Fireworks Magazine Online 83: Interview with Doro

CE Updated


Interview by Dave Scott

Given it has been about two years since we last spoke to you, aside from recording your new double release, can you give us a quick insight into what you have been doing in the meantime; for example, I saw you were at the preview for 'Anuk III' recently.

doro interview

Yes, we filmed three parts of the movie. The first one was 'Anuk: The Path Of The Warrior' and then we did part II and part III. We wrote many songs for that movie. I play this character – Meha – and she is a warrior. It was a lot of fun and I love doing little movies on the side, it is always very inspirational. I am always glad that I survive it because usually it is brutal, but it is great. It is run by a great guy, Luke Gasser – he is an independent film producer, a musician and a great person – we always work together. I think we worked together for the first time in 2007 and then, ever since, we always do something together. There is one song from the movie on the first CD, it's the bonus track, 'Bring My Hero Back Home Again'. When we showed it, we had a little party afterwards and so many people came up and asked, "this song in the movie, where can we get it; is it on a CD?" I told them, "no, no, not yet. It is the movie soundtrack but we do not know when it will be out". Then I said, "look, we have got to put it on our 'Forever Warriors' CD". It became the bonus track because it was last minute, but I think it was really nice; it's a little bit A Cappella with heavy acoustic guitar – it is very touching. Amongst all the other heavy songs, this one is really something for the soul.

I love doing that on the side, but mainly I was in the studio working on this record and then touring – non-stop touring. We were making a record at the same time, that is sometimes tough. It is different from the eighties. In the eighties and nineties, we always booked a studio like one year straight, sometimes one and a half years straight, and then I didn't do anything else, concentrating on the songs and the record, and now you do both. There's never a dull moment. We also celebrated one of my favourited Warlock records – the 'Triumph And Agony' album – it came out in 1987. I called my old guitar player friend Tommy Bolan and I said, "hey, you know what, its almost thirty years since – this was two years ago – that album, shall we do a little tour where we play the whole album or where we get together again"? He replied that, "man, Doro, I was waiting thirty years for that phone call", ha-ha. We always stayed friends and he always came up on stage when we played in America; he moved to LA but he's from New York. We played together and we played the whole entire album, which we'd never done before. It was a lot of fun. We realised there are some killer songs on it that we have never played before. Most tours, you pick four or five songs and that is it.

Obviously, when you are on tour promoting an album, fans still want to hear the classics, so you can maybe get half in the set on average, from my experience anyway.

Man, it was lovely. Of course, in the encores we played lots of other "best of" tracks from the other Warlock albums, like 'Hellbound', 'Burning The Witches' and some solo stuff from the likes of 'Raise Your Fist', and it was a lot of fun. We talked together and we were laughing and it felt like the good old times because when we were doing the 'Triumph And Agony' album, it was awesome. At the time, I could feel it was a magical moment, that it might be a successful album but you never know; but I had that feeling that it could really do something. Then Tommy said, "you know, its such a shame that we didn't continue playing together" and I said "yeah, but you know times were different". Back then, the record company, the management, the agency and everybody had so much power, sometimes the band or the band members, they didn't have anything to say when there were decisions being made, and that was the reason why we didn't play together anymore.

We said, "man, you know, we definitely got to continue" so he played lots of stuff on this new album. We also wrote one song together, it is the duet with Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth and it is one of my favourite songs, 'If I Can't Have You, No One Will'. I did a duet on the last Amon Amarth album and it was great. We went to Andy Sneap, he produced it and he recorded it. I flew to Birmingham and both of them picked me up at the airport – Johan and Andy – and then we went to eat. The next day we wanted to record that song 'A Dream That Cannot Be' but I said, "you know, I would like to do it right away. Right away!", and they said okay. We went into the studio late at night and I sang it. It was the first take and immediately you could tell, that was the one. The next day we just fixed a couple of things and we were hanging out, having a great time; I love all the guys from Amon Amarth a lot and I think Johan is one of the greatest front-people/singers. So I thought maybe he could be on my record as well. We had 'If I Can't Have You, No One Will' and I thought "man I will send it to him, maybe he'll like it" because it is a little heavier, a possessive love song and not a ballad love song. He loved it and then wrote half of the lyrics, and then we recorded it. Tommy is a special guitar player because he plays very much out of the box. It is very much like... he is totally unique, high-energy, he is unbelievable – sweating and bleeding in the first song. He brought more energy to the whole record. He played on a couple of other songs, like 'All For Metal', which also has a great video.

