Interview with The Doll Eyes at the Midway Cafe
By Jim Slimedog
The Doll Eyes are a Providence/Boston punk that has equal members in both cities. They seem to play just a little bit more in Rhode Island which makes me sad as a Boston boy I be. Voted Best New Band last year by myself did not discourage them and they continue to play a hard hitting mix of punk, hardcore, garage and whatever else the cat dragged in. They have Phil McCaffrey who was in the McGunks, one of the best local punk bands and Gary “Rotten Drunk” Traylor, one of the best partially clad punk drummers around. This band is bangin’ live and have a great cd called, “Too Many Feelings” which you can buy from them for the price of a pint with a tip. Highly recommended.
Slimedog- Congratulations on being named Best New Band of 2010 by Slimedog in the Noise.
Phil (vocals/guitar)- Thank you. If he was here I’d buy him a drink. Oh, I already did.
Slimedog- Unfortunately, now you’re in the running for worst band of 2011.
Nate (vocals/guitar)- We do what we can. (laughter)
Slimedog- Only kidding, do you guys consider yourself mainly a Rhode Island or Boston band?
Nate- We’re both. We really play both areas equally. We also have half the members from Rhode Island and half from Massachusetts. Mikey and I both live in Rhode Island.
Phil- I live in Walpole (Mass.) and Gary lives in Westwood (Mass.).
Slimedog- You know, Gary was voted most disreputable person in Westwood. (kind of a ritzy town).
Phil- At a town meeting- unanimously.
Slimedog- He lives in a dry town. How ironic that someone who’s known to some as “Rotten Drunk” would live there.
Gary- When it was a dry town and they wanted to make it legal to sell alcohol, my dad, he was like, “No, I don’t want alcohol in my town.” And I’m like, “I want a bar on my street corner so I don’t have to go very far to drink, I don’t have to drive.”
Nate- You were being responsible.
Gary- Exactly and he wasn’t very happy with that.
Slimedog- So he wanted you to do crack? (laughter) Why can’t you be hip and do drugs like the other kids?
Gary- In the late 80’s our High School was somehow, from some survey, we became known as the druggiest High School in Massachusetts. I have no idea how and I don’t think anyone who took the survey took it seriously and the news media came and we’re like, “This is Westwood- come on!”
Slimedog- The news media wanted to do interviews with the students but unfortunately, everyone was nodding out.
Gary- The news media felt bad about it so two weeks later the Today Show came and did a big thing on the prom.
Slimedog- Do you think there’s a difference between the Rhode Island and Massachusetts scene?
Phil- I think all the bands tend to stick to themselves and I think that’s a shame because I think all the bands should work together to make music a better place. To all play together and not be so involved with yourself.
Slimedog- One of the main things we want to do with our website is bring bands together, from different styles and states- especially bands from punk and metal, and hopefully they can support and gig with each other.
Nate- I think Rhode Island is a really insular scene, everybody knows each other and it’s really incestuous. But for a couple of years, after the Station’s fire, all the clubs were closing so, especially in the punk scene, people just started making their own clubs. A bar we play in Rhode Island, the Broadstreet Tap, tiny place with people right up on you but it really makes for a more intimate show and a lot more fun.
Slimedog- How did you guys all get together?
Phil- This is a true story, I won tickets to AC/DC off ‘BCN and went with Nate and we decided we were gonna start a band. And I thought about who I want to play drums and Gary was a good friend and a lot of people said we should be in a band together and then Nate told me he wanted Mike in the band.
Slimedog- I noticed you strum your bass.
Mike (bass/vocals)- I like to keep it simple. I like punk music, I like Dee Dee Ramone, stuff like that.
Slimedog- How about influences?
Phil- My biggest influence is my brother Tommy; he gave me my first guitar. He told me that because my playing of covers was so bad that you better write your own shit. (laughter) At least no one can tell you you’re playing it wrong.
Slimedog- How would you describe your band’s style?
Nate- I had to do bio’s on Reverbnation, Facebook and what not and the best I could figure out, and I put it on our headline, is “Bar Band Punk Music” or “Punk influenced Rock Music.” We do some songs of the hardcore variety, some of the melodic punk variety.
Gary- We don’t want to stick to one type of music or be typecast as one type of music. If it’s a good song just play it.
Slimedog- What was the worst gig you’ve had?
Phil- The worst gig? Well, there was a lot of alcohol involved.
Slimedog- Only on that gig though, right?
Nate- Generally, we have a lot of alcohol, just happened to have a little more on that one.
Gary- And I happened to be a little too sober. (laughter)
Nate- Gary was sober and I was off my meds. A disaster waiting to happen.
Slimedog- In that vein, who drinks the most?
Phil- I’m a heavy drinker.
Slimedog- Even more than Gary?
Phil- Yeah, I drink a lot.
Mike- He drank me under the table like, five times.
Gary- I’m very impressed with his drinking ability.
Nate- It is really fun to watch people try to keep up with him. Also, we ran a race, or we made it look like we were running. It was called “The Grog and Dog Jog” at the Wild Colonial with proceeds to benefit the Rhode Island food bank. And it just seemed like fun and I signed up the band and told them about it afterwards. And what we had to do is run a mile, drink a ‘Gansett, and eat a hot dog before the next guy could leave for a relay. And I’m damn proud to say the Doll Eyes team finished dead last. (Laughter) And when I came across the finish line, I was the last one, and I had a cigarette hanging out of my mouth the guy who was running the race said to me, “I don’t use the word hero, too much, but you sir are my hero!”
Mike- There’s more to that story.
Nate- Oh, yeah, Phil totally torpedoed another team by getting them to drink with us before the run and they had a kid who was trying to keep up with Phil (laughter) and the fuckin’ kid by the time he came to the finish line, someone had to carry him across and show him were to get the hot dog and beer ‘cause he was out of it!
Slimedog- Who writes in the band?
Phil- I don’t know. No, Nate writes some of the lyrics, I write some. Mike’s now writing and the new stuff will be different but not too different. It’s awesome to be in a band where everyone writes and contributes.
(What follows is a conversation about how Nate provides all the graphics for the band, including the nice one for their cd, and how “doll eyes” refer to what detectives call a young child’s murder and though they don’t condone anything like that Nate likes it ‘cause it gives him free will to draw creepy things.)
Slimedog- I guess that’s it, anything else you’d like to say?
Gary- Phil’s got a nice ass.
Mike- Everyone’s seen your ass.
Phil- I like to put in there, if it doesn’t make it that’s fine. Mr. Edward Hoban who was a good friend and he’s gone now and Thomas McCaffrey is gone now and we love them very much.
Check out the links we have and check out our review of their cd and live reviews.