17 Apr WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH DORO
We’ve never spoken before but the sound of her voice and her accent was so familiar to me.
She was, is, and always will be my idol, my role model, the woman who redefined the meaning of the word “queen”.
Don’t take my word for it, I’m her biggest fan, hence I’m wholeheartedly biased. See for yourself, follow her work, her lifestyle, her. You will fall utterly in love with her royal highness.
This interview is dedicated to my blood brother, Pandelis.
He used to DJ at Valhalla, a small metal club in our hometown, 20 years ago, and I was just a little girl, begging him to play “All We Are” for me, to dance like there’s no tomorrow. And he did, just to get me off his back, as I wouldn’t take no for an answer. We had cassette tapes back them with Doro’s name smudged in blue ink on the handwritten stickers.
Denn Freunde geh’n mir uber alles -immer-
Ich word’ immer fur dich sein -fur immer.
Doro called 10 minutes ahead to make sure everything was set. That’s the kind of person she is. I was at my desk, sound checking, over and over again in a desperate attempt to calm my nerves. I didn’t realize there was a call coming in.
In the middle of an embarrassing “oi, oi check one two” she said
“Hi, it’s me”.
It was Doro, in all her glory.
“I called to see if everything works,” she said and “I will call you again in ten minutes, I’m so excited to speak to you”.
I’m surprised I’m still alive; I reckon I stopped breathing for 10 minutes.
She rung in ten minutes indeed.
Before I even fangirled, she started telling me how excited she is to be visiting Greece this summer and that she’s never been to Crete before. The Greek fans are so amazing, she said. “High energy”, she said, “that’s what I love most”. She was just about to go to rehearsal, the tour starts next week and her excitement was 100% genuine. You could feel it in the air.
“I’ve been to Greece a couple of times with Saxon” she remembered full of joy.
I interrupted her to apologize for the fact that she caught me sound checking earlier and to state the obvious: that I’m so excited, she could probably hear my heart beating like a jungle drum through the call.
“I must say I’m just as excited” she said.
Fuck the interview I said.
Let’s have a woman to woman mentorship thing, for all the badass ladies out there.
Super! She exclaimed.
She says ‘super’ a lot and by the end of the interview mentorship thing, I picked that up as well, and I ended up saying ‘super’ in every other sentence.
Doro, in most of your songs you cover topics such as friendship and companionship. Do you find it difficult to create and maintain true friendships within the male-dominated metal community?
No, no, it was very easy especially with the great people that came to my life, like Lemmy for example, Dio, they were my closest friends, and you know, I could tell them everything, it was very, very deep, intense, we had a solid, great foundation. With people like that, it’s super, super soulful. They had such a big heart when you talk to someone with a heart like that, it’s super easy. I met Lemmy in 1983, I think, and right away we hit it off, and it was awesome, I couldn’t even speak English at the time. It was when the first record, “Burning the Witches” just came out and it was then that I met Lemmy and we immediately became friends. With Ronnie James Dio the same. He was very supportive. I mean, the friendship always deepens and deepens. With Lemmy, we did three duets together, the last duet was on the last album, “Raise Your Fist”, it’s called “It still Hurts” and that was the last time that I spent day and night in the studio with Lemmy. And the new record, “Forever Warriors Forever United” is dedicated to Lemmy because he meant so much to me, the first song which was written for this record, was called “Living Life to the Fullest”, I was on the plane to L.A to go you know, to his funeral and I was so sad, the lyrics and chords just came out.
Then she remembered the question about friendship.
To really answer your question, when you give out good things, good things will come back to you, maybe in different ways and different shapes, but still good, male, female, we’re all people, as long as we share the same passion, just support each other.
Doro, when you and your band are on duty, are you always the sober one who makes sure that everything runs smoothly?
Yeah, actually I am, and being the singer you know, you can’t afford to party all night, or to drink yourself senseless, because then your voice is gone and I want to give the fans the very best of me, be focused and concentrate. The guys can sometimes party, but for me, it’s better to stay sober. I also work out a lot, so these two don’t go together, I do martial arts.
That’s fantastic. I know you are a trained Thai boxer, it’s amazing that you always find the time to train.
Yeah, I started Thai Boxing 199..
1995 I said, to show off my huge amount of knowledge regarding her life.
Yes! She exclaimed, 1995, and then, I turned to Wing Chun and trained with “escrima” which are like bamboo sticks. It’s hard when you are off to a tour and then you come back and the rest of the class knows much more than you and you’re like “oh, shit!”
But you can only do one thing for real, the sports and martial arts I do on the side, but music is what I live and breathe for.
It definitely shows Doro. We can see your commitment and dedication. This is the kind of inspiration that keeps us going.
“Aw! That’s so sweet” she said.
“People is what inspires me, I want to make people happy, when I see that something inspires them, I always want to make people happy, when I see that something empowers them, then I’m just a happy baby”.
Born to be a queen! What did you want to be when you grow up, Doro?
Oh! I always wanted to be a singer, since I was three years old, I fell in love with music when I was three, I mean there was no heavy metal back then, but there was some high energy music, and then I grew up during the glam rock times.