Let's return to the beginning for a minute. You have really pulled out all the stops with your new release. When did you first decide that your latest release would be a double album and what prompted you to undertake such a project?

Actually, I started writing for this record about two and a half years ago. We had one single released called 'Love's Gone To Hell', a ballad, but that was not the start of the whole song writing process. It really started when I went to Lemmy Kilmister's funeral; Lemmy was my best friend in the music world, bar possibly Ronnie James Dio. I went to his funeral and I had this melody and lyric coming to me whilst I was on the plane. I was so heart-broken. Then I recorded it on my cell phone, I know you probably shouldn't do that on the plane but nobody saw me, so I sang it on my cell phone, and I was hoping they wouldn't throw me off the plan up in the air ha-ha! I then called my friend Andreas Bruhn, who has been a working partner for the last twenty-two years or so, and I said "Andreas, I have another melody and an idea for a song dedicated to Lemmy". He said, "okay then, let's record it as soon as you get back". We started recording it in Hamburg and then started the whole song writing process. It was just pouring out; we had about thirty, thirty-five songs, so I talked to the record company. They said, "okay, we want one album because not many people are doing double albums" and so on and so on.

So I thought, okay so I have to throw out at least fifteen songs that I love so much. Then a couple of weeks ago, somebody actually said "hey, you know, it would be great to have a double album" and I thought "oh no way, I didn't finish working on all of these songs". Somebody else, someone in charge of all these things, said "no, it would be awesome to have a double album". So we kept working day and night, I don't want to say twenty-four hours, but at least twenty-two hours every day, and then we finished all the other songs that we loved. I thought at the time, "okay, I don't know how we will finish everything with mixing, mastering and all the touch ups" but it wasn't actually so long ago, maybe two or three months ago, that somebody said, "yeah go for it, go for the double album". I was so happy because the whole spirit was like a double album and I thought every song had a deep meaning or the right beat for this record. To be honest, I don't know how long people will buy records anymore, so maybe this will be the last thing with the big package – two CDs, double vinyl. It is massive and beautiful, you can buy it as a box-set or buy it separately, but it will be visually nice and sound wise, it is the real deal.

Did you have any thought to releasing the two albums at different times or was it always your plan to bring them out together?

Yes, it was always the plan to bring them out together. I never thought it would be a good idea to release one part one year later because I like it fresh, what you hear is what you get. Maybe in one year or so, the subjects would be different, I don't know if the world would still be standing. There are lots of ideas in the album, they are talking about today, certain songs are a bit political like 'Résistance'. The world has never been in a worse shape than now and that is a song that I thought is up-to-date and that definitely had to make this album. So it was always the thought that we would have a double album now and not two separate parts.

You never thought, whilst you were doing it or even when the label then decided about it being a double album, we should finish one, get that out and then release the other later; you set your heart on a double album and set your heart on that.

Yes, exactly. I never feel the work, when they said about a double album, I thought, "ah yes, a great idea, let's get right back to work, let's finish the other songs". Usually when we master an album it takes one or two days but this time it was five days and nights to make it really nice and perfect. That is the way it should be. Somehow, I don't know who tells you or who is the judge of it, I guess it's gut instinct or the inner voice, there is something that makes you feel what is right or wrong. Usually I think the first thought or the first feeling is very powerful and ninety-nine percent of the time it is right. So whether it's music, mixing or song-writing, when it really feels good I feel it in my body, my heart is pumping like crazy, I feel like I am getting all excited, I can't sleep at night because I am thinking about the song. There is a special power to it where you feel that you have to do it and to do it right. There are other songs where everybody says, "that is a great song" or "that is a hit", but if I don't feel it, usually I don't even go for it anymore. I've felt in the past, since I have been doing this for thirty-five years or more, sometimes I thought "okay, maybe other people are right, they are more experienced, older, they know" and then I did certain things that I didn't feel one hundred percent about, but I tried it out and it really never worked out. You live and learn ha-ha.

What can fans expect musically, from the two new albums?

