INTERVIEW WITH SUiCiDE BOMBERS’ FRONTMAN CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL
Date: May 21 , 2017
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING BANDS EMANATING FROM THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES IN THE LAST FIVE PLUS YEARS HAS TO BE THE SUiCiDE BOMBERS WHO ARE LED BY THEIR FRONTMAN CHRIS DAMIEN DOLL. AFTER RELEASING A FULL-LENTGH ALBUM ‘CRIMINAL RECORD’ IN 2012 AND AN EP TITLED ‘THE SEX TAPES’ IN 2014, THE SUiCiDE BOMBERS ARE BACK WITH THEIR THIRD ALBUM TITLED ‘SUiCiDE IDOLS.’ SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH DOLL TO DISCUSS MANY THINGS INCLUDING THE GROUP’S LATEST STUDIO ALBUM AND SOME NEWS GETTING PUBLICLY REVEALED FOR THE FIRST TIME VIA THIS INTERVIEW.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on SUiCiDE BOMBERS’ new album ‘Suicide Idols’! You pretty much wrote all the songs on the new album except one which was a collaboration with bassist C-Slim. Why are you the only one writing most of the songs?
Chris Damien Doll: Not sure, really. The door has always been open for the others to bring in songs too, but it hasn’t happened until now when C came with a complete song. All I did was finish the lyrics, the rest was pretty much all his. To me, songwriting usually comes in two parts. The first burst of inspiration is when you get an idea and start working on it. During that time it doesn’t feel like work at all. You are right there in the middle of what you’re writing and it all just flows nicely. If you can keep that going until the song is finished, you get one of these “the song was written in 20 minutes” — things you hear about from all songwriters. “Next World War” from the new album was written like that. But usually, you’ll hit a brick wall somewhere during the process of finishing the song and pretty much everything that comes after that is a lot of work [consisting of] stress, frustration and [an] uphill [battle]. So my goal has always been to write fast, so I get as far as possible before the “work” sets in and I guess I just usually write my best stuff when writing alone.
I record home demos of the songs and send them to the band and then everyone adds their style of playing and we work on details and arrangements at rehearsals if the song needs that, and what comes out is the sound of SUiCiDE BOMBERS. I don’t really care who writes the songs as long as they are great and fit our style, something C’s song “Keep An Eye On You” is a shining example of.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your favorite songs on ‘Suicide Idols’?
Chris Damien Doll: I don’t know… I like all of them for different reasons. All the songs reached their full potential and are great. When we ask people to list their favorite songs — it’s already happened a lot that someones least fave will be another one’s fave — and you can only take that as a huge compliment. It’s also important to keep in mind that when you ask a writer, or someone in a band, about this, the answer will be based on so much more than the actual song, even if the person answering thinks he’s on top of it. It’ll be based on everything from the process of the songwriting, did the song achieve its full potential, was it a quick song to write and you feel proud about that, or was it a long grueling process and you feel proud about that? Are you happy with your own contributions to the song, were you happy with your own, and everyone else’s performance on the recording, what was the mood like in the band when you rehearsed and recorded it, did the mix turn out as you hoped it would…. Just so many factors that aren’t important at all to the fan sitting there in front of his CD player picking his favorite song. We’re usually more interested in hearing what your favorite song is?
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] You’ll have to wait for my album review of ‘Suicide Idols’ for that! How do you think that “Suicide Idols’ differs from the Suicide Bombers’ prior albums ‘The Sex Tapes’ and ‘Criminal Record’?
Chris Damien Doll: Not much. We develop organically within our own sound and style of music. We’re not one of those bands who feel an urge to change our style for every album, but there are small differences in there. Songs like “Sex Star Icon” and “Suicide Idol” are probably among the heaviest songs we’ve ever done and I don’t think those could have been written for the previous records. On the other hand, we have “Ready For Tonight” which is more major chord based than most of what we have done in the past. So there are differences, there’s growth, but if you like the two first records, you’re gonna like this one too.
Performance wise, this is our best one to date. Pretty much all the elements, but yeah… I did all my vocals and guitars for The Sex Tapes in one day in a studio. They all turned out great, but this time I took my time and really worked on it and I think it shows. Also finally, the band has been able to do steady rehearsals and that has helped the range of my vocals a lot, which I utilized on the record. I could never have hit some of those notes in the past. The drums are even tighter than they’ve been in the past, bass is excellent and guitar solos are also really really good on ‘Suicide Idols.’ All of that stuff was great before too, but it’s all turned up a notch for this one.
Sleaze Roxx: You have already released videos for the song “Suicide Idol” and “Ready For Tonight.” What were the ideas behind the videos for those ones?
