It was just about one year ago that they played the Rumba Café on a chilly, rainy evening. Well, they’re back and are playing the same venue for an early stop on their “Rah! Rah! Radical Tour.”
The Dollyrots, Kelly Ogden (vocals/bass) and Luis Cabezas (guitar/vocals) are joined by Justin McGrath on drums as they hit Columbus on Sunday (March 11) evening. Local band The Methmatics are slated to open the show at 7 p.m.
“We love Columbus,” said Kelly. “We’re trying to make it a yearly thing to do this tour outing in March and do the East coast later in the year.”
They’ve been busy in the twelves months since they last played here, releasing their full-length album “Whiplash Splash” to rave reviews, recording and releasing a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ American Girl, releasing the Get Radical b/w Ruby Soho 7-inch, and more.
“And we’ve been recording even more music than that,” she said. “We started a Patreon account. If our fans subscribe, they get like two unreleased songs per month. So, we’ve been very busy. It’s been a little bit crazy… but we like it crazy.
“Being a completely independent band, we have a limited reach and a limited budget. And so, it’s a little frustrating at times to know how great that album is (Whiplash Splash), but don’t the money or whatever behind us to take it further. It’s a little bittersweet. But, I do feel like that album is incredible.”
The first leg of the Rah! Rah! Radical Tour sees them playing 13 shows in 16 days, starting in Newport, KY on March 9 and running through to Fullerton, CA on March 24. It’s a busy schedule, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We’re not crazy about taking days off, because with days off on tour the whole crew is not sure what they’re supposed to be doing. If you let your body relax, that’s when people start getting sick. It’s hard, but it just becomes the new normal. We don’t do long tours anymore, because we bring our two kids with us. So, we like to keep it at three weeks maximum, for them.”
On this tour, Rikki Styxx won’t be behind the drums. Instead, McGrath will make the run with them.
“She has her obligations and the tour was a little long,” Kelly said, “so we’re going to go out (on tour) with one of her friends, Justin McGrath (Tour Manager for The Darts). He’s a really great guy, so we’re excited to play with him.”
Last year, many mourned when Tom Petty passed away on October 2. Kelly and Luis were saddened by his passing as well. In short order, they decided to pay homage to him with a recording of the classic American Girl.
“Growing up, I loved his music,” she said. “I listened to him a lot as a teenager. I kind of took it for granted that he was around. When he passed away, it was pretty shocking. We were sad the first day, and then we started thinking about it and decided that we were going to record a song. If people wanted to put some money towards it, we donated it to The Midnight Mission (charity that Tom Petty and The Dollyrots have worked with), on skid row in Los Angeles.
“It was pretty cathartic to do one of his songs and release it out into the wild. We thought that song would resonate well with our fans. It seemed like that could be a Dollyrots song without too much of a stretch.”
It’s not a stretch to say that they made the song their own, putting that special “Dollyrots” twist on it.
They also recently released a 7-inch of Get Radical b/w Ruby Soho, covering Rancid’s biggest hit.
“We were friendly with the Underground Garage (Sirius XM) folks and they’ve been really supportive of our band. They asked us if we wanted to their Yankee Stadium concert series when we were on tour. Of course, we said yes! We showed up and I felt a little weird being a Dodger fan (she laughs while saying this). I mean, I come from a family of Mets fans… so I felt like I was walking into some evil palace. All that aside. It was an incredible experience. So, we sent them Get Radical, and (Little) Steven suggested a few changes, we did it up and that was that!
“And then Ruby Soho… man, we love Rancid. We just put that on there for fun. When we do covers, it’s a song that we love. It’s also our job, as a band, to introduce our fans to music that they might not know. I’m not really looking forward to singing and playing bass on it live, yet… we’ll see (she chuckled as she said this).”
Fans of the band are some of the most loyal around, and the band likes to do special things for them to show their appreciation. That might be receiving cookies in a Pledge Music package or being sent an unreleased song.
The band recently released Goodnight Tonight to their fans, a song that was originally recorded in 2003 during the “Eat Your Heart Out” sessions.
“It’s actually a demo,” Kelly said. “So, we released the very original version of that song. That’s one of things we’ve been doing with the Patreon project. We’ll pull songs from the past, or we’ll record new things or acoustic versions… so they got the very original of that song.”
As they have in the past, their children (River and Daisy) will accompany them on this tour. Daisy was just a few months old when the band last visited Columbus. This time around, she’s a bit older and may be just a bit more cognizant of what’s going on.
“River loves it,” she said with a smile and parental fondness in her voice. “He thinks it’s kind of normal. He’ll say things like ‘Can we go to the airport? I want to go on tour.’ Daisy is almost a year and half old now, and I think she’ll really start to take in the experience like he did. I’m excited to bring them. We’re so lucky; it’s awesome.”
After last year’s show, we expect them to put on another excellent evening of some of the best pop-punk being played today. You know we’ll be there on Sunday bobbing our heads and generally having a blast with the band.
The Dollyrots – Get Radical