What do you get when you cross Pierce The Veil, Avenge Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance and FooFighters with Bikini Kill? You DON’T get the band Doll Skin. WHAT?!? That’s right, though the above bands have influenced the sound and style, Doll Skin has developed their own unique and fresh style! And to top it all off Sydney Dolezal, lead vocals of Doll Skin, is Straight Edge!
Doll Skin was founded in 2013 by Meghan Herring (she/her – drums), Sydney “Syd” Dolezal (they/them – lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Nicole Rich (she/her – bass) and Alex Snowden (she/her – lead guitar), via the School of Rock program. The primary goal at that time was simply to play a local Battle of the Bands in Scottsdale, AZ. Though the band had practiced prior, that Battle of the Bands was the first Doll Skin show ever. And what a pivotal first show it was! Among the judges at the event was David Ellefson of Megadeth. Doll Skin quickly became a crowd favorite and went on to take 1st place at the Battle of the Bands with an almost perfect score by the Judges. Soon after David Ellefson went on to become the band’s manager as these four teenagers took off into the musical stratosphere.
In the last 9 years Doll Skin has went on put out four albums and tour the US and Europe with their distinctive sound and style. The Doll Skin discography includes the albums; In Your Face (2015), In Your Face (Again) (2016), Manic Pixie Dream Girl (2017) and Love Is Dead and We Killed Her (2019). Their tours throughout the US and the world have included the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Warp Tours, a European tour with Trashboat, as well as tours with New Found Glory as well as Anti-Flag. In December 2020 Alex and Nicole departed the band while Syd and Meghan have continued Doll Skin with additional touring members as well as a new management team with Capital Artist Group. Fast forward to 2022; Doll Skin just finished up a small spring tour and are heading out to tour the US again this coming Summer with Bowling for Soup and Less Than Jake. So be on the look out for shows in your area!
A personal favorite Doll Skin song of mine is “Daughter” from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl album. For me that song is an all around masterpiece. Deep and strong lyrics along with a punk rock anthem style chorus. Not to mention the amazing guitar solo and the closing screaming backing vocals:
“She’s broken me like I’m nothing special. Sirens screaming, can’t ignore the sound. I’m a force that can’t be stolen. With every struggle, make mama proud. It’s time to make mama proud! (it’s time to make mama proud!) No matter what, she keeps on breathing! (why can’t I, why can’t I?) No matter what the world may throw at her, she keeps on breathing!”
Other Doll Skin songs include lyrics like:
“Won’t you save me from this story. Songs that you wrote for me. You’ve now replaced them with her name. And since then, you’ve been five years gone. So I’ll leave this record at your door. You won’t be hearing from me anymore.” from the song “Ink Stains”.
“Shut! Up! Get over yourself, you sick fuck! Look out, sweetheart, here I come. Don’t know what you’re runnin’ from. You can’t hide who you’ve become. I know you’ll be sorry when I am done. Cus I’m not your darlin’, I’m not your hun. If you open your mouth, I’ll cut out your tongue. I used to be scared but now I’ve become. Your new worst nightmare, your fatal outcome.” from “Eat Shit”.
“You racist sympathizers. You’re just a waste of space. So ugly, so wrong. It’s time you knew your place. Stop calling it ‘alt-Right’. Punch a Nazi, win the fight! Stop saying it’s alright. Punch a Nazi, your bark’s got no bite!” from “Puncha Nazi”.
If you catch them live or see pictures you might notice something unique for their styling; the big black X’s on Syd’s hands as well as the large varsity style “X” on the back of their arm and the “XXX” on the top of their left wrist. Yes, that’s right, Syd the lead singer of Doll Skin, is Straight Edge. However, Syd’s journey to the edge was definitely a rough and wild ride. Syd shared directly in their Instagram story:
“I am Straight Edge for a multitude of reasons. Being Straight Edge you can have your own backstory, have your own reasoning. The most common one you will see is people that have never touched drinks or drugs in their life and have decided to make that a part of who they are for the rest of eternity, which is totally sick, totally cool, wish I could relate, but I had to learn the hard way that I needed to stay away from things. … I am a recovering alcoholic addict. I had a really hard time adjusting to being in the music industry as a young person and combined with just preexisting issues within my own noggin and the pressures of being in this industry, it was just a recipe for disaster and I went through a really hard time drinking specifically and some drugs. … I went through issues with cocaine and I love to be open and talk about this because you never see people my age talking about getting sober at a young age. I got sober at nineteen…and it was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself…”
Syd also went on Bran FS’s podcast, Sick of Being Sober, and when into depth on recovery and Straight Edge as well as deeper personal stories and insights into the band and musical influences. For this article I will share only a few things of the nearly two hour interview with Syd and I simply cannot do the amazing interview justice with just a few quotes. So it is highly recommended to listen to the entire episode, “Episode Seventeen-New Blood Wisdom” from May 8th, 2021, which can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Syd opens up with Bran on their addiction to alcohol and cocaine early on into their musical career being influenced to drink and do drugs by other touring musicians as well as an ex-boyfriend. From the episode Syd shares the moment when they recognized they had to do something to change their life, “…I went to the party and it was just me and this dude doing coke all fucking night and I looked at myself in the mirror at some point before I stopped myself and I just like saw something in my fucking eyes where I was like…I should be fucking dead with how much coke I have done and then my brain said ‘go do more’.” Syd recognized that they needed to stop, but states, “everything in me wanted to keep going. Like this is bad. And so I started crying and then I ended up trying to calm myself down.” Syd continued and recalled, “This is not the future I want. This is not something I can handle without killing myself…” This is the moment that Syd made the determination to get clean. Soon after they claimed Straight Edge as a personal way for them to remain clean and has been true ever since!
“I feel like it’s really important to be able to look back at mistakes and not beat yourself up about it” Syd shares. “There’s so much in this world that needs help…I’m doing what I can because this is stuff that I can relate to. This is my story and I feel like I want to help others with similar shit.”
Specifically in the episode Syd shares more about the reasons for them being Straight Edge, “I found a lot more people in Straight Edge that I feel like I can relate too…I am glad I found Straight Edge when I did, because I don’t know if I would have stayed sober.”
Again the two hour episode goes into greater detail from Syd themselves, but they share more about the details as well as what keeps them holding strong and their love of Straight Edge Hardcore music with bands like Earth Crisis, Magnitude, One Step Closer, Inclination and No Right. Syd even shares the possibility of Meghan and them doing a hardcore side project. So be on the lookout for that as well.
If you are looking for a new band to add to your rotation, may I suggest the amazing Doll Skin from Phoenix, Arizona. Doll Skin albums can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, as well as physical copies through their website, local record stores and also available at their live shows. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTock all at @dollskinband or even join their conversation on Discord via the link on their website www.dollskinband.com