Chris Damien Doll: Well, after finishing ‘The Sex Tapes’ tour, we changed drummers and spent most of 2016 in rehearsals and in the studio working on the album and when autumn hit, we desperately wanted to get out and play live again. So we did the “Ready For Tonight” video as a way to announce the short tour we did. There weren’t all that many ideas behind it. We just wanted a cool looking video and got a great location in an emergency tunnel from one of the subway stations in Oslo. Unbeknownst to us, the Queen of Norway was renting a storage space for old furniture right next to the tunnel we were using and the red smokebomb we set off during filming triggered the fire alarm. So we had security teams coming down from the castle to stop what the hell was going on, even if we had all the right permits and everything. The Queen Of Norway vs The Kings Of Rock’n’Roll kinda thing… We managed to finish the video. The security guys politely declined to be in the video and we politely declined to be arrested.
For the “Suicide Idol” video, we wanted to show the band on stage. After several videos in caves and tunnels, we figured it was time to show the band how most people see us, so we got a cool location and shot it there with all the lights and everything… and no cops [laughs]. Both videos turned out great and we are working on a third one as we speak, but [I have] no clue when that’ll be done.
SUiCiDE BOMBERS‘ “Suicide Idol” video:
Uploaded by Suicide Bombers on 2017-04-06.
SUiCiDE BOMBERS‘ “Ready For Tonight” video:
Chris Damien Doll – Sleaze Fuhrer – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar Lazy Leather – Sex Gunslinger – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals C. Slim – The Thunder Mechanic – Bass & Backing Vocals Lyle Starr – Drums Shot by Øyvind Wahl Stig I lona J.j.
Sleaze Roxx: You call yourself “The Sleaze Fuhrer” and wear an army cap which might remind people of the German Nazis from many decades ago. This type of stuff is usually avoided by most bands. What are your thoughts in that regard?
Chris Damien Doll: My original idea was to wear all kinds of different military style hats from all the worst atrocities in world history. I figured, get a Nazi one, get a cold war one, get one from the massacre in China etc… Problem is that I don’t like the colour green and except for a Soviet submarine captain one, they all are. So I stuck with the one I have simply because it’s black and silver and has a good design. Hugo Boss was great at that shit! The insignia ia changed though, so the eagle is substituted for the SUiCiDE BOMBERS bat and thereby it’s not a political statement, but sleaze-art. We are not into politics and certainly not into any far right stuff, but even our German fans smile at “The Sleaze Fuhrer — the evil dictator of all things sleazy.” As with most things, I think it’s down to if you are looking to be offended, as so many are in this day and age. You will always find something to offend you. We are not here to cater to those people. We’re a good time party rock’n’roll band with great ideas and those that get it, get it. The ones that don’t can move on.
Sleaze Roxx: I got to hand it to SUiCiDE BOMBERS. You always come up with great album covers full of colour while showing off the band members. How much work goes into thinking up and designing the album covers?
Chris Damien Doll: Thanks! We do album covers where people will know instantly from looking at the front what kinda music is on the disc. I always like that myself, the rest of the guys too, and a strong album cover is important. I usually come up with a rough outline of a concept for the covers, scope out locations and book photographers. That’s usually something I have in the back of my head all through rehearsals and the recording of an album. Sometimes the ideas are clear early on, a lot of times not, but Lazy is the one who does all the actual work with the design, the picture editing, the logos, the backgrounds and all that stuff and he spends a lot of time making the covers as good as they are. With ‘Suicide Idols,’ we upped it again by adding a lot of elements to the front that are things we haven’t done in the past and Lazy made it all look fantastic.
Sleaze Roxx: One big difference between ‘The Sex Tapes’ and ‘Suicide Idols’ is that there are way fewer song “intros” and none aside from at the beginning and end of ‘Suicide Idols.’ Why did you change that up this time?
Chris Damien Doll: We changed that up the last time, not now [laughs]. We’ll always do intros and outros, I think, as it’s a nice way to set the mood for an album. We did that on the first record as well, but intros all the way through for a ten to twelve track record would be too much and destroy the flow. With ‘The Sex Tapes,’ we were making “The soundtrack to the best movie never made.” It was a mini-album with just six songs, so it was perfect to do intros to all the songs. That’s also something I always wanted to do, but ‘Suicide Idols’ is a sacred record. It stands above and beyond all criticism and is the world’s first truly holy album. In a world of competing holy books, we figure we’d wipe it all away so we, the true Gods, can show them how it’s done. One intro, one outro and let the music do the talking.
Sleaze Roxx: Another big change is that you have a new drummer in Lyle Starr who has taken over the reigns from T-Bone. When did the change take place and how is Starr different than T-Bone?
Chris Damien Doll: Sadly, it wasn’t working out with T-Bone and hadn’t for quite some time. He had some outside the band and outside music commitments that made it very hard for him to even make it to rehearsals and it was all an uphill battle for both him and us. We could do a band meeting and all agree that we’d start on the next record and rehearse as much as possible and then he’s able to rehearse 1.5 times in the next two months. That kinda stuff starts chewing away at you after a while and creates a little bit of animosity and frustration at the stand still, so we let him go after ‘The Sex Tapes’ tour. There’s no hard feelings or anything. His commitments were very real, so it was the best decision for all involved.
