LA Band With Pittsfield Ties Returns Saturday
Dollyrots Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas are back in Pittsfield, their 'adopted' hometown.
The Dollyrots, who first played Berkshire County at Dalton's American Legion just prior to their break onto the national scene after being featured in a commercial for Lowe's, have perhaps spent more time playing in the area than any West Coast pop music group in recent years.
The band enjoys an unusual relationship with the city of Pittsfield in particular. Following their second Berkshire appearance in early 2008 at the Itam Lodge, the band's singer Kelly Ogden, referenced Pittsfield when asked in an interview for LAist.com their favorite city to play.
"The most surprising was Pittsfield, Mass., it's a small town about the size I grew up in, in Western Mass," Ogden told the LAist. We played there before one other time, but when we showed up this time it was awesome."
At a later appearance at Berkshire Community College, the city of Pittsfield showed its appreciation for the band's kind words, presenting them with a certificate of thanks from then Mayor James Ruberto prior to their performance.
Continuing the band-municipality flirtation, the band later updated its Myspace profile to include Pittsfield as its second, adopted home town after LA. The band subsequently returned to play several more shows in the area, even fitting Pittsfield in for an extra spot on their 2010 tour with punk rock legends The Buzzcocks.
iBerkshires interviewed DollyRots frontwoman Kelly Ogden about their Berkshires connections by email.
Question: How do you feel being the only national rock act to have played in our little city this many times in the past five years?
Answer: We feel GREAT about it! The enthusiasm and connectedness we feel when we play in Pittsfield is something most National Acts usually dream of encountering on their tours. It's a town that loves rock 'n' roll, sticks together, and supports things they believe in. As a rock band on tour you can't really ask for anything else. We're very much looking forward to bringing our new album to everyone here live. It's our best yet.
Q: Is Pittsfield still one of your favorite small communities in which to play? Are there any other towns that have formally "adopted" the band in a similar way (i.e., the 2008 recognition from our then-mayor)?
A: We've had other places throughout the country that have made us feel like what we do matters. Some awards ceremonies in Los Angeles, recognition from our heroes by being asked to go on tours we've loved, and other accolades we've been really humbled by. But having the Mayor of a town recognize us is at the top of the list. We totally brag about being a part of that til this day!
Q: Any fun anecdotes about your past visits to Pittsfield you care to share?
A: One of our favorite shows ever — the last time we came through. Our drummer at the time had to fly home to CA for some family biz, and we were pretty bummed because it was on the exact weekend we were scheduled to play Pittsfield. But Andy called up and gave us an interested offer... basically, he said that it didn't matter if we had a drummer; that there were drummers in town that could fill in. So we took him up on it. And we played with 7 or 8 local drummers all during the same show, each one playing 2 songs. It was one of the most amazing shows ever! So cool to make music happen with people from a town we love, so much we learned about our songs by having them happen filtered through so many minds, so grateful we were to everyone for putting so much enthusiasm and energy into making a rad show happen off the cuff. Pittsfield is fearless and should be proud of how punk rock they make us feel, let alone vice-versa.
Andy is Andy Poncherello, a local show promoter.
"I first saw them open for The Dickies in LA and thought they had kind of a Ramones appeal to them," said Poncherello, who has been responsible for booking the band all seven times. "I like anything Ramones and it worked. The songs are fun, not really serious but when they are, they're not too serious. They keep it simple, drums, guitar, bass and vocals. Nothing too flashy and they manage to sound fresh.
"They're fun, very nice, accessible and enjoy the enthusiasm, excitement and appreciation of the local Pittsfield audience," he told iBerkshires.
The Dollyrots will take the stage at Chameleons on Saturday with Amerikan Citizens, SufferDie, Declarations and Kardia. Tickets are $15 at the door, or $12 in advance.
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