The Dobermen are what happens when queercore and metal acts GayC/DC (Steve McKnight, Chris Freeman, Brian Welch) (The gay AC/DC Tribute band), Pansy Division (Chris Freeman), Cry Wolf, and The Streetwalkin Cheetahs (Frank Meyer) get bored during the pandemic, and fed up with the news. Rude, Crude, and Biting, that is how The Dobermen deliver.
JH: Hey Fellas, thank you all for coming on today, we got Frank, Brian, Chris, and Steve I think will be coming on in a few as the slacker goes. How are you guys?
Chris: Yes thank you.
Frank: Thank you glad to be here.
Brian: Thank you.
JH: So, as the story goes, The Dobermen is an on-the-fly project, my history goes pretty far with you all, so when I got this one, I loved it. I watched the video, and I had to do it. So, The Dobermen is “the dross” of Pansy Division, GayC/DC, the Streetwalking Cheetahs, and who is the other band?
Brian: A band called “Cry Wolf.”
JH: Ah, so we have Cheetahs and Wolves in there and…
Brian: And otters and bears…
Chris: OH MY!!!
JH: Actually Chris, I am a big Pansy Division fan, I interviewed Jon 2 years ago, and that was cause I was interviewing Bob Mould, and he said “You should reach out to Jon in Pansy Division, I know him, he would love to talk to you”, and I said, “Wait, you know Jon?” Then I had to realize, this is Bob Mould, of course, he would know the guys in Pansy Division. (connect the logical dots, Jeremy). So, here is the big question from all the videos I have seen from Pansy Division, GayC/DC and now the new Dobermen video, how tall are you Chris?
Chris: I’m 6’5.
JH: I don’t know if everyone is really that short or are you just really tall.
Frank: Actually it’s both, I didn’t know the true mediocrity of my height until our first photoshoot, then I’m standing next to Chris, and thinking “Well this fucking sucks.”
Chris: Yeah, they were all on apple crates.
Brian: Yeah, then you stand next to Steve, who is wide, and Frank and I are like the Hobbits in the band. We are looking for the shire and we happen to have leather jackets on.
Frank: Yes, Brian and I are like two tiny dwarfs among these actual men. Like if you stack Brian and me on top of each you would have one real man.
JH: So, is Steve considered a Bear, cause he isn’t hairy at all.
Brian: Steve is the “Muscle Bear.”
JH: Ah, so we’ve got Bears, and Wolves, and Cheetahs “Oh My.”
Frank: We’re very animal friendly, we are very into the whole spectrum of fur.
Brian: Yeah, we are just waiting for a call from the ASPCA to fund our tour.
Steve: Yeah, in GayC/DC we have like 3 people all over 6’4″, and it was like playing in a forest.
JH: Well Steve, it’s a forest, and you’re the bear.
Brian: Yeah, I’m there on drums, and it’s like a wall, I can’t see anything out there, so I think “I hope the audience is enjoying this.’
JH: See Steve, I thought I was buff, I have eighteen-inch arms, but man, you got some cannons there.
Steve: Yeah I am often mistaken for “Drax” from “Guardians of the Galaxy”, so it’s a compliment, I’ll take it.
JH: So, I have been following Pansy Division, and GayC/DC and the queercore stuff that’s out there, you know, “Homo Christmas” and then “LET THERE BE COCK!” and all that, then I’m thinking what the hell is Frank doing in there, YOU are the odd man being the straight one.
Frank: Well, in theory, I like having the title of being the token “straight” guy in the queercore band, but in reality, it’s just being in a band with a bunch of musicians. We talk about … “Rock”, we talk about things musicians talk about.
Brian: Here is the thing, we are not a “Gay” band, Chris and Steve and I are in GayC/DC, Steve and Chris are in an all original gay metal band called “Mary” I wouldn’t say GayC/DC has a message, but we definitely have a purpose. This was just a band, and after Frank and I talked, and we needed a bass player, and I knew Chris was looking for something, and I knew exactly who should play lead guitar on this song, so when we realized what we had, we saw, yeah, this is a band.
Chris: And the Streetwalking Cheetahs opened for us once, and I was floored, it’s rare to see a band that is committed to being on stage and giving it their all. We’ve had bands we’ve played with, the guys came out and it was like they were bothered to have to get on stage and play a set. They just dialed it in, and these are the reasons I’m playing music is I want to enjoy being on stage, and the Cheetahs ENJOY being on stage, they give it their all. So we always felt like we might do something together, but never came to fruition until Brian started the conversation.
Frank: I write songs with a lot of different musicians, but this was different because Brian was writing the words around a specific idea, he wanted it to be a little political and social commentary, it was happening all in the middle of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, and the tail end of the Trump administration, and there was a lot of hot topics going on, and he was feeling sort of charged up and had these lyrical ideas, and he wasn’t a lyricist in GayC/DC, because the lyrics are based on AC/DC songs. So he had these ideas and I think he needed was someone that could play guitar to get the idea musically up and running, then like Brian said it quickly became a band when we brought the other guys in, also because Chris and Steve have a “Sound”, Chris was handling the production, but I’m a big ’80s metal guy, so I knew Steve’s band “Cry Wolf” and I’m “alright” on lead guitar, but he is BLAZING. So when I saw we could have a real guitar player in the band, I mean, I’m Malcolm young, I can do the chords, but guitar-wise, I’ve got limitations, and Steve is on a different level. So it made sense to become a band.
JH: Yeah, I’ve watched him on guitar, and man he is impressive.
Frank: Yeah, I see Steve play, and I think I’m playing the same song as him, but I’m just a guy banging on a piece of wood, then there are REAL men up there playing real guitar, STEVE you are a monster.