We got Lyle in the band in February 2016, I think, and from then on it’s been pretty smooth sailing. Lyle is a fast learner and showed up for his second rehearsal knowing pretty much all our songs and playing them great, which meant we could start on the new songs almost immediately. He’s never had to cancel a rehearsal, which has helped us improve as a band, and individuals, as we do it more. He’s fast as fuck in the studio and did most of the drums for the album in one day. He also eagerly listens to mixes and gives feedback and he’s an all around fun and great guy to be around. We’ve had so much fun on these last tours and Lyle has been a big part of that. We’re lucky to have him and again, I am not saying this as a kick to T-Bone or anything… He was and is still a great guy too. It’s just that when schedules conflict all the time, it creates unwanted tension that looms in the background a bit.
Sleaze Roxx: You are very active on social media, notably Facebook and in many Facebook music groups. Do you think that has benefited Suicide Bombers or not, and why?
Chris Damien Doll: I haven’t really thought too much about it. I promote the band when I can, but the reason I frequent groups like Rock’n’Roll Frontline, Glam Rock City and Melodic Mafia, is because I am a fan of that type of music and like to discuss the bands I like with like-minded people. Some of those groups felt like a big reunion as a lot of the people hanging out there were guys I knew from old fashioned forums back in the day, when I was working in a porn store and wanted to pass time. People like Doug Scheck who does all our USA distribution through his Frontline Entertainment company is one of those old friends, Dave Derglin. who does all the male voices for all our intros. is another and several more. So it’s all just fun, really, but I do think a by product of that is that more people have opened their eyes to the SUiCiDE BOMBERS and at least checked out the band…. That, however, is just as much down to the work put in by people like Doug as it is me spamming the groups with how much I like the new album from such and such artist.
Sleaze Roxx: SUiCiDE BOMBERS regularly tour across Norway. What is the music scene like in Norway?
Chris Damien Doll: It’s a little rough for live shows in general right now and that’s pretty much a worldwide thing. Stuff like this goes in waves and the generation that uses the cities the most — 18 to 28 year olds, I would guess — are not all that keen on live concerts at the moment. We are doing good anyway, but can’t wait til the next wave of kids come who wanna see live shows again. As far as bands it’s really good! Razorbats is awesome! Hard Luck Street is great. The legendary Backstreet Girls are still going strong. [There’s also] Virginia Hill, Niterain, For The Love Of Ivy, Wildnite and so many bands I forget to mention. A lot of diversity and some very strong songwriting and musicianship here, which I encourage your readers to check out, if they haven’t already done it.
Sleaze Roxx: I noticed that SUiCiDE BOMBERS are starting to get on festivals including Wildfest that just occurred in Belgium. Europe seems big on rock festivals and it’s starting to catch on in North America. Are festivals something that SUiCiDE BOMBERS want to do more of?
Chris Damien Doll: We had so much fin at Wildfest, man! It’s a well organized, small festival dedicated to glam and sleaze and it has people from all over Europe coming there. We loved it! The organizers, the voulenteers, the other bands, the audience…. Everything was great and we couldn’t have asked for a better time. We just love to play to people and get new fans, and festivals are a great way of doing that, so we’d like to play as many festivals as possible. As for North America, we’d love to come play for you guys as well and the most feasible way to get a band over from Europe is always a festival, so fingers crossed.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Suicide Bombers’ plans for the rest of the year?
Chris Damien Doll: We have to take some time out to find a new lead guitarist. Lazy quit a few months back due to personal reasons. There are no hard feelings between us and we all agree that he made the right decision. We finished the album and all the booked shows after he left, and had a lot of fun together. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavours. We’d like to include a lot more shows and festivals in the ‘Suicide Idols’ tour, but we’ll see how long it takes to find the right guitarist and take it from there. We might just start on the next record, but that’s all still way off in the future. There are already several songs written for the next one and C Slim, Lyle Starr and myself will start rehearsing those while looking for a guitarist. We are also working on a third video for a song from ‘Suicide Idols’, so we hope that’ll be out sooner or later, to shorten the wait for everyone. The rest of us are all highly motivated and ready to rock, so no worries.
Sleaze Roxx: Thanks for doing the interview Chris!
Chris Damien Doll: Thanks for having me again and thanks for all your support! We love Sleaze Roxx! Anyone who still hasn’t checked out the band, go to our YouTube channel where you’ll find music videos and tons of other stuff. If you can’t find our records in your local store, it can be purchased from here for Europe and here for the USA. And if you want a T-shirt, signed CD or anything else, just drop me a mail on Facebook and I’ll sort it out. …over & motherfucking out!