I think the first working title was 'Soldier Of Metal' and the second was 'Empowered United'. I definitely would like to give people positive power and energy, it sets you up with so much good energy, joy and meaning. Something that really, really feels good for a long time and not maybe just listening to the record once; that maybe it stays with you for a couple of years. I definitely learnt from the best, like Ronnie James Dio for example, they were my favourite records and I listened to them over and over, I was finding new melodies or new words where I thought, "oh man, that is great, that makes me feel so good" or it feels like another person is just feeling like you. For example, there is one cover version on the new album called 'Lost In The Ozone' (from Motörhead and Lemmy) and when you feel really lonely and really isolated, then listen to that song and you can be sure that many people feel like that, even Lemmy felt so alone. I think that is positive too. There is a feeling of unity and bringing the people and the world together, fighting the good fight, that is the message of the record, fighting the good fight, that all the good people... that they are sticking together. I think there is so much negative energy out there, I think it is of upmost importance that the good ones, that they keep on fighting. There is nothing fake; what you hear is what you get. There is nothing that has been fiddled around with, it is all coming from the heart. There were good people involved in this and good people working on this.

You have already mentioned that you had involvement from Tommy and Johan, who else did you turn to for help with this new album? For example, I know Doug Aldrich is helping out on there...

Somebody in the studio who was utmost important to me was Andy Bruhn and he is the ex-guitar player of Sisters Of Mercy. We met, I think it was in 1986 or 1987, and ever since we've worked together on many songs and he was a big part of this record. He is not playing live but in the studio he is great and very understanding. He's super talented, super sensitive and open-minded when I have an idea, I don't feel embarrassed singing it to him. Sometimes when there is an idea you really care for, you have to be careful who you play it for or who you sing it to because if somebody looks at you strange or funny or thinks that it's a silly idea, then the song is gone. I love working with him and I always feel secure when I say, "Hey Andreas, I have a new idea, do you want to check it out?" he says, "Yes, just sing it into the microphone and let's see." I can do whatever I feel and he is immediately on the same page. He might sometimes say, "Let me think about it" and he is fantastic guitar player – usually he plays guitar to it or whatever. He plays all the instruments which is great – and then we always get a result really, really quick. It feels either like "Ah, lets forget about it" or it feels like "Yes, this could be something." Therefore, Andreas was one of the main song-writing partners for me, like 'All For Metal', 'Soldier For Metal', almost everything. 'Heartbroken'... we worked on that. Then I thought, "Man, I would love to have other people involved." For example, on 'Heartbroken', ... it was two American tours ago, we played in Las Vegas and Doug Aldrich was there and we hit it off right away. We had met at some festivals and stuff. I said, "Hey Doug, do you want to play on stage, let's do something" and he said okay. Then we decided we'd do 'Breaking The Law' because everybody knows that song and it sounded so beautiful; he gave it a different touch and it was awesome. We stayed in touch and when I wrote this song 'Heartbroken' with Andreas, I thought, "Man, you know, Doug would possibly be awesome on that if he would like it."

I sent him the song and he wrote back saying, "I love it, I love it, let's do it." He played all these great solos, like the long one in the middle and the long one on the end. At first, everybody was saying that we had to make a shorter fade and I thought, "No, no, it is so great, it has to be to the very last note, until it ends" so 'Heartbroken' was with Doug. As I already mentioned, 'If I Can't Have You, No One Will' is with Johan. I love his singing and I love his spirit, most of all I love that. I saw him many times live and then I had the great chance to hop on stage at a couple of festivals, like Summerbreeze, Wacken and Rock Am Ring. We have great chemistry, even on stage, it was so much fun. I felt like I was part of the band, which usually when you are a guest, you feel a bit weird or awkward; you hope that it is all okay and that people like it, but in that setting, I really felt like part of the band. It was good and with Johan it was awesome, so I am very happy and honoured that he is on this record with his great powerful voice. I love his voice, I love his attitude and it will possibly the second or third single. We definitely want to do a video of that song too. There is then one song that is very special, you probably don't know the guest, but the song 'Backstage To Heaven' was written by Jack Ponti and myself a while ago.

