Painted Doll – On Retro-Rock, Death Metal and the great fun making music


Two guys form a new band, founded on their Passion for „obscure European Rock Bands of the Sixties“. No big deal. But this cooperation is Special. It’s Dave Hill, most likely known for being a TV-and-Radio Comedian (and also musician), and Chris Reifert, Drummer and Singer of the mighty Death-Metal-Force Autopsy. The selftitled Album Features melodies that could well be found on a Album of The Kinks, as well as Oasis or The Doors. This interview was conducted for german online Music Magazine Whiskey-Soda. It’s the raw, unedited Interview. Enjoy!

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Hello Dave and Chris, and all the Best from Germany to the United States!

First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking your time and this interview for the readers of German alternative Music Magazine whiskey-soda.de.

DAVE: Thanks for talking to us!

CHRIS: Yeah, glad to chat with you!

1. Obviously, your music is influenced by a wide range of Rock-Bands from the 60’s until today. I hear mostly british/european influences, like The Kinks or The Clash, but also a lot off other stuff. In the last twenty years there’s been a revival of so called „Retro-Rock-Bands“. This has reached a level where a new release could be easily regarded as „just another unispired Retro-Band“. Where you guys aware of that and if yes, did you try to make something about it?

DAVE: I don’t think we were really trying to be “retro”, but the band was definitely inspired by our mutual love for ‘60s and ‘70s psych rock and pop music. Shortly after we met at an Autopsy show a couple years ago, we began sharing music that we loved with each other, stuff like Shocking Blue and the Groundhogs as well as more obscure stuff like Inca Bullet Joe and bands that had only released a single or two maybe. Eventually we decided to form a band inspired by all the stuff we’d been sending back and forth.

CHRIS: We went into this with basically no preconceived notions about what we were going to do. Once we decided to actually form a band, we started sending each other song ideas without ever saying that we should sound like this or that. It was kind of pure how it happened in the sense that our heads seemed to be in the same place in regards to what sort of stuff we were going to write. We pretty much never even mentioned the fact that there’s a heavy retro scene going on at the moment. For me, these tunes all seem really fresh and not even retro at all. Just good rock songs with a psychedelic edge, ya know?

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2. I really like the Album, it’s no light fare and very quite diverse and unique.  What do YOU GUYS consider to be unique about the album, what are you especially proud of or what was/is important to you to point out?

DAVE: I think what’s unique about the album is that Chris and I are both from pretty different backgrounds creatively or are at least known for very different things and then we joined together to wind up where neither of us had really gone before and create Painted Doll. As far as what I am proud of about the album, this might sound corny, but for me, it was just the process of how it came together and becoming good friends with Chris as we went from just trading music as fans to eventually jamming and finally getting into a recording studio together. It all came together very quickly without much plotting or planning. We would just trade rough demos we had recorded into our phones and then, whenever I was in LA doing comedy shows or TV stuff, Chris would drive down from the Bay Area and we’d jam for a few hours. We probably jammed together four times before going into the recording studio and banging out the whole album in three days. It was a fun and loose process. We didn’t overthink anything and just kind of went with our gut and had fun. Also, we only had three days in the studio, so we couldn’t screw around too much. We picked a couple guitars and two or three amps we liked the sound of and just banged it out live on guitar and drums and then overdubbed bass and a second guitar. Everything was done in one or two takes. So just the process of all that feels great and the fact that people are actually going to hear it now is super exciting.

CHRIS: Yeah, it’s an interesting pairing that no one saw coming, least of all ourselves. Haha! That’s what makes it so cool for me though. I like how the songs are all over the map style-wise but somehow they flow together nicely. That has a charm for me. I’m also proud of the fact that this whole thing actually happened in the first place. We had a crazy idea and went for it and it worked. We actually recorded the album without anyone having heard of us and with no label interest at all and even went as far as making a music video to go along with it. Nick Gomez really made a cool video for us and he’s an amazing dude on several levels. Anyways, we figured we’d just make the record and if it came out really good, someone would be interested in it. I do recall Dave saying that he wanted to get on Tee Pee Records for this, which ended up happening, much to our delight and surprise. It’s been a fun ride so far and we’re just getting started as far as the public is concerned. I’m enjoying the fuck out of this!

