Devil Doll’s “To All Our Friends,” out May 1 on Lover & a Fighter, is spooky, vibrant, rock at its best.
Devil Doll rocks (“To All Our Friends”) and rolls (“Steeltown Heart”) with endless energy. Evidence: Lover & A Fighter. The genre-bending California outfit’s new collection—out May 1—backs vibrant vignettes (“Ballad of the Rearview Mirror”) with carefully etched narratives (“Back Home to Me”).
“I thought ‘lover and a fighter’ was such a great phrase to embody this song and the record,” lead singer and songwriter Colleen Duffy says. “It shows women being strong, sticking together, and not taking any shit, but also rewarding men for being decent. If the title track was a film, it would probably be Faster Pussycat Kill Kill. I thought trying to write my own version of a female anthem like Joan Jett’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ would be really fun and empowering.
“My inspiration for writing the song ‘To All Our Friends’ came after my dear friend Nick Curran died. We were going to do a duet record together, and he was going to play guitar as well. It was just devastating, because it came after a series of deaths, one after another, and I remember thinking, ‘I just don’t know how much more of this I can take.’
“It is traumatizing to outlive so many of your friends that you have laughed with, cried with, and plotted adventures with. I had so much emotion trapped inside of me from surviving all of these tragedies that crying and talking about it just wasn’t enough. This song just started coming out of me the next day after I found out about Nick. It was like it wrote itself with full melody and purpose.
“I really wanted to create a song that people could put on the bar jukebox after the funeral and stand on their chairs and scream-sing their toasts, all together, in unison, celebrating the life of their dearly departed. I grew up on Irish music, (and The Pogues) and I even played violin and Irish danced, so the Irish wake/drinking song is my default setting for grief.
“I wanted this song to help people through these times when words are just not enough. The funny thing is that since I recorded this song, I have buried several more friends, and having this song to listen to has carried me. It is like this song has taken on a life of its own and is now out there wrapping its arms around everyone who needs it. Music never abandons us. It is pure, honest and personal … and it outlives all of us.”