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Interview

Toy Dolls
29/07/2003 (interview with Olga)



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Oh, a BRIEF history, not sure thats possible! but I shall try to keep it as short as poss! The Toy Dolls began in October 1979, since then we have toured Austria, UK, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Czech, Hungary, Switz, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Japan, North and South America....numerous times, Sorry cant remember exactly how many albums have been released, about 25 or so including best ofs n' stuff.

We have had quite a few members over the past 24 years, people usually leave because of the intensive touring and girlfriend problems.

Anyway, The present Line up us OLGA- Guitar/singin'. MARTY- Drums and REB- Bass.

Reb is the new guy, though we have known him for over a decade, he is fantastic, and far better at playing guitar than me! Marty has been with us since 1987, hes the best drummer we have had to be honest, great at playin' 8 beats to the bar on the hi hats, and 16's, and he is gentleman also.

I cant remember what happened to the other 30 or so members we have had, many of them got married, I think Dickie the drummer is playing with one of the guys from Deep Purple! Baz bass player is playing guitar with The Stranglers, Dicky bassist joined Leatherface, and Flip is driving a fork lift truck at a factory in Sunderland.

Discography.

Arraghh! another difficult one, apart from Live albums, Historys / singles, mini albums and box sets etc.... The studio albums are:

1. DIG THAT GROOVE BABY.
2. A FAR OUT DISC
3. IDLE GOSSIP
4. BARE FACED CHEEK
5. WAKEY WAKEY
6. FAT BOBS FEET
7. ABSURD-DITTIES
8. ORCASTRATED
9. ONE MORE MEGABYTE
10. ANNIVERSARY ANTHEMS.

Your new album is planned to be called 'Our Last Album' - the obvious question is 'will it be your last album', if not, why choose that title? What album has been the most expensive to produce and what has the longest time been taken with an album? Which have you most enjoyed doing and what is your favourite Toy Dolls album / song?

The new album will be called OUR LAST ALBUM?

Maybe it will be the last, we are not sure yet, if we are happy performing, and we can put on a nice show, then it wont be the last one.

The most expensive to produce? good question that one, no ones asked it before to be honest!

Anyway, we have a limited budget from the record company to make an album, each one costs roughly the same, we would like to spend longer recording and mixing to tell you the truth, but being with an independent company, we just dont have the finances, however, we take around 5 or 6 weeks to record, and about 2 weeks to mix.

We have enjoyed doing all the albums, I love recording, its great when you start to hear things taking shape, especially if the songs are good, unfortunately thats not always the case!

I reckon we are most proud of ABSURD-DITTES and DIG THAT GROOVE BABY.

These are the two album we did enjoy producing the most also.

As for my favourite Toy Dolls song and album:

Album: Absurd-Ditties
Song: Alecs Gone , Fisticuffs in Fredick Street.

Are you self taught on guitar, & who/ what made you pick up the guitar in the 1st place?

Yes, self taught, I dont know all the scales n' stuff, thats why it takes me a month to write a 15 second guitar solo.

I really wanted to be a bass player, It took me well over a year to save up £14.99 for the bass guitar I wanted, I used to admire it in the shop window every Saturday, but when I finally went to the shop to buy it, it had gone up to £15.99! I was devasted, but rather than wait another month to be able to afford it, I just bought a guitar instead, that was £13.50.

I think being bullied at school made me start playing, as for musical influences...
Suzi Quatro/Slade/Sweet/ early Dr Feelgood, then loadsa the early punk bands.

I always thought the guy from Peter and the Test Tube Babies is the worlds best guitar player.

But to be be honest, as for songwriting, most influences come from next door neighbours/girlfriends and TV.

How did the playing bass for the Dickies/ Adicts thing happen? Has this encouraged the Toy Dolls to play the UK again? If you could have anyone guest (live or dead) on a Toy Dolls album who would it be?

Well thought out questions these, I am enjoying this!... Well, regarding the Dickies, Both The Toy Dolls and The Dickies have peformed together many times in USA over the past 2 decades, so we all know each other.

