The year 1987 was an absolutely magical time for heavy metal lovers. Metal bands and their songs ruled the music scene, and this pre-grunge era was simply ablaze with leather jackets and leopard-print spandex pants, Aqua Net sprayed hairstyles on high, and groups of friends voraciously clamoring around television sets for their dose of MTV's Headbangers Ball. And one of the rockers who reigned supreme during this time was German-born metal songbird, Doro Pesch, who's fourth studio album with her band Warlock, Triumph and Agony, was helping define the sound of metal in a total fist-pumping, heart-racing way. With world-wide success, Triumph and Agony featured both hit singles and MTV's Headbangers Ball favorites "All We Are," "East Meets West," "Metal Tango," "I Rule The Ruins," "Touch Of Evil," and more.
Yet somehow three decades have quickly slipped by since this exceptional time. To honor this anniversary of this stellar release and era, Doro kicked off a trek to perform this now-legendary album in its entirety for two European festival dates this past summer, and for a special run of U.S. live performances - with more dates to be added soon. In the midst of all the Triumph and Agony anniversary mayhem, metal goddess Doro Pesch, sat down with AXS to talk about this significant album and tour.
AXS: Doro, your fans are so excited about this anniversary tour and the shows that you're performing here in the U.S.!
DP: Yes, me too! I love America and touring the United States is always awesome. We’re definitely planning on adding on more dates. But it’s hard, we didn’t know that people would be so interested in [the] Triumph And Agony [anniversary]. But there are people from other cities [who want us to play] so we are planning on doing more gigs, but first these shows.
AXS: With this being the 30th anniversary of the Triumph And Agony release, does it feel like that much time has passed since the release of this album?
DP: No! It was like time was flying by! It feels like six, seven, or eight years old but not 30 years ago - man, no! I still remember every detail when we were writing songs, recording, it was a magical time. A great energy! Tommy Bolan, who is now playing with us, was on fire and which he still is. A great big studio, great engineers, and I could feel when we were making it that it was more special than the previous Warlock records, and felt like, yeah, it could do something. And when we were making it it felt so good.
AXS: It must be fun to be able to revisit such great material live now after all this time.
DP: Yes, it still feels the same when we play the songs. And we’re playing the whole album, which we’ve never done before. It was wonderful to rehearse to play them live. And they’re like top-notch songs as well that somehow they got forgotten when we picked songs for our set-list [for other tours]. And a song like "Make Time for Love" is a beautiful song, and it’s so nice to feel exactly like we felt 30 years ago. And the positive energy is still the same, like no time has passed. It’s the same like when you were in love once and you meet the person again - it’s the same kind of excitement.
AXS: Music aside, I’m sure that while you’re returning to this material, you’ve also given some thought to the person you were back then and what you were going through.
DP: Yeah! I was a little naive back then, it was my first time in America and I came to New York. I was supposed to just stay three days and then after two days I made up my mind, I want to stay. And I tried every trick in the book to stay and I met great people, it all fell into place. I was on fire all the time but I didn’t know that it was the music business so after the Triumph And Agony album, which was totally one of my highlights in life, but then it was really tough. Because I had to go to court because of the rights to the name became like a big deal, and it was our best friend too, we thought, so it was a wake up call to the music business. I suddenly realized there are a lot of sharks out there and I didn’t expect that. I still don’t see any evil, I always wish to see only the best in people, you know, and they can cheat and betray and I still see the best in people. But back then it was so severe that some great things suddenly became difficult things, yeah, it was hard core.
DP (continued): But Triumph And Agony was the best time for metal in ‘87, ‘88, it was huge. And then a couple of years later you could tell the climate was changing and suddenly metal wasn’t as big anymore, and grunge was getting huge. We couldn’t believe it. But that was one of my favorite years in my life, and it was effortless. That was the other thing - it was hard work but it didn’t feel like hard work, it was good timing - the right place at the right time, and there were some very, very good people there as well.
AXS: In addition to your music, you also paint and do graphics - do you still indulge in these activities when you’re not working on music?
DP: Sometimes it’s a 24-hour job, touring or making music, coming up with new stuff or doing a record. I barely do [the other things], I always try to get involved like to do a new album cover or new logos, but other than that there’s so little time. And when you’re on the tour bus you can’t stop to paint, everybody is running around and partying hard. [laughs] Usually when I’m on tour I’m only thinking about how I can make the people feel good - what kind of songs and what kind of stage things, and then when I’m in the studio I’m concentrating on the songs and writing, just the one thing. Sometimes I try to do many things at once but it doesn’t work. But I always think that I’m so grateful to make music and play live.
AXS: What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned from life thus far?
DP: I think it’s very important no matter what happens to always try to keep a good attitude and believe in the best. Never give up even when it gets really tough and never lose hope. That’s the reason I started in music, I was 15 and I was so ill [from tuberculosis] and I almost died. And I thought if I don’t die then I need to do something with my life, and you have to make other people feel good, make other people feel happy. Then I got out of the hospital after being in there for a year and two weeks later I had my first band. And then everything kind of fell into place. Many people who were at the same hospital died.
AXS: Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
DP: Yes, I’m so excited about going on tour again! I know probably many people from ‘87 and ‘88 will be there. I saw on Facebook that many fans who saw us on the Megadeth tour, it was my first big tour, they will come to see the shows. I’m so much looking forward to seeing everyone and we will put on a kick-ass show. It’ll be an enthusiastic and wild show, and it’ll be so metal - for all the people who love old-school metal it’ll be great. I want to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us for so many years, and I promise I will always, always, always give my best until the day I die! They can count on it! So stay hard and keep metal alive!
Stay tuned to Doro Pesch's official website for more news and announcements to come.