  (laughs).


That's the way which way most of the DVD's are done these days.
If you check KISS Alive 4 DVD … There are no mistakes at all. Are you satisfied with your DVD which is already made and which is coming out 8'th of December?

Well actually I haven't seen the final product yet. There was still something unfinished stuff when I saw it last time. At the moment I just wish that they are getting everything ready before release date. In Germany it should come out 1'st day…so I'm a little exited here. But what I have seen…I think it came out very good and there are lot's of good stuff. Along with the concert, there will be a full band history, backstage things, bootleg things ... lot's of stuff.


How about putting out your promotional video clips?

Yes they are all there. All videos like "All We Are", "Fur Immer", they all are there. Some of that stuff hasn't been anywhere to be seen in years!


That sounds cool. Can't wait to see again some of the "early" tapes…

You will find some on this DVD (laughs..) The package is going to be really cool. It's a double package. One DVD is the concert and the videos and on another one, there is a documentary we made just for this release and then we have some bootleg stuff and even some more. There are some really "insiders" stuff. It shows up on sleeping and living and eating … What ever you wanted to see ... (laughs).



You released album "Fight" last year and since then you have been constantly on tour. Do you already have plans for the next studio album?

Actually there are some plans. Next year we want to start writing and actually we might put out two albums really soon. Last year we did a couple of concerts in Germany with a symphony orchestra and there was like four concerts or something. Shows were recorded and it will come out someway. Is it a record or DVD, I don't know yet? That's one of the plans and regular record will also come out so we are making two new records next year.


Have you already written any songs for the new studio album?

Well we just have a couple of ideas but not any finished stuff yet.

Do you think that studio album will come out before the end of year 2004?

More likely it will be out in the beginning of 2005, but we'll see how things go further. Usually making a record takes us a much longer than is planned so … Don't except it before 2005 (laughs).

How about your touring plans in the near future? Is there any change to see you in Finland finally? Last time was back in 1986 when you toured as a Warlock together with Judas Priest?

Actually on third day of January or something …what is that club called in Helsinki?

Do you mean Tavastia or Nosturi?

Uhmmm … I just met a couple of weeks ago with that HIM guy (Ville Valo) and he said that they play there every New Years Eve on every year…

Then it's Tavastia.

Yes. We actually have plans to play there on 3'rd of January next year.

So we have some hope...

Jawohl! (laughs) So I don't know what our promoter has been doing, but there has been a talk about that. I have to ask from our tour manager Dirk about that when I see him. I don't know If it's confirmed or not but the date for that was 3'rd of January.

Great! There are fans in Finland who have been waiting a LONG time to see you again …

That's great. Hope we can do it this time.

Actually of the guys who is with us here in Sweden saw you live back in 1986 then …

That's cool with these people. I really appreciate that! I guess that it's only in metal music where things like that is possible. That's super!


Last time we met was in Swedenrock festival two years ago. Your line up ins now a little different than there?

Well … did I tell you last time that our second guitar player died. Well it was year 2000, the Dio tour, then we had like a same kind of line up as now but on the second guitar we had this guy called Mario. He was really great and he was 33 years old and in the end of that Dio tour he started to feel weakness he was really sick. At first we thought he has just a bad flu or something and we send him home. It started to go very bad and he was really weak, so he went to hospital. After some operations doctors find out that he had some strange way of cancer and he died a couple of moths later. Which nobody couldn't except…

And he was just 33 year old?

Yes. He was sweet, he was nice. He was amazing player like ... Very different from Joe. He could play a slide guitar so beautifully, he was really soulful. He played on many of our records like when we did a song "Egypt" for Dio tribute album, I don't know if you've heard it?

Yes I have heard it.

There is this beautiful emotional feeling is on that song. That was Mario. We couldn't believe that he died and when we had to get someone new in the band. Guys name is Olivier Palotai and he's a keyboarder within a guitar player, all in one. He's a young guy. He is a half of Hungarian and half of German and he suits in the band really good.


