German vocalist Doro has been one of the most recognised and respected singers on the metal scene for over thirty years. There can be little doubting of her iconic status and she has worked and recorded with some of the industry’s biggest names. This November she is one of the headliners at Hard Rock Hell XIII in Great Yarmouth and as a fan for the past thirty years I jumped at the opportunity to record an interview with her ahead of that appearance.
We spoke by phone on 25th October and chatted about her career, the double album “Forever Warriors / Forever United” released last year and a number of upcoming projects. That interview was on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 1st November. The interview and three tracks are available from the NI Rocks MixCloud page -
STORMZONE – The Jester’s Laughter
PHIL CAMPBELL – Straight Up (ft Rob Halford)
QUIET RIOT – In The Blood
JAILBIRDS – Nothing Good Lasts Forever
DORO – Don’t Break My Heart Again
Interview with DORO Part 1 (6min)
DORO – All For Metal
Interview with DORO Part 2 (8 min)
DORO – It Cuts So Deep
Interview with DORO Part 3 (5 min)
DORO – If I Can’t Have You – No One Will (ft Johan Hegg)
DORO – Fear of the Dark (Live – ft Blaze Bayley)
MICHAEL MONROE – Goin Down With the Ship
BUCKCHERRY – Tight Pants
WAYWARD SONS – Joke’s On You
DIAMOND HEAD – The Messenger
ELECTRIC MARY – How Do You Do It
THOSE DAMN CROWS – Someone Someday
THE DAVY K PROJECT – The Storm
KRIS BARRAS BAND – What A Way To Go
BLACKWATER CONSIRACY – Hanging Tree
EDGE OF PARADISE – Fire
THE MURDER OF MY SWEET – Tin Soldiers
IN THIS MOMENT – The Fighter
BLACK SABBATH – N.I.B.
The interview can be read below.
NI ROCKS – Hi Doro, thanks for taking some time to talk to Rock Radio NI.
DORO – Thank-you for having me. I’m just getting prepared for a plane to come to Hard Rock Hell.
NI ROCKS - A couple of weeks ago I recorded an interview with David Ellefson from Megadeth just before he went onto the Megacruise. You’re just off the boat. How did that go?
DORO – Ah man, it was great. The atmosphere, the fans and lots of bands that I’ve toured with or played at festivals with. We had a great time. Unfortunately, Dave Mustaine wasn’t there, but I’m sure he was there in heart and spirit. We did some jam sessions. Some were only Megadeth songs, and I played my favourite song “A Tout Le Monde”. And some were jam sessions doing only Kiss songs. It was great. All the members from different bands; it was really exciting. I think it sounded really good and I think the fans had an awesome time.
NI ROCKS – I’ve seen the videos. It looked great. Those cruises seem to offer some great opportunities for different artists to perform together; like the All-Star Kiss jam and things like that.
DORO – Yes, and sometimes there was more stuff developed. Sometimes we did some jam sessions and then we did a duet or were writing a song together. It was great. Just hanging out with friends. It’s awesome.
NI ROCKS – As you mentioned, you’re back in the UK in a couple of weeks time for the Hard Rock Hell festival in Great Yarmouth. You’ve a great fan-base in the UK. You must be looking forward to that show on 9th November?
DORO – Very much. I feel the UK is like home and everything started in the UK; especially with Monsters of Rock in 1986, which was a door-opener and my dream came true to do music for the rest of my life. The UK was very important. I was born and raised with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I used to love all those bands like Saxon, Maiden, Priest, Motorhead and everybody. And I still have a great friendship going with the guys from Priest and Saxon. We’re doing the 40th anniversary festival together. Actually we’re very special guests for the Saxon show which got postponed. We’re doing one in Germany and because of Biff’s heart operation we’re doing it now in March in Dusseldorf; my former home town. It feels great to be really close with all the musicians in the UK and the bands that mean so much to me.
NI ROCKS – Will you be able to spend a couple of days in the UK at that time or is it a flying visit?
DORO – Yeah, Hard Rock Hell will be the only festival and then we start the whole of the European tour. We were to play Scotland but it got cancelled. We definitely want to head back to the UK next year and do a whole tour, but for now it’s only Hard Rock Hell. Then we go to Switzerland, Germany and all over.
NI ROCKS – Yeah, I noticed a lot of European tour dates in November and then again in March into April of next year. Do you think you will get back to the UK sometime next year?
DORO – Yes, people are working on it and I’m hoping for more festivals and maybe supporting a bigger act on another tour. We hope to be on the Saxon tour again; I’m not sure if they’re touring next year, but that would be awesome. We’ll definitely be looking forward to doing more stuff, absolutely.
