Brother Patrick has organised this interview for your reading pleasure...
"I am super successful, because I live the life I love and I love the life I live." - Margaret Doll Rod(s)
Margaret just issued her new (and second) album, called "Scintillating" on Gonna Puke records. An Italian label mostly distributed on ebay, it seems. It deserves to available more widely, so spread the word.
I've always thought of her as a kind of female Jonathan Richman (by coincidence, both she and Jojo just issued a new records and are touring Europe at the same time) : same kind of emotional, down to earth person. Always giving their best, even if the audience is limited. They’re not disillusioned by a certain lack of what is often perceived as success. These people are beautiful human beings.
Patrick: I remember you once told me that the artists that inspired you the most are Hasil Adkins (RIP) and Jonathan Richman. What can you tell us about the?.
Margaret: I can't tell you a whole lot about Jonathan Richman, because I have never met him. I do however love dancin my booty off at his shows. Hasil Adkins on the other hand was one of the sweetest and kindest crazy men I ever met. We'd talk for hours on the telephone and see who could holler the loudest and laugh our butts off. When we met he always treated me like a little girl swinging me around and then ask me sumthin kind of sexy. Like do you wanna hunch. He made me cassettes of songs he would like to hear me cover, but I never did. I just liked listening to Hasil. He would tell me about my picture that he had up on the wall, and well I don't eat no more hot dogs (“No More Hot Dogs” is a song by Hasil Adkins).
P: Have you ever thought of covering a Jonathan Richman's song and if you have, which one ?
M: I never thought to cover a Jonathan Richman song, crazy thing is I rarely even think
P: You recently explained why you decided to stop the Demolition Doll Rods. Were they the very first group you were involved with? Before that you toured with the Gories in 1992, dancing on stage while they were playing, right?
M: The Demolition Doll Rods was the first band I was ever in. I did not decide to stop the Doll Rods. I would never leave the Doll Rods. I always have and still do love them with all my heart. Christine. a.k.a Thump had a baby and decided to devote herself to her little one which I would do the same if she were mine. Danny left the band to find himself. I did help the Gories out on their first tour selling records, carrying equipment, sewing the crotch of Micks pants every other night, and well I couldn't help myself. I do love to dance. So for sure like all shows I go to you'll find me dancin. Heck I dance even when there isn't any music playin’.
P: Was the show at the Fillmore on Halloween 2006,opening for the Cramps, the ultimate highlight of DDR's career? Can you tell me about your friendship with Lux & Ivy?
M: The Doll Rods have had some pretty amazing highlites in this life time. The Fillmore was a great time. Anytime I can spend with Lux and Ivy is out of this world. They are a main line to a good time.
P: I would have bet that you were living in Italy those last months. But I guess you miss your sister in Detroit, too. Are you living partly in Detoit and Italy ?
M: My home is where my heart is. Usually on the road, sometimes in the air. It's true what they say about me I definitely get around. I do spend a lot of time in Italy these days and whenever Italy and I are together it definitely feels like home. The same goes for when I stay in Michigan such an amazing place. You know people came from all over the world to stay there. The crazy thing is it's not where you come from it's where your goin to. Yep my heart is my home.
P: Your latest album, called "Scintillating " was been recorded in Brazil at the same time of the previous one (Enchanté), why did it take such a long time to come out ?
M: I did record "Scintillatin'" in Brazil some time after “Enchante” was released. While at the same time, I was making costumes for myself and sometimes for Danny. Writing songs for the Doll Rods constantly. Touring with the Doll Rods constantly and of course making albums with the Doll Rods. So as hard as it was to stop playing with the Doll Rods it gave me a chance to give a little time to myself and put out this album.
P: It's a limited edition of 500 on Gonna Puke. I only saw it available on ebay, no info anywhere else... Don't you think that a brilliant album with such a beautiful cover deserves to be widely distributed ?
M: It is my dream that this music that flows through me is available to everyone. So I just keep dreamin and am so thankful for every bit of help I get.
P: The cover of the album mentions Margaret Doll Rods. Has the “s” been added because you’re a full (one woman) band ? Or else ?
M: I don't know why I added the s, but I did and I like it.
P: The sound on this new album, produced by you and Marco Butcher, is far better than on the previous one. Please tell me more about the recording.
