heavy metal

Doro Bio

Band members
Doro Pesch


It's been too many years since Germany's reigning queen of hard rock Doro Pesch has seen a record launched on American shores. And there's no more fitting way to reintroduce this engaging artist back into the consciousness of North America's once again growing metal legions than the biting new album, appropriately called Calling The Wild.

Indeed, fully 17 albums, including compilations and live material, precede this loud and lively return to form, Doro splitting her illustrious career in roughly two halves, first pioneering power metal with Warlock through the '80s, and then going solo in '89 with the classic Force Majeure album, for all intents and purposes, a Warlock album under a different name. Three and a half million albums have been sold between the two incarnations, with '87's Triumph And Agony from Warlock being the high point, clocking half a million sold in Germany and nearly that in America, a nation who at the time, were Doro?crazy, copping to the band's visceral, Accept?like grooves and Doors passionate, fully committed metal vocals.

But for much of the '90s, Pesch, recording as simply Doro, focused her career on a receptive German market, few records seeing release in America, a situation which changes emphatically with Calling The Wild, an album which funds me gad?metal guest stars Limy, Slash and Al Pirelli kicking in their tribute, Doro also working with Andreas Bruin, ex?guitarist for Sisters Of Mercy and huge German industrialists Die Rupp's. Ultimately, Calling The Wild an album that is sure to gather back fans who have spent the last few years on the sidelines, as well as new fans who will easily find hook and groove in Doro's love of new technologies and her solidity of songwriting prowess.

Doro considers herself "a modern girl", so don't expect a record that follows any sort of power metal trend (a thriving genre which Warlock helped create). Nor should one expect flagrant techno or industrial leanings, Doro still finding herself much too taken with big, boomy, nasty guitars to join the trendy computer geek crowd. Conversely, what Calling The Wild delivers is a front?edge, modem Doro, including elements from her past, such as her torrid skillful ballad work and her massive sing?along choruses, all within a stomping, crunching rock framework. Big drums, down?tuned power, hot and heavy collaborations, production madness, and a variety of points along an emotional spectrum make thus a record full of events, twists, turns, churns and burns.

The ingenious thing about Calling The Wild lies within Doros collaborative philosophy. The record was conceived, constructed and recorded wherever Pesch had to go to find the perfect personnel. "I've always thought, at least for the last couple of years, that each song should get a specific treatment," explains Doro, specifically addressing the question of the record's multi?leveled production presentation. "And sometimes I thought when a producer or player isn't so much into doing an acoustic ballad or the diehard stuff, I would go elsewhere and choose the people right for that kind of song. That's why I work with a lot of different people. The song always comes first, then I see which producers and musicians would be appropriate for that song. I always go by the feel. I don't have a plan set beforehand. I don't try to think about another record of nine or other people's music I like. It's just the heat of the moment, the power, the spontaneity, whatever comes out. To capture the magic; that's always what my philosophy is. However you get there, you know? I always go by instinct."

In that spirit, Doro worked in Germany, and seemingly all over America. One of the most surprising collaborations was with old friend Lemmy from Motorhead. Doro was sparked by the idea of working with Lemmy after she recently picked up the CD of the band's live album No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith and spotted a picture of her and the legend together. A few phone calls later and Doro was in L.A. cutting a torrid, harmonizing duet of Motorhead's dark "Love Me Forever" ballad from '91's 1916 album. As an added treat, the two worked their way through another unreleased Lemmy ballad called "Alone Again", which again features Lemmy on harmonies as well as flamenco
acoustic guitar! Also featured on these tracks are none other than studio axe legend Bob Kulick and drummer Eric Singer.

Then it was off to Nashville where Doro hooked up with long time friend and ballad collaborator Gary Scruggs. The intimate and somewhat countrified "Constant Danger" was the result. "I always go to Nashville before I go anywhere else or to anybody else to get the sensitive stuff done. And "Constant Danger" is a plain acoustic song which I think has magic. It's a very heartfelt song and it's a true story. I'm a person who is sometimes too naive, always believing everything and giving away everything. This one is about giving away your heart to a stranger who didn't take care of it. It's a heartbreak song. But it was written with Gary. I can always write the best ballads with him. It has nothing to do with the city of Nashville, but because of Gary, I go there every year when I start every record. And we became great friends. I like his sensitive side so much. When I work with a guitar player, I can often write a heavy, aggressive, smokin', rocking song, but the ultra?sensitive songs I write with Gary."

And it was also off to New York City, one of Doro's favorite locales, to work with guitarist Jimmy Harry, with which they came up many ideas, including a reflective, almost trip?hoppy ballad called "Scarred", a track noted for its textures. "I certainly think Jimmy is a genius when it comes to certain sounds. He is brilliant with that. And with "Scarred", I like the vibe as well as the lyrics. It's maybe even a little bit suicidal, but it's good because it's dark and vibey." Jimmy is also featured on guitar on "Constant Danger" as well as Kiss/Cooper?style stomp rock anthem "I Wanna Live", definitely the biggest rabble?rouser on the record.