There is a saxophone player called Helge Schneider and he is a comedian but very dark humour – he is really funny but really weird and unique haha – and he plays lots of instruments (he is a Jazz player, he plays piano, saxophone and stuff). We meet for the first time at Wacken, we briefly said hello, and then we meet again last year at the place where I played Monsters Of Rock Festival in Germany (it was in Mannheim). In 1986, there was the biggest day in my life when we played Castle Donington and then there were two other Monsters Of Rock festivals in Germany and one was in Mannheim, so it was a very special place. We had a great gig and then there was somebody watching the show and I thought, "He looks like that comedian, he looks like Helge" and then I walked back before the first encore and he was still hanging out and rocking out. After the show, I knew it was him and I said, "Hi Helge, what are you doing here" and he said "I am playing here the next day" because the city was doing something for about two weeks with all kinds of musical styles. We were talking and he asked what I was doing and I told him I was working on a new album and he said, "How cool, just in case you need me... you know." I said to him that I actually had this song, 'Backstage To Heaven', and on the demo there was this great saxophone solo and I asked if he played saxophone and he said yeah.

He came to the studio a couple of weeks later and he played this great saxophone solo on that song. Jack Ponti, the song-writer, he was someone who produced the 'Angels Never Die" album in 1993 and the 'Machine II Machine' album in 1995, and he is a very well-known guitar player, song-writer – he wrote 'Love Is A Loaded Gun' for Alice Cooper and many other great songs and many big hits. I think he a couple of things for Bon Jovi. We wrote it a while ago and he is still a great friend. Jack is one of the best guitar players too and funny as hell. Speaking of Bon Jovi, there is another song on this album called 'It Cuts So Deep' that I wrote with the keyboard player from Bon Jovi – David Bryan. That was a while ago too, we wrote it years ago. It was actually when I was working with Jack – because I recorded 'Angels Never Die' and 'Machine II Machine' in New Jersey – and then for many, many years I went back to New Jersey, actually a couple of songs on this album were recorded in a studio by Mike Goldberg. I met him in 1995 and we always stayed friends and work together, so 'It Cuts So Deep' was actually with David Bryan. I like that song-writing style, like we used to do it, with great verse, great b-section, great bridge and great chorus. I like that. I know in this day and age that sometimes the melodies, they don't seem so important anymore, but I like good stuff, old-school stuff.

There are two songs I would like to ask about. I see you once again have another German language song on one of the albums, 'Freunde Fürs Leben' ('Friends For Life'), for those who don't speak German, what is that song about?

It is a little bit in the same theme as 'Für Immer', it talks about deep friendship that will never, ever end and friends for life. I really mean it, actually, my true love are the fans all over the world. To me, they are not an anonymous audience; I know many, many fans personally and have done so over the years. That is what I live for, that is why I wake up in the morning, it is for the fans. To me, they are my dearest friends, they are often closer friends than my "normal" friends and that one means 'Friends For Life'. There is not the word 'fans' in the song but they will know.

You also have another cover on the album I wanted to touch upon. You have covered 'Don't Break My Heart Again' by Whitesnake; what made you record that song?

It was 1980 and I was in my first band that was called Snakebite, then it was Beast Attack and then Warlock. I was in my first band Snakebite and actually we heard that Whitesnake was playing live and that was my first Rock concert ever; it was in 1980 and it was in Cologne. I tell you, David Coverdale was so fucking amazing and it was great. It was this great line-up and he was such a God: his performance, his moves, the voice, the songs, the energy ... it was unbelievable. I became a big Whitesnake fan, I guess people in my band were Whitesnake fans too because our band was called Snakebite, so I guess there was something, this connection. Back then, you didn't have so much access, there was no internet, no sale boards. It was so hard to even see a band or to find out that a band is playing. I always drove, I drove sometimes like twenty or thirty hours to see a band, but Whitesnake, it was one of the wildest experiences. For many, many more years, I was searching for another band who would blow my mind like that, and the second band was Judas Priest and then it was Ronnie James Dio, but I waited a long time to see a show which totally blew my mind. I met David briefly one time backstage and I said hello. I haven't sent him the song yet so I hope he likes it because it was just getting mastered a week or so ago. Like I said, we have only just finished and the graphics are still in the making, and the mastering just a week and a half ago. I will send it, I don't know where to send it but I will find out and I hope he likes it.

There are obviously two songs we have to talk about, both of which you have briefly touched upon already. We can't talk about this album without speaking in more detail about 'Living Life To The Fullest'. That is the song that started all this. Was it just one of those inspirational moment?

