Dateline: May 2016
You might never have heard of Doll Skin. You don’t know what you’re missing. An all-girl punk band that rocks. Hard.
Interviewing Doll Skin was the most fun I’ve had in an interview. The four teenagers and I sat in a stairwell adjoining the concert venue in a little circle on the floor.
We discussed music, boyfriends/girlfriends and what they want to be when they grow up.
They opened up for Otep, which is definitely a different genre of music. It was interesting to watch Otep fans observe Doll Skin setting up their gear in between acts. They seemed to roll their eyes, become disinterested in these adorable girls and wander off to the bar to refill their drinks.
I was intrigued. Would Doll Skin win this Otep audience over?
The technician told them do a sound check. A primal roar lurched from Alex Snowden’s guitar as she took the stage for the sound check. I mean Alex Snowden was absolutely shredding on her guitar. The dispersed crowd gathered closer to watch, and gradually began to cheer. Drinks were held aloft in tribute. Heads started banging. And this was just the sound check.
Would four attractive suburban teenage girls, who won the national School of Rock competition, really win over this hard core, metal crowd?
I smirked from the back of the venue as I watched the crowd gather to the stage. Alex Snowden, who was quiet and slightly nerdy (sorry Alex, but you ARE a cute kinda nerd) in our interview had removed the glasses, let down her blue hair and transformed into a rock goddess. They hadn’t even played a song yet, and the sound check had nearly won over the disinterested crowd.
By the time they hit the crowd with a haunting, rock cover of “Uninvited” they had several hundred new fans.
It was weird because I had just met them a couple hours before, but I swelled with emotion at the transformation.
A couple hours before we were huddled in the stairwell for our girl-chat gossip session.
I started off by asking their ages. They took turns answering like in a little rehearsed routine.
“I’m Meghan and I’m 19.”
“I’m Sydney, I’m 16 and I do the singing thing.”
“I’m Alex. I’m also 16 and I play guitar.”
“I’m Nicole, I’m 17 and I play bass.”
The girls all met at school a few years ago and put together a band for a Battle of the Bands talent content. They won the whole thing and were quickly discovered.
I always get the feeling when I interview people that they’re prepared for the same boring questions every time. What’s the name of your album? How’d you meet? Blah, blah blah. If I wanted the answer to those questions I can do an interview at my desk with Google.
So now for the fun! I smirk.
“Any of you steal each other’s boyfriends or girlfriends?” I asked with a wry grin. (They don’t call me “Trouble” for nothing.)
All eyes popped open. “NO WAY!” they all exclaimed in unison. “That is the last thing we would ever do!”
The hallways started buzzing with teenage girl chitter chatter talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends. Good. We were out of the routine, prepared answers.
“Who came up with the name?”
The girls claimed there was no real story to it. They were just sitting in a room and someone blurted out Doll Skin. They couldn’t even remember who it was. But they wanted something cute and creepy at the same time. Mission accomplished.
I asked what some of the rejected names were. They all laughed. Nicole, who has the most adorable pink, pixie crop you’ve ever seen, laughed and said she wanted “Frick Frack and the Peaches.”
“Sarcasm,” she says, sarcastically. She didn’t really want the name, but it was funny. “Nicole Rich and the Groupies, also got rejected,” she said with a playful pout.
The girls write all their own music and lyrics. “Blind is my favorite song, because I wrote it for my sister,” Sydney said. “It has special meaning to me.”
Everyone else really liked “Furious Fixation,” mostly because it was fun to play and one of their newer songs.
“Who are your influences?” I asked.
“Justin Beiber!” Nicole yelled out with her typical smartassery.
“Are you serious?” I asked, unbelieving.
“Noooooo!” she said laughing.
The girls all took turns spouting massive long lists among the most popular were, My Chemical Romance, Tool, Refused, Bikini Kill, and Led Zeplin. All bands that our little punk goddesses should be listening to.
When Meghan kept listing bands for several minutes, all the rest of the girls laughed and told me that Meghan is a walking encyclopedia.
“She knows every fact about every band,” Nicole said rolling her eyes.