M: It was simple and straight up. I played the songs - instruments and vocals all at once like I do on stage. We didn't have much time because I was also on tour at the time promoting the last album. So we just got in there, I played and that was it. If I had an idea I would tell it to Marco and he would translate for me and I knew Clayton (Clayton Martin, the owner of the studio where Margaret’s album was recorded) understood because he did exactly what I asked for. Really great guys!
P: Marco is the leader of Thee Butchers Orchestra, the best Brazilian group ever, one of their albums was produced by Danny and they even covered a DDR song (Move To The Music). How did you meet them, are they your connection with Brazil ?
M: Marco and a girl named Debby wrote us years ago asking us to please come and tour in Brazil. The Doll Rods toured there for two weeks. It was a really great experience so for sure, when they asked for me to come back, I was happy to go back and tour there and make an album. It was crazy!
P: Another place where you’re famous seem to be Slovenia, where you played you’re 1st solo show a couple of years ago, right ?
M: I was also fortunate enough to play my solo show in Slovenia.
P: The new album is a real masterpiece with lots of powerful ballads. Except for some few backing vocals on “This Lil’ Light ‘O Mine”, it’s a full one woman band record, right?
M: Yes of course except for the backing vocals on this Lil' Light O' Mine. I play everything and sing everything all at once. It's the only way I know how. It's all me. Sometimes I feel all woman and sometimes I feel part girl, and a little bit of who knows what!
P: Yep! This gospel song “This Lil’ Light O’ Mine” could have featured on the latest (I hope, not last) DDR album. This lil’ light o’ mine is the light of love ... This song fits perfectly with your philosophy about hearts that should be “big and always open”, as you wrote in the liner notes of your album.
M: It's strange I don't believe I have a philosophy on love or life. I just try and follow my heart and listen, and if my heart has something good to offer then I share it with those that would like some.
P: Apart from this song which is traditional (credits generally goes to Harry Dixon Loes) and Big O’s “Dream Baby”, all the songs have been written by you. They’re all killers with Margaret’s touch, no filler and as I already said, the sound is perfect. What is your personal fave on the album ?
M: I think my personal favorite is Hey Lil' Stranger
P: My fave Big O album is “Roy Orbison Sings", from 1972, do you know this one?
M: Please burn me a copy of the big O CD. I'd love to have something new to listen too
P: An album is completely perfect on if it has a beautiful cover. And this one has ! You’re not as naked as on the previous one but you’re sexy as ever (please, don’t imagine i’m crude or whatever – hey, come on, you know you’re sexy, ahahah). In the liner notes, you mention Bambi painting you – do you mean that those pix on the cover are paintings, like those by Guy Pellaert or Edward Hopper ?
M : Thanks! Bambi is a make up artist. She just put make up on me so no the album is not painted. I just feel like I am personally being painted when people put make up on me. It is such a strange feeling the brushes on your skin. I feel like a canvas. However I do love Guy Pelleart. I don't Edward Hopper.
P: Is there something else that you’d like to say about your album or your current tour ?
M: Not really I am just excited to have the opportunity to play.
P : See ya soon – in Paris, May 1st
M : Thanks Patrick, if there is anything else please write, and I will see you real soon.
Margaret Doll Rod(s) on tour :
Forthcoming shows :
Saturday, April 26th @ Gaswerk, Winterthur / Sunday, April 27th @ the Swamp, Freiburg / Monday, April 28th @ the Tsunami, Cologne / Tuesday, April 29th @ Le Pot au Lait, Liège / Wednesday, April 30th @ the Pit's, Courtrai / Thursday, May 1st @ Le Rocher, Paris / Friday, May 2nd @ the Cosmic Trip Fest, Bourges / Sunday, May 4th @ the Ratpack, Clermond Ferrand / / Monday, May 5th @ Donald's Pub, Tours / Tuesday, May 6th @ Barbarella, La Rochelle / Tuesday, May 13th @ the Mau Club, Rostock / Wednesday, May 14th @ White Trash Fast Food, Berlin / Thursday, May 15th @ Bessunger Knabanschule, Darmstadt / Friday, May 16th @ Deep Inside, Dijon / Saturday, May 17th @ the Party, Nolay / Sunday, May 18th @ TAF, Montpellier
The album is available at Gonna Puke records.