Rachel Rekkit, the lead guitarist, chief songwriter and cofounding member of CrashDollz, will tell you she was educated in glamour at the University of Objectification De-programming. That profile suggests something foretelling about Rekkit and the CrashDollz. If you didn’t already know, the band’s music is typically served straight up and loud with a dose of anarchy thrown in just for good measure. No wonder the group inked a deal with Sony affiliate, RadicLea Records, à la the new album, Punks in Amerika.
For those who think they have seen and heard everything music has to offer, enter CrashDollz. Lead singer and band cofounder, Nikki Darling, is the closest thing to Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics that anyone will likely ever see. The difference being Darling is still here delivering blistering performances which have occasionally caused mini-riots at shows. But where Williams and similar others have been thoroughly punk, not so with CrashDollz. Give a listen to the band’s latest release, Punks in Amerika and you will hear something a bit different. Power-driven by Rachel Rekkit’s axe work, it’s clear that CrashDollz are punk metal specialists.
The indie alternative Punks in Amerika collection contains 11 intense tracks suitable for adults only. The CrashDollz — Rachel Rekkit, Nikki Darling, Garrett Crusher and Kevin Krank — are firing on all cylinders and then some. Available at the CrashDollz Store, iTunes and Amazon, on the opening cut, “Hellcat,” Darling’s vocals reverberate with a sharpened, bad girl snarl. Next, “Smack My Bitch Up” will knock you over with a sonic detonation of sound and explicit lyrics. At 4:42, “Novakain” is another winning pick. The total length of Punks in Amerika, released Mar. 18, runs 41:16. If you need a dose of CrashDollz, Punks in Amerika is the way to go.
Interview with Rachel Rekkit
Musicinterviewmagazine.com caught up with Rachel Rekkit for an interview where she speaks about the new album, punk metal, her guitars, Gary Shandling and much more.
A title can say a lot about a song. What was the meaning behind “Scumbag Superstar?”
If the title has any representation, it’s about a bad relationship and a guy who really pissed me off. That was my term for him. Having said that, as a songwriter, lyrically, I tend to be nonlinear and look for particular sounds and beats. I write phonetically and look for words that go together and sound cool. I mean, to me, CrashDollz as a name was a cool idea, but it wasn’t exactly the name of a roller derby queen, team, or something like that. It was just a matter of putting two words together that worked. So, “Scumbag Superstar” was reflective partially of an ex-boyfriend who pissed me off. But beyond that, there’s not a lot of message to it.
What do you mean to accomplish with the new album Punks in Amerika?
Well, you know, our last album was us, introducing ourselves to the world with a new sound that was unique. We were signed, not only with a cool label that really cares about their artists, but we also got major label distribution. The goal is to get this new sound that really knocks people sideways, in one direction or the other, like, oh my god I hate that, or, oh my god, that’s the coolest thing I’ve heard. We really divide people. I think the best bands always do. We want to get that out to as many people as possible. I want to scare off the people who don’t like it and I want to make lifelong fans of the people who get it.
Who wrote the songs on the new album?
I usually write the music, so the songs typically started with me, beginning with the drums, bass and guitar. Generally, if I don’t write the lyrics, vocal melodies and structures, then I work with Nikki. On some songs, she put her stamp on them by co-writing the lyrics and vocals. I think four of five songs off of this record I did all the vocals. I’ve always got a hand in the vocals.
What’s the concept behind Punks in Amerika?
Well, I’ve always written anthemically. Nikki’s with me on the idea of trying to write anthems. I always think of a soccer field full of people in Europe that are just singing the song. The first album had a number of songs like that. We titled it on CrashDollz because we were introducing ourselves. This time around I wanted a title that said let’s get together around these anthems and make a statement to the music industry that the stuff out there is pale and watered down and we need something fresh and the punks in America are speaking. Then there’s the idea that not only is the music industry vapid and weird, but the politics in the country right now are so goofy that I feel it’s timely to have a record that tells the tale of America with a “K” thrown into it.
Does punk metal exist outside of Detroit?
Yes, I think so. I think there’s good punk that exists outside of Detroit. I’ve heard some stuff. And the industry is so flooded right now because everybody has a computer or a laptop. There are so many bands putting music out. If you search hard enough, you’re gonna find people here and there, in Nova Scotia, Chicago and who knows where, just coming up with this great stuff. But the hybrid of punk metal done in a seamless way, where you’re sort of giving equal airing to both sides, rather than being a punk band with a little bit of metal influence, or the other way around. In a fifty-fifty sense, you don’t see much of it around. You don’t even see it here in Detroit. The pure hybrid, outside of us, really doesn’t exist that I’ve heard of. It’s hard to do. Nevertheless, we’re global bitches.
Are you still using the customized Guild guitar?
Yes, actually I have two Guild X-79s but the white one is the main one. I have a red one as a backup, but the white one is an absolute monster.
Rachel, we have to ask, who are some of your influences?
As a guitar player, there are a few places I pulled from, including vintage Eddie Van Halen, early Al Di Meola and Randy Rhodes. My thing as a guitar player, which should be everybody’s goal, is to create an identifiable style. But first and foremost, I consider myself a songwriter and naturally that’s where other influences are. You know, McCartney, Brian Wilson and Cole Porter, that’s where I pull from. Ravel, XTC and Andy Partridge. Bowie died recently and he was a big influence for me as a writer. We lost a lot of people this year, but Gary Shandling taught me a lot about the truth in Art and vulnerability and that honesty, truth and Art are the real crux of it. What it comes down to is that if you’re not making yourself vulnerable than you’re not making Art. Nobody articulated that better than Gary Shandling. He was a tremendous influence.
Does the band have any live gigs or tours coming up anywhere?
Yes, throughout the Midwest and the East, at least. We’re also going to see how the record does and take it from there.
What’s next for musically for CrashDollz?
After getting signed, I was so excited that I started dreaming a lot of new songs. It’s funny, but I draw from songs that I’ve come up with in that quasi dream stage where you are just about to fall asleep or wake up. We have new songs that are some the best stuff the band has had. They’re songs nobody’s heard and we probably won’t be playing them live until we first get into the studio. There’s a little bit more of a groove to some of it and some of it is a lot more explosive. There is definitely new stuff in the works.
Video clips: CrashDollz/YouTube.