The Vans Warped Tour 2018 Interviews: The Dollyrots

The Vans Warped Tour 2018 Interviews: The Dollyrots

The Dollyrots appeared on the very first part of the Vans Warped Tour this summer, punk rocking out the Shiragirl stage in an epic way.  Consisting of Kelly Ogden on vocals and bass and Luis Cabezas on guitar and vocals, The Dollyrots present a spirited live performance jammed packed with superbly infectious tunes and wickedly good humor.  After their set at the Vans Warped Tour in Ventura, we caught up with Luis Cabezas in the press area for an interview.  As Kelly was backstage babysitting the kids, Highwire Daze Online checked in with Luis about his thoughts on the final cross country run of the Vans Warped Tour, working with Little Steven on their just released single Get Radical, their cover of the Melanie classic Brand New Key, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in The Dollyrots.
Hey, I’m Luis. I play guitar and I kind of sing haphazardly in The Dollyrots.

What were your impressions when you found out that the Vans Warped Tour was coming to an end? The Dollyrots have been on quite a few.
You know, I think that everything comes to an end. I think that it’s ending elegantly. And I feel like it’s good for everybody to take a chance and sit back and appreciate it. You know, it kind of sucks, because you grow up with something and then it disappears – and it’s a sign of your childhood slipping away. We’re just here to celebrate it. I don’t feel like it needs to be a bummer. You could look at it as something that for years and years has brought people together in the most haphazard, crazy way. We’re just happy to be a part of it.

How did you wind up on the Shiragirl stage this year?
It was literally like Shira sent us a text. We’re friends – we interact with each other a lot. We have a lot of overlap in the people that support what we do as like female fronted bands. And she’s always pushing girls and music – just like the idea of having strong women pushing their music forward. We’ve always been fully supportive of that. I don’t think there’s enough of that in the world – even still. The world’s come a long which since the Shiragirl Stage started, but we feel like there’s still steps that could be made to make women in rock a staple. It should be like normal. It shouldn’t be like a special thing. It shouldn’t be like “Oh, there’s a band with these rad chicks.” The point is, when she text us, we were like “Of course we’ll do it!” Number one – it’s the last tour. Number two – we believe in what you do. And that was it. Easy decision man! We just flew out here and we’re just gonna bang it out and it’s cool!

How did you recent single release Get Radical for Little Steven’s label come about?
That’s been a long time in the making too! We were on Joan Jett’s label for a while. And part of one of the things we did while we were on that label – she introduced us to Little Steven. We have a picture of us with Little Steven at the Sirius XM offices in 2007. Even at that point, he loved our stuff. He loved that record. They played our stuff on Satellite Radio. Honestly, I feel that’s the only radio that matters at this point. I mean Internet Radio’s great – I love all of the little stations – we retweet that shit if somebody says “Hey, I played you on my station!” Awesome dude! DIY Independent! But Satellite Radio has such an awesome reach and the people that care about it are real music fans. And that station is amazing – Underground Garage on Channel 21 on Sirius is awesome! So anyway, we put out a record – they loved it – and they asked “Do you have any B-Sides?” We gave them a B-Side and he’s like “I love this song! Let me put it on a 7 inch.” And we were like “Sure! That’s awesome dude!” So he put it out and we’ve been touring behind it all year. He came through our town recently, and we just went over and hung out and said hi. He’s a music fan, dude. I’m down with working with people that love music. Cuz we could do it on our own. At this point we put everything out DIY. But if somebody really loves music, we’re like “Yeah sure, put it on your label man.” Plus it’s Little Steven! And he’s awesome! So that’s our philosophy on it…

What is the story behind that song?
It’s political. You know, it was written as an angry song. It was like really dark. Steven asked us to change it. He said, “I love the song, but could you make it in a major key versus a minor key – but keep the same lyrics?” And I said “You’re a subversive Mofo!” So we re-recorded it in a major key just for the 7 inch. So there exists a version in a minor key that’s all dark. It’s a long story. But the point is, it’s a political song. It’s about injustice. It’s about environmental decline. It’s about all the things in the world that are making it worse moving forward for the next generation. We’re not a political band, but that song is a statement. And to make it a part of our set is important to us. There’s a moment in our set that’s not all jokes and fun. You can get outraged for a second. It’s not like Anti-Flag or something. We’re not going to go out there and try and beat the crap out of people with a political message. But just a little taste – and that’s the way we view it. It’s just another facet to not be so one dimensional. So that’s our concept behind that one.

Has Melanie ever heard or commented on your cover of Brand New Key?
Yeah, for sure. Kelly has a text back and forth with Melanie Safka. They have, coincidentally, a ton in common. Melanie lived in Florida a bunch. We have a place in Florida now that we spend a lot of time in. Melanie was looking to move to Tampa, and we have a place in Tampa that is near our parents’ house. Kelly reached out to her and said, “Hey, if you need help finding a house, let me know! We’ll keep our eyes out.” She’s a super cool person. She’s a real person. I mean, she’s like a legend – Woodstock level! She’s cool enough for Kelly to send her a message and she wrote back and she likes the song! Obviously you’re reaching out to your idols through whatever – but when you’re idols are cool, it should be just normal. So yeah, that’s an easy one to answer. And she’s still doing it. She’s rad! She’s awesome!

What’s up next for The Dollyrots? Any new recordings coming out?
We’re gonna do an EP. We’re going to go to Europe in the Fall – or the Autumn as they say in the U.K. And we’re gonna release an EP. We haven’t written or recorded it yet, but I’m just gonna bang it out with her. We’re still touring behind the last record – it’s still got legs. And we’ve got the Little Steven single. And so we’re going to do an East Coast US tour between July and August. And yeah, we’re going to do Europe for a while. And then, I don’t know, we’ll just find the next thing to do I guess. We never know what we’re doing next. There’s not some grand plan. We don’t have a “Management Company.” We have all that we need. We got a booking agent and a publicist – and that’s it pretty much. And a lawyer – because you’re in music and you need lawyer. Other than that, no one is directing us – we kind of make it up as we go along…

(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)

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