I had the great chance to meet Lemmy; I think the first time was in 1984 or 1985 and it was actually in England. I was invited to a party and had to do a little showcase. I did the sound-check but it was not with my band because the record company had said, "No, no, we don't want to spend that money, just the girl goes to England and she gets some musicians and they do a little showcase" which was cover songs. I did the sound-check. I couldn't speak much English haha, but I weaseled my way through. So we did sound-check and it sounded alright. I then had a couple of hours to kill so I walked around and that was the first time I went into a pub, and who did I see? Lemmy. He was hanging out, having a cigarette and whisky and cola, and we started to talk. He said, "Are you Doro, that chick from Warlock" and I said, "Yeah, and you are Lemmy" and he had that big smile — wow it was cool. We started hanging out, really laughing and talking, like becoming great friends right off the bat. He was always pouring me whisky and colas, and after a while he said, "Doro, don't you have to do a show" and I was like, "Err yes". I totally forgot the time because I had enjoyed the time with Lemmy so much.

I came out too late and I walked out of this pub totally drunk and I realised that after, when I was talking to Lemmy, we had great fun and it was really cool, but then I thought "Oh my God, oh my God." At first, I couldn't even find the club anymore because everything looked alike, in London sometimes all the streets look alike – it was unbelievable. I eventually found it and I came back late, everybody was already so upset. It was a big deal because they all wanted to see me on stage and then decide if we would get a record deal; it was like heavy. I walked out on stage and the band started to play, and I forgot all the lyrics. I couldn't remember a word and I was so drunk, so I sat myself on the drum raiser and I waited until the band was done. Everybody looked at me and said, "You ruined your life, you ruined your career, you know that?" and I said, "Yes, but I am friends with Lemmy" and then everybody started laughing and we got our record deal. The record came out and somehow it all worked out. Ever since I loved Lemmy and we met again at the Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1986 at Castle Donington and it was awesome again. We have played many, many festivals and many tours together, and then my very first duet was with done with Lemmy back in 2000. I was on the same record label, it used to be SPV, and I wrote Lemmy a little letter and said, "Hi Lemmy, I don't know if you remember me, I am that little German girl. I am now on the same label and we are doing a record, so maybe, if you have time or are interested, maybe we could write a song together or do something together." I wrote it to the management and I never expect I would get an answer; I know how it is, people are busy. It was a couple of months later and I got a phone call.

It was a very sad day because my dad had died one day before the phone call and I was totally devastated and totally desperate. The phone rang and I didn't even want to pick up it up, I was almost suicidal, it was really bad. I was in a shop because my mum needed some clothes, she didn't have anything black. I only really wear black but she didn't have any black clothes, so we had to buy some black stuff for my dad's funeral. My mum said I should pick up the phone, the whole shop, all the people were looking at us and I said, "No, no, I don't want to pick up the phone." She told me to at least check out who it is because maybe it was important, but I said, "No, no, there is nothing important anymore." But I did check the phone and it was an LA number, which I thought was weird because I usually know people in New York but not many in LA. I picked it up and it was Lemmy on the phone. He was in good spirits and he said, "Hey Doro, I got your letter and yeah, let's do something together." I said to him, "Oh Lemmy, I don't want to do anything anymore, my dad just died." He already knew that my dad was my best friend and he said "Oh man, I am so sorry. You sound really bad, I think it is utmost important that we do something together, that you get into a different mind frame." I said, "I don't know" but he said, "Ah Doro, just come over to LA and we do something." In the end I said, "I don't know. Oh okay, I am coming." I went to LA and it was the first time I did a duet with somebody and it is on the 'Calling The Wild' album. We actually did two songs, 'Love Me Forever', which is the Motörhead classic, and 'Alone Again', another song which Lemmy wrote on his acoustic guitar. He sang it to me and I was like... man, the tears were rolling down my cheeks.

It was so touching and wow, and the lyrics were so heavy, similar to 'Lost In The Ozone' which talked about loneliness and being left again. We had a great friendship after that time, we spent many, many weeks in the studio and then we always met on tour. We toured together with Motörhead and on the last record, 'Raise Your Fist', there was another duet on it called 'It Still Hurts' and we recorded it; in fact, it was the last time we did something together studio-wise. The last time I saw him, he didn't look so healthy and he looked so thin. I thought to myself, "Oh man, I hope everything goes well." He was still touring and we had great contact. When I was England or America, or he was in Germany or America, we always called each other and met up before a show, sometimes I hopped up on stage and it was awesome. When he died, it hit me like... oh man. After the first time, like I have said before, the first time it was like that was with Ronnie James Dio, who I loved so much. We had a great, great friendship and we toured together. Then with Lemmy, it was the second time something hit me so hard; it was heavy. I went to his funeral and that was heavy too because my mum was in hospital and my mum didn't feel so good – I was just thinking, "Oh my God." I went there and, on the plane, I actually met Mikkey Dee who was flying to the funeral as well. I was sitting in my chair and thinking about Lemmy and then this melody just popped into my head; it was the melody and lyrics right away, not the verses but the whole chorus which was written in a moment. I recorded it on my cell phone and then a couple of weeks later, I recorded it. It is a song for Lemmy but it gave me so much hope and energy as well. Thinking about him, I always feel like he was a great, great person.