3. Dave, you are also a comedian and you collaboration with Chris could be described as quite „unusual“.  Can you tell our readers a little deeper than the press info how Painted Doll came to life in particular and if there were any special obstacles?

DAVE: Haha- yeah, it’s definitely a weird combo on the surface what with me being known mostly as a comedian and Chris being a death metal god. But it all came together pretty naturally. I always played in bands before I went into comedy, so I already had a musical background. And then I was at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Festival in Texas a couple years ago and Autopsy was playing. I was psyched to check them out and Chris wife, Nancy, said hello to me out in the lobby where she was selling Autopsy shirts. Chris and Nancy had just seen me on a TV show in the states, @midnight on Comedy Central, so she recognized me from that, I guess. The three of us ended up hanging out that night while Goblin played and hit it off right away. Chris and I kept in touch via email after that, just trading music and stuff and not really planning on playing together and when I’d come to the Bay Area to do comedy shows, he and Nancy would come out. I play guitar a bit in my comedy shows, so I guess when Chris saw that I could play he got the idea that maybe we should jam some time. I was of course excited for that! Originally we were just going to do a 7-inch or something, but the songs came quickly and soon we were ready to crank out a whole album.
As far as obstacles, the only real obstacles are that Chris lives in California and I live in New York, so it makes it hard to practice! But that almost makes it better for us because we have to make it count when we do get together. Sometimes I think if we lived in the same city, we wouldn’t have gotten as much done already! We already have the next written pretty much written, so we’re gearing up to do that hopefully before the end of the year.

CHRIS: What Dave said is exactly how it went down. My wife and I were fans of Dave’s after seeing him on @midnight, and we heard that he was going to be at the same festival in Texas that Autopsy was playing. He was playing guitar for Thor, which was unusual in itself. Even more unusual and super cool was meeting up after my wife flagged him down in the lobby of the venue and watching Goblin together. We stayed in touch after that and became friends and like Dave said, my wife and I would come see his comedy shows when he played in San Francisco. I remember having this thought about jamming together while watching him play guitar at one of the shows. The rehearsal room I jam in is in Oakland, which is really close to San Francisco, so the thought started out as „hey, next time you’re in town, we should run over to the jam room and make some kind of noise.“ That triggered this whole concept of starting an actual band. Things just snowballed from there and here we are now talking to you about it. Life is nuts sometimes! And by far, the biggest obstacle was and still is the fact that we live on opposite sides of the country. But of course, when driven, there’s always a way to figure things out. Nothing was going to stop us from rocking!

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4. Chris, you are a well known Death Metal Drummer. This project probably appears to be quite unexpected to a lot of your fans. What was the hardest (or maybe most rewarding) thing for you as a metal musician co-writing some kind of Psych-Rock? How did you guys share the work / write the music in the first place?

CHRIS: I have dabbled in psych rock before when I did a project called Mirror Snake 12 years ago. It was fun and turned out cool but quickly slid into obscurity. I still have boxes of that album sitting around in my house. Haha! But I like challenging myself by doing different things musically, going back to playing death metal when it was a new thing. That was weird and actually an uncool thing to do at the time but that kind of just turned me on. It felt like being a part of something special that most people didn’t know about or approve of. I didn’t care if it would be accepted or not and there were definitely people that thought it was a dumb thing to do. Haha! When it comes to Painted Doll, I have the same attitude. I believe in it 100% and never worried about it being welcomed with open arms by any particular scene or not. When I do something musically, it’s because I feel driven to do it and this is no exception. So far it’s been going over great though, which is fantastic. One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is writing. I never get tired of finishing a song on just guitar at home, and hearing the whole thing finished in my head with all the instruments and vocals in place. It’s fun to create something that was never there, ya know? It was really easy to write this stuff for me and I reckon Dave would say the same. Both of us being fans of psych rock probably helped when slipping into the mindset. We pretty much wrote songs separately and sent crude home demos back and forth, making little tweaks along the way when necessary. We came up with half of the album each and the way we broke it down in the studio was like this: I played drums on all the songs and Dave played guitar and vocals on all the songs and keyboards on a couple as well. From there, whoever wrote the song would play bass and the second rhythm guitar on the song. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do it again!

