We’re desperate

Greece’s Barb Wire Dolls prove punk’s not dead at Bob’s

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Barb Wire Dolls’ (l-r) Krash Doll (drums), Isis Queen (vocals), Iriel Blaque (bass), Remmington (rhythm guitar), and Pyn Doll (lead guitar) photo: Michelle X Star

 

It’s easy to lament the state of what passes for contemporary punk rock. Most modern punk bands are predictable, by the numbers, cookie-cutter fare that sets out to ape the punk legend of their choice, whether it’s the Ramones, Misfits, The Clash, or whatever band you want to fill in the blank. Worse yet, most new punk rock lacks the legitimate spirit of the music and culture—that honest sense of rebellion and individuality that made punk music of the ’70s and ’80s so special to those who love it. However, there is a modern band that truly embodies the spirit, energy, and grit of punk rock’s heyday, both in its sound and attitude, and that band is Barb Wire Dolls.

“We started this band because we were essentially fed up with the state of rock and roll, and we were bored with contemporary rock scenes both in Greece and throughout the world,” says Barb Wire Dolls vocalist Isis Queen. “What ever happened to rock and roll? There was no attitude in the music. It seems everyone is scared to play with distortion and write meaningful lyrics. Our answer to that was to start our own band.”

Barb Wire Dolls, hailing originally from Greece, have quite the backstory. Inspired by the creative energy of an artist commune in Greece on the island of Crete, the band was formed around 2010.

“The Ikarus Artist Commune resides at the foot of a huge mountain in a 600-year-old traditional Cretan village,” Queen adds. “The area has strong artistic energies that just pull it out of you. Had I not been there, I probably wouldn’t have ever been musically inclined. There’s just something about it.”

The decision to move to the U.S. was prompted and aided by famous KROQ radio personality Rodney Bingenheimer in a somewhat coincidental manner.

“One day we bought a documentary on Rodney called ‘The Major Of Sunset Strip’ for a dollar and we were blown away at how this man had shaped the rock world by being the first to spin records by the Ramones, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, Nirvana, and had been David Bowie’s right-hand man in breaking him into the American market,” Queen says. “A week later, Rodney discovers Barb Wire Dolls from Myspace and starts playing our EP! He invited us to come play L.A. and to announce us at our first ever U.S. show. We didn’t take the invitation lightly, and sold everything we owned and bought our tickets to Los Angeles. Later we found out that we were the first punk band from Greece to ever play the states.”

Once in L.A., Barb Wire Dolls began booking their own DIY tours and gigging at some of the city’s most famous venues such as Whisky A Go Go. There, they bumped into Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, who became another early champion of the group and eventually signed them on his new record label.

“He eventually came and saw us at our Whisky A Go Go residency where he offered to sign us to Motorhead Music,” Queen explains. “We had been approached by major labels many times to sign us, but we were not interested in selling our music to a company that was only interested in making money off of us and ultimately changing us to be more commercial. Lemmy didn’t want to change us. If Lemmy says you’re good, then for us, that is the only critique we will ever care about.”

The band’s newest album and first for Motorhead Music, Desperate, is a raw, no-frills exercise in classic punk rock and roll. The songs have a boundless energy that jumps through your speakers and charges you to take on the world. Nearly every song on the album is a rock anthem waiting to happen, full of fist-in-the-air, empowering choruses that any disenfranchised person in the world can make their own, much like the old-school punk that inspired the band to exist in the first place.

“We loved how the first wave started because there [weren’t] any rules to the genre, ‘punk,’” Queen says. “Back then, you could look and play any style of music—as long as it was a true rebellious expression you were considered punk. That was the same approach we took when starting our band. No rules, no compromising. We are just doing and feeling the natural, rebellious emotions and writing lyrics that express that.”

Whether it’s through their records or incessant touring, Queen and Barb Wire Dolls have a message for all the outsiders in a bleak-looking world with Donald Trump elected as president:

“Just remember, there is a place for you and your ideas. Don’t become a number in this society that we live in. Stand out and be strong in your expressions. Inspire people and help them inspire others. You got the fight burning inside of you, so take it to ‘The Man.’”

Barb Wire Dolls perform Saturday, Nov. 26 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. Jasper the Colossal and SKRT are also on the bill. Tickets are $7 at the door, available to patrons 21 and over. Show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit BlindBobs.com.

 

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Gary Spencer
Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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