Anyway, I was producing a Japanese punk band in Tokyo in 2000, they had a show in a club called The Shelter in Shimokitazawa, so I said I would go along to see them, they were the support band, I didnt even ask who the main band were....THE DICKIES! I was delighted, they have always been one of my favourite bands, great songs and with the worlds best punk singer, Leonard. That night they were wonderful.

So, to cut a long story short, I said if they ever needed a bass player, I would love to do it,.......before I knew it I was touring USA with them! we also done a Japanese tour and 2 European tours, I really enjoyed it, I learnt so much.

The Dickies are the nicest, most honest people I have met, and I said before, Leonard is the greatest punk singer, Stan lee and little Dave are both amazing guitar players too, I was really proud to be part of that team.

As for the Adicts, we also have known each other for years, Mel couldnt do a North American tour in April this year, the band had saw me play with The Dickies and asked me to stand in, I said why not.

Mel is back on bass now, and I am back in me bedroom writin' another Toy Dolls LP!

Yeah, playing live has definately encouraged me to start doing Toy Dolls shows again, not only in the UK, anywhere!

As for a guest on a Toy Dolls album, thats a hard one, I admire so many people, its difficult to say just one!But if I had to say one, Charlie Harper.

You have covered most subjects in the Toy Doll's lyrics - is there any subject you would not sing about? And what is the best sentence you have ever heard, that someone has managed to get into a song's lyrics?

I dont think we would sing any songs with political content, not that we dont have political beliefs and views, its just that we like to escape from reality, for a short while anyway, we are not saying stuff whats going on in the world, dont get me wrong, I mean just have a good time for one hour, it helps you face all the crap thats going on around us with more perspective.

I dont like soppy songs, I dont think I have ever used the word 'LOVE' in a song, not that I can remember anyway!

Best sentence? ....oh, um,er....WERE GOIN DOWN THE PUB. Sham 69, Hurry up Harry.

Do all the band members do other jobs as well as being in the band? If so, what?

Marty has a record shop called Hot Rats, and Reb is studying classical guitar at university, he has just got a part time job also, though I dont know what it is yet. I had a job once for a couple o' months also, in a car bits shop, in 1978 I think?

Would you allow a Toy Dolls track to appear in a commercial? If so what, and what would you like it to be advertising?

A good question again!Thing is, The UK is very cynical about bands being on commercials, in Japan, music by hardcore punk groups are used often, and the bands name will appear in the corner of the screen, the fans there think its great, and the bands dont lose respect for doing it.

Its a bit different here though right!

I would allow a Toy Dolls track to be used for a commercial, if the content of the product wasnt connected with any kind of political extremism, or animal/human suffering, and if the track was mixed to our approval, not with the guitars turned down and the lead vocal drowning eveything else out, just so to sell the product.

I would have to be able to see the finished video togther with the sound track and be happy about all of it, if I was satisfied...then yeah, whats the problem? providing I a got a years free supply of Pedigree Chum

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2003.

The last Toy Dolls show was near Barcelona at the end of 1999, long time ago eh? at that gig we decided it was time for a break, we were just not performing well enough, and audiences can sense if you are not putting 100% in to what you are doing. So...we dicided to leave the live shows until we were dying to to do it again, thats now! unfortunately we have to finish of writing this album and do a zillion rehearsals with the new bass player, so the shows wont start until October 2004, the album will be released Spring time of 2004.

Any final comments?

Yeah,Thank you for the interview, and if anyone is thinking of buying a Toy Dolls album, dont bother with Bare Faced Cheek or Orcastrated, they are crap, we didnt think so at the time ! but listening to them recently, we are far from proud of them. Buy Absurd Ditties instead, thats a really nice one.

And for anyone in USA at this present time, try to get along to the Dickies/Damned/Misfits tour thats underway now, sadly I wont be there, but sounds like great fun.

0h, and and a big thank you to all The Toy Dolls fans for waiting around so long for the next tour, hope to see both o' ya in 2004!

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