The Dollyrots – Exclusive Interview With Guitarist Luis Cabezas

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Kelly and Luis from the Dollyrots

With a brand new album on the way in a couple of weeks time and with the band due to hit the UK with Rocksins’ favourites Bowling For Soup as well as Patent Pending in the second half of October, we are very lucky that The Dollyrots guitarist Luis Cabezas has given us some of his time. Stay tuned for topics including the upcoming tour, hangovers and anarchist old ladies….

For people who haven’t heard of The Dollyrots before, can you describe yourselves as a band?

Luis: We’re a punk rock band live but our recordings are very pop. Kelly and I have known each other since middle school; she sings and plays bass while I backup and play fuzzed out guitar. Our songs are mostly faster pop punk with some new wave influence…adding in a mish mash of melodic 60’s girl groups and screamy 90’s grunge.

The first time many people in the UK will have heard of you is the tour you did with Bowling For Soup, Forever The Sickest Kids and A two years ago, was that a good tour for you guys?

Luis: It was one of the most inspiring tours we’ve ever had as a live band, really. We had never experienced the intensity of the UK live crowd – there’s a certain attitude to the fans there that we can really feed off of – people aren’t afraid to put their hands over their heads and make noise. It might be a case of the UK peeps not being afraid to tell you what they really think of you compared to the US. Maybe it’s Puritan “I’m afraid to speak up” thing with the American audience…but once we tasted the loud enthusiasm over there we decided we HAD to go back.

Is that where The Dollyrots relationship with Bowling For Soup began or was it before that?

Luis: Before that. We had already joined BFS for 2 U.S. tours at that point, supporting them and driving our van behind their bus across the States. Over those tours we just became Family; joking that our bands got married and really forming a strong bond. It’s not hard to love those guys. They’re as hilarious and fun and thoughtful in person as they come across on stage.

Are you looking forward to being back in the UK in a few weeks with BFS & Patent Pending?

Luis: Abso-freakin-lutely! We all toured the U.S. together last year and having the PP guys along was a blast. They’re hyper in a good way and share the same sort of attitude as us and BFS – make a super fun and engaging rock show happen with no pretense. Every single night is going to be the night of our lives! Just watch out for the Patent Pending guys – their pants tend to fall off for no reason.

Is this tour likely to produce a few hangovers?

Luis: Quite more than a few, I’m afraid… multiply practically everyone on the tour by the number of dates and there you go! Hundreds! But the surest way to cure it will be to pick ourselves up off the bus floor and do it all over again! The hangovers will be worth it because they’ll be proof that we’re bringing a rad rock show every single night.

Changing topic slightly, your new album was funded by a pledge campaign on kickstarter. I’ve read that the campaign made over five times the original funding target, and hit the original target within a couple of days?! It must be quite humbling to know that there’s that much support out there for the band.

Luis: We honestly didn’t expect that level of support. We knew our fans are really dedicated and amazing, but our view is always so scattered…random messages on the web, wild nights at shows, etc. So we didn’t have much of a gauge for how Kickstarter was gonna go and it really threw us for a loop. An amazing and humbling and awe-inspiring loop, but a loop nevertheless. It just kind of showed us that we have this really dedicated audience, and that we owed them the best possible record we could make for them. It’s almost like our fans became our record label, and that’s something we can be proud of with them.

What can everyone expect from the new album?

Luis: It sounds like The Dollyrots, first of all. We have never been a band that’s looked to change our sound to match what’s popular. And without any pressure from a label to record a “single” we can say this is honestly what’s inside us. Crunchy guitars, 3-minute pop punk songs with a lot of 60’s/70’s influence, tons of melodic vocals and some screaming here and there. In certain places it’s definitely more poppy and polished than previous releases but it still sounds real and raw at heart. And the live show will prove that. Overall, we tried to make an album that feels like a rollercoaster ride that slams you back in your seat and goes by almost too fast.

Did you do anything different for the recording process compared to your previous releases?

Luis: It’s got more layers than previous albums, some new wave synthey stuff here and there, which might be different than our previous releases. But that’s just us having the license to add all the sounds we were hearing in our heads and getting over the idea of thinking this album had to be a certain genre. Like, “that’s not PUNK man don’t add that!” We tried different amps and pedals to match the atmosphere of each track and just allowed ourselves to be creative without falling into the pitfalls of making a bloated overly-long or overly-produced album. We wanted it to sound HUGE and be something that only sounds bigger when you play it LOUD. I think we accomplished that.

As well as your own album coming out, you have the “One Big Happy” split album coming out with BFS and Patent Pending to help promote the tour, was it fun covering each others songs? Was it hard to choose what songs to do?

Luis: The split album idea is genius by Jaret BFS because it really gives each band a chance to appreciate each other’s music and style. We’re all pop punk bands at heart. We love the Ramones, we love Screeching Weasel, but we also all have our quirks…BFS loves 80’s metal, we love Blondie. There’s no higher form a flattery than having someone cover your song, and you learn a ton about others musically when you cover theirs. So beyond the album itself, doing this album has brought us even closer together. Choosing the songs was easy – we just picked the ones we tend to sing along to the loudest from the sidestage when we play together.

Do you have any plans / tours lined up for after your time in the UK?

Luis: We’re doing a full US run right before hopping on our flights to the UK, and are planning to possibly do a short run on the way back to California afterwards. November and December might see some West US dates, and after that’s an open book! Hopefully back in the UK before long but let’s rock this one first.

To sign off, tell us a funny story (preferably one involving yourselves).

Luis: On our first tour with BFS, the 3rd date of the tour was in Washington DC and it was Jaret’s birthday. We didn’t know the guys all that well at that point but decided that we should get him a birthday cake. So we stopped at a grocery store on the way and had the little old lady at the cake counter personalize the cake for us. That night, we presented him with a cake onstage that said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY EAT A DICK UP TIL YOU HICCUP”. Ah, good times. Been fast friends ever since. Pretty cool little old lady. She was a first world anarchist.

The Dollyrots will be in the UK as main support to Bowling For Soup on BFS’s extensive traditional October UK tour, kicking off October 14th 2012 in Newcastle and finishing up October 28th 2012 in Cambridge with a total of 15 shows on the tour. Tickets for the shows are on sale now at all standard online ticketing websites and from some venues direct (please check venue websites). For more updates on this tour (and for the latest in rock and metal interviews) please keep checking back with us here at Rocksins on a regular basis.

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