Mydolls
Gig Seeker Pro

Mydolls

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1978 | INDIE

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1978
Band Alternative Punk

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


The Mydolls were a Houston band that played shows, did a few tours, and put out some records between 1978 and 1986. On the face of it, they're an unlikely candidate for a career retrospective, lacking a 'regional hit' and not even putting out a full length record – which is perhaps why A World of Her Own, as both a time capsule and a free-standing collection of music is so remarkable. By all rights, it shouldn't exist at all. Yet here it is, lovingly released by Glendale, California-based Grand Theft Audio; 56 released, demo and live tracks from a band that most of us have never heard of, but maybe should have.

Like many folks, we tend to divide listen-able music from this era into two camps using the Urgh! dichotomy – everything is either punk or New Wave. Somehow, we got it into our heads that the Mydolls (note the pun) had pitched their Coleman tent in the camp spot of the former. Yet, while they might not be sleeping on that side of the recycled rail tie, they surely stopped over to roast a smores on the side of the fire where safety pins were more plentiful. In other words, Mydolls aren't the lilly-livered , skinny tied denizens of New Wave pop that Jello Biafra railed against in the Dead Kennedys' Urgh! outing. Stylistically, you could say they're among the first of the post-punk bands, tapping into many of the same underground currents as contemporaries like The B-52s (“Nova Grows Up”), Joy Division (“Parallel”) and Wire (“The/rapist”).

We think it'd be wrong to call them derivative of any of these bands (remember the time frame, after all – it's not like they had access to these bands' pre-released recordings on MySpace or something), more like swept up in the same era, which is why you can hear the same fashion, books and responses to politics that gave rise to outfits like Gang of Four and Au Pairs (“Imposter”) or U2 and The Chamelions (“As Strange as Mine”). You get the idea. The songs are frequently political, and if the husky, forceful (though at times gentle) and occasionally vibrato-tinged vocals aren't enough to remind you that you're listening to a band fronted by three women, the lyrics will.

Clocking in at almost 2 ½ hours, it's not really the sort of record that one tackles in a single sitting, but we're glad this is all here. Considering that only 12 of the 56 tracks ever saw the black of vinyl, the inclusion of so many demos and live tracks is anything but superfluous (indeed – there are only a very few instances of multiple versions of any one song – this truly is the result of some dedicated archival work). A World of Her Own is presented in a curated order, with recordings grouped together by release or show or session, and not chronologically. It makes it a solid listen throughout and avoids the second disc curse that plague far too many completest sets.

The liner notes have an extensive, literally break-less, interview with the band with photos and flyers for venues long passed (Showbar, Midtown live). There is a distinct Houstoness throughout, and references to people and things that aren't that unfamiliar: a practice space upstairs from Rudyards; opening up for The Hates at the Pride Parade; playing shows with the Butthole Surfers; having a track on a Sub Pop comp cassette; meeting a nice man named John Lomax.

As an artifact, it also begs some of the same questions that folks in town often muse about. Just why is it that, even here in town, few have ever heard of this band? Why is it that Wall of Voodoo is still making a living off of “Mexican Radio”, and Mydolls at most got a few free Michelobes for songs like “Underage?” How could a band clearly so talented and in their stride until the end (judging from the demos recorded at the end of their career) not even put out a full length record? Was, even then, Houston still a terrible backwater in the minds of A&R scouts and national music writers?

But on the other hand, maybe this is all the band really ever wanted. Maybe, like Galaxie 500, it was their dream only to find their own 7” in the used bin one day. Maybe the three tours and the guerrilla appearance on the John Peel radio show was enough. Whatever the case, we should most assuredly not judge the Mydolls by what they did not accomplish. Listening to these tracks, its clear that the accomplished the most important thing – making some great music that holds up almost thirty years later. To everyone playing in bands today, we wish you equal success. Recommended. - THe Skyline Network


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

“Mydolls' music is imaginative, political post-punk that stretches the boundaries of what most people consider "punk" and also challenges the status quo.” -- Osa Atoe, Shotgun Seamstress


Art-punk pioneers Mydolls were a core part of Houston’s emerging and fecund early 1980's new music scene. As such, they eschewed typical rock’n’roll cliches and aimed for a more cerebral meld of slanted guitar, bass driven tuneage, frenetic poetry, and tribal stomp meets Latin style drumming.


Since they didn’t know the musical rules of any particular genre, they were completely unconventional. One of their early songs, “Breaking the Rules,” in fact, was inspired by the idea of “How can you break rules if you don’t know them?” Founded in 1978, two things have not changed: the same founding members remain in the band, and their politically charged lyrics, first penned and released on CIA Records, are clearly just as relevant in this new era of strife.


Early on, Mydolls played live alongside other members of the now legendary Texas punk scene: Big Boys, The Dicks, Really Red (fellow CIA Records recording artists), MDC, the Degenerates, and Butthole Surfers. In Houston, they supported seminal touring bands, including Minor Threat, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and one of the best conceived band pairings ever -- Mydolls opening for the Cramps.


A band excursion to London included an on-air interview with John Peel and a meeting with Houston ex-pat and musical influence Mayo Thompson of Red Krayola. Their international experience didn’t end there. Shortly after their return stateside, they were featured in German director Wim Wenders’ iconic road movie, “Paris, Texas,” which won the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.


Mydolls' stateside tours took them to college towns and small alternative venues. In 1983, they completed a Midwest tour dubbed "The Dead Armadillo Tour," which included shows in Ohio, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri, and Michigan and a 1984 Midwest/East Coast jaunt, dubbed the "Go to Fish Tour," stopped in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  Several of the live recordings on Mydolls’ E.P. “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” came from these tours.


In 2007, Grand Theft Audio released "A World of Her Own," the Mydolls' complete anthology CD, including two CDs and a 24-page booklet of song lyrics, photos, flyers, and liner notes. Houston music blog, The Skyline Network, remarked, “Listening to these tracks, it’s clear that they accomplished the most important thing – making some great music that holds up almost thirty years later. To everyone playing in bands today, we wish you equal success.”  


In November, 2008, Mydolls re-united to play at the Noise and Smoke Festival in Houston, Texas, and they have continued to play shows in Houston as well as regionally, including a November 2012  wildly successful Island celebration show honoring the birthplace of punk rock in Houston.


In August, 2013, Mydolls became one of only ten Houston artists to be inaugural inductees into the newly established Houston Music Hall of Fame along with Geto Boys, Gene Watson, La Mafia, and ZZ Top.


Recently, Mydolls traveled to California to play Fabulosa Festival and gigged in Oakland, where they opened for the iconic year zero punks the Avengers. They have released their new CD, "It's Too Hot for Revolution,” a compilation of newly recorded and vintage works remixed and mastered. This CD also includes the recently penned song, “Don’t Fucking Die,” a song written for loved ones fighting the battle of cancer.


Mydolls are: Patricia “Trish” Herrera, Linda Younger, George Reyes and Dianna Ray.


www.mydollsmusic.com

Contact: mydollstexas@gmail.com


Band Members