NI ROCKS – It has been quite a while since you played Belfast or Dublin unfortunately. It’d be good to see you back here sometime too.
DORO – Yes, yes, my (friend?) lives in Dublin and I’ve been there many times, but we’ve just played a few times there so I can’t wait to.
NI ROCKS – The last album was the double release “Forever Warriors /Forever United” last year which we’ll play a track from next. Can you pick a track to play and tell us something about it?
DORO – There are 25 songs on there and it is hard to pick one. I love them all and there are many special songs on there. There is one duet with Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth and I like that song very much. It’s called “If I Can’t Have You – No One Will” and it’s a very heavy, romantic, aggressive love ballad. Very heavy – I love that. And I love songs like “All For Metal” that many people are singing on. It’s kind of like “All We Are” – an anthem that makes you feel good and we always play it live. I would pick “All For Metal” because of Mille (Petrozza) from Kreator, Hegg from Amon Amarth, the guys from Sabaton, Chuck Billy from Testament are singing on it; and Warrel Dane from the band Sanctuary, who unfortunately is no longer alive. He meant so much to me because it was my first big North American tour in 1988. It was Sanctuary, Warlock and Megadeth. Warrel is singing on the song. We met at Wacken and he is in the video which you can see on YouTube. So I would pick “All For Metal” as it is a feel good song.
NI ROCKS – Why was the decision taken to release those albums together as two distinct albums? Similar, I suppose, in concept to the Guns n’ Roses Use Your Illusion I and II albums. Why the two albums?
DORO – I thought the songs were written at a special time and I felt that it should be all in one. I always go with my gut feeling and it was a decision to release only one record or two, or maybe have one year between them. But I felt I wanted to do it now. Things can happen and I’m happy to be alive. You don’t know what will be in one year so I thought do it right now.
NI ROCKS – You mentioned on social media recently that you’d been recording something for a movie soundtrack in Germany. I appreciate that you probably can’t tell us much more about that yet, but when might we hear what that is?
DORO – Yes, it’s a thriller and I’m actually going to the movie premiere next week. There are all kinds of 80’s songs on the soundtrack. I think it’s a cool movie. It was at first a TV series. It’s called “De Letzte Bulle” (“The Last Bull”) and now they’ve done a whole movie out of it. I just saw the trailer and it looks great. It’s funny and the guy who is playing the main role is actually a big fan. He got an autograph when he was ten years old and now he’s a big actor. I was happy when they asked me if I would do a song for this movie. I love doing movie soundtracks and I love doing something for a different project, or for somebody else; it makes me feel good. I always try to give my best and make it work good.
I did a couple of movies where I did acting as well. It was three movies actually – “Anuk – The Path of the Warrior” and now there are three movies out. I did the music and it was so nice, just concentrating on the atmosphere. I loved doing it – on the side; touring that comes first, touring and doing my own records. Other special things that always inspire me and motivate me and meeting some cool people. The movie makers – the independent movie makers – they are always so much harder pressed financially with no budget or low budget. Everybody has to do and give their best and I like that. It reminds me of the beginning.
It will be in the cinemas in a couple of weeks and I hope it will go international, but I don’t know yet.
NI ROCKS – Normally there would be two or three years between album releases. “Strong and Proud” was released in 2016 and “Forever Warriors /Forever United” in 2018. When do your thoughts turn to the next album or have they already?
DORO – Yes, actually I have a couple of songs in the making, but I’d say it’ll take another year or maybe two to have a new album out. There were 25 songs on the “Forever” albums; I gave it my all. Some of those songs I thought, maybe I’ll wait until the time is right, but the song would be great on there and I just put them all on there. Especially when people are not doing so many full albums anymore. I’d guess it’ll be another year until we go to the studio and since we’re touring so much it’s hard to concentrate on writing a new records. Sometimes ideas just pop out and I love when they are coming out from deep within and not when you’re sitting down to write. Sometimes when I’m going to sleep and suddenly there is a melody or some lyrics and I think man that is something! That is usually the best way I think – those songs can be meaningful.
NI ROCKS –How difficult was it choosing or narrowing down the tracks to record for that album and were there any problems getting the people you wanted to sing with onto the album?
DORO – When we started we had so many songs that I called the record company and said I have so many songs, I don’t think it would be right having only twelve songs on it and that I’d love to do a double album. At first they had to think about it, because it is unusual in this day and age. Then they called back and said do it. These songs meant so much to me. In the beginning I did one cover version - of the Whitesnake song “Don’t Break My Heart Again” because I love that song and Whitesnake was the first band that I ever seen. It was in 1980 and it was a brilliant show. David Coverdale was such a great frontman and singer.
