The husband and wife duo that make up The Dollyrots recently released their ninth studio album, Night Owls, and with each release, the quality has continued an upward trajectory. They have also supported many big names in the pop-punk world all over the world, with each show growing their fanbase.
Vocalist Kelly Ogden sheds some light on her true musical inspirations, her desire to play some shows at a more family-orientated festival, and her enjoyment of visiting the UK during the more questionable seasons.
Be sure to also read our album review of Night Owls.
Okay, so this is Damian with V13, and I’m joined by the fantastic Kelly from the Dollyrots. First of all, how are you?
Kelly Ogden: “I’m doing great. It’s Friday. I’m happy about that.”
It is Friday. It’s been a busy day at work, and I’m glad I’m at home now and relaxed. So, I want to start off obviously with the very big news that your new record, Night Owls, is out. Now, were there any specific inspirations driving this record at all?
“I would say that most of our albums, they kind of brew for a little while, and we’ll start out with musical ideas, and then those grow into like melodies and, and then as we’re singing the melodies, then words kind of appear out of nowhere usually, and then we kind of fill in the blanks. So, we don’t ever sit down and intentionally write a song, you know, this one called ‘Alligator.’ We don’t sit down and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to write a song about alligators and skinny dipping.’ It just kind of evolves as we put the music together each time.
“Neither of us, I would say, are poets. We never have words that we then set to music. It always starts with the music. Of course, we did have some inspiration after the crazy two years and finally getting back out and doing what you love to do and see all the faces we hadn’t seen in so long and all of that definitely inspired and informed the album, too.”
It’s funny you say neither of you are poets particularly. Some of the songs on Night Owls, one that really piqued my interest was “Tree’s Sway.” So, I find it hard to believe that you guys aren’t poets because that one brought a tear to my eye. That does move me into the next question…
Do you have any favourites from this record? Any songs that made you go, that’s it! That’s exactly what we’re aiming for with Night Owls?
“Well, that song, it was funny you mentioned that because we try to put a sweet love song on every record. We’ll do the ballad for all the records because we want a record to be listenable from the beginning through the end, like they used to make records. ‘Tree Sway,’ Lewis actually woke up one morning and he was like, ‘Kelly, Kelly, get your phone!’ I’m like, ‘What is he doing?’ He runs out in his underwear, comes back with an acoustic guitar. He’s like, ‘Record this,’ and it was the whole first half of the song. Well, at least up to the second verse. That one came in a dream to him, which is really, really wild. It’s never happened before.
“The rest of the song was written and we tried to perform it at a VIP meet and greet when the album came out a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t get through it. I just started crying. I was like, ‘ok, I can do it. I can do it.’ Then we would try again. I’d be like, nope, not going to happen. That one’s pretty special.
“I think as far as the attitude, the song ‘Night Owls’ does embody a lot of the inspiration behind the album. It’s about who we are and it’s fun. It’s about trying to do those things in the darkness, which we are night owls and all of our creative efforts happen after we put our kids to bed, right before we wake up to take them to school. I think ‘5×5’ is a really fun, just straight up Dollyrots song. ‘The Vow,’ that’s an interesting one because it’s very sweet but it sounds a lot harder or edgier than the lyrics may be.”
That was another one at the top of my list because, I think it’s the right one I’m quoting now, but, “I take you in sickness and in fun.” I just love that because I played it to my partner and she was like, that’s awesome! She loved that song. So, that one is another brilliant one as well.
I do find it fascinating though that, that particular song “Trees Sway” just came to you guys so naturally. I’m hoping you’ll come back to the UK soon because I’d love to hear that one live.
“I’m going to have to do it like a thousand times before I can do it without crying.”
I don’t want to put you in that position for my own selfish needs of hearing a great song.
“I could try.”
Wonderful. Now, obviously, The Dollyrots are very much a pop-punk band. What resonates with the pop-punk world for you? What draws you towards that style of music particularly?
“It’s kind of fascinating. When we started the band the only person that really knew how to play an instrument was Lewis, so he taught the rest of us. At that time, I was just playing rhythm guitar. The first songs that we all learned to play together were The Misfits, I think I turned into a Martian! ‘Da Do Ron Ron’ by The Crystals and then a couple of Ramones songs. I think that became the backbone of our band and informed everything that we did from there. I love ’60s girl group music. I love ’50s rock n’ roll.