The word legend is used far too much these days but that does sum him up perfectly.

Totally, he was a total hero and legend, and one of a kind. These days, so many people, they go with the flow and I always felt Lemmy was always doing what he thought and what he felt. He was unique and he had a heart of gold too. He was so amazing, especially when we did those two songs, he helped me. He was so sensitive and he had just the right words to say, with my dad and stuff because I was so sad and I thought the world would end for me. He was very, very sensitive, soulful and intelligent about it and he really gave me new hope. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel by just having Lemmy at my side and talking to me. He was lifting me up again and I never, ever forgot that. I guess nobody else could have done it.

Another song that deserves a question all to itself is 'All For Metal'. I know you will be unveiling the new single and video next month. In a recent press release, you mentioned the video will include several Metal heroes. Who does that include?

Yes, it does. It includes Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Johan (Amon Amarth), Chuck Billy (Testament) and Warrel Dane (Sanctuary/Nevermore). That was the last time that I saw him, it was recorded at Wacken, and we were great friends. It was my first American tour with Sanctuary (with Warrel) and Megadeth in 1988, and we always stayed friends as well. There is also Jeff Waters (Annihilator), the guys from Sabaton, Ross The Boss (Manowar), "Rockin'" Rolf Kaparek from Running Wild, Detractor from, I think, Chile who are a young, up-and-coming, Tommy my old Warlock guitar player, Andy Brings who used to be a band member of Sodom....

Wow, you really do have some names in there.

Yes, yes. Then you see all our diehard fans and you see many fans in Wacken when they are dancing in the mud and flying into the mud. There are these great scenes of people, I don't know who they are, but they look great and they are covered in mud. There is this couple who are covered in mud and then they are flying into the mud. It was filmed in Wacken when it was raining like mad. Besides the guests, the fans... the fans, they are a big part of that video. It is done in slow motion, the people in the Wacken mud scene, it is so beautiful. You wait until you see it. It will make you feel good. It is so funny, in the end Mille and I, we are singing when the song is ending and it is so funny. It looks like two kids playing, it looks like we are six years old. You will see it, and it is funny.

In another press release you have mentioned the two albums are made up of nineteen tracks and six bonus tracks making twenty-five. Can you tell me about the bonus tracks on the album?

There is one I told you about already which was with Luke called 'Bring My Hero Back Home Again' from the movie. There is another song which might end up in the movie called 'Black Ballad'. It's a very mystical, very dark song, like a little spooky; I love it. Then there is another one on the first album called 'Be Strong', the message is just that I want to give the fans good energy and all be strong, no matter what. Whatever crosses your path, be strong, just close your eyes and go through it – that kind of theme. There is then one special bonus track and I always wanted to record it. It is a song called 'Caruso' and it was written by Lucio Dalla, an Italian song-writer and musician who died a couple of years ago. That song has been done a couple of times by Luciano Pavarotti, that is how I got to know the song, and it is my first song in Italian. On each album, I always like had a song in French, most of the time it was in French, Spanish or Portuguese. My guitar player, Luca Princiotta – who has now been with us for over ten years, he is a very talented guitar player but he is sometimes a little bit in the shadows, but he is absolutely great – he came to the studio and he was coaching me through all the Italian words so it sounds perfect and the Italian fans know what's going on haha. I think it came out really good and that is my first song in Italian, but the melody is so nice. I played it to Nuclear Blast and I said, "Wow, it should definitely make the album" but it is very unique so it not on the real album but a bonus track. I want to put bonus tracks pretty much on all records or CDs, I don't want to have a CD without bonus tracks. It will be on every format, including vinyl as well.

I read that you wanted to record that in the last recording week?

Yeah, actually it was recorded in the last week because there were three songs I wanted to record towards the end of the album – 'Lift Me Up', 'Don't Break My Heart Again' and Caruso' – and I wasn't sure if we would get it done in time but we did.