Sydney laughed and said, “You can ask her when what person from whatever band died and she can spout out this day, this time and from what disease.”
“It comes in handy a lot,” Nicole said seriously.
“Ya but it kinda freaks us out,” Sydney said.
Alex, the one that shredded on her guitar and won the crowd over, was wearing glasses and had her hair tied up during the interview. She was definitely a little more soft spoken than the rest. But as I mentioned before, on stage she transforms into a rock star. But that’s what is so glorious about the stage, right? We can be whoever we want to be and do what we want to do, because, fuck it, we are rock stars!
“When you found out you were on this tour, what was your reaction?”
“Holy Freaking Heck!” they exclaimed. (They have a cleaner vocabulary than me.)
They were ecstatic. Who wouldn’t want to tour with Otep, September Mourning and Lacey Sturm? But on the heels of the excitement they instantly voiced their concerns about being away from home for almost 50 days.
“It’s hard to be away from family, friends and your home life and daily routine,” Megan said. “Lacey Sturm is my idol,” Megan said. “I watch her set every night like a gawking fan.”
I got the feeling that Megan likes to be home, sitting in her bedroom, headphones on, listening to her favorite punk bands while socializing via her computer on social media.
When I asked the girls what their greatest fears were Nicole shouted out, “Heights and that’s it!”
The room got quiet when Meghan spoke up. The mood was somber, “My greatest fear is having an anxiety attack while away from home.” The other girls nodded.
“It’s been amazing to watch. Meghan has had such amazing personal growth. She has come out of her shell and become a confident person.” Sidney said with pride.
Alex’s fear was being homesick.
That definitely reminded me that these amazing little punk rock stars are still just teenagers that miss their normal lives back home. Although, not sure that “normal” is going to be the same as it was before they started out on this journey.
Sydney jumps in and tells me she isn’t afraid of anything. She wants to try everything and do everything.
“I want to go sky diving. I love the ocean. I love the dark. I love people. I love talking to people.” She went on and on. Sydney seems like the kind of person that is going to suck the marrow out of life. Do all there is to do and be everything there is to be.
Nicole, who previously said she was afraid of, “heights and that’s it!” jumped in and started spewing more things we was afraid of, “Car crash, bugs, dark water, dogs with teeth, eating junk food alone, and Twizzlers running out.” You name it, she claimed to fear it.
Suddenly all the girls SQUEELED! A door opened and the cutest little dog came running into the stairwell. Our interview devolved into an impromptu lovefest for the puppy. It was like in the movie “Up” when the dog is doing something and a squirrel comes into view, the world stops and… “SQUIRREL!” Well, Teenage girls + cute puppy = SQUIRELL!
After the dog and its owner left, the interview resumed.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” was my next question.
Ironically the rock stars didn’t laugh. Apparently being rock stars was not their grown-up plans. They all had future plans when they weren’t rock stars anymore.
Sydney was emphatic, “I will be in the music industry till I am fifty years old and then I will become a forensic scientist. Because I love the mystery of crime.”
Someone’s been watching a lot of CSI. 🙂 I smiled when I thought about how she came up with the arbitrary age of fifty. I’m still chuckling about it as I’m writing this article.
Alex plans to go to school for Jazz theory and be a “dog mother.” Megan wants to be a photographer. And Nicole says she is never going to grow up. True to her personality.
In just thirty minutes I was able to get a real sense for each girl’s personality. And let me tell you, these girls are awesome! They won me over. They were so effusive and open with their enthusiasm that I felt like a den mother with all these amazing girls sitting on the floor with me talking about their lives.
Alex seems to be an old soul, wise beyond her years. Sydney is gregarious and going to suck everything out of life that she can. Megan is an adorable punk-rock nerd. And Nicole is the cutest girl version of Peter Pan you can imagine. She is appropriately afraid of the world running out of Twizzlers.
If you like punk music and even if you don’t, you will like these girls! They are amazing musicians and artists and you owe it to yourself to give a listen.
They won me.
You can check out their website here and see where they will be in concert.