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Doro Pesch - singer, Doro
2000 - On the phone with David Lee Wilson

It took some time but I think that I have finally snatched the phrase that best describes Doro Pesch, "Lethal Beauty." The latter part of the phrase is obviously appropriate for there are few women in the history of rock and roll that are truly as physically fetching as Ms. Pesch but the former, the first part of the phrase, "Lethal," deserves a bit of justification.

Women in rock have had the hardest time especially when they are genuinely gimmick-less and Doro is exactly that kind of rock lady. Where there have been hordes of talentless boy toys strapping on guitars and smearing their makeup for the last decade Doro has written, recorded and performed straight ahead metal that is as heavy and as heartfelt as any her male counterparts could produce. If it were not for her natural sexual draw this is a woman who could throw musical punches with legends as grand as Lemmy of Motörhead and Ronnie James Dio and walk away with the decision a fair amount of the time. Doro has in fact tackled compositions by both of these men this year alone and produced some of her best recordings as a result.

"Calling The Wild" is the current Doro disc and it colorfully exhibits both sides of Doro, the beautiful and the lethal each in great detail. Of the disc's fourteen tracks two, "Love Me Forever" and "Alone Again," were done in tandem with Mr. Lemmy Kilmister himself resulting in what most argue are the cream of this very tasty crop. If you are looking for harder/heavier material, the demonstrably lethal, as motivation to buy this disc there is plenty here. Top of the heap, at least for me, is "Terrorvision," it just doesn't get any heavier than this one. Doro has also snarled her lip in Billy Idol's direction by brilliantly covering his classic "White Wedding." In all there are fourteen tracks here, each illuminating another facet of Doro's expansive talents. If you are intent on hearing Doro's take on Dio's "Egypt, The Chains Are On" then you will need to pick up "Holy Diver" the Century Media version of the landslide of Dio "tributes" that came out this year. One can only hope that both Dio and Doro can come together for this one as they tour the US together over the next few weeks. So, the beautifully lethal Doro has finally returned to American audiences both on the stage and on record which fortunately for me necessitates a round of press interviews of which I selfishly snagged an hours worth, here is a taste.

DAVID LEE: I have to tell you Doro, we here in America had begun to think that you had given up producing records and started producing babies or something but you are back! So good to hear you again.
DORO PESCH: No, no, no I am not married! (laughs) I was just constantly working. I think that we did eight more records that did not get released in America but there was nothing I could do about that. The imports were pretty good for us but not as good as a real release to tour for.

DL: Now that you do have an American record company, or are they American?
DP: You know, I think that they are Dutch or Swiss or something? Oh, Austrian, the real owners are Austrian but Koch is the American label. I am not too sure about these things. It really paid off, sticking it out because I really didn't think of making it in America anymore.

DL: Well, with the new album and new label available domestically will you be able to get the other records released here now?
DP: It is some legal stuff that had to be worked out so I am very happy because every record, we put everything into it. Warner Brothers said it was OK and Polygram, we have to work a little bit more with them but it is in the making.

DL: It will be great to hear them all! With "Calling The Wild" you have definitely grown as an artist from the point where we last heard you here.
DP: Yeah. Actually, the core is still the same but I wanted to do a record with a lot of variety, as heavy as it can get and as soulful as it can get. We had some great people playing on the record, I wanted to have some really good players on this record, I have always believed that people can hear the intangibles like that. I think that it is almost as important as what is on tape, that it feels right is almost more important than the song.

DL: Because this is the first record to come out in America in so long did you approach the writing of it differently than on the last several albums?
DP: Yeah. It was, in a way, different because I wanted to have a more live feel to it, modern but yet back to the roots like in the power aspect. I wanted every song to have the right vibe and the right people on it. Every song I thought about "Who would love this song?" and I went to many studios and sometimes I had producers working on it in one studio and they would love the heavy stuff but they wouldn't love the ballads so in the end every song got the right treatment from those who were involved in it.

DL: You certainly did use some great players for this record, some of them jump right out at you like Al Pitrelli for instance.
DP: Yeah. I had always wanted to have Al Pitrelli on a record. It was in '93 and '95 when I was doing two records in New Jersey and we called him up each time and they said that he was just out on tour with Alice Cooper and Widowmaker. I have tried to get him often and it was just tricky. Then I went to a Savatage concert about a year ago and he said "Oh Doro, I was always so sorry that I could never do it, how about now?" I said, "What? Right now?" It was like 3:00 o'clock in the morning but I said I would check and see if the guys are in the studio but they were not there and he said, "OK, how about tomorrow?" I said, "OK" and he stayed one more day to play on "Dedication." It was great! He brought his whole road crew with him, we had a very small studio because I am working in Germany with a band called Die Krups and they have a very nice but very small studio anyway, there were like six or seven people all squeezed in! He was playing so awesome and it was the first time that he could come and play and it was just great. Then my band, the guys I am working with here in New Jersey, they ran into Slash at a concert and they were talking and one guy said, "Hey Slash, are you in the mood to play a solo on this song, 'Now or Never?'" and Slash said, "If I can vibe to it." So, we made him a demo tape, he heard it and said, "Yeah, I am coming right over!" The next day he came over with ten packs of cigarettes and a bottle of Stoli for breakfast and he played that ripping solo! That was so fun!

