Guitarist Doyle and frontman Alex Story, touring in support of their second album Doyle II: As We Diefollowing their successful debut album Abominator
National Rock Review had a chance to catch up with Doyle and Alex Story after their show in Louisville where we discussed Doyle’s eye issue, touring, their new album Doyle II: As We Die, the upcoming Misfits shows and being T-shirt salespeople.
NRR: I appreciate you taking time after your set to talk to us. Where did you guys come in from?
NRR: That’s a long drive, about 9 hours. Where are you off to next?
Alex: We really don’t know, we had to drop off the run for a few days because of issues with his (Doyle’s) eye so that has really taken us off the flow.
NRR: Yeah, so Doyle, what the heck happened with your eye?
Doyle: I was seeing some floaters in my vision, but they were lines and I thought it was hair and then they lit up so I thought it was my phone. I held my hand over my eye and my vision was blurry. We went to a local optometrist, like three of those. I was getting sick from the lights during the examinations so we ended up at a specialist who told me I had a detached retina and they could operate on me right now. He started doing it but said, “Nah fuck it”, he couldn’t do it because there was too much blood in there so he said to come back the next day and we are going to fuckin do this. I’m like what the fuck? It was crazy.
NRR: That’s insane! So now it’s better? Is it healing?
Doyle: It’s doing good, I’m able to see shit, like make it out, but it’s blurry as fuck. There are stitches in there that are driving me crazy, so itchy.
NRR: So, you have a new album that came out just a bit ago, Doyle II: As We Die, and you played a few from the new album tonight which came across very well.
Doyle: Oh, Good! That’s cool. Told you, Alex.
NRR: How did you choose the particular songs for tonight?
Alex: What we have been doing is, we have a headline run coming up after this tour, and so we will have to play a longer set, so we have been like every night playing a different set. We have been doing like ½ or more of the new album and do a few off the old album. We have been changing it up every night to see how different songs go over and different things. I think it was the first time we have ended with “King of the Undead” tonight.
NRR: Yeah, the set was fantastic. You didn’t play tonight, which I was kind of hoping to see was “Kiss Me As I Die”.
Alex: Yeah, we played it the first two shows and then we change it every night.
NRR: The new songs came across really well tonight.
Doyle: There are so many to choose from now, which is a good thing.
NRR: You have done a video or two from the new album. What’s next for the album, video-wise?
Doyle: They are still working on “Kiss Me as I Die”. They shot the band and they shot Alissa (Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy). They did this whole green screen thing with her and us too.
NRR: Is it weird doing a green screen thing?
Doyle: I hate doing videos, I feel like an idiot.
Alex: It’s weird not knowing what it’s going to look like. You are always worried that it’s going to come out stupid. You know up there (on stage) we are in control, we know exactly what we are doing but when you are making the video, it’s up to other people to interpret what you are doing. Pretty much they can make you look really stupid. With this kind of thing, there is a fine line between what’s cool and what’s really cheesy. You want to dip your toe in cheesiness to show you can make fun of yourself but you don’t want to drop off and be irritatingly cheesy.
NRR: You mentioned Alissa, right? You had others who contributed to the new album, how did that come about?
Doyle: I was trying to write a solo for “Kiss Me” cause I didn’t like the arrangement, I thought it should go a little further so I’m trying to write it and I get a text from Michael (Michael Amott of Arch Enemy) saying “Hey, save me a spot on your album”. I was trying to write something inspired by the way he plays and I was like, ‘I’ll send it right over. You can fuckin’ do it, and it came out great, He’s awesome!
NRR: Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe is on the album as well, right?
Doyle: Yeah, I called him up, ‘Hey you wanna sing a song?’ and he said sure. I wanted him to do the song he did (“Virgin Sacrifice“) and I sent him two other ones and said pick what you want. And he came in, picked his song and came into the studio ….
Alex: I could hear him doing it and it came out sounding just like I imagined. We actually had a couple of other guests we wanted on it but with schedules and stuff, we just couldn’t make it work. Like “Blood on The Axe” I could totally in my head, hear my Buddy Corpsgrinder (George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher from Cannibal Corpse) singing on that. He wanted to do it but we just couldn’t work out the schedules.
Doyle: He wouldn’t stop playing fuckin’ video games and eating Doritos (Doyle and Alex are laughing).
So, Randy came in and asked, “What do you want me to do?” I told him, “Do whatever the fuck you want. I’m going to fuck around on my phone.” and he knocked it out.
NRR: Again, the album comes across fantastic – It’s really great.
I had read a previous interview, talking about the Abominator album and how much better you guys thought the new album was. I think the response was something like, the new album is 10 times better.
Alex: I think it’s way more focused. With Abominator we didn’t really know how it was going to come out. We knew what we wanted but we don’t know what we sound like, and when it came out we really loved it but it’s like after playing those songs live, the way we play them live is way better. When I listen to Abominator, halfway through, it sounds just so slow compared to what we do with those songs now. They (The songs) have grown a lot.
What’s great about the second album, we wrote a lot of those songs at the same time as Abominator.
Doyle: Several of the songs were even written before Abominator.
Alex: But we were still changing things in the studio, like some of the lyrics and things were changing, like melodies and stuff last minute, while we were in the studio. So, some of the songs grew so much, like they turned into totally different songs. If you heard the original demo, some of them were like night and day different.
Doyle: When I was mixing and going to the mix, because we had to mix while I was in Europe over the fucking phone, which sucked.
NRR: How do you do that? How do you mix over the phone?
Alex: It was a nightmare.