“Once I got into high school, I was a child of the ’80s, of course. So, I grew up listening to pop music, like on the radio with my parents, just Top 40 pop music of the late ’80s through the ’90s. Lewis loved punk rock, The Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols, the Ramones. We started the band and for real in 2000ish, and we just always played the music that came to us. Louis loves Nirvana. That’s how he learned to play guitar. He just learned every Nirvana record.
“We don’t really set out to make any music in particular, but when you put my voice and like my melodic influences together with Lewis’s love of punk rock and alternative rock, then you get The Dollyrots, which has just always been lumped into pop-punk, even though, not that I don’t like pop punk music, it really isn’t something that we listen to.
“A lot of like the big pop punk bands are not a direct influence. I couldn’t even tell you a song that some of them might play and I don’t want to embarrass anybody or anything, but I get it’s weird because it’s not really our jam, but that’s what we ended up playing something similar too. In reality all that means is that these are people that like rock n’ roll. They like punk rock and they want to make it poppy so it’s listenable.”
That sort of brings me back to a question I completely missed out. You did the cover at the end of the record of “A New England.” I can see you smiling, you obviously really loved doing that one.
What made you choose that song specifically to cover? It is a fantastic cover where you clearly put your own twist on it, but it doesn’t really fit the mould, I suppose, of the pop-punk thing that The Dollyrots tend to sound like.
“We try to do a cover song each album in the hopes that maybe we’ll bring a song to some young kid who’s never heard of Billy Bragg or, in the past we’ve done, a Melanie Safka song and The Ramones, Crystals, a lot of our influences we try to just put out there very openly by doing that. But this one. Uh, God, I don’t know, I love Billy Bragg, I always have and it’s funny because he is pretty punk rock and I had recently learned a story about Kirstie McCall.
“I do a radio show and I was talking about how Tracy Allman did one of her songs and Lewis and I, we’ve released our version of ‘Fairy Tale of New York,’ The Pogue song with her singing on it. She had a really cool version of it that came out, I think in the ’80s and Billy Bragg or her husband, one of them actually wrote like an extra verse at the end. So we did her version of ‘A New England’ just because we’ve always loved the song and I put a little twist on it.”
Now, you’re about to embark on a bit of a mini tour to support the record. This is obviously in the U.S., but now the record’s out and after this little tour, maybe we’ve got Christmas out of the way, are there any plans to venture further? Are you going to be coming over to us perhaps?
“We are really hoping to, we don’t have anything booked just yet for sure. We already have a U.S. tour booked for March. We’re doing a little tour in January that I can’t mention yet. We pretty much have the same schedule each year where we do certain regions and England. Unfortunately, it was on an every other year cycle. We missed a couple there, so I would like to get back next year. We had never done a headline tour until last year or this year, I don’t remember when we went.
“Anyway, we’ve been back the past two times in the past, well, since COVID. One time we were opening for Bowling for Soup and Lit and then we went back for the headline one with Don’t Panic and it was so much fun. I would love to go back and play those clubs again, it was great. Hopefully we can do that before the end of the year. I’m thinking maybe the end of summer would be ideal. Usually, we end up there in the colder times, like February or October for some reason.”
That’s a shame you don’t get to see the good weather of England. We do have it, I do promise. We’ve had a great summer this year.
“I kind of love it though because I get to see Englandy England. I’ve always lived in like California, Florida, sunny places, so I like to see England in its grey, damp coldness.”
I love the way you put a very positive approach on the worst part of our year, I love that.
“Always count on me for positivity.”
That’s wonderful. Now you mentioned the tour with Bowling for Soup. I think that was at the tail end of last year. I was actually at that one, and honestly, that was the first time I’d seen you guys play live, and you were terrific. It was possibly one of the most fun shows that I’ve seen in a long time.
Now, what was the most entertaining aspect of that tour for you guys? You went to a lot of venues, a lot of parts of the UK. What was the best part of that?
“The shows are always great in England. I love playing over there because I feel like people appreciate rock n’ roll in a different way and in a more open way, you guys clap over your heads like this. So, you can see when people like it. It’s really exciting.
“Here in the States, people feel all self-conscious. They don’t want to look silly, having fun. I feel like people just have unbridled joy at rock shows with you guys and I love that. It’s cool to see a lot of people we hadn’t seen in a long time. Of course, the backstage post-show hangouts with Bowling for Soup and Lit were great We hadn’t met Lit before and we adore them. They ended up being really, really cool, really nice guys. So it was just a perfect mess of fun.”
I love the way you say perfect mess. It’d be great to have you back in London, because that’s the show I went to see you at. Keep your fingers crossed, because I don’t know if you heard, but the Brixton Academy where you played, that is unfortunately closed at the moment due to a mishap, which I won’t go into now.
