Punk’s not dead and it never went away. It has been pushed underground for decades by the media because it speaks of the truth and exposes hypocrisy, but with the political climate of the world rapidly changing, a new female oriented punk resurgence has created a movement across the globe. One band in particular is shaking things up with their debut album titled Slit that was recorded in just two days by indie mastermind Steve Albini (Nirvana, Stooges, Pixies).
Hailing from the birthplace of Democracy, Barb Wire Dolls is a politically charged female-fronted Punk trio from Greece that combines the furious raw elements of first wave punk and grunge rock into a modern melodic sound that decimates hearts and minds. Described by Guitar World magazine as “a true-to-the-genre punk band” Barb Wire Dolls is fronted by the fiery and outspoken femme-fatale singer Isis Queen, along with guitarist Pyn Doll and drummer Krash Doll.
What music first captured your ear and got you interested in music?
My mother and father got divorced when I was three and I would find myself in the bedroom listening to music in my head phones a lot to escape. I got into Motown first because of my mother's record collection. The melodies and (usually) upbeat happier songs seemed to put me in a dream state that love did exist and that dreams could come true. Later on, in my teens, I first heard Punk and the rebellious aspect of it attracted me immediately. Pretty much everyone I went to school with listened to Rap and Hip Hop, but I never liked that. It wasn't aggressive enough for me.
How did you start working with your current band?
While living at The Ikarus Artist Commune on the island of Crete, I was surrounded by many talented singers mostly from the UK and America. Every Friday night in the commune's courtyard, we would have big wild parties until dawn and the singers in residence there would play songs that they wrote that week. Hearing every week all of the singers inspired me. Members of the band Grouplove lived there, members of Flogging Molly were there, and lots of other songwriters but it was Pyn Doll, our guitarist, who played me one night the Led Zepellin film "The Song Remains The Same". I was blown away. I made him watch it with me three times in a row and then asked him if he would write me some songs, so I could sing them. We decided to start a band and Barb Wire Dolls was born.
Who are your influences?
Apart from Led Zepellin and AC/DC, it is mostly punk bands. I sang with The Slits on stage and Ari Up, their singer, was a huge influence on me. I admired the way she empowered women in punk but yet retained her feminine sexuality without degrading our sex. Our debut record is dedicated to her, that's one of the reasons why we titled it Slit. As for other punk influences, it is mostly all of the first wave bands that I connect to. From the NYC scene with NY Dolls, Dead Boys, Blondie, Plasmatics, and of course The Ramones to London's Sex Pistols, Clash, Slits, and X-Ray Spex. The first wave scene in Los Angeles also has a huge influence on me with X, The Germs, and Black Flag. So many more great bands came out of those cities in a matter of just a few years and there really hasn't been anything else that has blown me away apart from a few in the '90's. That is why I am thrilled that there is this resurgence of punk that is coming out of every city across the globe. It seems with the desperate situations we are living in today, only punk knows how to speak for the people and to the people. Coming from Greece, we know how bad it is out there and there is no better place to take it to other than the streets and onto the stage. It's time for a new punk rock revolution and we are taking no prisoners.
Do you prefer playing live or recording?
Live 100%. There is nothing like a live show and I don't wanna waste time in the studio when I could be playing live to a real audience. That is why we recorded our debut album last month in Chicago with the fastest engineer in the world, Steve Albini. We recorded it live in one take in two nights. To me, the live show is 100% of what Barb Wire Dolls is about. That is where you get the experience that no video, no recording, and no picture can come close to. Most people are shocked when they see us live because they get so energized from the shows and that's what makes me wish to do it more and more. I love a wild crowd and a sweaty intense and spontaneous show that they will remember for a long time. I play each night like it is the last show I am ever going to play.
Where is your favorite place to perform?
Any stage I have yet to perform on. Going to a new city and playing for a new audience is always the biggest thrill. I was thrilled to play Los Angeles and San Francisco for the first time, and now New York City and London are coming up. Playing in cities where punk had origins from always has an extra electricity to the show. I am pumped to play cities where legendary punk bands came from.
Has anything crazy ever happened at a show?
Police tried to arrest me for indecent exposure when I jumped into the crowd and pulled a fan into my feminine place. In an orgasmic escapade, a riot almost broke out when the police arrested him and then tried to arrest me. The crowd went berserk and the policeman decided to let me go so as to not start a riot from the fans. Sometimes people in small towns are very controlled by their older town folk and a woman being sexual on stage is a big no-no and not permitted at all. But guns are. Sex is not a gun and will drive you wild, and a gun kills and will never get you off.
Are there any other creative mediums you work in?
I create my own outfits and I love shopping at thrift stores and making over the clothes with basic things like safety pins, spray paint, and rips. Nothing original, but each piece I make is unique!
What do you like to do for fun?
Surf. That is always on my mind. If there is anything I could be doing other than singing on stage, it would be camping on a tropical beach and surfing all day and hanging by the campfire watching the stars dance. I spent six months like that in Mexico before the band took off and back home in Crete, that is all we did. On this next tour we are making sure we get some stopovers at surf spots, so we can all surf.