CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL (SUICIDE BOMBERS) INTERVIEW:
December 20, 2012
If you’re looking for an album that still holds true to the constitution and roots of sleaze rock, then the Suicide Bombers’ debut release ‘Criminal Record’ will be right up your street. The Suicide Bombers hail from Oslo, Norway and came to the scene with an already established fan base through lead singer Chris Damien Doll’s previous band the Trashcan Darlings. Sleaze Roxx’s Grant W. caught up with long time friend Chris Damien Doll to chat about the new CD ‘Criminal Record’ and got the lowdown on his latest band.
Sleaze Roxx: First up Chris, tell us who’s who in the Suicide Bombers and where did all the pseudonyms come from?
Chris Damien Doll: The first to join was Bitch Commander James Nero on bass, a gene-manipulated sex-machine and boy wonder. I was lurking around the bars downtown when I met an old friend who told me about this bass player who had just moved to the city. I got James’ number, we met up, he heard a few of my home demos, and loved it. We had one rehearsal and that was it. T-Bone, The Outlaw Groover, and I have known each other since forever. We were always hanging around the same scene, but never played together. When he heard that we were putting together a new band of intergalactic sleaze warriors, he showed up for an audition and wiped the fucking star system with all the other drummers there — an amazing drummer! His beats are always delivered with intense power and immaculate precision and have been used to demolish thousands of planets. Lazy Leather, the Sex-Gunslinger, was the last to join. He showed up for the audition in a full stage outfit, which is what he always wears anyway, and when his magic fingers graced the fret-board we knew that the last piece of the puzzle had fallen into place and we’d be the most explosive band in rock ‘n’ roll history. The titles are an extension of our personalities and our part in the band.
Sleaze Roxx: After the Trashcan Darlings, did it take you long to consider what you wanted to do musically and how quickly did the idea of the Suicide Bombers come about?
Chris Damien Doll: The idea was already there long before the split of Trashcan Darlings. I knew I wanted to lean more towards this type of music. I had the band name, the image, the vision, a few songs, and a general idea. So that took no time at all. The challenge was to find others who wanted to do the same thing — to find shining stars! One by one they showed up and when we finally became the final four we really started working on everything together and never looked back.
Sleaze Roxx: Did you go through auditions for the band or did you have people in mind when you were putting the Suicide Bombers together?
Chris Damien Doll: I didn’t have anyone in mind and that was the difficult and time consuming part. I knew this band needed very different players from anything I had done in the past and I didn’t know anyone who was both vacant and able to do it. Still, it all happened organically. James was the only bass player we, or I at that point, tried out. T-Bone came through an audition, but only because he contacted us so late that the auditions were already set up. Lazy is an old buddy of T-Bone and the only guitar player we tried after our original guitarist quit.
Sleaze Roxx: We have to touch on the name, it’s an attention grabber and a brave choice of band name if I say so. What made you go with it and has there been any feedback from people who find it too sensitive?
Chris Damien Doll: I’ve had the band name for years! It’s one of the coolest band names there ever was. So far we’ve had very little feedback about it, other than people saying “great band name.” There are no political or religious reasons for it. We’re a hard rock band and that’s all there is to it. We strongly believe that if people lack the imagination it takes to understand why this name is perfect for a rock ‘n’ roll band they are simply looking for a way to be offended. We could break it down for them in a long boring analysis, but what’s the point? Those kinda people are just looking to be offended anyway and we are not here to cater to people that are anti rock ‘n’ roll.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve listened to the album numerous times and I have to say it will be in my top 5 albums of 2012. How would you sell the Suicide Bombers to people who are reading this and wondering if it’s worth a purchase?
Chris Damien Doll: I think you just sold it pretty well there yourself, Grant! To tell you the truth we have gotten nothing but great reviews for ‘Criminal Record’ in printed magazines as well as online ‘zines. It got a 7/10 in Classic Rock and 8.5/10 in Metal Hammer Norway, to name but a few, and we’re all very happy about that. We’ve spent a lot of time working on this album and our one goal has always been to record a classic debut album that will stand the test of time — I think we’ve achieved that.
The Suicide Bombers are simply a kick-ass hard rock band — the bastard love children of Silvia Saint and Terminator 2. We have elements of metal, pop, blues-based rock and pretty much everything else in there, but we also have our own distinct sound and personality. You know when you’re listening to the Suicide Bombers! The musicianship is excellent, the songs are brilliant and the production kicks your ass from here to the second ring of Saturn. If you’re still unsure, you can go to www.thesuicidebombers.com and follow the links from there.
Sleaze Roxx: You wrote all the songs on the album, were these remnants of material you had lying around or did you sit down and consciously try and make the Suicide Bombers sound different to what you had done previously?
