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THE BARB WIRE DOLLS: THE NEW WAVE OF PUNK - INTERVIEW BY TED DAHLIN

As the world is experiencing a new punk rock renaissance, one punk band in particular has taken the city of Los Angeles by storm. I am, of course, referring to The Barb Wire Doll’s. The band originally came out of Crete, Greece, and they relocated to Los Angeles in December 2010 after Rodney Bingenheimer began playing tracks from their debut EP “Punk the Fussies” on his radio show, Rodney on the Roq, KROQ. They are, historically, the first Greek rock band to play the US and their first US gig was to a sold out  Roxy Theatre. Since then, they have done over 60 gigs in a 6 month period and are currently about to set off on their first  6 month long tour of the USA.

Barb Wire Doll’s consist of 4 members and is one of the few girl fronted punk bands around today. The blonde and stunningly beautiful Isis Queen fronts the band with her unique and sexy stage performance with lots of energy.  Pyn Doll plays guitar and is the spokesman for the band. His charismatic personality, together with Voodoo Doll on bass and Krash Doll on  drums, form the quartet that is well worth the concert ticket. Their style of music is reminiscent of the early punk bands and has a hint of raw rock about it. There is nothing of the polished and commercialised about this band.  They call their genre, New Punk, but they seem determined to stick to the old way of doing things. They made their first recording in under 4 hours and did all the instruments at the same time, keeping the concert-like edge to the sound. They have not yet signed with a record company, but that’s just a matter of time. There is a raw energy to their performances that make you want to sit up and pay attention to what they are saying, because for them, it’s not just about music. It’s about all aspects of existence.   Their music carries a message, much like the anarchy of the Sex Pistols, but without the “no future for you” aspect of it.  They preach free love and freedom to do what they want without being harnessed by society and ancient moral limitations. They are free. Free to do as they please, when they please, and with whom they please. 

TED: Are there any particular musicians and/or band that inspired you when you put together the music and the look that Barb Wire Doll’s have, or is your wife Isis, the boss of that?

PYN: Isis is young, but I have been around for quite a while. When I first heard The Sex Pistols back in '77 that was it for me. Even the album cover captured my attention and curiosity.  I was so blown away by the Pistols that all I could do was look for more bands that resembled them. That's how I found out about one of my other favourite bands, The Clash.  These two bands where the reason I started a punk band of my own back then and here I am doing it again many decades later with Isis singing.  I was so into AC/DC and Zeppelin before Punk hit, but when I saw how punks dressed, their "Punk as Fuck" attitude, and the extreme urgency of it all, I stopped playing "Freebird" and "Stairway To Heaven" and started writing my own songs.  Punk gave me that push to do it myself. 

TED: When you started out in L.A. I’m told you would be out on the streets handing out leaflets plugging the band and your gigs. Is this something you did to save money and get bums on seats or was it to be closer and more available to the actual crowd that would pay to see you play?

PYN: Isis is the one who kept pushing to go out to the streets and pass out flyers.  She said this way we could meet people since we were brand new in L.A. and didn't really know anyone. We also had seen the films "Decline Of Western Civilization" back in Greece before arriving in L.A. and so inspiration was at a high for us to take it to the punks on the streets of the big city.  Funny thing was we didn't see or meet any punks.  No one seemed to dress like us anymore and we were kinda bummed that the "77 Punk look had long been gone from the streets of Hollywood and The Sunset Strip.  It wasn't until we hit the streets in L.A.'s Orange County to finally see some real punks.  That was a good day finally seeing some safety pins, Mohawks, Doc Martens, and you name it.  Punk wasn't dead in L.A.!

TED: Do you feel the American audience is different to the Greek audience and if so how?

PYN: The Greek audience was supportive and cool, but there are no Punk legends living there. Here in Los Angeles, we have legends of the Punk world coming to our shows on a regular basis.  Probably my highest honour to date is having Steve Jones (Sex Pistols' guitarist) stop by a show to acknowledge what Barb Wire Dolls are doing.  That kinda gave us a lil' nod of approval for our "New Punk Revolution". Still stoked on that.

TED: I know you are planning a large tour of Europe in early 2012. How many countries are you planning to visit and does this mean you will not be in studio recording any time soon?