I thought if we have the chance let’s do a double album and do some songs that just meant so much to me, but nobody knew about it. So I did a couple of cover versions - of “Don’t Break My Heart Again” and the Motörhead classic called “Lost in the Ozone” – I love that song. It’s not as popular as “Ace of Spades” and stuff but it has such nice lyrics and it is meaningful. It started actually with Lemmy; the first track I wrote for this album, “Living Life to the Fullest” is dedicated to Lemmy and I thought it should start with Lemmy and finish with Lemmy, and the last song on the second album is “Lost in the Ozone” – and then some bonus tracks. It was highly inspired by Lemmy who I miss every day.
The other songs – there are tons of anthems on there. I love anthems and there are some really nice songs like “Soldier of Metal” that is dedicated to the fans and “Blood, Sweat and Rock and Roll” is a feel good song, because it’s what we live – a lot of sweat and rock n roll and sometimes blood as well. When you’re on tour you always get bruised and there is a lot of pain which I never feel on stage; but the after the show or after a whole tour it looks quite interesting.
There are some ballads on it as well. I love ballads and I know sometimes they have a bad rep. I think when you have a beautiful melody and there are really meaningful lyrics – I love ballads. There are some wonderful ballads on there.
NI ROCKS – We’ll play another track now. Do you want to pick another track?
DORO – Oh yeah! Which one, which one? You know what, there’s a ballad that I like very much. It’s traditional and I wrote it actually with David Bryan, the keyboard player from Bon Jovi, and the song is called “It Cuts So Deep”
NI ROCKS – Over the years you’ve done numerous duets with other singers, which you mentioned earlier. Are there any singers that you’d like to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet?
DORO – Actually, I’ll tell you, almost all of my dreams they really came true; the duet with Lemmy and all the other great people. I would have loved to have done a duet with Ronnie James Dio, that would have been really something. We toured together many times but unfortunately not ....maybe in another lifetime. A duet with Ronnie James Dio would be awesome; and David Coverdale and James Hatfield and Blackie Lawless. Those are some people I love. Or Till from Rammstein. I’m planning on making many, many more records and hopefully we will have the chance to do many more duets.
NI ROCKS – Do you get a lot of requests from bands wanting you to appear as a guest on tracks and how do you deal with those?
DORO – Oh yeah, many times and sometimes it is hard to do it all when you’re touring or doing your own records. The duet with Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth I did on one of their records – “Jomsviking”, not the new one, the one before. It was called “A Dream That Cannot Be”. I asked him if he’d like to sing on “All For Metal” and then actually I went into the studio and thought man I have this song and I would love to ask Johan again and he said yes let’s do it. That song is called “If I Can’t Have You – No One Will”; it’s like a heavy hardcore and I love that. It’s different and it’s heavier than the normal guests, but I love it and I love Amon Amarth. They’re one of my favourite bands, so that was cool. I’ve done many, many things with other artists lately. I love doing that and usually there’s also a great friendship and at the end of the day you always stay friends.
NI ROCKS – You posted a photograph on social media recently of yourself and Lita Ford, along with a teaser about joining forces in 2020. I know you probably can’t say much more about it, but when we might find out more?
DORO – Yes, next year. We were great friends all these years and we’re doing something together. We recorded something in Boston with a great guy who’s name is Gary Hoey – a great guitar player and great producer. So there’s something in the making and next year it will be out. Maybe we’ll do some gigs together. We always been friends, from the early 80’s.
NI ROCKS – There has been a huge increase in the number of female fronted bands across all the rock and metal genres, from symphonic to metalcore. There seems to be a very strong level of support amongst those artists. As someone who has been involved in the business for over thirty years that must be really nice to see?
DORO – Yeah, that is very nice. It always touches my heart.
NI ROCKS – Many of those would would acknowledge you as one of the pioneers and one of their influences. How does that feel?
DORO – Actually, I just did what I wanted to do and somehow it worked out . If somebody gets inspired by it, I’m so happy. All I wanted to do was give people power and energy and make people happy. When people get inspiration from it I’m so happy. Sometimes I hear that from men and women and its great. I must say I was so blessed, getting the chance to tour with the best people, like Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, Motörhead, Saxon and all these great people. W.A.S.P. was my first tour in the UK. I always wanted to give something back, so I always try to treat our support bands really great and do something for them. We have an ace support band for this next tour called King Creatures. I love the UK bands. It will be really good.
NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions that we have time for unfortunately, but we’ll finish by playing another track from the “Forever Warriors /Forever United” release. Which track do you want to play this time?
DORO – Shall we do the duet because I think it is quite different and I love Johan’s voice. This song is “If I Can’t Have You – No One Will”.