Nick Douglas – Longtime Bassist for Doro: Of Triumph and Regenerations
Nick Douglas has been the bassist extraordinaire for the legendary Doro Pesch since 1990, touring the world many times over. He has appeared on all of the Doro albums since 1993’s Angels Never Die – a total of 9 in all. In addition, Nick has also released a his second solo adventure entitled Regenerations – a stunningly reflective album jammed packed with emotionally driven rock and roll. Nick Douglas and the Doro band were at the world famous Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip, playing the final US date of their short but very sweet Triumph and Agony 30th Anniversary Tour. Known as the final Warlock release before Doro would go solo, Triumph and Agony is jammed packed with fan favorites – and on this very special night, the landmark recording would be performed live in its entirety! Prior to Doro’s high energy rock and roll extravaganza, Highwire Daze Online caught up with Nick Douglas backstage at the Whisky to find out more about his work with the one and only Queen of Metal, revisiting Triumph and Agony on this very special tour, his amazing Regenerations solo endeavor, and other topics of intrigue. Read on…
How has this current tour with Doro been going, and what are some of the highlights?
Ken, it’s been great. It’s been so quick, it’s only five shows for North America, so we’re making the best of it. Putting every ounce of energy we can into all five and this is #5, as you know. The last one. We have a lot of momentum from the summer, it was a very busy summer season with the festivals. We’re still going with that rocket fuel and just – here it is. Here is, really, the pinnacle point. The end of the summer shows is tonight, in feeling anyway. In emotion anyway because then we have a five week pause, and then we start a winter tour so – yeah we’re juiced and ready to go.
What has it been like to do a tour based on the Triumph and Agony album, and how many songs did you have to learn off of that?
I only had to learn 4 because the band has regularly been playing the rest of the record. The four were new to us, which is “Three Minute Warning,” “Cold, Cold, World,” “Kiss of Death” and “Make Time For Love.” The great thing about it is that we have Tommy Bolan with us, the original guitar player who played on the album. So having heard these songs for so long and now hearing the original guitar player playing the original licks as they were live, it’s amazing. It’s a stunning feeling. It makes you realize how special the album was, to have that extra element of originality from that album along now with us live. Wow, here it is! We’re playing the album.
Where were you 30 years ago when Triumph and Agony was originally released?
[laughs] I was in New Jersey where I grew up, South Jersey. I remember, I had a friend who bought the record, I hadn’t heard of Warlock before and like most people was stunned by Doro’s voice, just captivated. Put on the first song, “All We Are” – of course it’s Doro’s voice and there’s a huge roaring crowd supporting her and then the rest of the album – you just have to listen all the way through because it’s constantly leading you on, edging you on to keep listening. So yeah, I remember that well and then getting in the band three years later was like surreal. It was just awesome.
So you did your first solo album Through The Pane, right before the Doro Fight album. At that point in your career, what made you decide to put out a solo album?
As a musician, or anyone who is creative, it’s as if about 10-20% of me is always writing or creating something or thinking of an idea. So it’s just a cultivation of several ideas over time where it was like, OK now there’s enough content that it makes sense to make a record. And it’s different than Doro, purposefully different. Just an extension of me, other things other than Doro. It’s almost like a balancing act. I have Doro, the Doro world, the Doro family. Here’s this little extra thing that I do on my own, so it’s like, one sort of satisfies the other.
Any overall story or concept behind your second and current album Regenerations?
Loose concept, basically I’ve been through a lot of personal changes in the last 15 years that the songs have been written. Regenerations itself means just that, I was someone quite different then than I am now. The way I look at things, the way I used to be concerned about things that I’m not so concerned about now. You let those old worries off your shoulder and you just live life. What I’ve learned from it, looking back in retrospect, and what I like to convey to people is that it’s never too late. No matter how deep in a hole you think you are, I feel like living proof that it’s never too late to change, change for the good, to be here realizing – I feel like I’m here to help others in some way or another. Whether it’s a song I wrote, or if I’m helping open a door for someone who is holding a lot of boxes, I just feel like more and more that’s what life’s about – is giving back. So Regenerations is the shedding off of the old, reinventing. Not even so much reinventing, but realizing what was there all along and going with that.
Come Alive is such an exhilarating song. Is there any story behind the lyrics for that one?
It originally started by an inspiration of a lecture I saw of a woman who was sent to an island in Greece helping refugees enter into Greece. She was telling her day-by-day account of what it was like to be there for the weeks she was there. Volunteering what she would see, and what these people were dealing with, with the Greek people – what they had to do in order to organize as best as they could, this large incoming of people and trying to get everything as proper, and everyone on their way. Just the intricacy of that just amazed me that it wasn’t about money – it was about human to human. [laughs] Just helping each other, coming back to this natural thing that we all have in us. I think we all – somewhere amongst all of our experiences in life, we have all natural instincts to want to help one another. They didn’t have any culture, or language or anything, and I was so impressed by this. I started writing some verse lyrics about her account, but as it went on, they sort of neutralized and became kind of general because I wanted to convey what was said, helping the people and just realizing what’s inside. So I generalized a little bit. Anyone can relate to it in some sort of way.
“Before You Break” is such a beautiful song, what are the lyrics – inspiration behind that?
I wrote that as someone who felt like they were on their last hope. Once again, never give up. Don’t give up. Someone coming along in this person’s life who feels like they’re on their last hope and just – hey you don’t have enough strength to lift up? Here’s a hand – I’m going to help you. I see that you’re close to the edge and I’m going to pull you in. It’s going to be OK.
Who is the female vocalist in that song?
Sharlotte Gibson of right here in LA. She’s a fantastic singer/songwriter on her own. She’s also sang with a lot of artists you’ve heard her in NIN, Whitney Houston, Jessica Simpson. She sang for American Idol for a few seasons, just a really expansive, very fantastic can do anything singer. I think she’s out with Eric Clapton right now.
Has Doro heard or commented on your solo work?
Yeah, I’ve played her “Come Alive” over the phone right after I wrote the structure of the song. She loved the chorus. That means a lot of me.
Do you have any solo touring on the horizon?
Unfortunately not, it’s the toughest part of the equation is to put together the band and do the shows. That’s been the most challenging thing. I haven’t been able to formulate that. I hope some day I do. There are some musicians that are available but only for a certain amount of time. But in the meantime, I’ve written or co-written three songs to what might be our next record. I can’t say there won’t be another record, but I know that it’s very hard to stop being creative so I’m just going to keep going and if it becomes another record, I hope it does. That’s my focus.
Will we wait another 15 years?
No, probably not. I have the problem of not being able to make decisions and that has a lot to do with the 15 year wait. but, I don’t think so. I’m already three songs in, which on the first or second album it took about 5 years to write three songs. So, [laughs] in a few months, I’m gaining speed. [laughs]
Any news on a new Doro record?
Yeah. We have it mostly recorded now and then it just has to be mixed, maybe do some overdubs here and there. Then we worked on it quite a lot over the summer in between the summer festivals we’ve done. That’s exciting, there’s a lot of – for me a lot of buzz on it. No one has heard it yet, but we’re pumped about it…
Watch for our interview with the legendary Doro Pesch – conducted on the same night and coming very soon to Highwire Daze Online! And be sure to check out Regenerations by Nick Douglas – now available from Metalville Records!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue and Joe Schaeffer)