Original Photos By danbandalee
Am I a Sexist? This question has been bothering me since it was pointed out that I seem to interview more female fronted bands than male. When I was a young lad I had an implausibly huge poster of Debbie Harry on my bedroom wall, so I guess you could draw the conclusion that I was quite fond of attractive blonde ladies. Female friends have pointed out that her attractiveness was the only reason I had a poster on my wall, and that my objectification of Ms Harry was a disgrace and that I should be chemically castrated forthwith. “Cobblers!!” I retorted, I’ve always maintained that if Blondie hadn’t have been a great pop band, I certainly wouldn’t have blu-tacked a poster of Ms Harry (looking rather fine I must admit) on my wall, I justified this by saying that Samantha Fox also made pop records, and I of course didn’t have posters of her on my wall as her music was terminally sh*te, in one fell swoop I felt I had succinctly proved that it’s not just about having a pretty face. So there I was feeling rather smug and about to assume the moral high ground, when I was asked “If say, Thora Hird, had fronted a fantastic pop band, and had the voice of an angel would you have had a poster of her on your bedroom wall ? “ Erm, Well erm” I waffled , “it wouldn’t put me off the music, but I do have to sleep at night” I replied rather weakly , I then contrived to avoid the direct questions that followed but alas I came across as unctuous and as slippery as a byrlcreemed David Cameron greased with engine oil in a barrel of eels and olive oil, I had to concede rather grumpily that, no I wouldn’t have a poster of Thora on my wall, even if she did make the greatest pop records known to man, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t find her rather plain, homely features particularly alluring . So does this make me some sort of deviant sexist? I don’t think so, there’s nowt wrong with finding people attractive is there? It’s as much a part of life as breathing innit? What is attractive is a matter of personal preference anyway isn’t it? Pics of Thora may well drive some people wild with desire and have them indulging in a quick furtive trouser jostle over “Songs Of Praise” but rather like Peggy Mountor Joyce Grenfell she just didn’t make my aesthetic bell go dong . It’s fairly obvious that you can initially be drawn to a band without hearing a note, if they look the part, have a striking image (or even a manifesto?) But if the music craps your not gonna hang around too long to listen are you?
Now my latest interviewees have an attractive blonde lead singer, which is nice, but they also appear to be the real deal and have some cracking good tunes. The singer in question is known simply as Doll , and she looks like she wouldn’t tolerate any monkey business anyway, I’m sure she’d introduce your testicles to your Adams apple in double quick time with a swift kick should you step out of line. She is what I suppose some may term as sassy, but I don’t like that term, its far too American for me, I’ve never heard anybody I know use the word sassy in general conversation…..In America everything’s sassy . “Gee Bud this coffee sure is sassy” “Yo, Thad! My legs sure are feeling super extra sassy today.” “Hey Velma, I have a real sassy lil map of a weird place they call…Europe…you heard of it ? ” Then again I suppose for a nation who routinely say “Yowsa Yowsa” and “Hubba Hubba Hubba” (what does that even mean) sassy is not their worst linguistic crime. Don’t get me wrong, I like America and Americans, I just haven’t a clue what they are on about… and American English has deflowered the English language like a group of superbad sports jock dudes at a cheer leaders summer camp…..I can remember the good olde days when the final episode of a TV series was called , well, “the final episode” now we have “Season Finales!!” The trailers for these are given the sort of reverence that was previously reserved for the Gettysburg Address “Three men, each with dream, each with a date with destiny as they dare to reach for the stars and undertake the ultimate roadtrip, and travel a road which will change them for ever … a treacherous journey of self discovery which is embarked upon in… …an old tin bath …Don’t miss the “Last of the Summer Wine Season (104) Finale.. remember …Sky SuperPlus Digital HD Channel “Shite“is now THE ONLY place you can see “TLOTSW season finale” …but I digress. Doll and The Kicks disco tinted indie rock is gaining them a growing number of admirers, and their name is now being discussed with reverence way beyond their Brighton base. They played Glasto last year and this year have consolidated their burgeoning reputation with a crowd pleasing set at Brighton’s Great Escape festival. Catchy searing guitar riffs, and thundering percussion are all underpinned by Dolls vocals, which can recall anything from a reflective Siouxsie Sioux to Gwen Stefani in a bit of a strop. Throw in a bit of Lena Lovich and Kate Bush add a small splash of Wendy James for “sassiness” (there I’ve said it, happy now?) and you have an intriguing musical cocktail. This band seem to have just the right balance of pop acumen and indie cool to appeal to all tastes and styles and it would appear the buzz that has recently surrounded them is gaining momentum and is transforming from polite appreciation to a healthy roar of approval.
Oh and extra kudos to Oliver who definitely has the biggest hair in pop this side of Leo Sayer. I had a chat with Doll and even got to call her Dolly once (which I think I got away with). I also tried to keep my inner Bernard Manning in check (I think everybody has had a little bit of Bernard inside them at some point …which actually is quite of horrible thought)
VP: Hello Dolly , In traditional fashion, shall we start by asking how you all met and how the band became the fully formed, well oiled beast that it now is?
