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A Dirty Dozen with CHRIS REIFERT and DAVE HILL from PAINTED DOLL – September 2020

| 26 September 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “In the decades and even centuries to come, the year 2020 will be remembered for many things, most of them seriously negative. But even in this absolute fucker of a year, goodness still prevails. Part of that goodness is How to Draw Fire, the brand new album from Painted Doll, the unlikely duo consisting of death metal legend Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Death, Violation Wound, Abscess) and musician/comedian Dave Hill (Valley Lodge, Witch Taint). How to Draw Fire will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public September 25 via Tee Pee Records. It is the best album and if you end up not agreeing, you can kick Chris and Dave in the nuts.” We get Chris and Dave to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Chris: The latest release by us, Painted Doll is our second full length album called How To Draw Fire and it’s on Tee Pee Records. There’s all manner of cool shit crammed in there without getting TOO crammy. It’s got a nice mix of stuff in there from tough to melodic to whoa, what was in that drink I just had?! It’s worth listening to from front to back while zoning out on the cover, the way albums were meant to be absorbed or inhaled if you will. Twitter and all that shit can wait for 35 minutes or so and it’s always a good time to surrender your soul to rock and roll.

Dave: I agree with everything that Chris said and am actually mad at him for saying all of it first, but I would also like to add that this album has bonus animal sounds, which is the first thing we got cracking on once we knew we had a bigger budget to work with. If you listen closely, you can hear coyotes frolicking in Chris’ backyard at the very end of “Blue Postcards.” It’s pretty awesome. But there’s no way in hell I am ever going in Chris’ backyard at night after hearing it. Also, it didn’t cost us anything to record the coyotes, so joke’s on you big money record label guy with the cigar and everything- we blew the extra money on pizza!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Chris: My parents were musicians and they had records and a record player that I had access to, so that was definitely a factor. Next thing you know, KISS commercials were on TV and my little kid brain exploded. I don’t remember ever wanting to be a musician, it was just something that happened, ya know? More like a drive than a pre-thought out plan or whatever. But once I became a musician it was just about all I could think about and still is.

Dave: I remember seeing a movie called Thank God It’s Friday when I was a kid and, as I remember it, the Commodores are in the movie and are trying to get to their gig and everything is going horribly wrong. They finally make it and come out on stage wearing awesome outfits with mirrors sewn onto them and the crowd goes nuts. I knew I had to play music after seeing that. Also, if it turns out that I am getting all the details of that story wrong, I don’t care- I still choose to thank the Commodores for changing my life. Also, at the time, I assumed they were actual glass mirrors sewed to their clothing, but time and experience has shown me they were probably just plastic mirrors. At the time though, I thought walking around covered in actual glass was the coolest thing that could ever happen. Thanks, guys.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Chris: I started off as a young squirt with The Beatles and Beethoven then moved on to KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath on my own. When the 80’s rolled around I discovered metal, punk and things just got weirder from there. I still feel like I’m being guided by something but that something is ever changing, which I love. Predictability can go fuck itself. Haha!

Dave: I remember my dad bought Led Zeppelin IV and it was the first music I ever heard that scared me (in a good way, of course). I’ve been trying to get scared by music whenever possible ever since. It’s a rare occurrence, but when it happens, it’s the best!

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Chris: Goddamn, I’m terrible at lists so I’ll just blurt without thinking too much. Keith Moon, Ace Frehley, Brian Wilson, Dave Lombardo and Buddy Rich maybe? Could be totally different tomorrow but who knows?

Dave: This is the hardest question ever, but maybe Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, Barry White, and Johnny Marr. Or, if I’m being really honest, I saw another movie as a kid where there is a power pop band playing in a battle of the bands against a glam rock band where the singer had his shirt torn off by adoring fans to reveal he’d had a glittery star painted on his chest the whole time. This is when I knew I could never work in sales.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Chris: Right now I’d say either Mike or Brian or both from The Lemon Twigs. Those guys are blowing my mind these days. Fucking impressive.

Dave: Francoise Hardy. She’s an amazing artist and I have no doubt both the outfits and snacks on hand would be incredible. And to give things a real anything “Wow!” factor we could ask Rick Wakeman to put on a cape and come play keyboards.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Chris: When it comes to Painted Doll I usually tell ‘em psychedelic rock to keep it simple, knowing full well there’s more to it than that. I don’t want to confuse anyone so I just put a piece of candy in the trap and see if they bite. I don’t worry about comparisons but if it’s something I like or agree with I might be stoked. People always need reference points I guess but I’m usually too busy plotting the next plan to worry about anything that would make me cringe.

