Doro is the undisputed Metal Queen. From the early days of Warlock in the ‘80s to her twelve solo albums, the First Lady Of Heavy Metal has been a mainstay of our world, playing the biggest stages and touring with the biggest bands on the planet. We caught up with Doro for chat about her formative years in the metal scene and how she feels about all things heavy in 2018.
Who were your early musical idols?
“Ronnie James Dio and traditional metal bands like Motörhead, Whitesnake, WASP, Accept, Judas Priest and Saxon. But singer-wise it was Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale. I was so lucky, I toured with all of my idols and they were so cool with me!”
What are some favourite memories of those days?
“My old band Warlock’s first tour was with Judas Priest, and then we toured the UK with WASP. I was very sick and Blackie Lawless was so kind to me. He made potions with herbs, vitamins and juices to make me better. He told his band members: ‘Let Doro have our dressing room.’ I’ll never forget that.”
When Warlock played at Monsters Of Rock at Donington back in 1986, you were the event’s first female performer. That’s pretty crazy.
“It was among the most important days of my life. For a German band, too, that was a dream come true. We did well; after that, everything fell into place.”
How difficult was it for a young woman to break into such a male-dominated genre in those days?
“I never think of it like that. All metalheads must fight for their music. I didn’t feel as though I was any different to a male musician looking for a record deal or their next gig. If metal is in your heart it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.”
How do you feel when people label you as a pioneer for women in metal?
“That’s lovely but I don’t really care if a man or a woman says I inspired them. I hear it from both genders. All I can tell you is that onstage I always gave it my all. I fight the good fight and if it inspires somebody, that’s so nice.”
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Do you consider today’s metal scene to be in a healthy state?
“For me, the 1990s, when grunge ruled, was a very tough time. In America, metal was dead. Our heads were hanging low, but now they’re held high again. I felt it turn again when I toured with Ronnie James Dio in 2000. Now it’s getting bigger every year, and this year we are coming back to play Bloodstock on the same day as Judas Priest.”
What else is happening for you this year?
“We deliver a new album in April to be released in August. The songs are written. There are many, many anthems and I have a lot of guests, though I can’t tell you about those just yet. It’s my 35th anniversary, so let’s celebrate!”
Are there any recent metal albums that have been getting regular spins in your house?
“Jomsviking by Amon Amarth. I was lucky to do a duet with Johan [Hegg] on A Dream That Cannot Be. I played some gigs with Metallica in our early days, and Johan has a similar vibe to James Hetfield. I love that.”
Lemmy has been gone for three years now. Have you got a favourite story about your old friend?
“I first met Lemmy in London in the 1980s. I was playing some cover songs at a party for a magazine. With time to kill I went to a pub around the corner and who was in there but Lemmy? He put his arm around me and poured whiskey and colas that were 80% whiskey. We had so much fun. I felt nauseous, I couldn’t find the club, everyone was angry when I got there late. I was so drunk I couldn’t remember the songs. I sat on the drum riser the whole show. Afterwards I was told, ‘Girl, you’ve just ruined your career.’ I replied: ‘Yeah, but I’m best friends with Lemmy – it’s worth it.’”
Doro will play this year’s Bloodstock festival in August