DOLL : Basically Oliver and I met in class at College, I had made a cd of five of my songs and played them to anyone who would listen trying to entice possible band members. Oli was the first to sign up! Matt was a friend of our old bass players girlfriend (Oli was originally on Guitar when we were a five piece) and joined as replacement to Dan Logan (now playing with the kooks) who dumped us unceremoniously to join Cat the Dog! Chris was introduced to us by another friend and although he was also at the same college as Oli and I we didn’t know him.
VP: How did the name come about?
DOLL: I was a really big fan of The Foo Fighters when I was little in fact it was the first gig I ever attended at The Royal Court in Liverpool when I was 12 or 13 and Doll was the first track on The Colour and The Shape which i used to play repeatedly. Also when i was 7 and asked at school what i wanted to be when i grew up i said Madonna, i think it was because i liked that she only had one name, Doll follows suit. The Kicks is because the boys used to be in a can can troupe called “When the Wind Blows”.
VP: What are your plans for the remainder of 2008?
DOLL: We are in talks with a number of booking agents at the moment so thats the first thing. Plenty more song writing, we are always writing new stuff sometimes we have so many new songs we wonder how we will ever choose 12 for our first album! And just building a bigger fan base, we know that is the most important thing to us at the moment. We may also do a one off single release near to the end of the year.
VP: What have been your highlights as a band thus far?
DOLL: Being told that we were going to play on The BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury was a better day than actually being there because the weather was so atrocious and people at the festival looked like they were just trying their best to be happy! Although it was still obviously amazing and we did meet Peaches Geldof so it wasn’t all bad. (I know it’s hard to tell on written word but that was sarcasm).
The Great Escape a few weeks ago as well. We had an australian band The Boat People and a legendary promoter(who also happens to be a hugely entertaining man) Joel Ransom staying at our house so it all got a bit messy. Plus at our official gig at The Arc there were people queing up to get in and although we were playing first I figured everywhere would be full for the festival. It was a big eye opener when most people left right after we played!
VP: Brighton (a bit like Liverpool , where I’m from) has a reputation for “fancying itself a bit” Would you say this is a bit unfair, and what’s the local scene like at the moment?
DOLL: Ha Ha! I am also a Liverpudlian, born and bred. Does that mean as I have lived in both places I fancy myself a bit? It probably does. I reckon I probably do. I do think though that in any city with fashion focus there are always going to be a lot of pretentious w*nkers who deem themselves too important to talk to anyone who doesn’t spray their jeans on and know the entire back catalogue of Sonic Youth. What they don’t understand is that you can still look like you just stepped off the pages of POP magazine, love sonic youth and not be an absolute c*nt.
VP: You played “The Great Escape” in Brighton recently how did it go? Any other bands make a big splash?
DOLL: Ohhhh i think i already mentioned this a little. Crystals Castles were great live. She dances like a mad person. I heart her. Also Joel recommended Mumford and Sons who i have to say are amazing. I think they are like English hillbiliies with a postgrad.
VP: What sort of music are you all influenced by?
DOLL: Oh dear we could be here a while. Um i have to say everything. Each of us has our background in something different. Olivier – SKA, Matt – Metal and old Rock, Chris – progressive post hardcore (yes that’s right) and me – Girly Grunge. But we collectively LOVE all music made in the eighties. We also unashamedly take influences from a lot of pop music. I’m going to see Girls Aloud on Friday, Biology is a work of genius.
VP: The music bizz is changing, it seems on a weekly basis, and do you think the industry is finding it hard to keep up?
DOLL: Yes definitely. It seems like everyone is panicking and no one in the industry knows what to do. Everyone trying different ways to make it work like private investments and the 360 degree model. No one really makes enough from music sales anymore, it’s all in live shows, product placement, merchandise and other such like. That’s why we are in no hurry to sign a contract with a record label unless it’s the perfect deal for us because these days you kind of don’t need one. What you need is finance and an amazing PR machine and there are certainly other avenues that can provide that.
VP: Tell us a joke?
DOLL : A blonde is overweight so her doctor put her on a diet.
“I want you to eat regularly for two days,” he tells her. “Then skip a day and repeat the procedure for two weeks. The next time I see you, you’ll have lost at least five pounds.”
When the blonde returns, she’s lost nearly four stone. “Why that’s amazing,” the doctor says. “Did you follow my instructions?”
The blonde nods. “I’ll tell you though, I thought I was going to drop dead that third day.”
“From hunger you mean?” Asks the doctor.
“No,” replies the blonde, “from skipping.”
Doll And The Kicks CD is now available for you to purchase and savour via the miracle that is paypal! Only £3.50 including postage.
Always Been Her
In The Radio
Everything to Lose
BUY IT HERE
“Money” By Doll & The Kicks
“Heaven Help” By Doll & The Kicks
“Disco Queen” By Doll & The Kicks (Glasto 07)
“Roll Up The Red Carpet” By Doll & The Kicks