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What's My Name?

Lisa Doll and her California dreaming



Lisa Doll is a caricature of a punk front-woman. Constantly suited in either a cut-off jean vest or a black leather jacket, adorned with patches and buttons, Doll is also slightly mysterious, and totally punk; she's the kind of girl who puts on crimson red lipstick and Doc Martins without blinking.

"Most people don't know what my real name is," said Doll. "I started the stage name when I was in middle school. Kids always brutalized my last name. I needed a stage name, I needed an art name and because I was into a lot of riot grrrl bands at the time I came up with the idea of Lisa Doll."

The persona has led Doll to a career as a tattoo artist, a comic illustrator and a cutsie fuck-all attitude with her two-piece backing band, the Rock 'n' Roll Romance.

"As a kid, I typically looked up to Joan Jett—she's one of the ones that deserves to be looked up to. I was aware of Courtney Love, but I didn't look up to Courtney Love as a person. She's a beautiful disaster. This thing you watch form afar," remembered Doll. "Jet was more my speed. She has that rock and roll essence. Juliette Lewis and the Licks are another, and Veruca Salt."

Taking cues from seminal female punk acts without breaking the mold or losing any semblance of class is Doll's wheelhouse. Songs like "Bubblegum Boy" are adolescent odes to lady hormones, spit out mall romance sung over chunky power chords and hammering drums. Doll's 2013, EP Neon Heat, easily fits into any feminist pseudo-anarchist record collection next to the likes of The Donnas and The Runaways. Although a Baltimore native and resident, Doll says she's always been in love with California and is ecstatic about the band's first west coast tour through her palm-tree adorned dream state.

"California is what movies are made about. I think it came from this adolescent delusion of that being the place to run away to," said Doll. "I remember getting mad at my mom at like age 8 and saying, 'I'm running away to California.' I packed up some Treasure Troll bag and walked three blocks, which was forever for me then. I was going to California, and that stayed with me as a teen and as an adult."

Beyond music, Doll also writes and illustrates a comic series called "Free Candy," a semiautobiographical look into her life tattooing, dating and touring. Through her various artistic outlets, Doll said she is able to address her vulnerabilities and experiences in different ways.

"Some of my songs are more obvious, but some of the darker topics I keep more vague. You can get the tone of what the song's about, but I don't really want to totally spell it out," said Doll. "The comic is a little more of an open wound. I try to keep it more on the light side, though. It's my way of taking something ugly and growing and trying to turn it into a positive energy."

Baltimore's artistic rock and roll princess makes ironing out the rough edges of angry girl rock, and funneling that angst into multiple honest and artistic pursuits look easy.

Lisa Doll and the Rock 'n' Roll Romance

Wed., May 21

9 pm.

Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.


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