How did you go about working out which songs would appear on which album?

Actually, I thought maybe the first one has maybe more anthems, is maybe a little heavier, with songs like 'Bastardos', 'If I Can't Have You, No One Will' or 'All For Metal', while the other one is a little bit more, I don't want to say softer but maybe a little more soulful... just maybe a tiny little bit with 'It Cuts So Deep', 'Heartbroken' and '1000 Years', which is a very soulful, heartfelt song. I just went by gut feeling. I think the first one is a bit heavier and the second a bit more soulful.

You went with gut feeling rather than say I will record these for one album and these for the other. You recorded them all, sat down and went with your gut feeling?

Yes, actually it is sometimes really interesting that in the beginning you or someone might say/think "Oh, this song, this is the single", "That is a hit" or "This is great", and then through the process of recording, mixing and then even mastering, certain songs, they come alive where you don't expect it, whereas other songs they don't really quite make it; it's sometimes interesting. Therefore I always wait to the very last moment, usually in mixing you decide. Even when you do the sequence, that is always hard, it is a pain in the ass because there are so many choices but then you somehow you feel... yes, this song feels like it wants to be number one or this one wants to be a closer.

You know it is so funny, I used to do mix tapes and also some DJing, and it's not dissimilar. You have to decide that this song will start and then this one will follow that nicely and so on.

Sometimes I think about it and I write it down, even just in my mind... oh it sounds perfect. I then go into mastering and then you do it, and then the songs don't really mix even though you visualised it and heard it in your mind. Then you hear it for real and the song wants to do what it wants to do, and I am always respectful to the song and where it wants to be. I always go by feeling but it is sometimes interesting. Even when we do a set-list live, I write a set-list, then we go into our rehearsal room and we do it, and then you feel it, no... that doesn't work and then we do other things. Therefore I always usually do the set-list with the guys in the rehearsal room and it's usually different to the first thing I wrote down... then live on stage, I change the set-list again haha. The guys, they don't always like that haha, but I always feel whatever makes the show the best it can be, whatever makes it unique and whatever makes the fans happy, that is what it should be. Everybody's always ready and prepared to work on, I don't know, fifty or sixty songs, and then sometimes in a concert I feel "Yes, people would like to hear this" or when people are totally going into a head-banging move, then of course I want to play more songs in that sort of vein rather than go into a ballad.

It keeps the guys on their feet, haha...

Haha, if you ask them they would probably say, "Oh, it is hard, it is hard", haha. I feel like, since I am the front person, I am always right there where the fans are and sometimes it maybe different from where Johnny Dee is sitting on the drums, which is ten metres away, so he might feel different. When I feel the energy of the people, I can look into their eyes and know what is going on, and then, of course, I want to do every concert like they would never forget it; like I felt like when I saw Dio or Whitesnake. I want it to be "WOW!" so that they will remember it for a lifetime. That is like how I go about it because it could mean that every concert could be the last because I give it my best, give it my fullest – always living life to the fullest as the song says – there is no plan B and no safety net... just go for it fully. Sometimes people think or say, "You'll get a heart attack." In the beginning, like in the eighties especially when we toured England, I always felt it was so important because that is where Metal came from. I gave it my all and the manager always had to actually carry me off stage because my head was blood red, everybody thought the head would explode and the little girl too. It was so insane, but I like to keep it that way. Then with somebody that is old-school, like Tommy, we are on the same page so it's like... haha... he is a maniac and I always think "Man, he will have a stroke any moment" but so far, so good. We are all alive and well.

You have some of the most amazing stories; is there one particular tale from the recording of this album – be it funny, heart-warming or just a particular memory – that is special to you from the process of making this album?

Yes, haha. We recorded the album all over the world: in New Jersey, in Hamburg with Andreas – his studio is in Hamburg and most of the stuff was recorded there, and I have another studio that is actually in Germany as well; it is really old-school, it looks like the good old days with old coaches, and it is called Rock City Studio. In their logo they have a dog and it was a golden retriever. I love dogs, that is something I miss so much. I don't have a family, I don't have animals and I really would love to have them but it is impossible. This dog, I loved it and since the record was recorded for two and a half years, he was a very old dog and during that production he sadly died. The engineer, his name is Ralph Quick, he is a great mixer and he is old-school – I like that. He was so heartbroken and he was lonely – he is not married and he doesn't have kids – and I thought, "Oh man". Then he got a new dog and that is the dog people might have seen, he is a French Bulldog and he looks really cute in the pictures and I love him. However, I tell you, he is a young boy and he sometimes goes a little crazy. He loves eating my zippers and everything that is shiny and he always love to eat my shoes.

