Doro Pesch Planned To Sing With Ronnie James Dio

Burning The Witches came out in 1984 and marked the debut of Doro Pesch with Warlock. She is still going strong. Her latest album, Conqueress – Forever Strong and Proud, is a defiant message of unity and classic Metal Power. 

“We thought maybe four, five, six years,” Doro Pesch says of her early career expectations, “so it’s great to still do it full force. I’m still as excited as I was when we started out. But I never thought it would last that long.”

I first saw Warlock play live in 1987 when they supported Ronnie James Dio at Bradford St George’s Hall. Doro has been associated with Ronnie James Dio quite a lot over the years. Doro says that “unfortunately”, she was not involved in the Hear ‘n Aid project. “But we toured together many times. My first tour with Ronnie James Dio was in 1987 when you saw us, and then my second long tour was in the States in 2000. It was a three-month tour, and we became great friends. 

“Then we opened up for Heaven And Hell, and we had plans to do another tour and another duet together because we sang in America. It was always an honour. We were always arm in arm, singing, and it was great. Maybe we will sing together again in another lifetime.”

Doro often mentions her home town, Dusseldorf. Does it feel special, like a homecoming, when she plays there? “‘Oh yes,” she smiles, “because everything started there. Last year, we celebrated our forty-year anniversary with a big concert in Dusseldorf. I met all my old band members, friends, journalists and basically everybody who supported us in the early ’80s. 

“We did two shows with great guests like Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy. She came up on stage, and Tarja Turunen, the ex-singer of Nightwish, Mille [Petrozza] of Kreator, and Angela Gossow, the ex-singer of Arch Enemy. They all came up onstage, and it was awesome. 

“Also, Mickey Dee and Phil Campbell were there onstage, and we did Love Me Forever and Ace of Spades together. Joey Belladonna was there as well. I think he had the longest trip. He came all the way from America. I think he had to change planes three times.”

“We played a load of songs, including Antisocial, by Trust. I always liked that song. I was a big Trust fan, and of course, I like the cover version by Anthrax. So we did celebrate two times, big time, and I wanna celebrate all this year. But, yeah, in your hometown, there’s a lot of pressure as well because you want to do extra good. 

“All these people came from all over the world, from England and America, Brazil, Spain. It was great, and we will definitely do a DVD or Blu-Ray out of the two shows and maybe some other stuff. 

“Some people gave me some tapes when I was rehearsing with Lemmy twenty years ago, and we all look really young, Lemmy and Udo Dirkschneider. So there’s lots of special material to put on the DVD that nobody has seen before. But as well as all that, I want to work this album [Conqueress] and tour and play festivals.”

Doro Pesch - The Underworld, Camden. March 2019.
Doro Pesch – The Underworld, Camden. March 2019.

I was lucky enough to interview Udo Dirkschneider recently, and he told me that it’s really, really difficult to sing in German. “Yeah, you have to choose your words really, really wisely,” Doro Pesch says, “because it has to sound cool. Singing in German is really tricky. When I have an idea that comes out in German, that’s great. But when you want to translate an English song into German, that’s very difficult. 

“But I always had one song in German on each album ever since Für Immer. Then, after a few records, the fans were like, where’s the German song? I didn’t realise they were so disappointed if it wasn’t there, that it would mean so much to people. So, since then, I’ll have one German song on each album. 

“But yeah, it’s tricky. It takes a lot more work and care. With English lyrics, you write it, and everything automatically sounds cool. But in German, you take something that’s very interesting, but when you write it down, it’s not the same. It might look and sound cool in your head, but when you’re in front of a microphone, it doesn’t work. And when that happens, you’ve got to change it. But English is the best language to sing.”

Udo said that English is the language of rock ‘n’ roll. Does Doro agree? “Absolutely. And, you know, we were both born and raised with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and our heroes were Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon and Motörhead.”

Warlock released Triumph and Agony in ’87, with three languages, which was something unique and special. “I couldn’t speak English when we started our first band,” Doro says. “But we tried. There are also a couple of songs I translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French. So, some songs really work well, but not all of them. 

“For example, Raise Your Fist works well in French. It’s really powerful. When I started out, I was actually not sure if I wanted to sing in English or in French because I loved the band Trust so much. I thought their records with French lyrics were so cool. 

“But, we decided to sing in English. The first song in German was Für Immer on the Triumph and Agony Album. I delivered that album to the record company, and they said, wow. We love the record, we are totally behind it, and we will support it. It’s awesome, but one song has to go. I said, why?”

“I thought everything had the same quality level. They said, yeah, the German song, that can’t be on the album. I said, no, I love it. They said, no, it’s too different; nobody sings in German, and it’s not really Metal anyway. 

“So we made a compromise. The last song, like the vinyl B side song, was Für Immer. Then we went on tour with Ronnie James Dio, and everybody immediately chanted for Für Immer. And to this day, I think I have not played one concert without Für Immer or All We Are. Those two songs are always in the setlist.”

Doro released True Metal Maniacs just before Christmas. This is one of five tracks set for the digital EP Conqueress – Extended, which will be released on 1 March 2024. For more details visit https://doro.bfan.link/conqueress-extended.

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