INTERVIEW WITH SUICIDE BOMBERS FRONTMAN CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL
Date: October 22, 2019
NORWEGIAN ROCKERS SUICIDE BOMBERS CONSISTING OF LEAD VOCALIST / RHYTHM GUITARIST CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL, LEAD GUITARIST STEVIE “SEX TOY” TEAZE, BASSIST C SLIM AND DRUMMER LYLE STARR WILL BE RELEASING THEIR FOURTH STUDIO ABUM TITLED ‘MURDER COUTURE’ TOMORROW (ON OCTOBER 25, 2019). THE GROUP’S FRONTMAN, CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL, IS NO STRANGER TO SLEAZE ROXX HAVING BEEN INTERVIEWED FOUR PREVIOUS TIMES (2012, 2015, 2017 AND 2017). AS DOLL INDICATED IN THIS INTERVIEW, ‘WITH SUICIDE BOMBERS, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING’ AND IF THE FIRST SINGLE “SO BAD” IS ANY INDICATION, ‘MURDER COUTURE’ PROMISES TO POTENTIALLY BE ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST ALBUMS.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s start with the intriguing new album title ‘Murder Couture.’ How did you guys come up with the album title and what’s the significance behind it?
Chris Damien Doll: I can’t remember exactly when, but I think it came right around the time, we were working on the cover and mix for our previous record, Suicide Idols. I had only finished one song for this record at that time, so it’s safe to say the title came first this time around. This band is strange like that… It seems every second record starts with a title, whereas with the others, the title is the very last thing to fall into place. We find ourselves answering questions about the image of the band a lot, so we thought we should just push that right to the front. The influencers’ influencers, the designers of dreams, Ludwig van Beethoven for the next gerenation… That kind of thing, and Murder Couture is a great title to showcase style, fashion and attitude.
Sleaze Roxx: Artwork seems to be a big part of the Suicide Bombers’ arsenal. You always seem to have really cool album covers and the cover for ‘Murder Couture’ is no exception. How important is a band’s presentation and who came up with the album cover for ‘Murder Couture’?
Chris Damien Doll: Thank you! We’re big fans of music ourselves and a cool album cover is always the icing on the cake. You want your covers to show people exactly what they can expect musically and you also want it to look as good as possible. I still remember flipping through records in the rock and metal sections of record stores as a kid. Most of the bands I had not yet heard of, but a lot of times you could see from the covers what kind of music it was, and some covers just looked great. It made you want to investigate further and, if I ended up liking the music, the album cover was just that much better for it. It all goes together: –music, image, attitude, design — all of it! If you present a complete package, it’s more appealing — at least to us, but it ain’t worth shit without the songs.
The band tend to discuss titles and artwork ideas and everyone agrees before we put plans into motion, but so far all the titles and design ideas have generated from me and sometimes been elaborated on by the designer. This one had a pretty easy concept without too much clutter, but that also made it very important that the elements were just right. I think we succeeded and we are all very happy with the artwork. We got a new designer this time around, Tina Pammer, as all design in the past were done by our ex-guitarist Lazy [Leather], so there was a bit back and forth getting the vibe just right, but she nailed it.
Sleaze Roxx: One big difference for this album is that you have a new guitarist in Stevie “The Sex Toy” Teaze replacing your long-time guitarist Lazy Leather. What happened with Lazy Leather and how did you end up getting Stevie in the band?
Chris Damien Doll: We seem to be stuck in a circle of changing one band member for every release. There was a whole line-up and a different lead guitarist even before the first record too. On a general basis, I’d like to say that I am eternally grateful to everyone who’s ever been a member of the Suicide Bombers. They have all helped push the band forward, given their contributions, in one way or another, and are forever part of the band’s story. None of us could have done this without a complete line-up and everyone has, at one point, been the final piece of that line-up. All of them were also exactly the right guy when they joined, but it was also, more or less, exactly the right time for them to go when they left or were fired. The band couldn’t have gone on without those member changes. There are no hard feelings between any of us, we talk when we meet and have a lot of good memories together. Still, even with all those line-up changes, the band still sounds exactly like the Suicide Bombers and that says a lot about the quality of the musicians who have been involved.