Chris Damien Doll: I think it only took a few days after the split of my old band before I started writing for the Suicide Bombers. It felt extremely liberating to not have to worry about a back catalogue and also there was a sense of urgency and ‘need’, as I knew I had to have songs if I wanted to start a band. I haven’t been this inspired since I was a kid and first started writing music. “Napalm Heart” was the first song I wrote consciously for the Suicide Bombers and that kinda set the tone for the rest. Most of the songs worked well, others were skipped when we got the band together. I kept writing songs and the band all worked on the arrangements.
Only a few of the tracks are older songs that hadn’t been used in the past for various reasons. The band loved them and we decided to do them. I have always just written songs, you know. Sometimes I’ll write something that doesn’t fit with anything I’m doing and I’ll leave it for later. I have written a lot of hard rock songs over the years, that have never been played, and those were a huge inspiration for me when starting this band.
Sleaze Roxx: I just have to say here that I thought the production was really good and everyone sounds great, but particular kudos to your guitarist Lazy, he can fair knock out a solo!
Chris Damien Doll: Thanks Grant! We’re all very happy with both the performances and production on this album. We did it in Toproom studio in the Hadeland galaxy. T-Bone was slamming down the beats and a lot of stuff just happened by accident in the studio and made the songs better. Like the end riff of “Napalm Heart”, we had a riff for that part but T-Bone hadn’t decided on what to do with the drums, so when he recorded it he just went wild at the end. We changed the riff around to fit his beat and all of a sudden we had a much cooler ending than what was originally there. James has a kick ass bass sound and he and T-Bone work really well together. James can hold down a steady 8th note beat with the best of them, but he also comes up with different grooves and small details, and passes, that fit the songs perfectly and gives them a lot of character one might not notice at first. The great little line he plays during the chorus of “This Time Tomorrow” is a good example. The insane groove he and T-Bone have during the middle eight of “Cindy” is another brilliant example.
Lazy and I are two completely different guitar players and complement each other very well. In a studio situation I have a very thought through way of how I’ll play different parts. Then I add attitude and aggression and the result is my guitar sound. This enables me to double anything I play perfectly without much effort. Lazy is a much looser player in the same great sense as guys like Joe Perry and Slash. He plays a lot more with his heart than he does with his mind and has lots of different ideas on how to make parts sound bigger. He’s dead on precise in his looseness and the result is a living organism and a natural wall of guitars. When you put the two together you get the guitar sound of the Suicide Bombers. As a lead player Lazy’s definitely one of the best! Very inventive, but more importantly he’s very song and melody focused. Everything he does is done to make the songs the best they can be and not to showcase himself, but by doing that showcasing himself is exactly what he does — in a perfect way.
Sleaze Roxx: For those of us from overseas, what’s the music scene like in Oslo and how does sleaze rock go down there as I always associated Norway with black metal?
Chris Damien Doll: Sleaze rock, classic rock, hard rock, etc is very popular in Norway and has been for close to 10 years. There is a whole new generation of bands and fans into this kinda music and it’s really thriving. The black metal scene is still strong as well, and I guess that’s what Norway is most famous for, but there’s not just black metal here.
Sleaze Roxx: I know you have a genuine interest in sleaze and glam bands from days gone by. We’ve shared our love of bands like the Glamour Punks and Soho Roses tirelessly over the years but who would you say influenced you most musically and what bands would you put in your sleaze top 5?
Chris Damien Doll: Damn you Grant, that’s damn near impossible to answer! I like so many different styles of music and so many bands and I draw influences from a lot of them. Not just the ones that are in the same, or close to the same, genera we’re playing either. The other guys also draw influences from everywhere and it’s in the middle, where all the influences meet, that it’s the Suicide Bombers. But since you asked me the question, I’ll try. I’ll also include some rock bands that don’t necessarily fit in the sleaze category though — and these records are not in any priority order:
1. Vain – No Respect
2. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
3. W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P.
4. Hanoi Rocks – Self Destruction Blues
5. Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
6. Soho Roses – Whatever Happened To…
7. Warrior Soul – Space Age Playboys
8. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
9. Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Flaunt It
Damn, that’s more than 5 already and I still have a lot more to go!
Sleaze Roxx: On the tour front, will the Suicide Bombers be lining up any tours and gigs outside of Norway?
Chris Damien Doll: We’ve recently signed a booking deal with Live Wire Booking for Scandinavia, so we’ll gig around here this winter and next year. We are also looking at the possibility of a European tour next autumn, but have yet to meet the right people to work with for that.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the future plans for the Suicide Bombers and what plans are there for more material and new CDs?
Chris Damien Doll: At the moment we are promoting ‘Criminal Record’, playing live and doing interviews. We also just shot a promo video for “High On Explosives”, which will be out early next year when the editing’s done. There’s lots more going on, but most of it is a little early to talk about yet… and of course we are already working on songs for our next CD. We have about 3 or 4 done and they are absolute killers!
Sleaze Roxx: I usually finish with asking if there’s any lessons from life, musical or otherwise, that you feel you can pass on to others?
Chris Damien Doll: Not really. Make the mistakes that you’re gonna make, learn from them and look great doing it! If you decide to get into music, do it because you love music, as that’s the only reason that will keep you going.