Sunday Old School: Doro
All too often, the role of women in heavy metal has been relegated to either eye candy or soprano singer for symphonic bands. But they can also rock just as hard as many of the guys can. No further proof of this is needed than Düsseldorf’s own, Doro Pesch. Doro began her musical journey in the early eighties singing with such bands as Snakebite and Beast before she was recruited by another local band named Warlock. This would prove to be one of the biggest decisions of her career as after a year of hard work performing in the clubs of Europe, the band received a record deal from Belgian label, Mausoleum, through whom the group released their first studio album, "Burning The Witches" in 1984. The album led Warlock to sign with Vertigo for future releases, beginning the next year with, "Hellbound."
They toured Europe heavily in support of the album, before their third record, "True As Steel" brought them to the attention of North American head bangers, thanks largely to the single, "Fight For Rock," which was able to find a place on the Billboard Singles Chart and receive regular airplay on MTV. Their profile was also increased in their native continent, perhaps most notably when they opened the 1986 edition of the Monsters Of Rock festival, which also featured Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead and fellow German rockers, Scorpions. Warlock was dealt a blow when two members, Frank Rittel and Peter Szigeti left the band to join U.D.O. the new band from former Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider, leaving Warlock to recruit Tommy Bolan and Tommy Henriksen for their next album, "Triumph And Agony," which spawned the popular single, "All We Are." Their status continued to rise worldwide, particularly in North America where they toured with such bands as Megadeth, Sanctuary and Fates Warning amongst others.
By the time the touring cycle for, "Triumph And Agony" finished, Doro was the only original member left in the band, leading to a legal battle over the rights to the band’s name, which was won by Warlock’s former manager. Although initially against it, Doro eventually conceded to the record company’s idea of changing the group’s name from Warlock to her own, with the first Doro album, "Force Majeure" being released in February 1989. The album was well received by fans and critics alike but although being targeted more for the American audience, it faired better in Europe, peaking in the German album charts at number five, while the highest it reached in the United States was number 154, and is the last Doro album to date to chart in America. A self-titled album was released the next year, but was not as successful Stateside as the label had hoped. As a result, it proved to be the last Doro album released in North America for ten years. Despite this, she relocated to the United States where she recorded a number of albums, all of which were able to chart in Germany, where she also won an award at the first MTV Europe Music Awards in 1994 for Best Anti-Racism video for the catchy, "Bad Blood," from the "Angels Never Die" album.
In 1998, Doro signed with Warner Music Group and released a new album, "Love Me In Black." The album featured the singer experimenting with a more electronic sound, thanks largely to production from former Die Krupps members, Jürgen Engler and Chris Lietz. Despite the probable crossover appeal of the gorgeous title track, the label decided to release the record exclusively in Germany, a factor in Doro parting ways with the company soon afterwards and signing with SPV/Steamhammer. Her next album, "Calling The Wild" saw a return to the U.S. market via Koch Records, as well as several big name guest appearances from the likes of Motorhead frontman Lemmy and former Guns N Roses guitarist, Slash. Following another album, "Fight" in 2002, Doro signed another record deal, this time with AFM Records, with whom she remains to this day. Her first output through the label was, "Classic Diamonds," a compilation of classic Warlock and Doro tracks performed with the Classic Night Orchestra, who accompanied Doro on her subsequent tour. Doro remains a legend in the world of heavy metal, cited as a role model by many young, female metal fans and performing regularly at some of the biggest festivals in Europe, including Graspop Metal Meeting and Wacken, for which she penned an original anthem entitled, "We Are The Metalheads." Her enthralling voice and captivating stage presence has truly earned her the title of the "Metal Queen," and she doesn’t look to be relinquishing the throne any time soon.
Warlock - "Burning The Witches"
Warlock - "All We Are"
Doro - "Bad Blood"
Doro - "Burn It Up"
Doro - "Love Me In Black"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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