“I do know what you’re talking about.”
Yeah, it’s shut down. There’s a big petition to try and get it open. So, keep your fingers crossed for that one because it’s a terrific venue.
What venues did you most enjoy visiting though in the UK? Or where would you love to play regardless of size? If you could fill Wembley, would you go for that?
“Oh, heck yeah, of course. I would love to play some festivals. It’s just never panned out for us with travel and everything. That tour that we did with Bowling for Soup and Lit, the seaside tour, was really cool because we played some really strange, very cool venues. There was one, I can’t think of where it was. Where in England can you be on the sea where they say that you can almost see France, or if it’s clear, you might be able to?”
That would be sort of Dover. Did you play in Brighton?
“Perhaps? Yeah, I mean, Brighton is always really fun. I can’t remember, but there was this really old, cool seaside place, and The Beatles had played there and it was more of a theatre and our bus had to park right on the seawall. We had to time it between the waves because it would just splash into the bus door when you opened it. It was wild. I don’t know but I loved all of it.
“I just love playing in England everything so old and cool. I love that stuff; I find it fascinating. We always have a fun time in Nottingham. We didn’t get to do that with Bowling for Soup and Lit, but when we went back and did our own, that show was awesome.”
You mentioned you do your radio show. I believe that it’s on SiriusXM. Is that correct?
“It’s satellite radio. I’m on channel 21 and 721. 21 is Little Stephen’s Underground Garage. That’s Little Stephen of the East Street Band. He’s been working with Bruce Springsteen pretty much his whole life, but he’s an incredible musician on his own and he’s got this radio station that plays all of rock n’ roll from the ’50s through the Dollyrots currently, and it’s just so good. It’s so well curated. He kind of wants to make a point to teach, teaching history through music. So, as a DJ, it’s kind of difficult because for all the songs that we play, we’re supposed to have information, not just the super basic ‘this is the song, this is who wrote it, this is who produced it, it came out this year on this record label.’ He wants more.
“So, out of every set of five songs, I’ll just give the basics for three, but two of them, I’ll try and say something cool about the song or the year, the time period which makes it a really cool station to listen to. I have learned so much about rock n’ roll doing that job. So, it’s really cool.
“Also, he has a record label called Wicked Cool and we put out our last few releases through Wicked Cool and it’s been a great partnership because, as a musician, he allows us to do whatever the heck we want artistically. There’s no overseeing, no weird stuff where he wants us to change anything. It’s just what we make and then he and Dennis Mortensen who runs the label and the radio, they just facilitate getting it out to more people than we would if we self-released it. That’s the goal in the end. So, it’s really cool. It’s all just wrapped up in one nice package.”
I’m guessing you’ve seen that film Airheads before. Have you seen that one?
“I have, but not in a long time. I probably need to watch it again.”
You saying about the radio has sort of prompted me to be going online and see if I can find myself a copy, because that is such a great movie. Now, what actually brought you or drew you towards radio specifically alongside playing music live? What was it about radio specifically?
“I’ve always listened to the radio. As I mentioned, growing up, my family car, it was always whatever the Top 40 station was, that’s what we were listening to. Casey Kasem had a Top 40 show every Saturday. I don’t know if it was over in England too, but I listened to that. We have National Public Radio is where I got my news, until the era of cell phones where I could just put whatever I want on whenever I want.
“Radio was really important to me. It was the soundtrack to my life most of the time, most of the jobs I worked, when I was younger. It’s like they got the music or radio playing and I’ve always considered how important it is to what you’re doing. Whatever you choose as the soundtrack, it informs your mood and maybe your decision making and how you feel. I don’t know, they just asked me if I would audition and apparently, I’m a natural.”
I think we could go with that. I can believe that you’re doing fantastically here. Now do you ever have any guests on your show?
“I have never had a guest. I’ve never interviewed anyone in my life, but I feel like it’s something I could probably attempt.”
I think that’d be cool. So that sort of brings me onto the next question. If you could interview absolutely anyone on your show, doesn’t matter. They could be living; they could be alive. I’ll even take fictional. Who would you love to interview? Absolutely anyone.
“Oh, this is going to take me a minute!”
I can actually see the cog moving.
“Oh, that is tough. Hmm. Still thinking, still thinking. I have an idea I think would be cool, but, maybe not as interesting to someone else. This would actually be a really good podcast. So, what if I interviewed Lewis and there was a mediator. I think that band interaction is really, really cool. So, what was happening in my brain is I would think of somebody I want to interview like both of those people in the band, not just one person.