But you did had a short period when you had only guitarist (Joe) on stage?

Actually we always have had, even in 1993 we had this guy Jimmy DeLeilla and he's on the live record. He played keyboards and rhythm guitar and that was really good when somebody could do both instruments and then on the Dio tour we had Mario. Then he had to leave from tour. We had some serious discussion then within the band what shall we do and we decided to carry on just with one guitar because we were a just a support band for Dio, playing 45 minute set before them. But then we did our headliner tour and we needed a keyboarder again…

And now you have Oliver is he a permanent member of a band?

Yes we have Oliver Palotai now and he is a permanent member. And you will see… Are you are staying for the concert tonight?

 Definitely I'll be there!

Then you'll see him. He fits really well in a band. He's really young. He's good both on keys and on rhythm guitar.



Your drummer Johnny Dee is also a member of band Britny Fox. Have you heard their recently released new album called "Springhead Motorshark"?

That's new I haven't heard it yet. I think it's like…I don't know. He didn't give it for me yet so maybe... It's always a strange because you know…sometimes he is so involved with that stuff and we are hoping that he's not leaving our band and sometimes… One time we had a tour together with Britny Fox and Johnny then played on both gigs and I tell you that was a weird feeling for me. Sometimes we opened up for them sometimes they opened for us. We mixed the running order all time. Sometimes when I saw our drummer playing with them I had this bad feeling "Oh no he's ours!" you know? And the Britny guys said the same for me when Johnny played with us so it's sometimes strange. And always I hope he's not leaving one day when they get big tour or something you know. A couple of years ago it was like, especially in America, all those 80's metal bands made a big revival and there were a numerous re unions and stuff like that. And I think he had a couple of good offers to make some big tours again, so I was a little worried then, you know? But he's still here with us and really happy for that.

So you really want to keep this current band together?

Totally yes. One time he couldn't do the tour in 1995 and we had to find a replacement for him. Oh god it was hard. We finally did find someone but it didn't work the same way as it always does with Johnny. We really missed him and his stuff. So certainly I want to keep all these guys. Of course I understand if someone in the band wants to do something else, that's what I've always told them. I will support them even then. But it would be nice to stay together with these guys for another ten years. You know, Nick has been in a band thirteen years now. So it's really kind of family thing, you know?


How long Joe has been in a band?

Well Joe has been for ten years as well.

He joined your band after being years in Lita Ford band?

Yeah he did. He's always cool guy to tour with. Joe is such a great guitar player I think. He's like a … you know what is that word in English … He's like a little diva when playing his guitar and he's like a strangest person in the band same time. But he's really great both as a person and as a player.


Well you have had this band together so long but still besides '93 live album, "Fight" was your first album recorded together with this band?


Will they also play on the next album?

I think we will be playing and writing together again on the next record. On the last album we also had a couple of guests as well and I think that combination worked out quite well. Having the guys and just some guests felt good solution for us.


You have had a lot's guests playing on your older albums. Eric Singer did some drums for you on "Calling The Wild" album ..

Yes he did. He was phenomenal ..

And you also had Bob Kulick?

Yeah. They did together "Love Me Forever" and "Alone Again" with Lemmy singing on both tracks.

Have you ever asked Gene Simmons to be a guest on your album?

I never have asked that. Because I think ... To be honest I haven't dared to ask him to do that. It's like ... you know?

Maybe your should do that someday??

You are right (laughs) … You really are right ... But I just haven't done it ... Yet (laughs).

It would be a nice add in the CD cover: "Featuring Gene Simmons of KISS".. (laughs)

Yes ... Actually years and years ago ... We asked him. If we should do something together but he had a tour to do and he was busy in a studio and all other stuff … so he is always so busy and I just don't want to bother him. The record he did with us back in 1990, it was so great. I knew back then that it was going to be just this one album. He would never have more time for us you know? But once he came to the concert. He came to the last concert that our late guitarist Mario played. Mario felt so bad then… I said "Hey Mario!" .., because I had called Gene and asked if he wanted come, well actually our tour manager called to Gene and then he called back and said "Yeah I will come"," you had to come and play this gig, Gene Simmons is coming!" Actually suddenly he managed to find all energy he still had left in his body and he laid down that gig really well. That was the last time I saw Mario. That was a big day.

