Photo of Dorothy by Courtney Dellafiora, courtesy of Grandstand Media
It has been a hot minute since I have done an interview. As fate would have it, I was given the opportunity to interview one of my all-time favorite singers, the lead singer and namesake of the hard-hitting band DOROTHY.
I still remember the exact spot I was standing when I first heard Dorothy’s voice. Her tone transfixed me and I have been a DOROTHY stan ever since. This article is written for her fans by one of her fans.
Before I did my interview, I hadn’t had the chance to listen to her latest album, Gifts from the Holy Ghost. I had received an advance copy, but I wanted to save it for when the album drops. I believe there is an energy created among the fans when an artist releases their latest work of art. That thought lasted about thirty minutes and when I couldn’t stand the anticipation any longer, I queued it up while on the treadmill. Let’s just say it gave me the energy I needed to make it up those hills.
Let me tell you, children, you are not ready for this masterpiece. Gifts from the Holy Ghost is chock-full of wickedly delicious hard rock songs, each one harder hitting than the last. Tracks like “Big Guns,” “Top of the World,” and “Made to Die” get the blood pumping, but it was the leadoff single, “Rest In Peace” (which was featured in my column, The Found Five) and “Close To Me” that really stand out as exemplary rock tracks. I’ll just say this—Dorothy’s vocals have never sounded better and they continuously give me life.
In the time Dorothy and I spent together, we talked about the new album, her new lease on life, and even geo-political shenanigans. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did writing it.
When I first heard you on 2016’s ROCKISDEAD, you gave a very rock focused vibe. On 28 Days in the Valley, you took us on a different kind of a journey, more of a hippy-trippy vibe. Now hearing the new single, “Rest In Peace,” it seems the rock vibe is back. What can fans expect to hear on your new album?
More of that. Definitely [Gifts from the Holy Ghost] is a heavier album. We are bringing back the ROCKISDEAD energy, but leaning more into various rock and roll influences. There are some classic rock sounding songs, but there are a lot of hard rock sounding songs. There is a lot of crossover potential. There are even some pop elements to it as well. But overall, I think it is a really fun, bold rock and roll record and I think you are going to dig it.
I notice you don’t have any St. Louis stops on the first leg of your tour. St. Louis fans are going to have to go to either Kansas City or Chicago. Can we hope for a St. Louis date in the future?
For sure. Definitely. I know we have played Blueberry Hill a few times. So maybe not on this leg, but I would say it is highly likely we are going to play a second leg in the Fall/Winter and hit all the places we didn’t get to the first leg. Nothing is set in stone, but that would be ideal for us.
In St. Louis, I think your sound would be suited for some of the larger venues like The Pageant or The Sheldon.
Oh definitely—we are on our way. That’s what we’re focused on. We’re going in that direction.
You write all your own music, right?
I will take songs from other writers but I love to write, I love to collaborate. Usually, it’s a collaborative effort between me and a producer or a musician, or a group of us. I love writing.
As a fan, I always wonder where you get your inspiration from.
I’ve been joking about this—I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I am an antenna where an angel is whispering the lyrics in my ear. I can’t see the angel, but it is there. When inspiration strikes, it is like lightning. I feel like it is very subconscious and intuitive. I have heard people call it intuitive writing. I am a very empathic, intuitive person. I’m incredibly sensitive. For me, as I go through this journey called life, my spirit is driving the vehicle of this body and having its experience. That comes integrated with my being and it comes out in these words which is a story I am telling. And when that happens it is really special, really beautiful. You are literally pulling a story, a song, a message out of the atmosphere and then giving it to people.
What message do you want your fans to get from your new album, Gifts from the Holy Ghost?
The motto of this album is don’t let the demons get you down. Whatever you are facing, it’s a season and you are going to get through it. Pain makes us grow. Pain is necessary, we have to grow. You are going to get through the darkness and you will have a breakthrough on the other side. It happened to me. I think it’s an inspiring, hopeful message wrapped up in a nice rock and roll package for the fans.
I follow you on Twitter (@itsdorothysucka) and I noticed you have been retweeting fans that have been going through it. They are putting their demons to bed through your song, “Rest In Peace.” How gratifying is it to you that you can reach so many people and help them when they are going through their pain?
It is so gratifying for them to use the #RIPToTheOldMe. It is so satisfying, but I wouldn’t be doing it if I hadn’t gone through a shit ton of pain myself. It is really, really lovely to see the power of music and the power of love at work. It is a conduit for love and healing. But I’m not taking credit. I’m just here to play a part in it to give my energy and my time and my life to it because so many artists did that for me. So much music has done that for me. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t have a backup plan because then you will fall back and that’s nonsense so we’re not having any of that. I feel that we are on an adventure and the tour bus is our ship. We are out to connect with people and create an atmosphere where they can forget about their problems and be happy.
In your video for “Who Do You Love,” you showcase your interaction with the fans. Do you have good meet and greets? I am sure your fans bawl when they meet you.
Yes! Absolutely. I have a good friend, Paul, who I met at a meet and greet and now we’re such good friends—we talk about everything. It is really amazing. I get so overwhelmed with how much appreciation and gratitude they have—and it’s mutual. It is beautiful to have that connection. I bawl, I cry. I used to wear makeup, but now I just wear sunglasses.
On a scale of one to hallelujah, how excited are you to get back on the road?
Hallelujah. A thousand times yes. The angels in the choirs are singing. We are ready to go—let’s do this. There is a lot of electric excitement. We are bringing out Joyous Wolf and Classless Act. I love my fans and my crew. We are just so excited. People may get laid out in the rock and roll spirit. I am really proud of this album. I can’t wait to play these songs. The album drops in April. We will be able to add more new songs once that album is out.
