"We got high without drink or anything. It's a record that still takes me to another sphere": Doro picks the soundtrack of her life

Doro portrait
(Image credit: Jochen Rolfes)

Below, Doro Pesch, who is celebrating 40 years in rock, runs down the mixtape of her life. She heard Little Richard as a toddler, survived a punkocalypse with her first band, Snakebite, and became the high priestess of metal in Warlock and as a solo artist.


The first music I remember hearing

When I was three years old I heard Lucille by Little Richard. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a singer

The first song I performed live

My first band was Snakebite, and my first gig with them was in a punk club in Dusseldorf. There were thirty metalheads and about a hundred and twenty punks there. At that time they didn’t get along, so it was a total riot. The first song I sang was called Shakedown. I did my best… Then the punks got fed up with us because they wanted to hear punk rock, so they came on stage and destroyed our amps and instruments. That was my first gig! It was hard work

The greatest album of all time

As a teenager and still in school, the album that got me was Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. My favourite girlfriend was called Angie, and we’d go to her apartment, sit in the living room, close the curtains and listen to it. We got high without drink or anything. It’s a record that still takes me to another sphere.

The guitar hero

I love Randy Rhoads’s playing so much, but I never got the chance to meet him. I took part in a tribute in 2019 and sang Goodbye To Romance, alongside some other excellent guitarists. Randy was beautiful; he had this wonderful aura, and whenever you saw him he was smiling.

The singer

Can I name three? David Coverdale was the first concert I’d seen and I was blown away by his voice, his performance, his sexiness. Rob Halford was my second-ever concert, and he could sing so high and was so metal! Then there’s Ronnie Dio, who I saw many times, and I loved how he’d vibe with the fans.

The songwriter

I grew up with glam rock: Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Slade, T.Rex, and my favourite songwriting team was Chapman and Chinn. I always thought: “Oh, I would love to work with them”, but they split up. I’ll love them forever for Ballroom Blitz.

The cult hero

Lemmy! He was totally unique; a great voice, and his bass playing had such attitude. We became friends. Although he looked quite rough and scary on the outside, inside he was a sweet and sensitive soul, very intelligent, and someone who gave a fuck. I became an even bigger fan of his by knowing him.

The best record I made

From the Warlock era, it’s the album Triumph And Agony, which still makes people go crazy when they hear it. From the Doro era, I want to say the new one [laughs], but also Calling The Wild [2000]. It had my first two duets ever, and they were with Lemmy, Love Me Forever, and an acoustic one, Alone Again, which was so emotional.

The worst record i made

It’s from True As Steel, which was a pretty good album, but the record label wanted something more commercial as a single. We were like: “No fucking way.” But we had to make compromises. I wrote a song called Heaven’s Like Hellfire, but I was given a co-writer who said: “I can make that a little better.” That made my stomach turn. It became Igloo On The Moon. What metalhead would understand that title? I had to sing it, through tears. From this experience I learned to not do what you don’t feel comfortable with.

My guilty pleasure

I grew up with classical music. Years later I used to go to this Italian restaurant all the time, and hear a track playing in there that I loved. No one knew what it was, until one day a waiter told me: Caruso by Luciano Pavarotti. I had to buy it, and then I had to record it! It was included as a bonus track on my [2018] album Forever Warriors, Forever United.

The most underrated band ever

I got heavily inspired by Rock Goddess and the singer Jody Turner. One of my favourite songs was My Angel. I first saw them play it on UK TV. I listened to it over and over. This fantastic band, all women and with two sisters in, should have been much bigger.

My Saturday night/party song

The ultimate party song is [Judas Priest’s] Living After Midnight. It makes people really happy. I’ve covered it on my new album, Conqueress, with Rob Halford!

The song that makes me cry

Nothing Compares 2 You by Sinead O’Connor. Her version is so beautiful, so moving. I did it as a duet with another German singer [Xavier Naidoo, in 2017] and I really felt the emotion.

The song I want played at my funeral

It’s Für Immer from Triumph And Agony. The fans are always deep inside my mind, and I had this tattooed on my arm: ‘The one who loves the fans… für immer.’ This song would be saying to the fans: “Don’t be too sad, we’ll meet again on the other side.” That’s something I truly believe in.

Doro's Conqueress – Forever Strong And Proud is out now via Nuclear Blast.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.