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Music

The Dollyrots

Punk

Los Angeles CA

47540
A lot can happen over the course of a decade, and the past ten years have been no exception. Los Angeles-based pop-punk trio The Dollyrots know this all too well, having formed in Sarasota, FL as a teenage punk rock band in 2000. Although the nation has seen immense changes in that time span—from technological revolutions to shifts in political leadership—there have also been a share of constants. On the musical front, audiences still want their music to rock, and The Dollyrots are delivering the goods, with oodles more experience. This year The Dollyrots will release their third full-length album, entitled A Little Messed Up (Blackheart Records), to its ever-expanding fanbase. With a host of tours, recording sessions, t.v. and movie appearances, plus a sizable repertoire of songs, The Dollyrots aren’t fresh out of the garage. If there’s one thing that experience can offer, it’s learning from past missteps and building on the successes. And that’s where the album title A Little Messed Up comes into play. It points to the idea that imperfections are all around and a natural part of human existence. “No one’s perfect and we’re proud of that part of us,” says vocalist/bassist Kelly Ogden. Actually, there’s much to be proud of. Getting their start as a scrappy trio of college friends, The Dollyrots quickly gained notice—thanks in large part to Ogden’s high-energy vocals and the melodic riffs of guitarist/vocalist Luis Cabezas—landing their first recorded appearance with 2004’s Eat My Heart Out (Lookout! Records). After meeting the band on Warped Tour, Joan Jett quickly signed them to her label, Blackheart Records and in 2007 released their next album, Because I’m Awesome. It was this sophomore effort that really propelled the band to awesome new heights. They supported these releases with a couple years of steady touring (Bowling For Soup, Buzzcocks), plus song placements and acting stints in television shows (Ugly Betty, CSI: NY, Greek, The Price Is Right) and commercials (HP, Kohls). And, fortunately for the band (which also features powerhouse drummer Chris Black), they struck these deals during the right decade. “We are lucky, that our generation of musicians doesn’t have that whole sell-out, freak out attitude,” says Ogden, referencing the punk community’s previous disapproval of such commercial involvement. “I’m glad it’s been these past ten years and not the ten years before, because we now have opportunities as songwriters. And that’s something that no one could ever teach us; we just had to learn along the way to not let the fear of something hold us back from being successful.” There was no fear in getting album number three underway, as the band started writing the new record at the end of two years of touring for Because I’m Awesome, demoing out new songs during long van rides while criss-crossing the U.S. However, all the ramped-up enthusiasm and sparkling optimism couldn’t deliver an album with expediency, as A Little Messed Up actually took a considerable amount of time to complete after some re-evaluation about what the band sought in its newest creation. “Luis and I put together a first batch of songs and we were really excited about them, loved them,” Ogden recalls. “We recorded them with producer Chris Testa (Jimmy Eat World, Dixie Chicks), and thought, that’s it, we’re done. However, after some time passed we began to feel like we were rushing and just maintaining our presence as a touring band. We thought, all right, we need to make the best record we can possibly make. Let’s put some more into it.” Backing up a little, The Dollyrots opted to share their songwriting process on a handful of songs with outside writers and work with a number of other well-known producers, including Matt Wallace (Replacements, Faith No More), Evan Frankfort (The Distillers, The Bangles), Fred Archambault (Avenged Sevenfold), and Sylvia Massy (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool) mixing. While this sort of writing/recording process is more common in pop music settings, the trio found themselves treading some fairly new ground, ultimately discovering this methodology to be both productive and gratifying. “It’s definitely different from our previous records, but it’s also the best that we have done,” says Ogden. “It’s been a long process, but also very satisfying. It was worth the wait, even if it was torture at times.” The total completion time clocked in at approximately twelve months. The end result is a collection of tracks that contains the expected melodic sensibilities of The Dollyrots (“California Beach Boy” and “Rollercoaster”), coupled with a decidedly unexpected edge that’s not heard on the band’s previous material. “It makes for a more interesting record,” says Ogden. “Songs like ‘Rock Control,’ and ‘Some Girls,’ are more rock than pop, and definitely make sense in relation to our live show. Overall, a lot of that is in the production of the record. We’ve always been a rock band, but this album’s a little more gritty.” And after a decade, The Dollyrots have earned a license for change, something that they’ve judiciously exercised, while taking caution in not sacrificing their trademark power-pop laced anthems that fans have loved and come to expect. And it’s that careful maintenance of both style and stance in the music scene that Ogden and company have always respected and admired in others. “The people we look up to the most are those who have stuck it out in punk rock and found success,” says Ogden. “It’s a matter of sticking it out and being true to your fans—and not over-compromising in any way or selling yourself short.”

Time

Friday March 18

11:30PM

Venue

Black & Tan

21+

405 E 7th St

Online

www.myspace.com/thedollyrots

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