Chris Damien Doll of SUiCiDE BOMBERS Interview
INTERVIEW WITH SUiCiDE BOMBERS FRONTMAN CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL
Date: April 15, 2020
Photos: Dan A Natchnebel (first photo)
A LARGE CHUNK OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN ALMOST OVERNIGHT WITH THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. HAVING JUST RELEASED THEIR BEST ALBUM YET WITH THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED ‘MURDER COUTURE‘ LESS THAN SIX MONTHS AGO, THE SUiCiDE BOMBERS HAVE HAD TO PUT ALL OF THEIR SHOWS ON HOLD. HOWEVER, THE NORWEGIAN SLEAZE ROCKERS WILL BE OFFERING A FREE LIVE STREAMED CONCERT DUBBED ‘VIRUS LOCKDOWN SHOW’ ON FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020 AT 3:00 PM EST. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH THE SUiCiDE BOMBERS’ FRONTMAN CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL TO FIND OUT MORE INCLUDING THE IMPACT THAT THE DREADED CORONAVIRUS HAS HAD ON THE BAND.
Sleaze Roxx: So the SUiCiDE BOMBERS will be performing a live streamed concert on April 24th. I’ve seen quite a few of these virtual concerts and the best ones that I have seen so far have been from Eclipse, The Wild! and Back In Black [AC/DC tribute band]. What do you think of the live streamed concerts that I assume that you have seen so far and how did that influence SUiCiDE BOMBERS’ own upcoming live streamed concert?
Chris Damien Doll: Friday 24th April at 9:00 pm (Central European Time) [12:00 pm in LA, 3:00 pm in New York, 10:00 pm in Moscow, 4:00 am (Saturday) in Tokyo and 5:00 am (Saturday) in Sydney], we’ll do one. You can watch it live on the SUiCiDE BOMBERS’ facebook page or on DigitalSceneen Pro’s facebook page. If you like both pages you’ll be notified when it starts. The concert will be available for some time after too, so people can watch it at a convenient throw-your-fists-in-the-air party time in their timezone [laughs].
I’m really impressed with streamed concerts. In the beginning, it seemed to be just some guy in his kitchen with an iPhone and an acoustic guitar, but the professionalism raised quickly and several artists are making the most of it. I’ve seen mostly Norwegian bands so far, researching our own show, with the best being the Backstreet Girls and Minor Majority. We didn’t want to do this unless it could be done professionally, so we have rented a kick ass sound studio to get the best sound possible, with all of us playing in the same room, and will do the whole concert from there.
There are several platforms to choose from. Some do GoFundMe campaigns, to make sure expenses are covered first, others sell tickets, but ours (and all other concerts at DigitalScenen), are open to anyone who wants to watch and you can make donations by paypal. As well as the studio, we rented lights and a multi cam crew to make it X.i. Thing visually too. We are hoping for enough donations to cover our costs, but felt the most important thing right now is to make it good. We have put together some prizes for a raffle among those who donate, with a special prize to the one who donates the most. Details can be found in the “About” section of the facebook event.
Sleaze Roxx: One cool thing about these virtual concerts is that all of a sudden, you get to see a concert from a band that you might usually have no chance of seeing live like for me, the SUiCiDE BOMBERS. Do you think that you’ll have the chance of reaching a wider or bigger audience this way?
Chris Damien Doll: It will certainly be a way for us to finally get to play live for our fans in parts of the world where we haven’t been able to tour yet. We are all very excited about that. Not sure about reaching a wider and bigger audience, but the whole world is bored and on lockdown right now and I know, at least for myself, I have watched concerts by bands lately that I have never seen live, and some of those groups, I’ll definitely be checking out the next chance I get. It’s online and can potentially be the biggest show we’ll ever do, but to us, it’s just as important to do something for ourselves now that everything else has been cancelled. We hope people will get some drinks out, turn up the volume and enjoy! That’s what we’ll do [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: What do you think the biggest difference will be for you, as a band, between this and one of your regular concerts?
