DEVIL DOLL

by Jonathan Williams
Photos by Timothy Dolph
Concert Photography by Chris Collins
Makeup by Jennifer Denise
From the October 2005 issue of Prick Magazine.



Devil Doll is a darkly angelic contradiction in more ways than one. Musically, Devil Doll is equal parts jazzy lounge swing, spy noir mystery and rockabilly twang. Visually, Colleen Duffy's alter ego goes from hot rod pinup girl to snake-wielding seductress to punk rock heroine depending on her mood. And even the name conjures up images that are equally sexy and sinister.

"Devil Doll is a character," says Duffy. "When I created Devil Doll, the mission was to put sex and God back into rock 'n' roll. There's a fierceness to the image and to the lyrics and to the content and to the delivery. You have the dichotomy of the Devil with the Doll, so you have the sexy, sultry breathiness and you also have the feisty, fiery, tell-it-like-is, sassy part of Devil Doll.

"Visually, I kind of allow the whole spirit of Devil Doll to take over," she continues, "There's usually a little bit of darkness to it, there's usually a sexiness to it, and there's usually a fierceness to it. And it takes different forms. Therefore, you might see me wearing rubber with a '40s hairstyle. I like the imagery that was portrayed with the concept of the femme fatale in film noir. I've always loved that because I think the feminine mystique was still very much alive. So I'm very much inspired by a lot of that imagery and a lot of the beautiful darkness that was happening at that time."

Duffy's prominent wings tattooed across her upper back further add to the Devil Doll mystique. "The wings kept coming to me in dreams," she says, "and finally I said, 'Alright!' I saw them on my back and saw where they were supposed to be and my friend measured them out so that when I lifted my arms the feathers would bend at the perfect place and the wings would go up. I never regretted them. I just knew I was supposed to get them."




Just as her music and image have been shaped by past eras and styles, Duffy has found that Devil Doll has inspired many tattoos over the past couple of years as well.

"I've had people copy them, which is kind of a trip," she says of her wings. "It weirded me out in the beginning, but I've just kind of realized that the band is getting bigger and people are being profoundly affected by the music. If they feel they can relate to something or keep a part of it with them and it makes them feel stronger or makes them feel closer to their god or whatever that thing is that keeps you moving from day to day, that's usually what that's about.

"Things that you love and things that make you feel stronger and things that make you feel inspired," she continues, "that's why people copy your tattoos because they want more of that in their life. Whatever it is that you represent to them or you bring in their life, they want to be close to that [and] be able to have that for themselves. It kind of freaked me out at first because people were measuring out things to look exactly like my tattoo.

Duffy's fans have also gone so far as to have Devil Doll photos tattooed on them.

"I remember the first time someone sent me an e-mail [with a tattoo of me]," she says with a laugh. "For the whole evening I was walking around going, 'Oh, my god!' Literally, for three hours I was walking around in shock."

But ultimately, Duffy says she strives to inspire creativity in others with her imagery and live shows. "I think it's important that music that tells the truth be reintroduced to people that makes people feel that they're just as much a part of the creative process as anybody else," she says. "I've had so many people write me telling me how they were inspired to start their own bands or start writing or start writing music or start modeling [because of] the record or the live show. That is a really, really cool thing because I'm not doing bubble gum music and it's not easy to walk out there and tell the truth.




"A lot of people donít want to hear it," she continues. "A lot of people do want to hear it, though, and we have very strong reactions to the music. When people come to the show, we want them to have such a fucking great time that when they leave there they feel like they're a different person. They feel like they just remembered something that they always wanted to do that now they're like, 'You know what? I'm just going to do that thing,' that for some reason just came out of the depths of their brain and just surfaced. That's our goal with every show we play is to bring that to each person in the audience."

Duffy and her band will have plenty of opportunities to seduce and inspire while on tour in October and November. They're also working on a new album, which should be released sometime early next year.

"Queen of Pain was a lot about telling the truth and turning over the evidence of a lot of heartbreak moments in history that everybody has experienced in their life," she says of her 2002 debut. "The next record is called The Return of Eve and it's about the restoration of the feminine principle and reclaiming the garden, so to speak. There's still going to be sassy moments, but it's also about being in love. It's also about telling the truth, Devil Doll will always tell the truth.

"There's a little bit of a darkness to it, but it's different than the Queen of Pain record," she says. "There's an alchemical process that's happening through the movement of the records. I already know what the record after this is going to be called and what the content is going to be about. As soon as we get this record done, I'm going to start working on the next one. People have been waiting for this record for, like, four years. It's definitely going to be worth the wait. It's definitely going to match the [production] quality of Queen of Pain and that has been one of the reasons it's taken so long to get this record out is because I wasn't willing to compromise the production value."

Duffy says some new tattoos might be in her future as well, after she gets some of her older ones removed. "I've got a couple that I got a very, very, very long time ago that I'm actually getting removed," she reveals. "I don't mind marking different periods in my life, but if it was better work I might be more willing to keep it. My lower back was done when I was living, breathing and eating rockabilly. It's not that bad, but I've kind of moved on from that moment in my life.

"I'm just kind of changing the shell to kind of reflect more of what's happening inside," Duffy continues. "I think that happens a lot with body modification and tattoos where you are able to celebrate how you're feeling or how you're experiencing your own creative force. When I found punk rock when I was a kid, I was never the same again. I was able to do the outward appearance and externally celebrate how people viewed me at just a glance to more accurately reflect how I felt and my views. I was expressing myself artistically and I see that a lot with the tattoo community and body modification, as well as the spiritual significance for different kinds of body modification, which I think is really self empowering as well.

"I think somewhere in the future I'm going to get bitten by the bug again," she concludes. "I go through periods in my life where I get work done then just kind of go through my life and wait for the next wave of inspiration and evolution to hit me and then I start marking that period. Probably within the next few years I might be feeling it again."




Devil Doll will be on tour Oct. 12 - Nov. 5.

For more information, visit www.devil-doll.com.


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