Doyle played Denver’s Herman’s Hideaway on March 17th, one of the last stops of the US leg of their As We Die World Abomination Tour. Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and Wolfman, guitarist and lead singer for Doyle, respectively, took a moment before their set to talk with me about the tour, veganism, and living out the reality of George Orwell’s 1984.
GTV: The 2018 leg of the tour started in February. What are the main differences this year in regards to crowd participation on this leg versus last October/November?
Doyle: Well, we have ten times the amount of pre-sales, and we’re selling shows out now. Now people who come to the show are actually singing the songs, which is nice.
G: Which cities and venues have made the most positive impression on you?
D: I’m gonna say New Jersey and Los Angeles.
G: What about the most negative impression?
G: What are the fans doing to make you love or hate them?
D: To make me hate them, which is pretty much a constant in the United States, is that they don’t say anything in between songs. I mean, that’s what we feed off of to perform: the crowd reaction. Swear at us! Throw shit at us! Call us names – anything! Do something! They don’t fucking do nothing, even clap. You go to other countries and they go fucking crazy.
G: You guys are headed to the UK and Russia next week?
G: How do the international tours compare to the US ones? How do European concert goers approach live shows, and what do they do differently?
D: They’re into it; they cheer, they go crazy. They love it. They don’t stand there with their phones and look at everyone else to see if it’s ok to be into it. They’re into it.
G: On Facebook, you posted that somebody stole your mic last week at a show?
D: It wasn’t ours, it was the club’s. There’s an extra mic in case another one breaks that just sits on the floor, and I step on it all the time. And somebody took it!
G: Does this type of thing happen a lot?
Wolfman: They steal everything. Jackets get stolen; you take something off and someone runs off with it. They just want a piece of the show, but they don’t think, “That’s your shit,” you know.
D: They don’t think you need it tomorrow.
G: Do you think that’s more of an American entitlement thing?
D: It is. It really seems like that.
G: I feel like, in general, Americans have a sense of entitlement: they want free music, they think that it’s their right to record every second that they’re at a concert because they paid for a ticket, they think that everyone needs to see their shitty cell phone photos and they seem to only want to have these experiences so they can post them online.
D: They don’t even post them! They’re so used to looking at their phone – I can’t say anything about myself; I look at the phone, too – but I’m not going to go to a concert and look through my fucking phone.
W: They miss out on the experience.
D: They’re so used to looking through their phone, they’re so used to getting everything instantly on their phone, they’re going to take your music for fucking free.
W: The thing is, a lot of these kids, they’ve grown up and they don’t know any different. Their whole life has been just downloading, everything is just there – you download a movie, you download music.
D: They think we’re fucking millionaires.
W: They think if they know you that you must be rich.
G: How are these ideals impacting the ways that Americans are appreciating new music and connecting with musicians at shows? And what has changed in the past 30 or 40 years since you started?
D: The Internet. You can get anything you want on there. How many music stores or record stores do you see? You don’t see many, right? When I was a kid, you’d go get that album and put it on and just look at the pictures for hours.
W: The whole landscape has changed, so you’ve got to change how you do the business. At this point, we’re just in the t-shirt business. The music a jingle or a commercial to sell the t-shirt.
G: Do you feel like fans are treating you like they’re your employee? They’re paying for the ticket, so they deserve…
W: It just sort of depends. In the States, they want to make sure it’s cool, they want to make sure everyone else is in to it. [They approach it as,] ‘Entertain me!’ Whereas overseas, people are still music fans. There’s a connection between the crowd and there’s an energy there. It’s not everybody, but as a rule, people seem more spoiled over here. They get more shows and it’s easy access, and they’re not grateful for it anymore.
G: You’ve mentioned quite a few times your frustrations with people videotaping live shows. How do you approach making music in an era where people feel it’s their right to record and share every concert they go to?
D: If it was the 70s and everybody had a camcorder, what would that be? It would be bootlegging, right? When we do those Misfits shows, you’re not allowed to have a phone. Everyone’s phone gets taken and gets put in a bag. It’s great! It’s a real concert.