“Ok, here’s someone that I may actually be able to interview that is still alive, that actually fills in those gaps. So, Pat Smear, I would love to interview Pat Smear of the Germs, Nirvana, now Foo Fighters, because that guy has seen all of the music that I love. Pat knew The Go Go’s when they were punk rock. He was in the Prince video for, I think it’s like, ‘Raspberry Beret’ or something. He has gone through all of rock n’ roll. He’s still standing. I just wonder what stories he has. My new podcast idea is I would be there, and I would pick two people from a band and I would have them interview each other and I would just kind of help moderate. In case they weren’t being as deep or truthful as they should be.”
That, I would definitely listen to. If you ever get it up and running, please keep us informed because I think that’d be a fantastic idea. I’m trying to think of a way I can steal it now.
You did mention a moment ago about doing festivals over here. Download, would you come and do Download for us?
“Oh, of course. We would love to do any of them. I learned recently that in the summertime, there are a lot of festivals that are family based. And I didn’t know that. I feel like we would do really well at those because we tour with our kids. When they’re out with us, we have a time in the act where they come out and play music with us and then our son’s really into yo yos right now. So, he’ll yo yo and tell jokes while our daughter does like rim shots on the drums. I feel like those family festivals could be really, really fun. But yeah, of course, any of the big ones. That’d be a dream. That’s what everybody wants.”
I would encourage you, though, if you want to do one of the family ones, look at Teddy Bear Rocks. Not only do they have amazing bands, but it really is a family-orientated thing. It’s not one I’ve actually been to myself because I always look at it and go, I kind of feel I should have kids to bring along to this.
“I’m sure some parents would be totally happy to get out of the house and get a little break, make a nap.”
Yeah, I suppose my sister would be okay with that, but at the same time, that means I’ve got to take care of them. They would come back full of sugar and my sister would hate me for it. Like, I’ve done this. This is your problem now.
“Yeah, those are uncle rules!”
Now I don’t really have any more questions, but I do, whenever I’ve got one, I do like to try and finish on a joke so I’m going to see if I can make you laugh with some of my terrible, terrible humour.
“It’s not hard, to warn you.”
Well, we’ll see how this goes. Now, I’m a big fan of bringing back Roman numerals as a way of counting. I for one!
“Oh, that’s great. I’m gonna say that one. I’ve got one for you.”
Oh, please go.
“It’s really stupid and it’s perfect for Halloween. So, and I don’t even know if I’m going to tell it right. What would you call a really smart monster? Frankenstein!”
Love it! Absolutely love it. Terrible. Yeah, but that’s the best thing. It is terrible jokes that make the world go round. Love silly dumb jokes.
Kelly, I want to say thank you so much for chatting with us. I will say you got the voice of an angel and the look of a mischievous pixie. You’re fantastic. Thank you so much. And I really hope to see you over here again soon. Thank you.
“You got it. Have a good day.”
Blueprint Music Studios Announces Rockstar Master Class with Simon Wright and Robert Sarzo
Musicians of all levels welcome Blueprint Music Studios, which is turning it up to 11 with experience in mastering the music industry.
Musicians of all levels should mark their calendars. Blueprint Music Studios is turning it up to 11 with an electrifying, educational, and memorable experience in mastering the music industry. Join them for the highly anticipated Blueprint Master Clinic featuring legendary musicians Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) and Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche, Hurricane). RSVP today on Eventbrite
Blueprint Music Studios, known for its vibrant, rockstar clientele of musicians around Ventura and Los Angeles counties, is thrilled to introduce the Blueprint Master Classes series at its Westlake Village studio. Serving as the ultimate hub for artists of all genres and ages to nurture their creativity, Blueprint is kicking off its inaugural clinic on Sunday, March 3rd, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. This not-to-be-missed event will feature an intimate panel-format session led by music industry veterans Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) and Robert “The VuDu Man” Sarzo (Ozzy, Hurricane, Interscope/Universal). The event is a collaboration between Blueprint Music Studios, Radford Media Group, and ReTune Wellness.
Dubbed the Blueprint “Rockstar” Master Class, this event promises attendees an immersive experience as Wright and Sarzo share invaluable insights gleaned from their illustrious careers. Hosted by Blueprint Studios owners Jasan Radford (ONESIDEZERO, CENTERSHIFT) and Ted Wenri (Bemus, CENTERSHIFT), the 5-hour class will delve into the essential elements of thriving in today’s music landscape, drawing from the mentors’ rich tapestry of successes and setbacks. With Wright’s four decades of drumming expertise and Sarzo’s iconic guitar prowess, participants are positioned to gain invaluable knowledge and inspiration to elevate their craft.