After that maybe you should ask him again ..

Yeah I should. Like: "Let's try to write some stuff "or "Let's try to write some nice lyrics together" (laughs) … It was a absolute joy to record "Legend's Never Die" for "Fight" album I've always loved that song and now it's included on our record.


Yes that version you did is great. Have you heard that he's going to release a solo album soon? And there will also be a lot's of guest on that album? There is a rumour that even Axl Rose is going to sing on one song?

That sounds interesting. That would be ideal thing for me to do … (laughs) to sing on Gene Simmons solo album (laughs..)

Yeah (laughs) And of course he will sell some more records when he has a big list of other famous names on the cover of the CD … He's a wise man you know?

He totally is ... (laughs) and has always been.


And there might be a new solo albums from Paul Stanley and Peter Criss too ..

Wow. I also have heard some rumours but you never know which are true and which are not when it's about KISS.

I wasn't too pleased hearing about this, but rumours said that Paul has written some of his solo stuff together with Max Martin (producer of Britney Spears & co.) In the eighties there was a guy called Desmond Child who wrote songs for everyone and he actually spoiled many great bands in my opinion…

Yes he did (laughs).

So Martin is a kind of that guy in this century … (laughs)

Oh shit man. I knew many people from a record company who always said "You gotta do something with this Desmond Child. He's going to make you a really big star!" I said: "No, no, I just can't do that". I do know those "dark" sides of music business. I just don't like that stuff. When your music sounds too commercial it's not good anymore.

Of course it's not a bad thing for the artist to sell 5 millions records but …

But then you are also selling your soul for someone you don't know. Many people like… Sometimes when I go to concerts and stuff like that … I often go to see bands like who are really huge, like Bon Jovi. Last time I saw them, it was 15,000 crowd and many people said to me "Why don't you try to find some new challenges? Why don't you write a hit songs like they have? Why don't you write pop songs like they do?...all that kind of stuff. I said "You know what? I'm not changing, I'm not going to write pop songs, because that's their thing and they've always been more pop oriented than me and they loved it and I'm happy when I'm playing in the front of 1000 or 2000 people when I have a feel that I'm not a sell out.

You've also done some different more commercial sounded albums also like "Love Me In Black"..

But that album .. It really came from inside of me. It was not in a spirit written you know like with a songwriter or with a commercial thing. It was really coming from my heart. We started to work that album in '96. There was a problem with our old record company. They refused to put out our records anymore and soon we got dropped from the company. It was a difficult time then. So we just continued to finish this next album. It was really an exciting experiment and for that reason I stand strongly behind that record. And so does the guys in the band. When you asked them "What's your favourite Doro album" they will answer "Love Me In Black". I really like the sound of that record. That guy Jimmy Harry who did most of the guitars was amazing. It was a true trip to work with him he's a total professional guy. You know he's not a big songwriter, even I think he should be. Surely he is really intelligent and edge on what he's doing ... So I really enjoyed working with him.


One thing which came in mind. There is a guy called Greg Smith who plays on your "Machine II Machine" album. Is he that same guy who has played with Alice Cooper, Rainbow etc bands?

Well this Greg is a black dude. (laughs)  He is a black guy and he has no hair and he is using baseball cap all the time.

So then he's not that guy who I meant... (laughs) … I just recently met a guy called Earl Slick (David Bowie, ex-King Kobra, ex-Dirty White Boy) He seemed to be quite confused when I asked an autograph for your "Machine II Machine" … "Did I really play on this album?" he asked (laughs) …

Well he was a really strange but funny guy to work with (laughs) I've always loved that stuff he did with David Bowie. That was so great … and he still plays great and we wrote that song "In Freiheit Stirbt Mein Herz" together. He was really cool and nice guy.



watch the hand dude....Well about today's gig in Stockholm. What we can except from you?