The engineer is like, "Oh, he's not doing much" but he is sometimes biting really hard because he is young and so full of energy. I was singing 'Don't Break My Heart Again' and we had to do a couple of ad-libs. I actually sang it in Hamburg but towards the end we wanted to do a couple more ad-libs so I was singing in that studio and the dog was going crazy and then he was eating my leg and I thought, "Oh no". I felt it, it was hurting and it was painful, but I thought the take I was doing was so dead on that I probably wouldn't have been to do it over again that easy and as good. I thought, "You fucking dog, you can eat my leg but I will finish the track" haha. Then the take was done and the track was done, and Ralph actually, while he was recording he didn't get it and he was so into his work etc and I said to him, "Oh Ralph, the dog, the dog, my leg, it is bleeding and stuff" and he replied, "Oh, he is just a little baby." His dog is more important than any human, haha. After that take was done, I had these leggings on – I didn't even have jeans on, I had leggings on – so the whole leg was full of blood and I still have all the things, it looks cool but that was the session where the dog ate the leg and I couldn't let up, haha.

Looking to the future, I understand you potentially have plans for a live 'Triumph And Agony' release and I also see you have started your own record label – Rare Diamonds Records.

That is true. The reason for the record label is because so many record companies have closed doors which is so heavy and so sometimes sad due to what is going on in the industry, and there are not many records anymore to sell. Anyhow, I got so many records back, like all the rights to these records, I got them back from SPV and AFM. Then I thought it is such a shame that you could not get the records anymore from anywhere. You couldn't even order them and you can't buy them in the stores – there are not that many stores left – you can't buy them anymore. We then had this idea of forming our own label to put them out again, if possible in nice limited editions to make them extra special. Last year I did this TV show and I sang a couple of songs, some other artists sang some songs and then the audience could vote which song was the best. It was not only Metal, it was all kinds of genres. To cut a long story short, the song which was the favourite of this TV show was 'Für Immer', it was that German song and it was sung by somebody else which was really cool.

I thought "Wow" and that was where I came up with the idea to do a record with only the German songs on it because some of those records you can't buy anymore. I then had, like, seventeen songs and recorded 'Helden', which is the German version of the David Bowie song 'Heroes', and two other songs that we recorded in German that used to be in English. We put it out, it was called 'Für Immer', and it came out in September last year. I thought maybe it is a nice thing for people to enjoy before the new record came out because I knew it would take a little bit longer. I always say it is coming out in a couple of months; when 'Love's Gone To Hell' was being released, I was saying, "Yeah, next year the new record is out" but sometimes it takes so much longer than you want it to. That is the reason why we formed our own label. Then I thought that 'Triumph And Agony', when we played it live, it sounded so good. We did it the first time last year at the Sweden Rock Festival and man I think it turned out really good. This year we are doing it again in Spain, at another really nice festival so we are doing it a couple of times. We also did an American tour a couple of months ago and I think it sounds great. I think the record deserves it.

Is that something you are going to do or is more hoping?

No, I want to do it. We will probably record it this year and put it out next year. I don't feel it is urgent but I definitely want to do it. In the live environment, I think some of these songs sound even nicer because of the energy and with the audiences who go crazy. It is so much nicer than the studio version which is always a little bit tame; the songs are usually a bit slower and live they are double speed. I definitely want to do it. Now, having played with Tommy so many times, it is working out great; he is a great guy. We all get along great, now we have three guitar players for that setting. It is good, no egos involved so it is all cool. You know how guitar players can get but everyone gets along great.

Well, Iron Maiden can manage it, so I am sure you can haha.

Yeah, haha, but they are the only band I know that have and can. We did it now many times and it worked out great, it felt good.

Doro, it has been an absolute pleasure to talk to you again. Is there anything you would like to add or that I might have missed?

Oh, if you can tell all the fans that I love them forever and I deeply appreciate all their support for over thirty-five years; it is so awesome. It was my dream to do music and that I can still continue doing it is because of the fans. The fans I love most in this world, in my world, they mean everything to me – always will and always have, and that will always stay that way and I hope they will enjoy the new record.

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