Interview: DORO

Interview: DORO

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Doro has been rocking stages all over the world and releasing much loved music for over thirty five years both as a solo artist and with her band Warlock and the queen of metal is going stronger than ever and will continue to do so for a long time to come. While the current situation of the world is limiting to rocking stages at the moment, she has taken this opportunity to release a definitive boxset collection of all her greatest work so far entitled Magic Diamonds which collects classic, rare and live tracks together in one package. We caught up with Doro to hear all about it and how it came together as well as talking about highlights and memorable moments from all aspects of her career.
Your new box set Magic Diamonds: Best Of Rock, Ballads & Rare Treasures is out now. Can you tell us a bit about it and what’s included on it?     
Yeah, It has three CDs. It has 56 songs. It’s the full package. It has 20 rock and metal songs and 18 ballads and 18 rare treasures. That’s probably for the diehard fans because there are many, many unreleased songs, many live songs we remixed and some really special songs we haven’t played in a long time like ”Fortune Teller or Whenever I Think Of You”. I would say the best of the best but even though it’s 56 songs, I think we have even more songs waiting in the archives but these were the first choice. I talked to the diehard fans, we are always greatly connected and I was asking them what songs they would love to hear. They gave me their favorites, it’s now three discs and it will be released on vinyl as well. There are lots of goodies in a special box set which has a poster in and the CD is a special edition with perfume, one is for ladies, one is for men and if somebody is not into perfume, the bottles are so cute, like little skulls. You can put it to your collection. It looks nice and it’s something special.
Did you want to make as much a comprehensive collection of your music with the box set as you could and did you want to include like all aspects of your career?
Yeah, actually last year I was thinking of a new record and I was writing new songs for a new record, and we had two European tours lined up, a tour of America, one in South America, one in Australia but things got postponed and some of them got cancelled and all the festivals wouldn’t happen this year. I thought I want to go back into the studio and and because the band, they are all over the world, Nick, my bass player in the States, my guitar player in Italy, so we couldn’t get together. Then I thought, yeah, I’m working more on the best of and I had this idea a while ago, I thought, yeah, maybe I want to do a best of maybe my favorite 15 songs.I went through all my archives and it was so nice, then it was 25 songs, then 35 songs, then it became 45 songs. Then I maxed out the CD capacity and vinyl capacity and now it is 56 songs from the early eighties to newer stuff. There are lots of versions which nobody ever heard. Lots of live versions and some stuff we rerecorded in the studio, some live versions we recorded last year. That was great to hear like, when it was normal, and you take it for granted, everything’s on fire and great. When we were mixing it, we thought, Oh man, it’s so great. Hopefully it will get back to the kind of excitement on the people that are right in your face and usually I stick out my microphone into the audience and everybody was singing along, that’s so great. That’s so metal. But I mean, I don’t know if that will ever come back, the closeness of the fans. I absolutely love when people bang their heads! So, yeah, we mixed a lot of live things.
Was it a difficult task deciding which songs to include, with such a prolific back catalogue?
Yeah, It was, it was and some of the songs, they are not on the album because Universal still have the rights for them, so we put live versions on instead, like Hellraiser, but not the studio versions. There’s so many more songs I love, but I maxed out every CD! It’s hard to decide because I love all the songs. That’s the reason why they ended up on the records. Every single song has a little story or history or feeling attached to it.
”Love Me Forever”, your duet with your good friend Lemmy is included. What are your favorite memories of Lemmy?
