DORO PESCH: METAL QUEEN
Updated: Apr 20
In July, music is her passion celebrates its first anniversary. It all started one year ago, at the North German-based festival "Wacken Open Air", one of the most important national and international heavy metal events. To celebrate this founding genre of our movement, the month of July will bring you heaps metal-heavy content.
In July, we will dedicate a large part of the month to review and learn a little more about the history of many of the women who are part of Metal, one of the most loyal and passionate music genres in the history of music. Through different formats, we will go through bands, singers, movements, and women behind the scenes. And if we talk about heavy metal, we can't start with anyone else but her, the queen of metal, as she's known, we're obviously talking about Doro Pesch, one of the first female metal singers in the 80s, a decade when most women were involved in other music genres.
Doro was born in West Germany, in Düsseldorf, a city that saw the formation of great bands of other genres such as Kraftwerk, or Die Toten Hosen. As she was able to tell on several occasions, her first interaction with music took place at the age of 3, and like other heavy metal artists, (like Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead), it was thanks to the American musician, pioneer of rock and roll "Little Richard". By the age of 10, Doro was playing the piano perfectly and was beginning to develop her first musical influences. Bands like Slade or T-Rex were the ones that she listened to the most at home. Although she grew up in a German-speaking country, she began speaking English fluently in childhood and has sung most of her songs in that language. This is something she has in common with other German bands like the Scorpions, or Accept. In her teenage years, at the start of the early '80s, she began to sing in a metal group from her hometown called "Snakebite", a band that only lasted for a year, but that nevertheless served her to immediately recognize that heavy metal was the musical genre with which she and her voice identified perfectly.
Doro started her professional career as a singer in the fantasy metal band Warlock.
Professionally, her career begins in 1982, as the singer of the German band "Warlock", a melodic fantasy metal band more or less in the line of Black Sabbath. Within the band, Doro stood out from the beginning on - not only because of her talent and beauty but also because the rest of the members were men. I emphasize this because we are talking about a time when heavy metal was widely dominated by male figures. Just a few female artists like the English band Girlschool (which we'll talk about later), or rock artists like The Runaways, Pat Benatar, or the Wilson sisters from Heart, were recently creating a strong and empowering musical identity within those genres. Something that fans loved and immediately convinced them, opening the way to what idea of womxn singing aggressive rock, was something phenomenal. However, within that group of womxn who were leading the movement, there were not specifically female artists singing gothic metal, or fantasy about witches, demons, ghosts, or sorcerers. The only one who did that specifically was Doro, singing the lyrics of Warlock and standing out many times over the most idolized singers of the genre like Ronnie James Dio. Her voice was aggressive when the music called for it and could blend an extremely cruel tone with an angelic singing voice. It was then, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Düsseldorf-born girl went from being Doro Pesch to becoming the true "queen of metal".
In 1988, she found herself to be the only official member of Warlock so she decided that the fifth album of the band would be released under her name.
With Warlock, Doro recorded four studio albums, until in 1988 she found herself being the only official member left of the first line-up, which opened the way to demonstrate her confidence, and her empowerment, making the fifth album "Force Majeure" (1989) be released under her name, instead of being released under the name of the band. On this album, Doro moved away from Warlock's gothic fantasy metal and adopted a more pop-metal/hard rock sound, resulting in great success in the European market during the early 1990s. However, both the queen of metal and other artists of the genre, began to suffer the rise of grunge when bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam exploded commercially and alternative rock became the main direction of rock, and both metal and hard rock has been huge in the 80s, overnight became "out of fashion" music genres. So, Doro, like other artists of that time, came to be considered part of the old school of metal/rock, contemplating as new protagonists artists like Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill, or, L7, among many other artists who landed on the new music scene with lyrics and attitudes extremely empowered, but Doro never stopped recording or stopped editing records. Her audience was always faithful, and she never let them down.
Doro's artistic factors went beyond the musical. In 1995, another artistic phase of the German singer became known when she made her debut as an actress with a role in the German television series "Verbotene Liebe".
By the beginning of a new century, Doro's career was once again sustained by the loyalty and support of her fans not only in Europe but also in the United States and several Latin American countries.
In 2003, she organized a concert in Düsseldorf to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Warlock's first album, "Burning the Witches", inviting some musicians who collaborated throughout her career. “That was the biggest moment of my life, after the great monsters of rock festival (in England in ‘86), since then I don’t think I had a better day in my life. It was so cool, people came from all over the world: from Spain, Australia, America, Holland and from Germany - of course - from all over. At first, we thought maybe 3000 people would come, and then it was like 6000 people or even more than 6000 people showed up. It was a tremendous show. We had a lot of guests show up like Lemmy and Mikkey Dee from Motörhead - we played "Love Me Forever" together - which was great. Saxon played, Udo Dirkschneider, Blaze Bayley, Jean Beauvoir, Bonfire” she confessed in an interview in 2015.
Doro has always had an excellent relationship with each of her colleagues. With metal being such a masculine genre originally, the equality that has always existed between peers is something noteworthy about the genre. Not only has she shared a studio and stage with renowned metal artists, but she has also forged great friendships, like with Lemmy of Motörhead.
In 2013, Doro launched her own brand of wines.
Doro Pesch is a woman full of great factors, the kind that never ceases to amaze. In 2013, the queen of metal has been celebrating her 30 years on stage with her "30 Years Strong And Proud Tour" in front of 85,000 fans at the Wacken Open Air, but with such an outstanding anniversary, another successful facet of the German singer came to light, when she launched her own brand of wines: the organic red wine 'Herzblut' and the sparkling wine 'Hero', both named after some of her songs.
A few days ago, she performed the first heavy metal festival at the time of the pandemic.
With over a dozen albums under her namesake band's belt, Doro still dazzles fans around the world with her incredible voice and high-octane heavy metal. She has been part of this industry for over 40 years and still continues to add new work to her legacy and dazzle with every idea that comes her way. Just a few days ago, she performed the first heavy metal concert at a German drive-in cinema that took place at the Cuarentana- Arena in the city of Worms, a space specially prepared to comply with the country's social distancing regulations in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Doro's fans in the '80s are still fans today. The love and loyalty between them are synonymous with this musical genre, making her the true queen of metal without a doubt.