5. I realize this is something whole new and you may not be able to answer this, but as of now: Is this more kind of a „fun project“ or something that could become a bigger thing/real touring band / whatever in the future?  I.e. are there already any further plans, ideas, wishes?

DAVE: I think it’s both- we’re definitely having fun but are excited to do as much as we can with it and go with any opportunities that come our way. At the moment, we are planning to play a handful of live shows on the East Coast of the U.S. in March, including a couple shows opening for Monster Magnet, which we are really excited about. And then in April, we’ll do a handful of shows on the West Coast. We have a full-band lineup for the lives shows, including Erika Osterhout from Scolex on bass and Tom Beaujour, who recorded our album at his studio in New Jersey, on guitar. So yeah, we’re excited to play live and would love to come to Europe or go anywhere in the world where people want to hear Painted Doll and hopefully let us stay at their houses and rifle through their things. And then, of course, we’re excited to record our second album, which is pretty much ready to go too. So yeah, we’re having fun even if it’s just the two of a jamming in a sweaty practice room but we’re also excited to take Painted Doll as far as we can all over the world. If you want us to come to your town, get in touch! I’m talking to you, Berlin, Tokyo, Cleveland, and anywhere else!

CHRIS: It’s definitely something we’re taking seriously, but it’s also super fun. We work well together and nothing feels forced, which is the way it should be. We’ve already got a bunch of shows booked, including a couple with Monster Magnet, who are one of our favorite bands, so that rules. Plus we already have the second album just about written and ready to go, so expect more smokin‘ jams from us in the not too distant future. It’s exciting waiting to see what else is going to come up too. I really dig this band and we’re ready to rock your socks off!

6. Obviously you guys love making music and dedicated quite some time and sweat in your album. Besides being passionate, innovative musicians, do you guys have any other „Secret Talents“ ? What are you not talented in at all? 😉

DAVE: Hmmm. I don’t know if I have any secret talents other than I used to be able to do that one dance move where you jump through your own legs, which was briefly popular on MTV in the 90s. I haven’t tried that in a while though. Maybe I will make it part of the Painted Doll live shows if things get slow. As for things I am not talented at, I do know that I suck at basketball, but I am okay with that.

CHRIS: I can read squirrels minds but haven’t found much use for that gift yet. Beyond that, music is just about the only thing I’m not terrible at.

7. Give answer to the question, no Music Journalist ever asked you or tell us the share the one question, you can’t stand hearing any longer!

DAVE: No one ever asks me what I think of the ‘90s R&B group TLC. I love them.

CHRIS: No one asks me if I can read squirrels minds or how I developed that talent, but unless I bring it up, how would they know? Now that I’ve brought it up, I’ll probably begin to hate the repeated questions asking why I think it’s a useful quality. The answer will always be „don’t question it, just wait and see who is safe when the squirrel revolution comes.“ It’ll be me.

8. Anything else you want to point out about the album, the band, your other artistic projects or your passion for music?

DAVE: If anyone wants to bring us snacks at shows, we would love that. I once played a show in Cardiff, Wales and someone brought little salmon appetizers. Everyone was super pumped. Some people think you shouldn’t accept salmon from strangers but I disagree. You only live once- try the salmon!

CHRIS: I will absolutely be all over the salmon if it’s offered to me, especially if it’s accompanied by some lemon, dill and maybe some capers. And if you give Dave a couple of Habanero peppers, he WILL eat them, so don’t think you’re being clever. I can attest to that. And sure this answer has nothing to do with Painted Doll, but Dave set the stage here and I just turned on the lights.

Copyright Fotos & Album Cover: Painted Doll Facebook

 

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