The Vans Warped Tour 2017 Interviews with Barb Wire Dolls
One of the epic breakthrough discoveries on this year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour is definitely Barb Wire Dolls, whose punk rock reveries are sure to inspire and enlighten music fans of all ages. Barb Wire Dolls is performing all summer on the Skullcandy stage, and the Los Angeles-based collective is surely gaining a massive fans base on their trek across North America. Their latest album Rub My Mind has been unveiled via Motorhead Music featuring soon-to-be genre classics such as Back In The U.S.S.A., If I Fall, and We Are Champions. Signed by the late great Lemmy Kilmister to the label, Barb Wire Dolls are here to carry on the legacy of punk rock with an all out vengeance!
Highwire Daze Online caught up with Barb Wire Dolls in the Vans Warped Tour press area backstage at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas! In this interview, we discuss their Warped experience, Rub My Mind and a few of the songs from their latest endeavor, being discovered by the legendary Lemmy, and other topics of intrigue. Read on…
We’re here with Barbed Wire Dolls. Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in the band.
Isis Queen: I’m Isis Queen. I am the singer.
Pyn Doll: I’m Pyn Doll, I’m the lead guitarist and everybody else is out getting ready for our show tonight.
How did you wind up on Motorhead Records? What was your first impression of Lemmy?
Isis Queen: Lemmy wanted us to be on his label to continue his legacy. He discovered us in 2015 and he fell in love with the band after seeing us live at the Whisky A Go Go. Beforehand we had bumped into him a couple times and he was one of the first people we ever met when we had first came to LA from Crete, Greece where we’re originally from. We had a lot of things in common. First thing that bonded us was the first wave of punk rock that came out in the 70s in England. And that’s our love for music and he was totally inspired by that whole movement and how every band that came out of that was different, unique and brought something new to the table. And that’s definitely what Motorhead was. They were different. They were unique. And they played loud rock and roll. He saw something in Barb Wire Dolls that he had been looking for years in a new band to continue his legacy on with Motorhead music. And he found Barb Wire Dolls and the rest is history.
Is there any overall concept or story behind the album title Rub My Mind?
Isis Queen: In this day and age we have all the information at our fingertips. Everything. We want to know everything, we want to do everything. We want to experience, we want to do it at the press of a button. There’s still the same issues that have always sort of been around in most people, you know — confidence and insecurity, come in all aspects of the world. And it doesn’t matter how much information you have – it’s all about finding who you are inside and activating that thunder. So “Rub My Mind” is a play on those feelings that yes, use your mind. There’s knowledge, intelligence everywhere but there’s something bigger and stronger that will ignite all those feelings to really give you a reason to live and that’s inside of you. So rub your mind and activate it.
What inspired the lyrics for “Back in the USSA?”
Isis Queen: The whole album “Rub My Mind” was recorded at Rancho De La Luna, which is Dave Catching’s studio. Dave Catching has been in Queens of the Stone Age, but his main band is Eagles of Death Metal and the whole desert scene came out of that studio with Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal…so many bands. So many great albums have been recorded at that studio and he invited us to come and record an album there or record whatever we had. “Back in the USSA” was one of the songs that just kind of came out in the moment and it was based on everything that’s going on in the world today.
Becoming aware of our political issues is important. Becoming aware of it and then you can figure out what you’re going to do afterwards. But being aware of it is the first step. And everything around us is being capitalized with capitalism. In a way that’s based from America. It’s based on the whole what America is built on, which is capitalism. There’s not a lot of soul in that. Playing on the words of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” from The Beatles, we came up with a song “Back in the U.S.S.A.” Which I think is very relevant in this day and age.
Select any other song, what inspired the lyrics for you?
Isis Queen: There’s a lot of very emotional songs on this album. The album was recorded right after the Bataclan Paris attacks at the Eagles of Death Metal concert. And there’s a crazy story that has to do with that. When Dave invited us to come record at his studio was the night right before he went on stage at that show. We didn’t actually have a lot of songs to go record. We were just coming off a US tour and we had met Dave Catching at Riot Fest when we played together in Chicago. We just took the opportunity that he gave us to and record there without really having any songs. But after that night, just so many songs started flowing out of us based on everything that’s going on right now in the world. All these song were created out of that sadness and grief that came out of all that. The main point to all of that is you got to go out there and live your life.
Get out of that hole that we’ve all dug ourselves in and go out and achieve something that you’re proud of. Whatever happens in this crazy world, at least you grab onto something that you’re proud of. So we have songs like “Desert Song,” and “Pole of Isolation,” and “Gold,” and all these songs that have a real desert vibe because we were influenced by that but also that have a lot of emotional depth to them too.
You guys recently did a residency at The Whisky with a bunch of bands that have female lead vocalists. What was that like to do four shows with all those bands? That was a real treat.
Isis Queen: Every once in awhile we put our residency shows at the Whisky A Go Go and as a headlining band that have toured over 800 shows around the world, we do quite well at the Whisky. Even though it’s like a 400-500 capacity seater. So we can pull out shows every Monday at The Whisky and fill that joint up. So in order to give back and to open a lot of our audiences eyes to other bands that are out there we decided to have all female fronted bands that we hand chose to do the residency with us. Those bands included Vigil Of War, Earthsleep, Turbulent Hearts, The Svetlanas from Russia and New Evil. They did the whole residency with us that month. Every Monday in April and a lot of those bands got their much needed and deserved exposure.
It was just amazing, for sure. There was an article online of a young lady who’s life you saved from suicide. How does that feel when someone comes up to you and says, “your music saved my life?”
Isis Queen: It’s crazy. Really insane how that happens. We do music for ourselves. We do music because we need to express something inside of us that needs to come out and music is the best way to do that out of all the forms of art. People can effortlessly connect to music because we’re all music inside of us. Even though we have had comments like that before from many of our fans, we had never really received a comment like that from someone so young. It made more of an impact because when you’re a teenager, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You don’t have the experience that everyone else has when you get older to really find ways to get rid of that emotion. Having a comment like that from someone so young really means a lot because they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them to not only try to inspire others to get out of that hole, but to also reinvent themselves as well. It’s great. Really great. And it’s great that our music can touch people like that so emotionally.
How did your music wind up on Rodney on the ROQ and did you meet him?
Isis Queen: Rodney discovered us in 2010 and started playing our music and those were the days of Myspace. We were just starting out, we had just put out a demo, nothing big. We had seen his movie, there’s a documentary out on him called Mayor of Sunset Strip. By chance we saw that movie and said, my god this guy can discover us. He’s discovered everyone that’s important in Rock and roll. He started out with David Bowie and he found the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Nirvana, Guns N Roses. Blondie, everyone. He’s the man that discovered all these bands and gave them a chance and started playing them on his radio show and then everyone else in the world picked up on it. He’s the man who you have to thank for all of that. So the fact that he discovered us and really loved our music and played us for months on his radio show. Then he ended up inviting us to Los Angeles and that was the reason why we got there. Our whole destiny changed because of Rodney.
How have you guys enjoyed playing in the heat?
Isis Queen: I prefer playing in the heat than playing in the cold. We just got off a European tour and a lot of those place were extremely cold. Like Aberdeen up in Scotland, just got into your skin and no matter how many clothes you were wearing it just ate you alive. It’s a chance to take your layers off, show some skin and be free. Bring on the heat.
Barb Wire Dolls are: Isis Queen (vocals) Pyn Doll (lead guitar) Krash Doll (drums) Iriel Blaque (bass) Remmington (rhythm guitar)
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)