Part two of TBOS’s interview with Doro Pesch. Here, she tells about her experiences at Wacken Open Air Festival, her first tour with Judas Priest, and receiving health advice from Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. Part 1 is here.
The Blog of Shredding: So you were the first woman to ever play at Donington (Monsters of Rock) and Wacken (festivals). Can you tell us about that?
Doro Pesch: I didn’t realize it at the time, and for me it was just like so amazing and so overwhelming. At the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival, it was actually—it was the biggest (metal festival). Back then, it was like unbelievable, and when we heard that we would play on this festival. And I tell you, I guess I was the happiest girl on earth, and that was actually when I quit my job.
Actually, I heard that we would go on Judas Priest’s tour right after the festival and then we would play this big festival in England. Then actually I quit my job as a graphic artist, and I thought, “I wanna try it”.
Then we played there, and it was 120,000 people. And the stage was very high. They had a lot of stairs to go up, a lot of steps. I tell you, my knees, they were like pudding. I walked up the steps and I went (surprised noise) and all the guys in the band felt the same. It was so amazing and the fans were in so (sic) good spirits and so into it, singing along, everybody headbanging. It looked like 120,000 people would headbang at the same time. Back then, there weren’t any iPhones, but in my memory, it was one of the greatest memories.
Then Wacken (Open Air Festival)—I’ve played there eight to nine times. I was there the first time in 1993, and it was a little tiny village. And it was actually when metal wasn’t doing well. It was in ’93, when grunge was so big. And there’s two fans doing a metal festival. I’m like, “Really? That’s so cool!” And I said, “I want to be part of it.” And we get there, and we couldn’t find it because it was such a tiny village, so we asked some farmers, and they actually brought us there on their tractors. It was so funny.
These two fans, it was like metal came out of their hearts. It was great. There was maybe 2,000 people there. But the huge stage, the huge P.A., so probably, I mean 50,000 people could have been easily there to listen. But yeah, the first time, we played with 2,000 maybe.
And then four years later, in ’98 we came back, and I thought, “Another little metal festival with the die-hard fans,” and now there were already 35,000. We thought, “wow!” And then every two, three, four years I played there again, and every time, it was the 20, 30, more thousand people, and now I think it’s like 80,000 people. Yeah, that’s what the police allows.
But I think even more than 50,000 people could be more on the field. But it’s always a big honor to play there and metalheads from all over the world, they’re always, you know, going to Wacken. Many people from the States, Australia, Brazil, like from all over the world. It’s so unbelievable and all the bands, all the musicians feel like “wow,” you know? It’s definitely a great honor to play there.
And you can always show the best show, because Wacken—the guys there—are so supportive. When you want to do something outrageous or something super-special, they always support you in that.
You can always expect the fans to see like a totally unique show, and with the best pyrotechnics and fireworks and light show and state-of-the-art ideas. So that’s what makes Wacken so extra-special.
The Blog of Shredding: You’ve opened for Megadeth and other legends such as the Scorpions. Could you tell us more about that?
Doro Pesch: Oh, yes, yes. I’d love to. My very first big tour was actually in ’86 with my favorite band, Judas Priest. And like I told you before, that’s actually when I quit my job.
It was unbelievable. I got the phone call from my manager at the place I worked. It was actually totally forbidden to take phone calls there, and then my boss, he said, “Hey, little girl. It better be important!” And I’m like (stutters) “Yeah, I hope so!”
So I got on the phone and my manager said, “Hey, are you ready to quit your job?” I said, “Why?” “You’re going on tour with your favorite band.” I said, “What you mean?” “Yes. Judas Priest.”
And back then, it was—I mean, for metal, it was Maiden, Priest, Metallica. It was like-it was like bigger than life. So it was my first tour. It was packed, sold out.Back in the ‘80s, it was definitely the biggest places. Metal was so strong. It was so great to be on tour with them.
My second tour was in ’87 with Ronnie James Dio. And Ronnie James Dio is my favorite singer, and it was so fantastic, and I learned so much.
Then we wanted to go on tour in America. We did a couple of club tours and stuff, which we really did great. And then I got a phone call from the record company and from the manager that said, “Hey, you’ll never guess who you could tour with.” And I said, “Who?” They said, “Dave Mustaine and Megadeth.” And I thought, ‘OH! WOW!”
So actually, you know, we immediately canceled all the European dates because we had another tour in Europe already booked. And then we canceled all the dates. I said, “No, I wanna do it.” And then we did our first big tour in Spain.
It was great. You know, I love Megadeth. “In My Darkest Hour,” that was my favorite song. It was so great. I watched their show every night, and it was so-it was so special. So great.
Then we did many other tours, all with my favorite artists like Motörhead and the Scorpions, W.A.S.P.
It was my first big England tour, and Blackie Lawless, he was so super-nice to me. He was so cool to me because I was on tour with Judas Priest, and at the end of the tour in Scandinavia, it was this big ice hockey venue. And then everybody said, “Hey, girl, don’t walk on the ice!” And I said, “Oh, I can take it.” You know, I’m metal (laughs) and Judas Priest and it’s ok cause I was watching every day (sic) the sound check of Judas Priest. So I was walking on the ice and said, “Nah, it’s kinda cold. But it’s ok.”
So a couple of days later, we were on tour with W.A.S.P. in England, and I had pneumonia. I was so sick! And that was when I first met Blackie Lawless.
I was sitting on a staircase because there was only one dressing room. And Blackie said, “Hey, is that Doro? The singer of our support Warlock?” And I said, “Yes.” He said, “Wow! You look like you’re really sick.” And I said, “Blackie, I’m so sick, man. I don’t even know if I can do the tour. I’m so sick.”
He said, “You know what? You wait.” And then he told the band members to please give me the dressing room and said, “You know what? Lay down here on the couch. I will wake you when it’s time for you to get dressed. I will get you some great medicine.” And he got me like all this medicine and magic potions for the voice. He got me some fresh fruit juice and fresh fruit, which back in the day, was very, very difficult to get. It was, you know, in England, actually very difficult.
He got me all this medicine, magic potions, and then, he woke me up and he said, “Doro, it’s time for you to get dressed and have a great show.” And I tell you, I felt like a million bucks. I was immediately feeling so much better.
And I thought, “Wow. I will never forget.” You know, he was so nice and so kind. Then I thought, “If I ever have a support (band), I’m gonna treat them as good.”
I learned from all the great bands and artists. And I can definitely say I had a great chance to learn from the best and we played with so many bands. It was unbelievable.
I was always in Heaven. And I never thought, being a little metalhead from Germany, you know, that you could ever tour the world and tour with your favorite bands, with your favorite artists. It was such a dream come true, and it still is. I still deeply appreciate it and feel grateful for it.
To be continued…
January 24, 2013 | Categories: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Interviews, Music, Music News | Tags: Blackie Lawless, Castle Donington, Dave Mustaine, Doro, Doro Pesch, hard rock, heavy metal, Judas Priest, Megadeth, metal, Monsters of Rock, music, rock music, W.A.S.P., Wacken, Wacken Open Air, Warlock | 1 Comment