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Barb Wire Dolls Interview with Pyn Doll

Barb Wire Dolls

Interview with Pyn Doll

By: Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

When punk rockers Barb Wire Dolls rolled through Providence, RI on their seamlessly never ending tour schedule, I was able to have a brief chat with lead guitarist, Pyn.  I really appreciate the time he took to speak with me and my sidekick Allyson Kingsley (interviewer in training), as the interview was scheduled right as the supporting act decided to pack it up and leave the tour amongst some controversy about an alleged Nazi incident the previous night.  Despite the line-up change, the show went on and Barb Wire Dolls kicked some Rhode Island ass.  

 

 

BRR:  Let's just start with a brief history of how it all began in the Ikarus Artist Commune on the island of Crete.

 

In 2008, the Ikarus Artist Commune in Crete, Greece was in full force.  We had about 30 artists there including, including a lot of musicians, including 5 of the original members of the band called Grouplove, that became a very big indie band.  They were the big success from the Ikarus Commune.  They became a  platinum selling huge band.  Isis, our singer, had come there just to be of help, but she started writing songs every week.  Every Friday we would have parties and she'd play the songs she wrote that week.  She started knowing all the songs and could sing anyone’s songs.  One day we played this movie called “The Song Remains The Same” because I'm a huge Zeppelin fanatic.  She made me watch it 3 times in a row, until the morning, and at the end she said, “ I want that!” and I said, “ What?” and she told me she wanted to sing and we started a band.  I was like, “Of course, but it's not going to be like Zeppelin because I can't play like Zeppelin and I don't think you could sing like Robert Plante.  But, I come from the punk world, so why don't we start a punk band?”  It started there, but we didn't actually start playing shows until 2010 in Athens because nobody would book us in Crete because they don't really care about punk rock or even know what it is.

 

BRR:  Ironically, I'm interviewing Flogging Molly tomorrow night and I read they have visited the commune.

 

They've been there many times.  I've played with the drummer, George Schwindt, many years ago in a band way before Flogging Molly, so that's how we know them.

 

BRR:  Cool.  You started playing punk rock in 2000, at a time it was “dead”  What made you decide to play that genre?

 

We only played punk rock, well our version of punk rock, because we were inspired by the early punk rockers, which wasn't super fast or hardcore.  It was just being different and we wanted to be different. One, I'm not a good enough guitarist to play metal and Isis, she's become a great singer, but at the beginning she didn't know how to sing.

 

BRR:  I heard that she just screamed.

 

Yes, she just screamed.  Her first album is just her screaming.  We love it, but it's important to evolve and change.  The whole scene was dead though.  Most of the bands that were doing Iranian tours in 2008-2010 weren't together anymore.  It's had it's revival since 2011 and we just happen to be part of the new generation below it coming through and saying, “Hey, listen to us.”

 

BRR:  Within a year you left Greece and relocated to LA...did I read you met Lemmy on your first day in LA?

 

We left Greece because there has never been a rock band in English that made it except a band in the 70s called, Socrates, but they never toured America.  Just by chance, we saw this movie called “Mayor of Sunset Strip” about Rodney Bingenheimer and thought, “Imagine if he discovered us.”  About 2 weeks later, his assistant emailed us and said Rodney liked our music and wanted a demo.  Next thing we know he invited us to America to play a big KROQ Radio sponsored show.  We go to LA and the first night we get out of the airport and go meet Rodney at his favorite hangout, Ken's Deli, and he told us to go to the Sunset Strip because that's where it all happens.  We go to the Sunset Strip and we're walking and we run into Lemmy.  It was a shock.  He hugged Isis so strong that she commented that he had so much strength.  We actually talked a little about Greek punk rock because he knows a lot about punk rock.  That was the first time we met him.  It was pretty wild to meet him on the first night because we didn't know what would happen later on.

 

BRR:  What are the fucking chances of meeting him like that?

 

I guess it's pretty easy because we found out later he always goes to The Rainbow when he's not touring.  But for us to meet him the first night, what were the chances?

 

BRR:  Five years later, in 2015 Lemmy attended your live show at Whisky A Go Go and offered you a record deal with Motorhead Music. (Pyn comments on my Budderside shirt, as they are labelmates at Motorhead Music.)  How was it being signed by Lemmy himself and also being the first band on the label that wasn't Motorhead?

 

I think it will always be the biggest honor that we'll ever have.  Nothing could be higher.  Even if The Beatles said they loved our music, thanks a lot, but Lemmy is the standard of rock n roll and will always be, and he wanted us to help carry the torch for the next generation.  There is nothing higher than that and there never will be.  To have your album released on  Motorhead Music, there's nothing higher and we wish he was around to get to see us grow.

 

BRR:  At least his son has taken over and here to see you.  You have worked your asses off headlining shows and festivals in over 25 countries. How do you keep up that stamina?

 

We really feel grateful every night we play.  We love playing so much, that even if a day is hard, like today has been a very hard day, the minute we get onstage, we love playing our music and we want to share it.  It's no fun playing for yourself in the garage.  That's where you write songs and hone your talents, but to share it with someone makes it alive.  Music literally becomes alive and that’s the simple thing that drives us.  It's not money or fame, it's the music.  We met Steven Tyler from Aerosmith when he came to a show we played at The Viper Room and we asked him advice he could give us about music and he said, “ It's all about the music.  Play the music that you love!”  That's what Lemmy had told us too.  That's the only thing that's going to fuel your fire to get you through every night.   It can be 1 person or 10,000, you should give them the same energy because every soul counts.