Lazy quit during the mixing of ‘Suicide Idols.’ He had some personal reasons, but I think more than anything he wanted to focus on his own stuff. We had all been working on that record for a long time, so we did all the shows that were booked and had a lot of fun, but we didn’t go ahead and fill up the calendar further as we had planned, so the ‘Suicide Idols’ tour was cut a bit short. Since then, Lazy has released a mini album under his own name and seems busy working with a band called Viking Queen. He’s a good guy and we talked a bit when he did the vinyl covers for ‘The Sex Tapes’ and ‘Suicide Idols’ a little while back. He seems to be doing good.
We always auditions as many people as possible when we’re looking for members. Stevie was recommended by the singer of his old band. They had played support for us once, so we had already met briefly and he came with high recommendations. I don’t know how many guitarists we auditioned, but I remember it took two or three days. All of them were great! Stevie was the second guy in. He had learnt everything we had asked of him, had a good positive attitude and just felt like the right guy from the second he walked in. He nailed all the parts, embellished them and just blew us away with precision and skills. We almost made a decision right there and then, but finished up the auditions anyway.
Sleaze Roxx: I am going to assume that Stevie did not have the nickname “The Sex Toy” until after joining Suicide Bombers [laughs]. How did you guys come up with his nickname?
Chris Damien Doll: If he came to audition with that title already, there’s no way we would have done the rest of the auditions [laughs]. Lead guitar is the sexiest instrument in a band, not counting vocals of course [more laughs] and well, I’m not gonna dive any further into that story [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: There seems to be a bit of a gap in age from Stevie to you in the band. Sometimes that can be a blessing while other times it might be hard to relate to someone from another generation. What are your thoughts in that regard?
Chris Damien Doll: You are right, but there has always been age gaps in this band. There was probably an even bigger gap between the youngest and oldest member from the first record line-up than there is now. To us, it’s important to have the right player and the right guy. We’re all in this for the music and enjoy what we are doing. When you’re making music together and working on something personal like a band, work ethic, attitude and the music you like are much more important than your age. Plus, Stevie likes to party too, so we’re all good… or bad. He’s a positive guy who takes his playing seriously. We are very happy with him and we are not the kind of band who spend an awful lot of time discussing the news or climate change anyway.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s talk about the new album a little bit. How do the songs on ‘Murder Couture’ differ from the ones on previous Suicide Bombers records?
Chris Damien Doll: With Suicide Bombers, you know what you’re getting. There’s always progress and we’re pushing the envelope within the style of music we are known for, but we are not one of those bands who feel a need to reinvent ourselves and change musical direction with every record. If you like our previous records, or “So Bad” — the first video single from ‘Murder Couture’ — you’ll probably like the rest of the album too.
The first song I wrote for this was “Worlds Without End,” which is a slower number about internet love scams. You know the kinda thing… usually goes on forever and at some point you’re being asked to send money. I was told a story by a friend, which seemed an awful lot like one of those scams waiting to happen, and it annoyed the fuck out of me. My friend is alright, never sent money and knew full well what this was about, but there is a whole industry praying on the lonely, designed to get them so emotionally involved that they go against their better judgement and part with their cash and I’m disgusted by all of it. I had the demo ready before we released ‘Suicide Idols’ and I knew this song was going to be on this album.