When I was 15 I had my first band, it was at the beginning when metal started to become bigger and bigger, so we were at the right time at the right place. I always liked the intense, powerful but soulful at the same time sound.
Metal to me was the freedom to do and to say whatever you feel.
So, you are basically living your dream, I said and smiled with satisfaction. In a sea of people complaining about not being able to have what they want, the ones who really work hard to get what they want, end up living the dream.
“Totally” she agreed. “Even on the bad days, when it’s hard because you know, it’s not always easy, but even then, yes, I am living the dream every day”.
Doro, do you think we can have it all? Or we simply must sacrifice one aspect of our lives to succeed in another?
I think you have to choose what you really want to do. I don’t think we can have it all. In my personal situation, I think I couldn’t have like a family and go on tour at the same time, it’s so demanding, on tour you have to take care of everything the band, the road crew, the fans…
I think I couldn’t have a family of my own and go on tour for a month and then return to my husband and say I’ll be off again in a week. I know some people can do it but in my case, I decided when I was 24, I wanted to dedicate my life to music and to my fans. I love kids but I would probably not be able to go on tour if I had kids. I’m very happy that music is my destiny, I never missed anything and I love people, to me the whole world is family.
She really stroked a chord there, as I am always the one who tries to explain to people that there are other formulas of non-conventional families today and that the nuclear model is no longer the only one.
I mentally sent a gazillion hearts her way.
Did you ever encounter female rivalry either in your professional or personal life, Doro?
Oh, no, I never experienced any feelings of rivalry at all, because I think when you are on fire for something like the music, you want to support everyone doing it. I think it’s so important to always support each other I still have my old girlfriends from school we are still best friends and always rely on each other. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, I have such a great relationship with the women in my life, and my mom, she is such a great role model, she always loves everybody, so I think everybody has their own thing, their own strengths, and talents, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people, we are all differently talented.
Real queens fix each other’s crowns. I remembered that she is involved in the non-profit women’s rights organization Terre des Femmes and asked her to tell us a bit about her involvement with such organizations:
“I’m involved in many organizations that fight for a good cause. Supporting animal rights as well, whatever I can do to raise awareness and help. The world is in a state of turmoil, I try to do little steps in the right direction to make things better.”
Doro is a vegan and fun fact: her stage clothes are handmade using cruelty-free materials such as faux leather, following models that she designed.
As a vegan myself, (she was super excited to find out that I’m a fellow vegan as well) I took advantage of the opportunity to ask her about the current situation with modern vegans.
Doro, most vegans, as I found out the hard way, are angry vegans, and despite their good intentions they end up pushing people away from veganism. What would you say to these people?
Ah, I think I know what you mean. It’s sometimes tough to be a vegan, I always try to be sensitive when I talk to people about it. Set an example. People get offended when you tell them what to do.
You know, when we are on tour, it’s not always easy to find vegan options, you starve, and everyone is eating meat around you. But since I turned vegan, I feel much healthier, I have more energy, I even feel a bit younger, and my skin is in better shape.
When people discuss vegan things just be respectful, cool and loving. Most vegan people that I know are really cool people, like Mille of Kreator, and he is in great shape or Alissa of Arch Enemy…
Everyone has different experiences. Being vegan is a lifestyle change and you have to be aware of all aspects, like now, the talk of the town with plastic bags, we have to be careful about the things we buy, the things we choose to use.
Some people will tell you to fuck off, it’s a delicate situation, and you have to do it with much love. It’s important to not shut other people out, as a vegan. For example my band or my road crew, they are having dinner next to me, they put their steak right under my nose, in a fun way, you do your thing I do my thing, and sometimes they’ll be like “Oh today I wanna have what you are having” like a veggie meal, a vegan meal and they end up loving it.
Are you still working on your autobiography?
No, I actually started it a couple of years ago but it got to me and it was really hardcore, I couldn’t sleep at night so I decided to focus on the positive things, go on tour, make music, make people happy. I was thinking maybe I could create a beautiful photo-book because we have so many photos and we sometimes post them on Facebook and people love it.
Needless to say I requested a signed copy if she ever does that.
Doro, if you could be a man for a day, who would you be?
Oh, oohh, just one?
She really struggled.
“Very tough question, can I just be an angel and be nice and do good things all the time? To fight the good fights.”
How can you not be obsessed with her?
I wanted to finish our chat strong with something that she’d like to share with us. Her future endeavors as she was about to go on a USA tour with Metal Church and then Europe.
I’m so happy to go on a tour with Metal Church, she said, we’re gonna play a lot of songs from the new record, and all the highlights from the old ones, old-school metal! And then the European tour is starting and then we have the summer festivals and of course I’m very excited to go to Greece and visit Crete for the first time. The festival is called “Over the Wall” it’s on the 28th of July. My Greek fans follow me all around Europe and they always ask me to come back to Greece, and I’m super excited about that.
I also want to thank all the fans, all the metalheads for their love and support, I love them all, and in my life, that’s the most important thing. I will never, ever give up, as long as I’m here, I will always make music.
We said goodbye, and I was jumping up and down in my office for a full hour unable to shake it off. Ask my friends, they have messenger videos of me being a complete weirdo.
Until the next one,