 

BRR (Ally):  I saw you guys on Vans Warped Tour this summer in Mansfield, MA and it was amazing.  What does it feel like when you see kids out in the audience?  There were little kids there, like 5 or 6 years old.

 

Warped Tour was the very first experience we had playing for the youth because 90% of our shows are 21 and over and because we headline our own shows we haven't really toured with anyone doing all ages shows.  We were wondering if the youth were still alive and if they really like rock n roll or are they lost?  They showed us that they adapted to us and they connected to us and they loved it.  They loved our singer and she connected with them and it was great.  There was so much energy with them because they're not tainted yet in life.  They're still thinking life is wonderful and it can be.  It was really great.

 

BRR:  I think if they are there in the first place, then they have cool parents and have been raised on it, so the passion for the music is passed down.

 

Yes, their parents have taught them to be open minded.

 

BRR:  How was the experience in general with the Warped Tour?

 

Warped Tour is amazing. You become part of this klan or club and Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins is telling you you are his favorite band and GWAR is saying they love us and you're meeting CKY and all these bands that you never get to meet.  When you're touring like us, you don't see other bands besides the local openers.  We never have time.  We made friends with like 30 out of the 50 bands and it's really nice to get to know the other musicians.

 

BRR (Ally):  That's how I met Barb Wire Dolls at Warped Tour. I saw “Motorhead Music” and went over to the merch booth and they said they were going on in like 10 minutes.  The girls were down to earth and awesome.

 

Fantastic.

 

BRR:  What are your favorite countries to play?

 

We love Czech Republic because we've played about 19 shows there because they seem to be like in ‘82 when it comes to punk, because punk started very late there.  They just want to get drunk and dance and go crazy.  We've had sold out shows where we literally playing and 2 girls were pouring water on the drummer because it was so hot and they were fanning him and kissing him while he was playing.  They treat you like rock stars because they don't get very many good shows there.  That was really amazing.

 

BRR:  My next question was for Isis, but she's upstairs.

 

I'll answer it for her.

 

BRR:  I saw that she has stated the band saved her and I wanted to ask her about that.

 

That's a very important question.  When she was 14 she had a really rough time, like a lot of teenagers, and she was close to committing suicide and she was going to do it but she thought it was a very selfish thing to do to her parents.  She kind of put on music and listened to Motown and that gave her inspiration and she decided not to kill herself.  There's a lot of songs on this new album that are the first time she sings about that stuff.  At Warped Tour many people were coming up and relating to that and singing the lyrics and saying they aren't going to kill themselves.  We just got another email like that the other day, and we get them all the time.  Every single person is going through a struggle and it's great when bands can do that because living is an inspiration.

 

BRR:  That's awesome!  Shortly before you were about to record a few songs at Dave Catching’s studio at Rancho Del La Luna, his band Eagles of Death, were about to play in Paris when the Paris attacks happened.  He still wanted you to come, and in fact you ended up recording the entire album in 2 couple days. How did that timing of the attack provide you with the inspiration to get the album completed?

 

We had written 3 new songs because we were touring all the time and didn't have much time, and that's when Dave Catchings invited us to record.  We were texting each other and he asked if we we were set for that weekend and we confirmed it and a few minutes later he went onstage and that's when the Paris attacks happened.  We were shocked, as the whole world was horrified by this horrible tragedy, and a few days later he texted us back saying, “You're still coming in to record.” We were like, “ Are you sure?  We're really sad about this.” But he told us,  “The music must go on and they can't take that away.”   We were really overwhelmed by the emotion and the next thing we knew we just wrote songs.  We weren't even trying to write an album, but we went there and in 2 days we recorded them all.  It was crazy.  It just flowed.  We had to leave because they already had Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Iggy Pop coming in the next day to do their stuff.  So, the album is a very different album than we would have done if the Paris attacks never happened and we weren't recording at the guitarist’s studio.

 

BRR:  Rub My Mind is your latest album released this year. I know you touched on this a little, but can you give us some insight into the topics and inspiration behind some of the songs?

 

We, especially Isis, have been really lost and have struggled in our lives and we feel that we are at the point that we see the light, that there's a way out, so a lot of the songs are about finding that light.  It's about the inner freedom that you can find within, which will eventually create an outer shell of happiness for you.  There are some political songs there that we write, coming from Greece and all the politicians that have screwed the country and the civilians, including our families and there are some tongue and cheek songs.  We were inspired by a lot of different bands, even The Beatles, on this album.  I think it's a beautiful album and we love it and even did a 7 minute jam at the end when we had extra time left, and Isis just sang some beautiful things over it and I love it.  It's called “Waiting To Be Lost.” It's amazing.

 

 

 

BRR:  I know you still have a long tour ahead of you, but what is next for BWD?

 

We don't know what's next other than the fact that we're going to play some tour support for some other bands that are bigger than us.  We haven't done that ever in the past, so we can open ourselves up to a new audience.  I don't know any other bands that have done 900 shows in 25 countries in 7 years, all headlining themselves, except for a couple festivals.  Most bands open up for other bands and that's how they get known

 

BRR:  You just did it backwards.  That's all the questions I have for now. Do you have any further comments?

 

I think the only comment I can say is thank you to you, who spread our message and music out there to new audiences.  Music should be a place when you're dark to find a light and when you're happy to celebrate life.  It must go on.  And, thank you to all our fans who have supported us for rock n roll.  Thank goodness Lemmy was born and gave us Motorhead and we're grateful that he saw something in us.  We're humbled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Denise Santoro of Adrenaline PR for making this interview possible.

 

© Boston Rock Radio 2017

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