Chris Damien Doll: The missing live audience will definitely be weird. Usually we feed off the audience energy as much as they feed off us and the between-song-banter is also very much done like that. In Norway, I speak Norwegian between songs, and many bands still do when they stream shows, but since the world wide web is an international arena, I’m going to keep it in English, to include everyone. Still not really sure what to do about it, so we’ll see where it goes. Part of the reason we decided to do it in a sound studio, rather than a stage, was to move the focus a little from the missing live audience and rather utilize a new setting, with the best sound possible.
Sleaze Roxx: How are things in Norway in terms of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic? What are the restrictions like?
Chris Damien Doll: Norway has been on lockdown for more than a month. People work from home, schools and kindergardens are closed, there are no groups of more than five people allowed. Businesses are closing down. Physical contact places like hairdressers and skincare have been forced to close down. The streets are empty in most places and people make an effort to stay as far away from each other as possible… A grim and dark reality reminiscent of ‘Mad Max 2’, ‘I Am Legend’ or ’28 Days Later.’
Norway has been hit hard, when putting the number of people who have the virus up against population. [It] seems we all know someone who has, or has had it, but luckily the death toll is way low and the restrictions are working. Every person infected transfers it to less than one person statistically, so it’s on a decline. They will start opening schools again very soon and we just have to see how that goes. This is a very serious situation, so it’s nice to see everyone pulling together and treating it as such.
SUiCiDE BOMBERS‘ Murder Couture album teaser:
SUiCiDE BOMBERS – MURDER COUTURE ALBUM TEASER
Album teaser for SUiCiDE BOMBERS fourth album MURDER COUTURE, featuring excerpts from several songs.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve read reports that concerts will be one of the last events to get “reactivated” and perhaps even as late as the fall of 2021 assuming that the world is able to get over the coronavirus pandemic. What are your thoughts in that regard?
Chris Damien Doll: I haven’t seen that yet, but I’m thinking sports events and concerts will probably the very last things to get reactivated too. I am a musician and no expert, but a vaccine takes about a year to develop. There is so much money in this vaccine that companies all over the world are working their assess off to get it done. Once that’s in place, and distributed, this will all be over. With that timeline in mind, autumn 2021 sounds a little late, doesn’t it? If it doesn’t go away sooner, it will definitely be away by this time next year, but we are staying positive and hoping it’ll be safe again by autumn this year.
There are also anti-body tests in development, so people can check if they already had it. Those will be available sooner. They don’t know for sure if one gets immune, but there’s a pretty good chance of it. Many die or get seriously ill…. There are people in their ’30s, with no underlying sickness on respirators… But there are also people who have it and barely notice. One of the newspapers here ran an article about a 33 year old with confirmed Corona. He went through it day-by-day and said that all of the symptoms were so mild that under normal circumstances he wouldn’t even think he was sick. There are probably more people like that out there and the more people who are already immune, the faster it can go back to normal.
All over the world, they are also testing other medicine, to see if it has any effect on Corona. So far without any confirmed results, at least that I have seen, but in any case the vaccine is the definitive end-date, so concerts will start sometime next spring at the very latest, but hopefully sooner. All we can do in the meantime is follow official guidelines and make sure we don’t clog up the hospitals, so there are respirators available for those who need them.
Sleaze Roxx: Will there be any more videos in support of ‘Murder Couture’? If so, can you please let us know for which song that it will be for or at least give us a decent hint?
Chris Damien Doll: We shot a video for the title track “Murder Couture” on two separate occasions, with the bulk filmed in January this year. That’s currently in editing and will be our most elaborate video to date. Looking very much forward to release, but editing is taking longer than expected so not quite sure when it will be yet. As always, there are several other songs we’d like to do videos for too, so won’t rule out maybe one more after that, but we’ll see.
Sleaze Roxx” Aside from organizing Suicide Bombers’ first live streamed concert and finalizing the video for ‘Murder Couture’, what have you been doing with the “downtime”? Will a new Suicide Bombers or Doll Hazard album be in the works?
Chris Damien Doll: We have been rehearsing the four songs — three from the record and the B-side of the “So Bad” single — that have yet to be part of our set, as we plan to play all our new songs live at some point. We’ve slowly started working on new material and ideas for the next record, but that’s still way off in the future. Under normal circumstances, I would probably have written several records during this downtime, but being the father of a six month old daughter, I am trying to spend as much time as possible with my family, as all the cancellations now mean it will be a very busy autumn for me assuming that it’s possible to play live again by then.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on being a father by the way! ‘Murder Couture’ was released less than six months ago. Are you happy with the reaction that the Suicide Bombers has received so far for the album?
