Shedding punk beliefs for melody and size
Gazette file photo
MY GRAN LIVES RIGHT OVER THERE. 60 Ft. Dolls sit poised in their home neighbourhood, looking for which direction they will go.
By Jonathan Hale
When people think of punk music emerging out of Britain, the classic bands always come to mind The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks and The Clash. While all three of these bands have had a seminal influence on bands of this genre all over the world, over the last few years it seems the southern California punk scene has not only begun causing a raucous in the industry, but also made several millions of dollars and turned this supposed underground scene into a mainstream sound.
Of course, if you are in the highly talented and entertaining 60 Ft. Dolls, whose melodic style has been compared to The Clash, then you no longer accept the fact that the beliefs and ideology of punk still exist.
"I think punk is an obsolete word now," explains singer/guitarist Richard Parfitt over dinner. "I don't think it's valid in 1997. In 1976 when punk came about in Britain, it was a word they used. I don't think we're doing ourselves any favours by harping back 20 years, you know. Punk isn't like a haircut and it's not a song or an article of clothing.
"It's just the spirit in which you do something."
Parfitt extends this idea even further, noting "There's so many phonies around who'd want to put themselves in with a bunch of phonies. We always tried to separate ourselves."
60 Ft. Dolls' debut release,The Big 3, reflects a musical diversity that, while initially and easily labelled as a Clash-type band, is extremely melodic and almost borders on the pop scene, but is performed with such aggression that the Dolls did not fall into the highly-publicized Brit Pop scene that emerged around the same time as the band.
"When we started, the scene was this new wave of new wave bullshit," Parfitt says of the ever changing British music scene. "Then it moved onto almost a new mod thing, then there was Brit Pop.
"We've always been like, on the fringes of each one, cause we've never really fit in to any one scene totally. And I think that's why we've sort of been able to go on and get stronger."
The band, while not a part of any particular scene, has still chosen to tour with some of the better known acts to emerge from the Brit Pop era, such as Ash, The Boo Radleys and Oasis. In fact, one of the members of the popular act Elastica played a role in the band's formation.
"There's a girl called Donna [Matthews] in Elastica and she used to be the girlfriend of Mike [Cole], the bassist in the group, and they lived together. She used to live in Pizza Hut and I worked in Pizza Hut as well, so I was a friend. I met him through her."
Drummer Carl Bevan soon joined. Parfitt and Cole together have penned various wondrous songs such as "Happy Shopper," "Hair" and the power-chord driven "Loser."
When asked of the latter, Cole-written song, Parfitt laughs while saying, "It's about himself, likely." He tries to get more serious, saying, "It's a uniquely British sentiment in that Britain loves to celebrate the loser."
If this is the case, then by British standards, 60 Ft. Dolls will hopefully be deemed the biggest losers of all, as the overly unique style and sound deserves to be universally celebrated.