What are some of the craziest things that have happened to you while you have been on the road?
I can honestly say sometimes just playing shows you have an out of body experience. I am in recovery. It is a dry bus, a dry green room. If [my crew] wants to go have beers when they are not on the clock, that’s fine. I like to keep it healthy and chill and peaceful.
We had this guitar tech. He picked up heroin in Philadelphia. He overdosed on the bus, in his bunk and he died. They woke me up. He was on the ground in the lounge. He was blue and green and I could see his spirit had left the building. I just knew. You know when you know. Here’s the crazy part—he OD’s and dies, they call the paramedics. We are in the middle of nowhere ‘cause we left Philadelphia, we pulled off the highway on our tour bus and this voice says to me—pray.
I’m not religious. But I feel this sense of peace and I’m like, “OK, let’s pray.” I grab my sound guy, I grab my manager, the paramedics come, they start working on him. They did CPR on him multiple times. They were not able to revive him. I just have my head down, I’m breathing, and I’m like, “God—or whoever—if you can hear me please give this man a second chance.”
Then I knew it in my spirit, that they were sending him back now. I knew he was going to come back. I just knew it. I had opened my eyes and all the color had returned to his face. They took him to the hospital. He had no idea where he was. He tried to punch one of the paramedics. They took him to the hospital, but I was having this experience where there was no fear and there was just this presence. After that day I have always believed in a higher power.
Part of recovery is self-care, meditation, and being of service to others. The night before, I was in my bunk having this conversation with myself like, “OK God, I don’t know if you are real—and I want to believe—but I need you to reveal yourself to me. Then the next day, this happened. There is nothing you can say to me that will shake my faith in this loving, universe, spirit-creator, God, whatever you want to call it. That was the most magical thing I have ever experienced in my life. I was never the same after that. I feel that was the seed that was planted for this album—I really do.
How are you preparing for a clean and healthy lifestyle on the road? I mean, you are going to be in so many great cities with so many great restaurants. How do you cope?
Oh, I’m a foodie! But I also work out a lot. I don’t starve myself. I love going out to get dim sum and Mexican food, and pizza, and sushi, and burgers—it’s crazy. But when I am on the road, I like to keep it light. I especially love good coffee.
For me, it’s not a problem. The tour is so structured. And now we have Zoom—I do my twelve step programs on Zoom. Nobody on my team is rowdy and crazy. Because if they were, they would be out of there. It’s my band and my recovery comes first. Everyone is really well behaved. They are really pleasant to be around. I feel very blessed.
You are Hungarian. How are you viewing what’s going on in Europe right now?
Honestly, I haven’t spent too much time looking at it. I don’t really have a comment for you. I just don’t want to come across as divisive or ignorant in any way. I have turned off the news because it is constantly bad. What am I going to accomplish by bathing myself in that kind of a frequency?
Instead of [only] praying and meditating, who can I positively directly impact today in my life and who is around me? Can I drive someone to a meeting? Can I directly, positively help someone today? I am powerless over [what’s going on]. That is in God’s hands. I can’t do anything about that, but what I can do is stay positive and healthy. I can make sure my cup is full so I have something to give to people around me. If everybody looked at life that way it would flood the world with love and it would eliminate a lot of strife. Your immediate circle and the five-mile radius that you have—work in that space. Heal in that space.
If you could tell all of your fans one thing, what would you want them to know?
Don’t let the demons get you down. Life is a journey, you are going to get to the other side, you are going to be just fine.
The Gifts from the Holy Ghost album drops April 22nd courtesy of Roc Nation. The Gifts from the Holy Ghost tour kicked off March 21 in San Diego and travels all over the country spreading peace, love, and rock and roll. Visit her website – www.dorothyonfire.com – to purchase tickets and other great merchandise. | Jim Ryan (@thefoundfive)
Dorothy on tour:
03.26.22 – Scoot Inn – Austin, TX
03.27.22 – Granada – Dallas, TX
03.28.22 – White Oak Downstairs – Houston, TX
03.30.22 – Parish at HOB – New Orleans, LA
04.01.22 – Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
04.02.22 – Mars Music Hall – Huntsville, AL
04.03.22 – Basement East – Nashville, TN
04.05.22 – Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
04.06.22 – Underground – Charlotte, NC
04.08.22 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC
04.09.22 – Elevation – VA Beach, VA
04.10.22 – Brooklyn Bowl – Philadelphia, PA
04.12.22 – Recher – Towson, MD
04.13.22 – Mickey’s Black Box – Harrisburg, PA
04.15.22 – Wellmont Theater – Montclair, NJ
04.16.22 – Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
04.20.22 – Paradise – Boston, MA
04.21.22 – Aura – Portland, ME
04.23.22 – HOB Cleveland – Cleveland, OH
04.24.22 – Bluestone – Columbus, OH
04.26.22 – St. Andrews – Detroit, MI
04.27.22 – Elevation – Grand Rapids, MI
04.28.22 – Piere’s – Ft. Wayne, IN
04.30.22 – HOB – Chicago, IL
05.01.22 – Majestic – Madison, WI
05.02.22 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
05.03.22 – Slowdown – Omaha, NE
05.05.22 – Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
05.06.22 – Temple Live – Wichita, KS
05.08.22 – Summit – Denver, CO
05.10.22 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
05.11.22 – Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
05.103.22 – El Corazon – Seattle, WA
05.104.22 – Hawthorne – Portland, OR
05.105.22 – Virginia St. Brewing – Reno, NV
05.18.22 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
05.19.22 – Parish at HOB – Anaheim, CA
05.27.22 – BottleRock Festival – Napa Valley, CA