We are free to have fun tonight. We are going to play different songs from what we used to play on the couple of last tours. We just rehearsed stuff for our three hour anniversary show, so we have all kinds of songs in our set list. There will be a couple of different songs... 

Are you going to play "Unholy Love" this time?

You want us to play that song ?


Ok. Then I tell the guys we have to (laughs)

That song would be nice to hear!

Ok. Good. Tonight we only have one hour and fifteen minutes so we have to anyway cut  some stuff. But I hope we can do that one for you if you love it. It is a song we haven't rehearsed at all. We did a quite lot but not that one. I try to ask the guys to play that for you. Actually I'm going to make a set list for tonight when I go back in my room….



Thanks for that Doro! Of course you are going to play a lot of stuff from your last two albums and even more from the Warlock days. How about doing something from "Love In Black" for example?

Yeah we have a medley from "Love Me In Black" album. It's a dedication for that album and it's really cool but I'm not sure if we are going to play that tonight? I think it wasn't on list yet ... But maybe? Most of the people don't know that stuff and I don't want them to get bored if they have to listen stuff they don't know. When a band you do like are playing songs you don't know it's like…you know? I would like to play it but… That's a favourite album of the band and they always keep pushing on it and when I did a set list for twentieth anniversary concert and it wasn't there they just demanded me to add that thing. So I did that (laughs).


You certainly have some songs you "have to play" every night. Do you ever get bored playing on them?

No. I never get bored to play those songs because people always seemed to have so much fun and great time when we are playing those songs. When we play those everybody are in a great mood and it's a pleasure for us. People are singing along and I always feel cold chills when I see that happen.


Well I asked that same thing from Ian Gillan once. "Do you ever get bored to play "Smoke On The Water" night after night" ? "No" he said. "Are you honest with me now? "Well … sometimes I do"

(laughs..) I'm always happy when I'm on stage and see that there is only two songs more and then we do "All We Are" (laughs) .. That's why I'm here for, to make the fans happy. What ever makes them happy makes me happy. It's like I never get tired of it. There's a song called "Fur Immer", which means so much to so many people. I have been singing that song on many weddings and once I sang that in at a big motorcycle wedding. When someone has died they play that song, it's amazing. It really means something. I appreciated that a lot.


You seem to be on tour and going on all the time. Are you still living in Germany?

Well actually I have two places at the same time. One is in Germany and another place is in New Jersey. It's like a wherever I have to be you know? My real home is in a tour bus most of the time. When I sometimes have time enough to visit in my place in Germany…it's a total mess there (laughs). There are just tons of suitcases and clothes lying around the room.


You've been doing this for twenty years now. How long you thing you still will carry on doing Metal and traveling constantly around the world?

I would love to go on till the rest of my life but… Probably I'll finish when I can't go on stage anymore (laughs)….

Well Lee Kerslake from Uriah Heep said that Heep continues until they are dead so you will not be alone (laughs)

Yeah. Sometimes this is very hard thing to do but what you get in front of all those people it's like… it's so great and I could not imagine my life without music. A couple of years ago I had to decide between music and family thing... No family musically The band and the fans, that what feels family and so that's what I want to do forever. If my body and physique can do another ten or twenty years of course I'll do that (laughs). And if not, I will start doing something behind the scenes. Maybe I'll start writing some nice music for others. I would write music for underground movies and stuff like that. But I'll always do something in music as long as I can breath (laughs).


Well our time seems to have run out now. Thank you very much DORO and see you on the gig !

Thank you Marko!!

A lucky Marko with Doro...

Another Doro interview by Marko done in 2002

Older interview with Doro by EvilG

Band Website: www.doropesch.com
Official Doro Fanclub: www.doro.de