G: Now, why even go to a concert?
D: That’s the thing. Now everybody films and puts it online. Why do they want to get out of their bed and pay for a ticket when they can just see it online.
G: Do you feel that this infringement on people’s privacy is affecting people negatively? All of your stage shows are going to be documented by a bunch of different people. How do you feel about that aspect of losing your privacy?
D: For us, it’s good for promotion right now.
W: We’re broke, so we can’t afford promotion anyways.
D: It’s good for people to see us play.
W: A lot of people don’t even know we have this band, so anything that spreads the word is good for us. People complain about movies. Everything’s crappy. All you got is big budget, eye candy, bullshit movies because those are the only movies that make money. Those are the only movies a company is going to put any money into. If you’re just downloading everything – those small, independent ones – nobody’s going to put money into that. That’s why it’s not there. You complain about it, but you’re the reason. It’s the same thing with music. Labels are dead, other than the big pop acts or these established bands that are selling out stadiums. The in between, they don’t take chances anymore. They’re not going to put money into an act unless they absolutely know that it’s going to make a return. So, a lot of people aren’t getting into music, or they’ve got to work three jobs to be able to afford to do it, so they’re not just focusing on art. You’re losing a quality of art and a quality of artists that we used to have. Everybody complains about it but everyone is part of the problem. Everybody was worried about Big Brother and how in the future, it would be like 1984 where we would all be filmed. But then we realize, we’re Big Brother. We’re filming ourselves and putting it out there. We are the problem. Like everything else, rock and roll will survive. It will adapt, it will figure out a way around it. I mean, the hip hop industry has already started to figure out ways around it: commingling of artists and using singles instead of albums. They’re already working it out. The rock industry will catch up; it will figure it out as it goes. Like anything else, it’s got to adapt to the modern times and we’ve got to find a new way to make it profitable for the artists to make art, and then it will work itself out. But right now it’s the Wild West, you’re going to have a lack of stuff with substance or quality.
G: So, how do you feel about Spotify and Pandora and other music platforms that are using algorithms to get music out there?
W: The thing is, somebody pays $9 a month for Apple Music, and they listen to everything that’s out there. How much of that $9, when you break it out and spread it to those artists, do you think we get? It’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a cent. You’re not making any money off of that.
D: Not only that, nobody’s buying downloads of full albums, nobody’s buying hard copies because now it’s all fucking free. It’s basically free – for nine fucking dollars you can’t even buy an album, but now you get everybody’s shit. How much money do you think we get? We don’t get anything. Who’s going to cash a one-tenth of a fucking cent check?
G: How have you seen algorithms impact your music? Even if people aren’t paying for it, are you getting a broader range of fans?
W: The labels that are paying to have their artists pushed to the front of those algorithms [are benefiting]. It’s not really fair. The little guy is still getting fucked.
G: What do you guys do to counteract that? How do you get creative to get better marketing?
W: The only thing we can do is play shows. That’s really the only power we have: to get there and just play in front of people and let them see what we’re doing. And luckily we have one of the best live shows in the business, so when people see it, they tend to return and bring friends. We might only get a small crowd one time, but the next time we come through, it’s packed. We just have to be road dogs. It will eventually work itself out. When cassette tapes came along, everyone thought that would kill the music industry. Everybody can just make copies of albums or whatever. [Everyone thought that] mixtapes were going to kill the industry. But it adapted, it evolved. And this too will pass. This, too, is a step, and we’ll eventually work out a way where artists can survive on their product. But right now, it’s just a rough time.
G: Another thing that I’m really interested in is these studies universities are doing that are showing our obsession with recording everything is having a detrimental effect on our memory, and our ability to recall memory. If we don’t have that photo or that video, since we’re watching it through the LCD screen, that’s how we remember it. How do you think this affecting the younger generation?
D: I think it’s all stupid. Even if I write a riff, I record it instantly. I don’t remember it. I used to have to keep all that shit in there. It’s nice to get it out – then you can make more – but. . .
