By Alex Gallagher | May 28, 2021
The Venomous Pinks vocalist/guitarist Drea Doll says her band’s four-track live EP, “Based on a True Story,” is an honest representation of their music.
“This EP, it’s just pure, raw, in-your-face Venomous Pinks,” Doll says. “It’s like what you’ll get in a show without going to a show.”
As per the title, the Venomous Pinks wanted to describe the whirlwind of a day endured while recording the four songs.
“‘The Venomous Pinks Live’ just seemed too basic of a title for what happened that day,” Doll says. “I said this whole recording is this whole monstrous story. I asked the band what if we call it ‘Based on a True Story?’ And they were into it.”
The band’s story began on a jam-packed Wednesday in October 2019 in Portland.
It was at Portland’s famous Bridge City Sessions where the band — which is frequently compared to Bikini Kill and T.S.O.L. — waited for three hours for a camera crew to show. The group had a call time of 6 p.m. at another venue called The Twilight Café, which was on the opposite side of town.
“By the time the camera guys got there, it was around 4:30, and by the time they set up their lights and angles, we had around half an hour to record this EP with two takes per song.”
From there, Doll describes the next hour of her life as being something out of the climax of a movie.
The band loaded its gear, rushed over two bridges to get to the other side of Portland to make it to The Twilight Café, just in time to run a 5-minute sound check and catch a 20-minute break before its set.
“We’d already been on tour for a week and a half, so we’d already had our set together, but it was still crazy getting from point A to point B in 10 to 15 minutes,” says Gaby Kaos, vocalist/bassist.
Drummer Cassie Jalile adds, “I think that being on tour was what saved us. We already sounded super tight. We didn’t think that we would pull off getting the tracks in two takes, but after one take of each song, we realized it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.”
The band was also reassured that its sound was fine when the Bridge City Sessions crew, which records several artists throughout the year, was impressed after one take.
Doll is proud of all the songs on the EP, but there was one that stood out to her. It’s a fan favorite from the Venomous Pinks’ last tour.
“For that run, our EP ‘I Want You’ hadn’t been released yet, and none of the songs had been teased either,” says Doll, a Mesa Community College alumnus.
“We were getting a lot of feedback from our song called ‘Hold On’ live. I always like playing that song live because I feel it resonates with a lot of listeners.”
When shows resume, the Venomous Pinks will likely have plenty of unreleased music to play, as the band is working on a new album. It’s still in the production stages, but it’ll be produced by fellow punk rocker Linh Le, the Bad Cop/Bad Cop bassist.
Though Le works well with the Venomous Pinks because of their similar sounds, the two have found comfort in the resurgence of the Riot Grrrl movement, which addresses gender inequalities within music and across the globe. It started in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s.
“I feel like punk rock’s come a long way,” Doll says. “There’s just this unity of women supporting women. Now, it seems like we’re on the same page.”
Kaos adds, “We can only try to change things one song at a time. Maybe, after quarantine, things will change, but there’s definitely more unity in the punk rock women community than there was 10 years ago when I started.
“It only takes one band or one member to be cool and speak to everybody and create that community.”
Doll and Kaos, the latter a Scottsdale Community College alumnus, have a saying that’s frequently used on podcast Sound Sisters, which talks about the music industry and paranormal activity — “community before competition.”
Outside of collaborating on their forthcoming album, Le and Kaos run a merchandise line called Bassists Against Racists, which features a new bassist monthly.
Kaos also prints shirts through her screen-printing company, Kaos Merch, of the bassists with a message. All the proceeds go to Black Lives Matter.
Kaos’ 6-month-old line has artists booked through March 2022 and plans to feature big names.
Going forward, the Venomous Pinks are slated to make their return to the stage with legendary punkers Agent Orange at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe on October 27.
In the meantime, the band hopes fans will stream the self-released “Based on a True Story.”
“We’re putting this out ourselves because we didn’t want to have to answer to anyone, because it’s a live EP,” Doll says. “We’re just running with the DIY ethic.”
The Venomous Pinks: thevenomouspinks.com
Gaby Kaos Merch Site: kaosmerch.com/product/linhle