Doyle: I would go home and do more feedback tracks and bring them in and mix them over the phone, which was fucking crazy.
Alex: Thing is he’s a perfectionist like he has to have it exactly as he wants it, which is not a bad thing. Because we were on the road and stuff it was impossible. You had to get a mix done partially, instead of sitting there with the guy, bring this up and adjust that. For us, we send it and then it’s not what you want so you explain what you want and then they overdo something, it’s really frustrating.
Doyle: And you are listening to it on bullshit fucking equipment so you can’t really tell.
We were dealing with all of these different mixes but in the end, it turned out great!
Alex: My favorite in the vinyl mix, to me the vinyl sounds the best out of any of it – It’s really, really good.
NRR: Touring… You guys are touring all over the place and what seems like all the time. Life on the road is pretty hard.
Doyle: It’s pretty rough.
NRR: It is, right? It’s the only way you make any money these days.
Doyle: It is. Everybody is stealing from you.
Alex: We are in the T-Shirt business, I mean we sell T-shirts. That’s what we do for a living. Everything else we do is a commercial to buy a T-shirt.
NRR: People don’t understand that do they? I mean the cost of touring and stuff, the busses and everything is so expensive. It gets tighter and tighter every year, doesn’t it?
Alex: The only people making money are the people who don’t make the music. The booking agents, everybody who’s getting a piece of it but isn’t actually making the music. Those are the ones who are making the money
Doyle: You know it’s a shame because people are stealing the music and then there won’t be any musicians. Who’s going to make this shit, the guy in the suit?
Alex: You put all of your love and emotion into this work of art and then people want to piss on it or get it for free. Who’s going to do that? You know, an artist by nature is usually a more sensitive person. It’s like, it’s hard enough to put yourself out there for people to fucking judge and stuff but then they also don’t want to pay you for it. No other art form do they do that.
Doyle: You know how I feel? If I was making motorcycles and you came in and took one, is that a crime? If you steal our song you should be punished by law, there should be a fucking fine. A stolen song should be $1,000 or go to jail.
Do you know how much it costs to mix one song, it’s a fortune, just to mix it?
Alex: People bitch about why our movies, in general, have gone downhill and why the only thing made are these mindless blockbusters or mindless pop things. Because they are only going to put money into a project that they know will reciprocate money. They are not going to give an artist or a good director money to do something that is not mainstream or is too deep, because they need to make that sure-fire money. They know people are just going to download it anyway so they make mindless explosions and bullshit popcorn movies. The same with music, it’s going to be bullshit pop music that they know this formula works for dance clubs or for different things where they know they will make money.
Doyle: We record the records ourselves, the guitar and bass, and it costs us thirty grand to do it, at home. These records in the studio would cost a million bucks.
Alex: I’ve got friends in moderately successful bands, just getting where they can make a living making music and they will spend, rock bottom, $50 grand tracking an album.
Doyle: And it’s grueling, especially metal because it’s so precise. You have to do a million guitar tracks, all the same, do you know how hard that is?
Alex: Then you are going through a label and a distributor, all of these other middle-men, just to get it out and each one of them has to get a piece of it. It’s so long before you see a profit if you ever actually do see a profit.
Doyle: We still haven’t broken even from the Abominator album!
NRR: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about Misfits. You have two huge shows coming up at the end of the year. One in LA that sold out almost as soon as tickets went on sale and added a show in Las Vegas a couple of days before that. Do you like doing these reunion shows?
Doyle: I’d like to do a lot of them and make a record but you know … I’m not really associated with it.
NRR: The fans dig it, right?
Doyle: It’s cool, it’s a great idea, it’s a really great idea.
NRR: Are there any bands you currently into or are listening to? Maybe a newer band that you can turn other people onto?
Doyle: Not new ones, I don’t … Unless someone comes by and say listen to this I don’t go out and listen to a bunch of stuff.
Alex: I’m more into revisiting stuff that I used to not like and now I’m starting to be into because there’s so little new music that I like that like now the stuff that I didn’t like is like, well, that’s not so bad. Our drummer on the album is in this band called Horror because they are doing something different with a different kind of song, and there is this band out of Cleveland called Midnight that was doing an album release show that I checked out and they were really good. I really like these bands we are playing with right now, it’s a good line-up for us, US Bastards, GWAR – Its cool, it’s a good fit.
NRR: You jumped off your headline tour to go on tour with GWAR?
Doyle: You know, we get to play in front of more people, people who don’t know us.
Alex: People outside the Misfits fans but people who still like theatrical music, heavier music. It’s exposed us to a crowd that maybe we weren’t aware of, what we are doing or even that we have a band, so that’s good.
Doyle: Thing is a lot of people don’t know that we have a band. If people knew… The stuff’s good right? If they knew we would have our own crowd but no one knows (about us).
Alex: Thing is we don’t have the promotion budget. See, label acts that get like 3 months of promotion before an album even comes out everybody knows about it, even if people don’t follow that band. Our album comes out and like 2 months later everyone is like, when does your album come out? So, no one knows.
NRR: That’s where outlets like ours and the PR folks come in and help with the promotion, push content and publicize all of these details.
Alex: We are the most, highest level social anxiety folks I know, so we are usually really uncomfortable in situations like these, but this is really all the promotion we get so we need to take advantage of it.
I think anything you can do in the arts, supporting is great you know. Critics can suck it but …
NRR: Thank You for the time guys, I really appreciate it!
Doyle launches their headline run supporting their new album Doyle II: As We Die beginning November 6th in Fargo, North Dakota. Tour information and Meet and Greet packages are available. http://officialdoyle.com/