W: As soon as they came out with the computer chip and silicon-based technology, they predicted that at this point we’d be living simultaneously with computers, which we are because we’re walking around with phones that are more powerful than the computers they had then. Just like predictions on singularity when artificial intelligence and intelligence amplification meet and we all become robots, basically, and walk around. All the Black Mirror stuff, it’s already there, we’ve got our toe in that pool. I’m excited to see how it all works out. I think if we don’t blow each other up, it will be kinda cool to have all of mankind’s collective knowledge at your fingertips, and everybody interconnected. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of insane art comes out of that. Life moves forward and you either live with it or you get left behind. We’re just trying to stay on the ship.
G: My generation is kind of in the in between point. When I get older, am I going to get Alzheimer’s? Are the kids now going to start going crazy when they’re 30?
D: Think about it. You don’t know anyone’s phone number now. You don’t know anybody’s address. You used to know all that shit. You walk out of your house and you don’t have your phone: “Oh my God! I need to go back and get it!”
W: They are already getting self-driving cars. Once that technology is mass-available, do you think they’re going to actually let people drive, the way accidents happen and stuff? No! It’s like, when you don’t know how to drive – kids coming up and they don’t know how to drive a car, they don’t know how to navigate. It’s kind of beautiful, you know? What happens when all of that messes up?
D: When the power goes out? When the satellites fall down or some shit like that? Everyone’s fucked. We’re going to lose power and we’re all going to die because we don’t know what to do.
W: It’s beautiful.
D: We don’t know how to make a fire, we don’t know how to fucking make food.
G: Speaking of food, I did want to talk a little bit about veganism because you’re kind of a superhero in the vegan community. Whenever people talk about veganism, there’s this idea that they’re just waify, they can’t build muscle. You can’t survive on a plant-based diet. It’s impossible. But you’re proof that you can do it.
W: There’s vegan bodybuilders, there’s vegan athletes. People regurgitate what people say without any knowledge behind it. Honestly, your body can’t process all of the protein that you take in in a day anyway. There’s plenty of ways to get anything you need. And now they have supplements.
D: What do the animals eat that everybody’s eating?
W: Even gorillas that are the size of a house.
G: You’ve been vegan about 10 years?
G: When you transitioned over, did you go straight from eating meat to being vegan? Or did you gradually cut food out?
D: I went straight. It was easy. The only thing that I was eating that wasn’t vegan was chicken breast and whey protein. I hate the chicken breast, and I get pea protein.
G: Do you cook a lot?
D: No, I eat a lot.
W: We make sure that any of our crew have to cook, too. That’s part of the job requirement. Whatever their other job is, they have to be able to cook.
G: Is everybody vegan?
D: No, but they cook the vegan food.
G: Where do you go to get your recipes?
D: Whatever he makes. We go shopping all the time. Everyday we’ll pull into a Walmart and buy food.
W: The thing is, back in the eighties and nineties, it was a little tricky, you only had so many options, especially travelling on the road and stuff. But now, it’s such a popular lifestyle there’s a multitude of options wherever you go. You can have a different meal three times a day.
D: There’s a company called Trifecta, they send us vegan meals every friday on the road. They’re great.
G: What about when you’re overseas?
D: I don’t think they do overseas, but they send it to my house.
G: When you go to Russia, is that going to be more difficult?
D: No, there’s a place there called Avocado. That’s what I was told. [Laughs]
W: The promoters in the clubs, they all know, so they’re accommodating. They want to make you happy.
D: They’re so happy we go there. They’ll make us vegan food or they’ll get it for us.
W: In a lot of countries, it’s really popular, like in Germany. They have a lot of vegan and vegetarian stuff. Usually people make it a big deal. For some reason, it pisses people off, like you’re judging them. Maybe they feel bad about it themselves, so they have to act like that.
D: I’ll post a picture without saying anything on it and people will be like, “Don’t tell me what to do! I’m gonna eat meat!” But I didn’t say anything!
W: It’s like they’re on guard ready to…
D: I love that it pisses them off. It makes it even better.
W: You see these fat, out of shape, just disgusting pieces of humanity talking shit and saying your sickly when they can’t even get out of a chair.
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