DL: I bet! Great names and talents to have associated with your record too.
DP: Yeah and right when we were in the mixing process I went home one night I wanted to listen to some other stuff, just to keep my mind off of my work for a while. I haven't listened to vinyl in a long time but there was this one record that a fan sent to me one time of Motörhead and I was listening to it and in the inner sleeve there was a photo of me and Lemmy backstage of the Monsters of Rock festival in, I guess '88 or something. I thought, "You know what, maybe I will call up Lemmy and see if he is into writing a song together." I wrote him a letter and I put in a photo copy of the picture and said '"Hey Lemmy, do you remember this one? How about us doing something together?" I didn't expect to really hear back from him or anybody really because I know how it goes when people have no time and the stuff never gets to the musicians sometimes and then a couple of weeks later the phone rang and somebody said, "Hi, this is Lemmy." I thought it was a joke of my band or something! The drummer is a little joker so I said, "Hey Johnny, don't joke!" He said, "No, it really is Lemmy!" There was Lemmy and he said, "Come over to England or to LA" and I flew over and we recorded the two songs "Love Me Forever" and "Alone Again" in the studio of Bob Kulick. He said, "Who do you want to have on the drums? I said that my band was in New Jersey and he said, "How 'bout I call up Eric Singer and he will come down right now?" I said, "That would be fantastic!" We played the two songs and it took like two weeks and Lemmy was fantastic, it was the total highlight for me.

DL: Did you, Lemmy, Eric and Bob all play together in the studio? Did you jam?
DP: We played all together and that was so much fun! We fixed some takes here and there but the basic tracks were played all together and that was really such a treat because it went so well. It was really sad to leave! We wanted to do some more stuff! I know that Lemmy sounds so good but he never sounded as good as then, to me. (laughs)

DL: Aside from Motörhead, that seems to be Lemmy's new calling, writing music for other people.
DP: Yeah. You know what, I was a big Motörhead fan before but I just knew the heavier stuff but then I was digging into the older material and there were a couple of really beautiful ballads and I couldn't believe that they never got the attention. I guess it is hard when you have such ass-kicking stuff like "Ace of Spades." Lemmy was such a soulful guy and when he sang everybody in the room had Goosebumps. He played acoustic guitar on "Alone Again" as well.

DL: How did you convince Lemmy to pick up an acoustic guitar and then to play some Flamenco no less? (laughs)
DP: (Laughing) Actually that was his idea! There was an electric guitar solo on it and we listened to it overnight, it was always like a one hour ride home from the studio so we always took tapes of what we did home with us, and we listened and listened and I thought that maybe the song needed something else. The next day I talked to Bob and I said, "You know Bob, I am not sure about the electric guitar solo." He looked at me like, "Oh Doro, I thought that we were done." "I know, I am sorry but I couldn't sleep good over it." So, he said, "So, what do you want?" "Either a distorted bass solo by Lemmy or an acoustic guitar or something." So Bob was tuning his acoustic guitar and Lemmy came in and said, "I am playing it!" Everybody looked around as Lemmy sat down and did it in one take. I mean, everybody's jaw dropped! All of the guitar players in the room said, "Oh, that was fucking great!" Yeah, Lemmy did it in one take and it was so dead on. Nobody knew that he played acoustic guitar!

DL: I wouldn't have thought that he even saw an acoustic guitar since Hawkwind.
DP: Yeah, yeah but I wasn't so familiar with Hawkwind and he played me all of those records and it is all great stuff. Lemmy is such a talented individual and he is always so dead on. I have worked with so many people over the years and he is so totally special. And then his distorted bass, Oh my God, I guess I have always liked bass players. (laughs) Like when Gene Simmons produced a record for me, yeah I really like bass players, I must say. I mean I like guitar and drums too but bass is always so important.

DL: They have bigger strings than guitar players. (laughs)
DP: Yeah, and they are rude and have so much soul. (laughs)

DL: Something else that I was a bit surprised to see was that you re-worked "White Wedding."
DP: We were just jamming in the studio and then suddenly somebody played the riff and I just sang to it and it sounded so cool. It was like something amazing was going on in the room and the engineer just happened to catch it. That is actually the keeper vocal, the first try. We did some more instrumentation to it but that was about it. Usually I am doing like forty songs for each record and I pretty much finish them and then I choose the ones that I like the most and "White Wedding" was always on the list, it came out really cool. It is dark and heavy, it is such a great song. I hope the fans like it because I am not such a big fan of doing cover versions but once in a while when it is a great song that you really love, then it is good.

DL: Did you practice curling your lip like Mr. Idol does?
DP: Oh, I haven't got that down yet but I am trying! (laughs)

DL: Not only is this the first record for American ears in some time but you are actually going to tour here as well?
DP: Yes, definitely. We are going out with Dio!

DL: Have you listened to the last Dio record?
DP: "Magica"?

DL: Yeah.
DP: Yeah, yeah, I was there for the record release party. I think that Ronnie is one of the best Metal singers in the world. I really think that he has awesome pipes. We toured together a couple of years ago in Europe and every day I was watching the whole show and I thought "Man can he sing!" God, he was always perfect and powerful, it was really amazing.

DL: To have maintained his voice for as long as he has and in the style that he sings, it is astounding.
DP: Yeah, it is.

DL: While the business has been kind to him he has an advantage over you in that there is a very negative reaction to women in rock to begin with and when women have been around for a while, well, it just doesn't get better for them as time goes on. How do you deal with it?
DP: True, true but you know what, it never got to me though I must say that it is difficult to survive in this business under any circumstances. If you are a man or a woman, it really doesn't make much difference. I love this all so much and I am always willing to give 110% to what I do and it never really had anything to do with me being a woman. In this band I feel like one of the guys. I have so many male friends who have great bands and have great songs and it is very hard for them to get it out there as well, you have to fight every day. I don't know if it is harder for a woman because I am not a man (laughs) I can't say but in any event it is always a fight and I am here to fight the good fight.

DL: Does it feel as good to fight that fight as it did before the first record?
DP: Yeah, yeah, most definitely! I will tell you, the longer I do it the more I love it and I will always do it.

Written by David Lee Wilson

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