Artist Spotlight: The Dollyrots

I bloody love The Dollyrots. Everything about them is a smile generator. They’re an explosion of happy pop-punk where you’re never more than 3 minutes from a “Whoo!”

The Dollyrots are Kelly Ogden on bass and vocals and Luis Cabezas on guitar, childhood sweethearts from Land o’Lakes, Florida,
They formed the band ‘No Chef’ at college singing songs about “Ninjas, Zombies and Charles Manson”
The 2000 election results spurred them into going full time. As Ogden put it “The world’s probably gonna end anyway, and I don’t want to go to med school,” so we thought, “Let’s just do the band,” says Ogden. “So that’s when it happened. We had no future anyways, so let’s just be in a rock band!”

Changing their name to The Dollyrots they hit the road, (At this point they’ve played nearly 1000 live shows) eventually settling in Los Angeles. In 2003 they released the self financed EP “Feed Me, Pet Me” and after appearing in a blind audition the song was selected for an Hewlett Packard ad , which, in turn, got them a record deal.

They released their debut album “Eat My Heart Out” in 2004 and for the next two years toured almost non-stop playing with (deep breath)
Groovie Ghoulies, Shonen Knife, The Breeders, The Queers, Soul Asylum, Paramore, Bang Sugar Bang, The Soviettes, The Shocker, and Teenage Bottlerocket. Oh,and their own headline shows as well. As I say, busy. They also managed to fit in an episode of CSI:NY involving a murder by bass guitar.

In 2007 they switched to Joan Jett’s Blackheart records and released their second LP ‘Because I’m Awesome’

That single got them much wider acclaim, getting a few magazine/radio awards and a spot on the Warped tour. They toured the hell out of that album as well, re-uniting with Paramore and Shonen Knife among others.

They stuck with Blackheart records for their third LP ‘A little Messed Up’ and during that time played as support for Bowling For Soup which has proved a fruitful source of collaborations including ‘The Dollyrots vs Bowling For Soup’ EP where they covered each others songs and the single ‘Love Ya, Love Ya , Love Ya’ recorded as a duet between Ogden and Jaret Reddick, BFS’ lead singer.

After parting ways with Blackheart records they then formed their own label, Arrested Youth records and their fourth, self-titled, album was funded via kickstarter , receiving 5 times the amount of pledges required. I’ll stick my personal favourite of theirs here

(How can you not love a video with cuddly bunnies?)

Their fifth album was entitled ‘Barefoot and Pregnant’ as Ogden was 8 months pregnant by the end of recording. She said at the time that she was recording the vocals a couple of lines at a time as a baby does somewhat mess with your diaphragm control. I love the punk rock energy behind a song with lyrics like “All I wanna do is sleep. Can’t bend over touch my feet”
The family has never stopped touring even with the addition of their second child in November 2016. ( River and Daisy are known as ‘The Dollytots’ which is frankly adorable. Look how cute this freakin’ family is)

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Their most recent album ‘Whiplash Splash’ is another joy filled concoction. A rocky, bubblegum pop explosion with a first class cover of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ at the end. The albums are impossible to listen to without smiling. Which is entirely intentional, here’s a recent quote from Ogden which sounds like their distilled manifesto

“Just let us be your happy place – there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on, especially in America politically and in personal life, and just all that considered, as a band we just want to be people’s happy place. And whether that’s just listening through headphones on your computer, or at a show, or on Facebook, we want to be a part of your lives and we want to make you happy. And we feel like that’s our purpose so, you know – come at us!”