Kick?off track "Terrorvision" was also a collaboration with Jimmy, the duo cutting it for Doros well?received Love Me In Black album from'98. But in line with Doors quest for indomitable growth, the track has been offered with an entirely different treatment, Doro working with German industrial sculptors Die Krupps to come up with an avalanche of smeared power chords more reminiscent of hard h' heavy Smashing Pumpkins than anything W arlock? Once more an elevated anthem status emerges come chorus time, and another live favorite is born, an effect proven true on the festival circuit in Europe where the track has already been wildly received as a Doro classic.

It is also in New York that Doro hooked up with Slash, in town mixing his second Snakepit album. Slash enthusiastically added squealing squelching solo work to "Now Or Never", a grinding, complicated yet melodic metal cruise which was Doro's tribute to the turning of the clocks. "I wrote that right when we all turned over into the year 2000. Nobody knew what was going to happen, so the idea was live life 'now or never'. You can't wait. Time was perhaps running out, although I was glad that everything was OK (laughs). But regardless, one should their life to the fullest every day. And I now know how much that is true. My father just died a couple of months ago and I know that you can't wait to do and say things. You have to appreciate every day and take your chances. Don't wait."

Elsewhere, Doro presents us with a grinding, low?slung cover of Silly Idol's "White Wedding", a rare cover from an artist who normally is against the idea. "Fuel" is a buoyant piece of muscular in which again drips with hook, Doro collaborating with Andreas Bruhn on this oddly addictive melody, "a strong song from a woman's standpoint", remarks Doro. And if "Burn It Up" sounds like "We Will Rock You" crossed with "One Vision", it's because it is indeed a pounding piece written specifically for a German football team, Rheine Fire from Dusseldorf, who promptly featured the track throughout huge stadiums all over Europe.

And if all this isn't enough to get your juices flowing, Al Pitrelli (ex?Savatage, Megadeth) adds his magic to another song from Dords last album (on the limited edition version only) called "Dedication". Perhaps the band's most blindingly inspirational moment, "Dedication" blows the doors off with a chorus that is the epitome of heady life affirmation. Doro tells a story of a housewife in Salt Lake City with two children who found the strength within this track's chorus lyric to step outside her conformist box and join the army. Indeed her husband had contacted Doros manager relating the tale, including how apprehensive his wife was at the prospect, resulting in a pre?arranged hour-long phone call from Doro herself to the woman. "I called up and I was in the middle of the tour, and she didn't know about it," explains a plainly touched Doro. "Her husband organized it. She came home early from work and we talked on the phone and it was such a great talk. She said she was nervous about going to boot camp and I asked her why and I said it was a great decision. And she said, 'you know what? It was just because of this one song on the limited edition', which goes `For peace and freedom I give my blood to make it right' and then 'I dedicate my boring life' and 'I can't go on and close my eyes'. And she said that when she heard the lyric to that song she wanted to do something, and that's when she made up her mind to go to boot camp and change her whole life. And I thought that's great! And this song was only heard by a small amount of people..."

So look for wild extremes on thus adventurous, extremely well?paced record from thus German legend. It's all a reflection of Doros restless spirit. "As always, the record's honest, very emotional, powerful. I think the heavy songs

Are ultra?heavy and the ballads are sensitive and soft. And I like both those extremes. I like it heavier than ever while the ballads should be as soulful as I can get to really touch people's hearts."

But if there is much variety and dimension to Doors personal composition, one constant rings true, and that is Doors inspiring vocal work, Doro unwittingly arriving somewhere between Kiss, Ronnie James Duo and the sneer of punk rock when it comes to creating vocal melodies that stick with you throughout the day and into the head banged night.

"I think my vocals have gotten stronger," offers Pesch, pointing to some improvements. "I can do more sensitive stuff; with respect to my ballads. Ten years ago, once in a while there was a ballad. But now I really love stuff that blows your mind, sensitive stuff like "Constant Danger" or "Give Me A Reason" or the Limy stuff. I love that. Years ago with the softer stuff, I never thought about nuances. And with the heavy stuff, I haven't changed that much. I just belt it out, try not thinking about it too much, just being myself. That was always the hardest part depending on whom you were working with, just trying to stay truthful. I just want to make people happy and make them feel good. I want to get the whole spectrum of emotion from totally aggressive and brutal to sensitive and very sad."

Mission accomplished, Doro offering, in what is perhaps an unintended nod to cohesion, carnivorous hard rockers with hook?laden melodies and ballads that are almost exclusively dark, foreboding, and instrumentally gray, pulling the extremes to a complex middle ground that could only be assembled by this serious and seriously creative mistress of hard rock magic. Ultimately, expect the unexpected, and expect both quality and quantity, Doro filling the record with stand?alone events and occasions, as well as this over?riding cohesiveness that pools those events into a reflection of the woman's complicated, aggressive metal mindset.

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