Dave: I think we start with psychedelic rock and then throw in elements of all sorts of other stuff. It’s fun but also sinister- like us! We’ll take you out for tacos, but we won’t think twice about eating up all the salsa while you’re in the bathroom. Thankfully, nothing I’ve read about us thus far has made me cringe but let’s give it some time! I guess if a music journalist ever goes out for tacos with us, they’ll be ready for some shit talking.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Chris: Making your inner imaginary rock fantasy soundscapes come to life in the real world. That rules. Plus making a racket with cool people who share and alter or improve the vision is extra fun. Life is short and music makes me feel like I’m getting the most out of it.

Dave: I think music is maybe the only art form where the fun begins as soon as you pick up the instrument. With most other things, it’s more about the finished product. Also, with music you can show up to work drunk. I’m not saying I do or would even recommend it, but the option is there and I respect that. Also, statistically speaking, if you’re into free stickers and T-shirts, being a musician is pretty much the way to go. Or you could just do one of those “fun runs”, I guess.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Chris: I wish we got to just hang out more but due to us being on opposite ends of the country it’s more of a rare and special thing. I’m totally down with cooking and drinking is pretty sweet too. Also I’m a super compulsive dish washer so no mess there. Ha!

Dave: Yeah, it’s hard with us being across the country from each other, so usually we just start eating and drinking like fiends at a restaurant or something rather than getting up to any cooking at home or whatever. I think last time we ate together, we had Indian food, which was awesome. We were eating and talking and laughing and everyone else at the restaurant was super jealous. Also, Chris, if you’re reading this, if you ever just randomly break out an acoustic guitar on me without warning, I will fucking stab you!

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Chris: I don’t usually get that way but I was pretty pumped to meet and chat for a few with Dave Wyndorf. Painted Doll was actually invited to play a couple of gigs with Monster Magnet two years ago which was a mind blower. Dave was really nice to us which was a bonus. I met Dave Lombardo once and didn’t know what to say so that probably counts. Haha! I also met Cronos from Venom once and was reluctant to approach him but he was actually very friendly. There’s always the fear that a hero from way back will be a dick so when they’re not it’s a relief.

Dave: Elvis Costello and I live in the same neighborhood in New York City and coincidentally often go to the same restaurant. Or at least it was coincidental until I realized he also ate there, which is when I started eating there as often as possible. Anyway, I try to keep my cool, but I almost always fake like I have to go to the bathroom so I can walk past his table and see what he ordered. I have never spoken to him though. I just play it really cool and then go back to my seat and order exactly what he’s having.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Chris: I have no fucking idea. I’m not very good at anything else. Haha!

Dave: I juggle being a comedian and a writer with being a musician, so I’m kind of doing everything I ever dreamed of aside from being an assassin maybe. Sometimes though, I think it would be nice to be some sort of hot sauce or condiment magnate, where you can get all sorts of sauces that come in a bottle with my face on it and then there is a little bubble that has me saying something about the sauce like “There’s a little bit of me in every bottle!” or “You’re gonna shit your pants!” or something. It’s gonna rule.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Chris: Not really. Everything I’ve done has been a step on this weird path I’ve found myself on. Not everything has been a jewel in the crown but if something’s at least a shoelace in a shoe it helps with the walking, ya know?

Dave: If anything, maybe I’d go back in time and tell my younger self to just have fun and do what you love and the rest will fall into place. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a good lesson I’ve learned over time. Then again, if I were a young dude and some older dude who looked just like me just walked up and started saying the kind of shit you see embroidered into pillows at me without warning, I probably would have thought he was some kind of perv, especially if he was dressed like me.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Chris: I think it would be pretty crazy to be a fly on the wall for the recording sessions at Fame Recording Studios in it’s heyday. The sheer quantity AND quality of what the swampers churned out is mind boggling. There’s a documentary called Muscle Shoals that’s definitely worth your time. Besides that, I’ve really loved being a part of the recording sessions that I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in and can’t wait to do more. Recording never gets old and I’m talking about everything from rolling in the door to all the small seemingly tedious details. So going back to question #10 maybe I’d find a way to work in a studio even if it meant just bringing lunch to Brian Wilson.

Dave: It would have been amazing to be around for any of the albums Barry White recorded in the seventies. He had amazing string sections, awesome backup singers, and you know the outfits had to have been absolutely stunning.



Category: Interviews

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ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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