The very last song written was “We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists.” That came in really late. I had the title for ages and a loose idea of how I wanted the feel of the song to be and the melody for the title, but that was also it. When all the other tunes were written, I told the band that this title needs to be on the record and with a title this good, the song needs to be equally good. Thank fuck, they all agreed and gave me time to finish up the song. Lyrically it’s a big “fuck you” to all the terrorists in your life. It can be anyone, depending on your life, but it’s quite universal in that sense. We want to see a lot of stiff middle fingers in the air and people letting their frustration out when we do the last part of that song live. People ask if there is a political message behind it, and well… there isn’t. We’re not a political band and no matter what kind of imagery we play with, it’s always on a personal level. Same with this. Musically, it’s probably the most elaborate song we ever did, but it all flows together pretty seamlessly, so might not be too obvious.
The overall BPM [Beats Per Minute] is a lot faster on this record. Obviously, some of that comes from the previous record having two very slow numbers, but you’ll find that the mid-tempo songs this time around are 10 to 25 bpm faster. Not so much that people will notice at first listen, but it gives the songs more energy. That’s something we’ve consciously done as our drummer, Lyle Starr, likes to play as fast as humanly possible [laughs], but it’s a hit and miss thing. Whatever tempo works best for the song is always the one we go with. It still sounds like us, so no worries, but if you math it out, the difference is very noticeable.
Suicide Bombers‘ “So Bad” video (from Murder Couture album):
First single from SUiCiDE BOMBERS fourth album, MURDER COUTURE Directed by: Leon Bell
Sleaze Roxx: What are your favourite songs on ‘Murder Couture’ and why?
Chris Damien Doll: That’s so hard to answer. We worked so much on all these songs and wouldn’t have included them on the record if we didn’t feel they were all very very good. I like different songs for different reasons. The title track is one of my favorites and again that was a title that was around for a very long time. I knew what the feel of the song should be, but just couldn’t nail it. Think I had four or five completely different songs with that title, in various stages of completeness, that I just threw away when they didn’t nail the mood. “Kings & Queens” is one where the music and vocal melody was all done in 10 minutes at the band’s Christmas party, but the music came with a feel for lyrics that took a while to get right. The three-part harmony backing vocals for the chorus is also a new one for us. “Terrorists” of course is a proud moment. “Sleepless Elite”… hell, the list goes on. At the moment all these songs are just too close… meaning there is a whole lot of reasons why I, or the band, like different stuff and none of that will be important to whoever hears them for the first time. In a couple of years, I’ll be able to give a better answer, but we have chosen seven of the 10 songs from ‘Murder Couture’ to be in our set for the tour, with two more on stand-by, so that says a lot about how excited we are about this record.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you handle most of the songwriting again or did the other guys provide more input this time around?
Chris Damien Doll: Yeah, for some reason, I seem to be me doing most of the writing and we are all good with that. I don’t feel a need to write all the songs, but that’s just the way it’s been. Our bassplayer, C Slim, wrote one song for our previous record and two this time, “Madman” and “End of The Story”, both great songs, so that’s been cool. Him and I also worked together on the riffs under the solo of “Sleepless Elite” which was the last part missing for that song. Both C and I are solitary writers. We do our best work alone when we can really focus on our ideas and we both bring in more or less finished, and detailed, demos of new songs to the band.
Sleaze Roxx: Suicide Bombers have been around for a while. One thing about the band name is that if I do a search on YouTube using the band name, I get all sorts of war related videos. In hindsight, do you think that it might have been better using a different name or are you still happy with the band name despite the limitations that I have described?
Chris Damien Doll: Funny that you ask… I haven’t thought about this for years. Suicide Bombers have been around for nearly 10 years and stuff like the band name and my Sleaze Fuhrer hat is not something I, or any of the other guys, think about anymore. It’s just a part of the package. We haven’t had much trouble for it either. Most people seem to ask if other people are offended, while they’re quick to underline that they, themselves, are not offended by the name or hat… They are just curious if others are [laughs]. We still think it’s a great name and only a minimum of imagination is needed to understand why. We’re still not publishing the long boring analysis as to why it’s a great name, ’cause it’s just too bloody obvious. Those who are offended by any of this are the same people that are offended by everything. It’s that “holier than thou” attitude. There are too many people who use political correctness as a weapon of control. To tell others they aren’t “good” or “pure” enough. And honestly, that way of thinking is a much bigger problem, than a rock ‘n’ roll band with a great name and a tongue in cheek title and hat for its lead singer.