It was so amazing because we met in the early eighties for the first time, then the friendship got deeper with every tour or festival. We played the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donington in 1986 together too, and then many, many things. One time we went on the same label, it was SPV, it was around 2000 and I wrote Lemmy a letter because I found a picture. It was in the inner sleeve of the Motorhead album, No Sleep At All, and it was actually a picture taken at the Monsters Of Rock festival in 86. It was black and white, but it was so cute and he was giving me a little kiss on my head. Then he said, okay, Doro, knock them dead, do a good show. It was such a good feeling and then we had a great show, so when I saw the picture, I cut it out because there was no cell phone and messaging and no computer. I cut it out and sent it with a letter which said hi Lemmy, it’s me Doro, maybe you remember me, we are now labelmates and would you consider doing something together, I would love it I sent this letter to the management and I didn’t even think about it anymore. I didn’t expect that anybody would read the letter, that they would get back to me. A couple of months actually I had a pretty rough time, my beloved, he died and I was totally devastated. Then one day later the phone rang and it was Lemmy and I said, Oh man, that’s awesome. He said, I got your letter. Let’s do something together. And I said, man, I’m so devastated and sad, I don’t know if I want to do anything anymore. He said, you know what, Doro, you got to come to LA, we can do something and I can bring you in a better mind him again. I know it’s sad, but let’s do it. So I flew to LA and then we recorded in the studio that was owned by Bob Kulick who just died a couple of months ago. He was a great guy and he played so many guitars on Love Me Forever and we recorded another song ”Alone Again”, it was another ballad Lemmy wrote on his acoustic guitar, which was actually awesome. We recorded like three weeks in that studio, Eric Singer from Kiss played drums on ”Love Me Forever”, and it was awesome. We were driving around day and night, Lemmy never sleeps, he would just say, let’s listen to some music and we would listen to our demos of mixes, especially ”Love Me Forever” and it was awesome. We hung out for like three weeks, every day in the studio. We had a lot of fun and we became great friends and I miss him every day. It was an honour to work with Lemmy. He came to my anniversary shows and we played Love Me Forever together.
While I was going through the archives, so many people I have worked with, they are in heaven or hopefully in a better place. Pete Steele, we did a duet and he’s not anymore here with us, Lemmy and Bob Kulick, Dio too. We did a version of ”Egypt (The Chains Are On)” that he loved and would play on the radio when he could.  We toured together in 2000 and he told me he loved it, that was awesome and a great tour.
You mentioned the duet with Pete Steele and you have a lot of other duets with other artists on Magic Diamonds like Tarja Turunen and Udo Dirkschneider. How was the experience of working and performing with these great artists?
With Udo, that was the second duet I did in my life and it was so funny. I was working in Pennsylvania and it was in the middle of the mountains, I was living in a mortal in the middle of nowhere. I came back from the studio and the lady on reception said somebody called for you, and she spelled and said Dee Snider and he had an accent and I called the number and it was Udo Dirkschneider!  He asked me if I wanted to do a duet together and he said it was going to be his first ballad and the song was ”Dancing With An Angel” and we did it for his album Man Machine and it came out so great. I was working on an album with an orchestra and I wanted to include ”Breaking The Law” because Judas Priest was my first tour in 86! Judas Priest was my favourite band and it was a great honour so I wanted to do this song as a thank you to Priest by doing a Priest song. We recorded the song and it came out great and I called Udo and asked if he would do a duet on it and we did Breaking The Law. He came into our studio and we recorded it just as we had done ”Dancing With An Angel”. We had a lot of fun and I’ve known Udo for a long time. Strangely enough, the first gig I ever went to was Whitesnake and the first band I was in was called Snakebite because we were big fans! But the second gig was Judas Priest and the support band was Accept! I didn’t even know they were from Germany! We’ve been friends forever and Udo was there at our anniversary and we know each other so well. With Tarja, we swapped songs. She asked me if I want to do a duet with her on her song ”The Seer” and I said, `Tarja, I’m just doing a record, would you like to sing with me on the song ”Walking With The Angels”. It’s a really beautiful song`, and she said, yeah, let’s do it. She was a part of my 25th anniversary as well, we sang both of those songs, that was great and we are great friends too.
Have you got any plans for a brand new album, once, once things get going again?
Yeah, We have six songs already. I’m ready to go and I want to do at least eight or ten more songs and I’m planning on releasing it next year. That will be on Nuclear Blast. Magic Diamonds, that’s on my own label Rare Diamonds. I don’t feel so much pressure coming up with a new album and it is pretty difficult to get everybody together at the moment. I wanted to put something out to have people listen to something nice, and then next year, the new album, and hopefully the new tour but who knows. We can hope for it but I don’t know. It’s good to keep busy and when we couldn’t go on tour, I went back to the studio and did other stuff. We did do a couple of drive-in shows. That was an adventure, it was totally different from the normal show, and people were in their cars and it looked exactly like the All We Are video! The first time I got up on stage, I thought it’s unbelievable. It’s like, deja-vu, it looks like 87 when we played, the LA river basin. That’s where Terminator 2 was filmed, it looked exactly like that, it was great. It was different, but anything was better than doing nothing and we had fun as well. I couldn’t hear the fans because sometimes they were stuck in their cars, they weren’t even allowed to roll up the windows, so we played some little games, like, let me see your blinkers or honk the horn when you like it! The metalheads know how to survive even when it’s not a normal concert or festival!
