Mark Morton of Heavy Metal Examiner recently conducted an interview with German metal queen Doro Pesch. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Heavy Metal Examiner: You are one of the lucky ones who get to come to America to play the occasional show or tour. Why do you think German metal has such a hard time getting a foothold in the States?
Doro: Well, I think you really have to have a lot of good people around you — promotion, management, booking agents, and sponsors. It's just very hard to get over there when you don't have a great support system. I love it so much in the States. I actually want to become an American citizen; I've had a green card for the past 20 years, and eventually, I'd like to take that next step. But yeah, you have to work really hard just to get a couple of gigs over there. And I've had a string of problems with label support. I was on Locomotive, and they closed their doors; I was on SPV, and they went through a serious money crisis… it's tough.
Heavy Metal Examiner: The way the current business model for music is set, it almost seems to be geared towards younger bands. In order to make your mark (or make a decent living), you almost have to be touring constantly. And it's a shame, because European bands do not get that luxury.
Doro: Yeah, let's face it, being on the road costs a lot of money. And if you draw a decent crowd, things are okay, but if you are in a support slot, you pretty much have to pay for everything. So yeah, for foreign bands, it's a big gamble. I've been doing it for many years, and it is still tough. Sometimes I hear people saying how it was much easier in the '80s. [Laughs] I don't know about that! Everything had its pros and cons. I think, because of the Internet, bands at least get a shot at getting some kind of promotion. In the '80s, you were almost completely dependent on the record company to take care of you. But we work hard, and I appreciate every show I get to play in the States. I tell my German band friends to try really hard to come over, because there are a lot of really great European metal bands who would kill to come to America. And I'm sure the American metalheads would love them, too.
Heavy Metal Examiner: What do you think the reason was for you to be openly accepted by the metal crowd in the 1980s, while most other females who tried to break into the scene were looked upon as jokes?
Doro: I think it has to do with the fact that I made an instant connection with the fans from the first concert I ever played. There was just something so real about it. It went way beyond sex; there was a deep connection. I never felt like I was a girl in a band full of guys; I felt the unity of metal. And to me, "metal" always meant freedom and energy, being real and true. And I really think the fans picked up on that immediately, and that's how it has always been since. Being a girl or a woman wasn't part of the equation; it was all about being metal and being with friends. Sure, I thought that some of the costumes were cool, but for me, music was always first. Some of the record companies even tried to get me to wear more makeup and look sexier and more commercial. I remember when I came to America in 1987; the record company actually suggested that I shouldn't wear black leather and wear more feminine stuff. I was like, "Oh no, I love my leather, and bullet belts, and boots!" But my manager said not to worry about it and just stay as I was. The label really felt they couldn't market me that way. I've always said that being who you are is the best way to go through life. Being fake doesn't work!
Read the entire interview from Heavy Metal Examiner.