The Dollyrots - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Rob Lane   
Friday, 05 November 2010 05:00




Speaking to Kelly Ogden, Luis Cabezas and Chris Black, collectively known as The Dollyrots, their sheer positive attitude would excuse you for thinking they were a brand new, freshly signed rock trio with no scars from years of endless touring and the usual heartaches often faced in the ruthless music business these days. In reality though, The Dollyrots have an entire decade of rock history already under their belts, including three albums and thousands of road miles across the USA. It's a true testament to their hardwork and infectious enthusiasm which bubbles over as they talk. Now in support of their third and arguably most accomplished album, 'A Little Messed Up', released earlier this year on Joan Jett's very own Blackheart Record Label, the band hit UK shores with their good, good friends Bowling For Soup and immediately began converting a whole new wave of converts to their addictive pop rock hooks.


Has the UK been living up to any expectations you had before you came over here?dolly1


Kelly: It's been even better...


Luis: Surpassing everything.... We've started to think we should just maybe move over here but to be honest this year as a whole has just been really good to us.


Kelly: Ever since we started touring we've always been saying that we've gotta get over to England. This is where a lot of music that we're influenced by came from anyway so it just seems natural to wanna come over and play. We heard all the stories about the crowds being amazing too.


Luis: We'd heard stories from other bands who are friends of ours, bigger bands, who tried to come over on a smaller level but they completely lost their asses because there's just so many expenses so it's kind of a scary thing to do. So when the invite came from Bowling For Soup it was like, "This is perfect!"


Chris: Every day when we get off our bus and there's a camp of Forever The Sickest Kids fans waiting for them. But after the show we have our own Dollyrots camp too.

Was it as straight forward as the Bowling For Soup guys just asking you to come over or were there more logistics involved?


Luis: We've done two tours with them this past year in the US and it was on the first tour they casually mentioned it to us. Then later on they'd made up their mind and it was like "You're coming.... you don't have a choice!!"

Did you have much interaction from their UK fans prior to you coming over?


Kelly: Yeah, a lot! Lots of messages and emails all over the internet and I think we even had our own fans over here who had been waiting for maybe four or five years to finally get to see dolly2us. It's the most excited people have been about any tour of ours for a while. We tour the states A LOT so they perhaps don't get as excited anymore. Like, they do get excited, but not like the first time they perhaps got to see us in their whole lives, it's a different reaction.


Chris: We toured over there on the same record for a long time too but when we did a few shows to support this new record the fans got re-energised again.


Luis: Three albums in we finally get over here... there's a special energy with that, there's 36 songs that are totally new to people here when played live. 

It's refreshing to see a tour like this, with four great bands, rather than just the headliner supported by acts that are just a record company buy-on which you know you'll never see again.


Chris: That's the thing about Jaret (Reddick - Bowling For Soup singer) you see. He's really smart like that. It's all about camaraderie and a special community - it's real rock n roll! It's a real honest tour.


Luis: We're proper buddies and people see that when we shout each other out on Twitter or Facebook. It's so much better that way, it's not just some means to an end or something, it's a relationship.


Kelly: We truly love them!dolly4

Is there anywhere else you'd like to take the band on tour - I would imagine Japan is custom made for The Dollyrots?


Kelly: Oh my god I wanna go to Japan so bad!


Luis: We've never been but I think because of our genre I think that would be our target audience and maybe Australia too. The rest of continental Europe would be great as well if it was the right situation.


Chris: We've just not got the right offer yet. There's been minor things were people have gotten in touch though.


Luis: We'll figure it out at some point. We'll just print up a load of bunny t-shirts - they'll love it!

Where did the Bunny concept come from? It's now a running theme through your album artwork and merchandise?


Luis: It just kinda evolved!


Kelly: We had a meeting when doing the first record with an artist who was a friend of a friend. She asked if there was anything in particular that we really liked that she could use as imagery? So, I recalled this bunny I'd had pretty much my whole life which was this white albino called 'Hoppy'. I got him for Easter and he lived at my grandparent's house. He died when I was dollyrotsalbumaround fifteen or something. A couple of years later we were sat around watching family movies and I as like "There's Hoppy" and one of my uncle's asked "Is that Hoppy No.7 or Hoppy No.12?!" and I couldn't believe it. From the time I was three they had just kept trading Hoppy out whenever one of them died and I never knew! I guess it's symbolic as some kind of 'loss of innocence' or something?


Luis: It's evolved from being this aggressive, knife wielding bunny on the first album to a paranoid American gas mask wearing bunny!


Chris: It also works because Kelly sounds so sweet but the lyrics are a little biting!

When the band first started out you bravely relocated from Florida to Los Angeles. Was there any particular reason you chose the West Coast over perhaps New York on the East?


Kelly: It was after September 11th and New York was kind of having trouble and pretty expensive. I guess we'd always had 'California Dreams' which seems kinda crazy and naive but it seemed right.


Chris: I think when you're from the East you wanna go West and when you're from the West you wanna go East! I grew up in Michigan and always dreamed of being on the West of the mountains.


Luis: It just made sense at the time. We literally got into a car with our guitars, our pets and just drove. No friends in LA and practically no money.


Kelly: What do you mean? We were rich! We had $1500!dollyheader


Luis: Yeah, $1500 total to pay for all the travel, food, everything. We got to LA, fucking broke!


Kelly: Our drummer at the time had an uncle outside of LA who let us stay but we had to commute like 100 miles a day into town to try and find a job or a place to sleep.


Luis: In the end it worked itself out though, it had to! We weren't gonna be homeless. You have to light a flame under your ass sometimes and force yourself to succeed.

Both Kelly and Louis have been friends since school. How have you changed since you met and what would your teenage self think of what you're doing today?


Kelly: We've known each other since Eighth Grade and he's the one that introduced me to punk rock, helped me to learn to play guitar and later bass. So before our London show I looked at Luis and said "Pete Shelley from The Buzzcocks is on OUR guestlist, he's coming to see US playing in London - how does your fifteen year old self feel right now?" And we both pretty much started crying right there! It was so cool.


Luis: I just burst into tears straight away. I don't know what it is, I guess you just set your sights on something and then when it happens it feels really good. I probably thought I'd end up like an engineer like my Dad or something.

Kelly: I'd imagined myself, post-peace core, tromping around in mud boots, sunburned somewhere!


Chris: I thought I was gonna be on Saturday Night Live when I was fifteen.....


Luis: Well, you're still, technically, in a comedy troupe!

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The album 'A Little Messed Up' is available now on Blackheart Records

Live Photos courtesy of K & M James Photography