When it can start happening again, are you looking forward to getting back in the road and what do you miss most about touring?
Yeah, I’ve spent my whole life on tour. I love touring. I never stay long in one place. Usually I stayed like three days in one place and that was it but this year it’s extremely difficult. I always try to stay positive and keep up good spirits but it is hard. I hope that we can get back as soon as, hopefully they will find a good vaccine, which is effective and safe. We postponed all our touring plans for early next year and It already looks like it’s on shaky ground. At first we postponed our April tour to September, but that didn’t happen. I’m ready, but I stay in good shape and I work out every day. When we can play live again, I’m ready. I feel like I’m prepared for anything, but It might take longer than everybody wishes. We do a couple of things like streaming concerts, which of course is not the same either, but we are thinking of doing that maybe a couple of more times for Christmas and stuff, so we’re thinking of something to keep connection with the fans but we are ready to go anytime.
Going back to memorable gigs, you mentioned the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington with Warlock. How did that gig go and what are your memories of that day?
Oh man, to me, that was one of the most important days of my life, I didn’t know that before, but it turned out to be. Back then, no cell phones, no computers. We had no idea that it was such a big festival, we heard about the name, Monsters Of Rock. It was always a big name but we didn’t realize how big the festival was. When we got invited to play there, I tell you, we were driving there not a tour bus, it was like a normal bus, We were all exhausted when we got there and it was a big field, wow, man, it looks pretty big. Then we stepped up on stage and I tell you, I couldn’t believe there was so many people, it looked like 80,000 people were there and we weren’t expecting maybe 2,3,4,000 people! It was a huge stage and everybody was so on fire. We hit the stage and then everybody started headbanging. I just saw masses of people headbanging. It was great to see that! Then after the show was done, everybody was standing on the site, like, Lemmy and all bands that played and everybody gave me the thumbs up. We went on tour with Judas Priest a little bit later and that was when I quit my job. I told my boss that I want to quit my job because we’re going on tour with Judas Priest. We just played the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival and it was awesome. He said what do you mean? What is this Judas Priest? That’s the biggest metal band, them and Iron Maiden. That was it. He said, are you sure you want to quit your job, you will not survive on music alone. I was like, yeah, but Ive got to try it, then he said, we all support you. My coworkers and my boss were there in the front row when we toured with a Judas Priest, they came to a couple of concerts and became instant metal fans! Monsters Of Rock at Castle Donington that was always the place to be. I grew up with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal so it meant so much to me and all the record companies, the agents, the promoters, the journalists in England. It was very important to get a worldwide record release. It was all decided in England, so when we had a great show, it opened doors for us and it was one of the most important days of my life in music definitely.
You’re  known as the Metal Queen, how does it feel being bestowed with such a hallowed title and how does it feel sort of getting respect from musicians all over the world, even who are not metal, how does that feel? I saw Hoya from the New York Hardcore band Madball giving you love recently!
Oh, Gavin I’m just like a little regular girl from Germany, and it’s sometimes it’s overwhelming. I just always try to do my best and I love the fans. I’m totally dedicated to the fans and to metal. I made up my mind when I was 24, one day I woke up, I was in New York and then I said, yeah, today I make up my mind. I want to do it for the rest of my life. I want to dedicate my life to metal and the fans. I don’t want to start a family. I don’t want to settle down. I want to do that and ever since I’ve been really, really happy. I just feel when I give the best I can then that’s when people love it, I’m so happy when people like it. When people respect it, It’s always great. It’s great to hear positive feedback.  I will not give up, I’m a fighter for metal. All the bands we toured with, they know that I’m serious about it. The love for the fans is so deep, that actually means the most to me when, when the fans say, Oh man, I love that song or I love that record, or I love this show, it gives me some positive, good energy.
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