PYN: Good thing is we only record "live and in one take", so we've only done that twice for our two studio recordings.  This means we are free to tour and don't need to spend time wasting away in a room full of equipment.  As for tour dates, we have offers from some promoters to hit up Europe but we feel its best to wait till we find the right label to release us over there and then come over. Who knows?  That could be soon.  We are itchin' to tour in Europe.

TED: What do you get up to in the tour bus?

PYN: When we are touring, it's all about having fun with the new people we meet. We smoke a lot of cigarettes and drink a lot of coffee and listen to a lot of old cassettes since the radio is usually boring and useless. We always feel like we are in a movie. "Oh look there!  It's a Truck Stop diner and that lady has seven kids!" Anything amuses us because we are touring in America.  I mean, c'mon...we are living a dream!

TED: Isis, you have a very sexy way of behaving on stage that goes down well with the audience. Is this something choreographed or do you just do what you feel comes naturally and change it around from gig to gig depending how you feel?

ISIS: I just go with the flow. Nothing is planned and I don't really "think" on stage, I just act. The boys always tell me that I am in a trance of sorts because I can go a whole show and not even remember much about it afterwards.  It's like a dynamic meditation I guess for me. I also feel totally free to do as I please on stage, so if that means I jump into the crowd, have an orgasm, or whatever, it's just my place to express myself and how I feel at that moment. It's liberating for me to play in a band and I can get away with a lot! 

TED: Who has inspired you most with your music and the way you look?

ISIS: My first idol was Marilyn Monroe. How could anyone be more beautiful and glamorous that her? But she didn't sing in a band. Then came Debbie Harry of Blondie. She's my biggest idol if you wish to call it that. I love them both, but I also just love The Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten is just as big an idol to me as they are. I am inspired as far as my "look" by street punks that make their own clothes out of throw-away garb and I put my love of Punk into making my own stuff.  Nothing is original, but I feel like every show I am wearing a unique get up.  Sometimes I like to push the limits too like Ari Up of The Slits did.

TED: After the success you have had, what does this mean for you? Life must be very different.

ISIS: I live each day one at a time and each day is a blessing to be alive and living my dream.  I just follow my instincts and my heart and it has proven to be the way to go for me.  I have no regrets and I look forward to each show on the schedule.  Where I will be in five years from now?  No idea!

TED: Tell me something about the band or yourself that the fans don’t know and that will shock them?

ISIS: We like to celebrate great shows with what we call "bandfuckorgy" and many people are very curious about this. We invite "fans" that show extreme support of us and everything is kept secret! What happens in "bandfuckorgy" stays in "backfuckorgy!". Fuck, we are a rock and roll band and we do as we please. I am the sole owner of my body, mind, and soul and I am a free spirit and I choose my destiny one beautiful precious moment at a time.  Does anyone remember ______________?! I do!

TED: Have you ever caught any "nasties" through unsafe sexual exploits ? Do you practice safe sex

ISIS:
Along with our New Punk Revolution comes a new Sexual Revolution because punks are finally getting laid again at our shows.  It's not about "Hate" anymore, it's about unity and punklove. A lot of sex is going on for sure, and it's not only behind closed doors!  After our shows clean, dirty and nasty wild sex is everywhere! In the VIP room backstage, in the van, on the streets even. I think it's because the punks are dressing up, feeling good, screaming and dancing like crazy during the show, and then they just wanna live life and express themselves sexually after being influenced by the raw energy we put out on stage. I always tell the audience "go have some fun, get laid, enjoy your body and someone elses!"  Sex is good for you!

PYN: I am not ever endorsing unsafe sex and no one in the band, I am guessing does. We just know that life is beautiful and sharing it with people you enjoy being with is a beautiful thing.

TED: What’s the wildest gig of your life to date ?

PYN:
At a Halloween show I had dressed up in drag and got really drunk.  At this show I had girls grabbing and fondling my privates non stop because I wasn't wearing any underwear under my dress and it was there for all to see. At one point a girl tried to suck me off while I was playing, right there on stage.  If I knew how to play a soft guitar solo and could actually stay still while performing, I would have let her do her thing while on stage.  Now about New Year's Eve at The Standard Hotel in Hollywood? That one stays secret for sure!

TED: Thank you for such an open and honest interview, Pyn Doll and Isis Queen. The Barb Wire Dolls are ready to re-ignite  the music scene with their sound, their look and their attitude. We have definitely not heard the last of them. Good luck guys.

www.barbwiredolls.com

Interview by Ted Dahlin/photos supplied by Pyn and Isis