Event Co-partner, The Radford Media Group, is an all-inclusive music management and artist development company based out of Westlake Village. ReTune Wellness was founded by professional musicians, scientists, and board-certified doctors to provide specialized products for musicians. Since its inception in 2023, Blueprint Music Studios has emerged as a premier destination for musicians across various genres, providing a nurturing environment for practice and recording. From aspiring students to established artists, Blueprint’s dedicated team stands ready to support projects of all sizes, ensuring every artist’s vision comes to life.
Rockstar Master Class Itinerary:
– Attracting A&R and labels in today’s climate
– Best practice techniques
– Securing studio gigs
– The dos and don’ts in 2024 for musicians
– How to excel at guitar and drums
Purchase Master Clinic tickets via Eventbrite
When – March 3rd, 2024
Where – Blueprint Studios
Time – 11:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
Cost – $299.99
Address – 31143 Via Colinas ##506 Westlake Village, CA 91362
Phone – 818.874.3090
Three Second Kiss Releasing First LP in Twelve Years via Overdrive Records
Three Second Kiss is back after 12 years, the band sets out to release their newest LP, From Fire I Save The Flame later this year.
This is not a self-celebratory message. This is not a reunion. This is not even a proper press kit. These lines are just to communicate details related to the production of a record. Because Three Second Kiss is back after 12 years with a new work. An infinite amount of time when compared to the times of the contemporary music market. A chasm. But what was up to Three Second Kiss?
“In fact, we never stopped.” comments the band, talking about what is about to become the new chapter in their career. Twelve years between their previous: “Nine tracks that do not pick up the band’s musical discourse where it was left off. At least to our ears it doesn’t sound the way we were.” stress the members of Three Second Kiss.
As active as the trio was initially, in 1993, Three Second Kiss is happy to share the details of their signing announcement:
“We are happy that this album is coming out on Overdrive Records. We believe that the people who work there are driven by a sincere passion for the most direct and incisive music. We got to know some members of this family and we think we share the same musical history; we grew up with the same sounds and a sincere and unmediated attitude towards the musical world.”
After all, the time issue has never been a concern for Three Second Kiss, who has always operated autonomously and independently. This time, however, time has run fast. And there is not much to say about that. The members stress:
“These are the pains (many) and joys of adult life. We stopped when life forced us to stop. We regained purpose and cohesion when environmental circumstances and harmony got flowing again. And from the chasm, we have risen again.”
Sean Lafontaine Releases Electrifying Single “Sliver”
Sean Lafontaine, continues to carve his path through the rock landscape with the release of his electrifying single “Sliver.”
Sean Lafontaine, the Detroit-born, Duluth-raised powerhouse musician, continues to carve his path through the rock landscape by releasing his electrifying single, “Sliver.” Serving as the second installment from his highly anticipated EP, Thorn, Sliver, Smolder, Lafontaine once again proves his prowess in delivering hard-hitting, adrenaline-pumping rock music that resonates with listeners across generations.
“Sliver” wastes no time in making its presence known, opening with the primal roar of a thunderstorm before erupting into a relentless torrent of driving hard rock. Seamlessly blending elements of classic rock with a contemporary edge, Lafontaine navigates through the song’s labyrinthine grooves, exuding a palpable sense of power and confidence with every chord struck and every beat hammered.
Following the success of his previous single “Thorn,” which made waves with its premiere on Canadian Beats, Lafontaine solidified his position as a force to be reckoned with in the rock scene. Drawing on his diverse musical influences and experiences, Lafontaine crafts a sonic journey that captivates the senses and leaves an indelible mark on the listener’s psyche.
“Sliver” is not merely a song; it’s a sonic tempest, a raw manifestation of Lafontaine’s unbridled passion and unwavering dedication to his craft. From its thunderous opening to its climactic conclusion, “Sliver” is a testament to Lafontaine’s ability to harness the raw energy of guitar-driven rock music and channel it into a transcendent auditory experience.
As Lafontaine teases audiences with glimpses of what’s to come from Thorn, Sliver, Smolder, anticipation reaches a fever pitch. With each release, Lafontaine proves himself to be a true rock maestro, forging ahead with an unyielding spirit and an insatiable hunger for musical innovation.
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