Chris Damien Doll: Very happy! It’s our best record to date and the band is very proud of it. Both our Norwegian and American distributors say it’s our best selling one too. We got all great reviews, songs played on the radio and ended up on several “Album of The Year lists.” We’re playing seven songs from the new album live and they all go down great, so we couldn’t be happier.
[Interviewer’s note: Murder Couture finished at #9 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 and #18 on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2019]
Sleaze Roxx: Do you feel that the coronavirus pandemic is hurting Suicide Bombers’ momentum for ‘Murder Couture’?
Chris Damien Doll: Absolutely! We were on a roll and, like everyone else, we’ve had to cancel all our shows and can’t really do much. Luckily this spring wasn’t the busiest for us, but those shows were our source of income which we already had plans for, so it’s hard anyway. We’ve been able to reschedule most for the autumn, but find it difficult to book new shows as no one knows for sure when this will be over. So it’s not just stopping everything now, but will also garner a long tail afterwards unfortunately.
Sleaze Roxx: What can you do to rectify that?
Chris Damien Doll: The streaming concert is one thing we’re doing to rectify the situation, and if this lasts into autumn, or longer, we’ll have to look at other things to do too.
Sleaze Roxx: You recently released the story behind each of the Suicide Bombers’ videos via Facebook. That was really cool. What prompted you to do that?
Chris Damien Doll: Thanks! We’re working on our next video, so videos are kind of top of mind. This was in the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone thought it would be over in a few weeks time, and it seemed like all of the posts on our band page was to inform of yet another concert that had been cancelled. It was getting a little gruelling, to be honest.
We had posted the look back on our first video a few weeks prior and got mails from fans who enjoyed watching it again, but also stated how much our videos had progressed since that first one. I hadn’t seen it myself in ages, so I went back and looked at it and started remembering all the details. Me and T-Bone the night before with duct tape and trash bags to block the light out from the auto repair shop, carrying wood from a store next door to build an impromptu drum riser and all that stuff [laughs]. I watched a few of the other videos too and the same thing happened, so I thought, why not just make a thing of this… It will give people something to do while in lockdown and will be fun for both us and them to see the videos again with a bit of background info.
Thanks for sharing them on Sleaze Roxx! It was just a fun little thing we did and never thought anyone would repost, but while on the subject, I think you missed our most current video “So Bad.” Our sexiest one to date.
SUiCiDE BOMBERS‘ “So Bad” video (from Murder Couture album):
SUiCiDE BOMBERS – SO BAD (Official Music Video)
SUiCiDEBOMBERS #SuicideIdols #SoBad #overandmotherfuckingout #officialmusicvideo #rock #sleaze #ChrisDamienDollSUiCiDE BOMBERS – SO BAD (Official Music Vide…
Sleaze Roxx: Time for a tough question. I believe that you are now the artist with the most interviews on Sleaze Roxx with six. I believe that you just edged out two other artists. Can you guess who they are?
Chris Damien Doll: I didn’t know that, and I have no idea who they are. Please tell! I am dead curious now!
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] You were in a three way tie with Stryper frontman Michael Sweet and Diemonds singer Priya Panda with five interviews each but you have now taken the lead. Is there anything else that you’d like to mention that we haven’t covered.
Chris Damien Doll: Yes! Make sure you catch our ‘Virus Lockdown Show’ on Friday April 24th. If you like our band page on facebook, you’ll get all the latest info there. Sleaze Roxx has always been very supportive of the SUiCiDE BOMBERS, which we really appreciate, and you come up with great questions too, so I like doing interviews here. Stay home, stay safe, get some drinks out, turn up the volume and make a party of it!
…over & motherfucking out!
SUiCiDE BOMBERS‘ “Ready For Tonight” video (from Suicide Idols album):
SUiCiDE BOMBERS – READY FOR TONiGHT (Official Music Video)
SUiCiDEBOMBERS #SuicideIdols #ReadyForTonight #overandmotherfuckingout #officialmusicvideo #rock #sleaze #ChrisDamienDollSUiCiDE BOMBERS – Ready For Tonight…