I do, however, get taken back a little every time someone raises any of these things as a problem. We are a good time hard rock band with lyrics about life… Well, our lives anyway [laughs] and there is no political or religious agenda behind any of this. I honestly don’t think an obvious western band with music, lyrics and an image like ours would appeal very much to political or religious extremists anyway. And for your YouTube search, I mean, if we were called Porn Stars or any of a million other names, you’d have the same trouble finding us. Hell, we might even be blocked from net searches at people’s day jobs with an “offensive” name like that [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] Please tell me something about each Suicide Bombers band member including yourself that the public would not know.
Chris Damien Doll: We’re all pretty open people, so what you see is what you get. I just became a father for the first time, to a beautiful baby girl, and am currently looking into a membership at a gun club [laughs]. The “So Bad” video was a 13 hour marathon shoot and by the time we got to the hotel scene, Lyle was so drunk, we had to ship him off to a bar to complete the shoot [more laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Chris Damien Doll: C Slim has probably signed more autographs as a competing Monster Truck driver, than he ever has in his musical career and that says a lot. Someone in Stevie Teaze’s family had such a good time he puked all over the floor at the last hometown show we did [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: Back in late November 2017, you revealed your project Doll Hazard with Dirtbag Republic’s Sandy Hazard. Were the both of you happy with the response for that album and will there be a second instalment in the future?
Chris Damien Doll: We were very happy with it! Both the album and the response. All feedback has been positive and it seemed to bridge the gap between the sound of our two bands, so that it appeals to fans of both. It’s one of the most pleasant albums I have ever done. Sandy is a good friend and our work ethic and sense of friendly competition was a great driving force. It was also a huge thrill to play guitar solos again as I rarely do that on Suicide Bombers records. I think “Waiting” from ‘Suicide Idols’ is the only full solo I have done for Suicide Bombers. What also made it a joy was that there was no band… Hence there was no release party, tour or rehearsals booked and we didn’t have all the stress of having to complete the album by any set date. I mean, we did set a date, but were done long before. It was just a good time record that I still listen to a lot. Of course, it was also a little frustrating to not be a band and try out different ideas at rehearsals, but that frustration and stress does not compare to that of deadlines rolling up like bulldozers. Both Sandy and I are very busy with our bands, which will always be our main priorities and we haven’t discussed a follow up record at all. I won’t rule it out completely, but writing and releasing records is an awful lot of work and it’ll have to be the right time for it.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Suicide Bombers’ plans for the rest of 2019 and 2020?
Chris Damien Doll: We’ll be busy playing shows throughout November. In January, we film the rest of the scenes for our next video, to be released sometime before summer, and from February and out into 2020, we’ll be busy playing shows and touring. We are in talks with another band about a few nightliner tours in Europe next year. A lot depends on them finishing their record, so we’ll see, but fingers crossed as we haven’t been out of Scandinavia for a few years. There might also be a third promo video sometime in the autumn / winter of 2020, but that’s still in the planning stages. The mood in the band is positive and everyone is ready and eager to hit the road and show our fans what we’ve been working on, so it’s all very exciting.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered?
Chris Damien Doll: If anyone wants to check out the band, we’re available on all streaming services and you find all our videos on YouTube. For worldwide CD and vinyl orders, go to Tigernet. American fans who want to save money on shipping CDs should hit up Front Line Entertainment. And anyone who wants signed records, CDs or t-shirts can just mail us directly via Facebook.
Suicide Bombers‘ “Suicide Idols” (from Suicide Idols album):
Uploaded by Suicide Bombers on 2017-04-06.