Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabeza grew up as childhood friends back in Florida. That friendship and bond transitioned into the punk/pop band The Dollyrots. Their first studio album came out in 2004 and they started creating a buzz. You may not know the band by its name, but I bet you have heard their music. It’s been featured in a national ad campaign by Kohl’s, such tv shows as CSI: NY, Raising Hope, Ugly Betty and The Vampire Diaries and such movies as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and Disney/Pixar’s Brave.
The band has released three albums and toured extensively, sharing the stage with such bands as Paramore, The Go-Gos and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. This year saw the band exploring uncharted territory as they began to lay the groundwork for their new album. I recently sat down with lead singer Kelly Ogden on the eve of the release of that album and we talked about everything from touring to retirement homes to burritos.
Music Is My Drug of Choice: Hey Kelly, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today. I hope everything is going well with you. Let’s get right to business, shall we? Tell me all about this awesome new album that’s about to come out. I read that you guys used the Kickstarter program this go around?
The Dollyrots/Kelly: Yeah, we parted ways with Blackheart Records and we found ourselves wondering how we were going to finance this new album. We saw the amazing response that Amanda Palmer received on her Kickstarter program. We’ve been touring for ten years now, so we must have a good size fan base out there that might be willing to pitch in. Then, we asked ourselves how could we ever ask our fans to help out? So, we set month to month goals and within no time, we actually tripled out goal. It was crazy! We finally felt like people truly loved our music.
For the readers who may not be familiar with it, the Kickstarter program is a fund raiser in which you ask your fans to donate to help fund the album. They can monitor on-line the progress as far as how much has been donated. So, you must have been blown away by the response from your fans?
It was pretty amazing! We had so many pre-orders coming in that we knew we couldn’t do it all ourselves. It was going to be too much work to try and get all the copies mailed out to the fans plus get them to the stores too. So, we had to enlist the help of RED, a
distribution company to help us meet all of our commitments.
I guess you could say that it was inspiring?
You’re exactly right! Luis and I felt more inspired than ever on this album because the fans, it’s as if they were stating that they were behind us and that they believed in us. It’s funny because the fans actually twisted the tables on us by responding so positively. It made us work even harder than we anticipated. We were free to do things on this album that we had always wanted to do. We always wanted an album to tell a story and for the listener to go on an adventure with us. That’s never happened until now. We had nobody telling us that we couldn’t use a certain word or keyboard part like in the past. This time it was really fun, we weren’t stressed out about trying to write a single.
So, the first single and video is for “Hyperactive”. 2 part question: Why did you go with that song as the lead-off single and how much input did you have on the video?
Well, we wanted to go with a song that people would easily identify as a Dollyrots song. It’s fun and joyful, a feel good song. Plus, it was one of the very first that we wrote for the album. As far as the video goes, we always use our ideas for our videos. We wanted this one to look like a Suzy Quatro video, so we shared our ideas with the producer. It’s funny because we didn’t know the visual effects that we were acting for until we saw the finished project.
Well, you would never know it when watching the finished product. You guys make it look easy. So, let’s spin that around on you because I wanted to ask you just the opposite. What would you say is the hardest part about this musical journey that you’re on?
The financial thing; when you’re doing anything artistic you’re running on hope. You create this music and then you release it and you sit back and hope. You hope that they fans will buy the music and buy concert tickets and your merch. Then, you have to try and save some of that money so that when the album’s run is over you have money to buy Ramen and Doritos with. You also hope that you have some put away to be able to work on the next album. The business part can be challenging too sometimes. You just have to keep telling yourself that I’m in charge of my destination.
So, on that note, let’s get into the really tough questions if you’re ready for them. Can you tell me something that’s on your bucket list?
I’d really love to play in every country or at least every continent.
Is there anything shocking in your iPod?
You would be shocked; it’s absolutely empty because it died on me. I do plan of filling up my new one with lots of cool stuff like Flogging Molly, Against Me, the Ramones, Elastica and lots more.
Do you prefer scary movies or comedies?
I would have to go with scary movies, but not the gory type. I prefer the weird, thriller types like The Others.
What’s your favorite food to eat while you’re out on the road?
That’s an easy one: burritos. There are different types in different parts of the US. They make awesome ones in Wisconsin with tater tots in them. Plus, we also eat lots and lots of Taco Bell.
Do you have any printable guilty pleasures?
As far as food goes, it would have to be coffee. I’ve definitely been overdoing that here lately. As far as music goes, it would be Katy Perry songs. They’re just so much fun! As far as tv goes, I love this show called The Colony. It’s about this creepy, post-apocalyptic world.
One last question, are you a gamer?
No, but that’s only because I would really, really like it. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it would be like doing drugs. I would spend all my time doing them and my life would go down the tubes. I think I will wait and do that when I am old and I have done everything that I want to. I’ll just sit around in an old folk’s home getting high and playing video games.
(Ha) And eat burritos all day!
I think you may be onto something there. Maybe I should look into it and get the groundwork going for you. We could start a business together. This is a business that is not being tapped into. I’ll let you know how that goes. Well, I guess we should wrap this up now. So, the fans can catch you on the road with Bowling For Soup?
Yeah, we’re doing some dates with them and then heading over to the UK for some dates too. After that, I don’t know much about our itinerary, but I am sure we will be back here in the US for more dates.
Cool! Well, we look forward to hearing these new songs live in the very near future. For those who haven’t pre-ordered it, you can pick up the new self-titled Dollyrots album by visiting their website or their Facebook page.