Steve: And I’m banging on wood too. (HAHA)
JH: I managed to get Bob Mould into instinct twice, cause he is like “GOD” and I have been trying to get ahold of Halford, he is just unreachable.
Frank: He is a “Metal God,” you have to go to a cloud to reach him.
JH: Well, I am glad to interview you guys here, cause I think that the LGBTQ world needs more of a punk and metal diet. I mean, Kurt from Metal Church, he’s out, but metal and punk aren’t really on the playlists for a lot of the people in the community.
Brian: We are standing on the shoulders who made this possible for us, guys like Chuck Panozzo from Styx, and Doug Pinnick in King’s X, they were in some amazing bands, and then come out and say “We happen to be gay too”.
Steve: Yeah, it’s one of those things to be able to say that, and back to the point of The Dobermen, it’s just a band that writes raw rock and roll songs that are political and touch current events, and three-quarters of them, are gay, and Frank is outnumbered.
JH: I heard it started as a text conversation, so, how was that, you said “The world sucks, let’s start a band?”
Brian: Not too far off of that, Frank and I were texting and I had these phrases in my head for days, at one point I was watching the news and I look over at my husband and I said “I think I have a song”, and I didn’t think I could write a song, I never had written one, but I was texting Frank and said “I think I have lyrics” and in my head, I hear a mid-tempo rocker. So I sent them to him, and what he sent back, in essence, is what you hear now. It was uncanny how on the same page the both of us were. BUT Frank played with us in GayC/DC at a gig in Long Beach, when we played “LET THERE BE COCK!”
Steve: And it was AWESOME, Frank and I were doing the Chuck Berry chicken dance around each other on the stage.
Brian: I will say that I am grateful for this, cause in GayC/DC I have to look at Steve in his tight skirt on stage.
JH: Yeah, I wear kilts all the time, and, well, you do look pretty bad-ass in the skirts Steve.
Steve: It’s actually “Naughty Schoolgirl”, nothing fits, cause I’m the power-lifting naughty schoolgirl.
Chris: Yeah, with GayC/DC we were looking for someone who could do what Steve does (and is), so when we found him, it was kind of serendipitous.
Credit Tom Underhill.
Steve: Yeah, when they told me they wanted to take the most beer and cigarettes military approved rock band, and flip on its head and make it as gay as possible, I said “I’M IN!!”. So then I immediately had the image of a “Beer Frau” and Brittany Spears in my head. Then I thought how do I make the power-lifting naughty schoolgirl and none of my clothes fit, yeah, lets’ go with that, it’ll be an abomination, and it will be fun.
JH: OK Steve, are you a Joy Division fan? Cause I was watching you play, and I could distinctly hear your …. version of Dead Souls in a guitar solo in “Hell’s Bells”, It sounded like it was right out of the Joy Division, and, man I have heard a lot of covers of that song, but you nailed it, and it was a different song.
Steve: I listen to so many things, Joy Division being one of them, and the guilty pleasure of being in a metal band, I listen to Erasure, Bauhaus, even Siouxsie and the Banshees, I had a secret love affair with that stuff. I just couldn’t tell anyone on the tour bus cause then they would laugh, and the whole powder of cocaine would go blasting all over their faces (*JOKE)
Frank: The first time I heard Joy Division was Paul Young doing that cover of theirs.
JH: Man, I hated that, I told him that was absolute CRAP.
Frank: I LOVE Paul Young’s work.
JH: I will tell you this, Paul Young is the kindest, nicest, most … “Humble” guy I have ever met, his music is crap, but man, what a kind soul.
Brian: I love that you were able to pick out those parts that spoke to you because that sums up this band, we all come in from so many different avenues and we all have a common love of early eighties metal, early Priest, early Def Leppard, so that speaks to us as a whole, and it’s all that we love.
JH: Yes, that’s right, I noticed so many finite things in there, that stood out, and I am so impressed that you could do that, but even to manage to pull that off not being in the same room.
Brian: I have to give props to Chris, he is a great producer and knew exactly where to put things. And when I said “I want more cowbell” Chris didn’t roll his eyes, said, “Where do you want it?”.
JH: Ok, so Frank, Cheetahs, with your song “Warzone” there was this total tank on the “Americanist” culture, and it was very politically charged.
Frank: Yeah, as we were wrapping up that album, and it was just as the pandemic was starting. Then I saw all of this on the news, and I came up with this idea for the song, and we put it on this pandemic compilation of artists recording from home in the pandemic. So the new Cheetahs record is available on Bandcamp and Spotify now, we finished it just in time.
JH: So, I saw the vibe from that flowing into the new song, with the whole Anti-Karen movement. So, I’ll move over to Pansy Division, when I am telling people about you guys, queercore punk band, that song “Blame it on the Bible” is my weapon of choice to get people into you, and it always comes off well. But for all of this together, the creativity, the attitude, the sound, you have so many layers in this one song, it has so much to offer. And now you guys are telling me it’s just a brain dump of you all having a good time. Here is my next industry secret question, when do we get new material and do I get to hear it first?
Chris: Well, we just got some final mixes, of this song called “Lies”.
Brian: It’s not “Triggered” part II, but it is heavy, with similar topics.
Frank: I’ll point this out about GayC/DC, AC/DC are the most, MANLY MAN band in the world. And most of the songs don’t need to change the words at all to be gay, they are some pretty gay songs, maybe a word here like “Let there be ROCK” and then “Let there be COCK”. Like “Big Balls” you don’t need to change anything. Here are the things you get from those songs, SEX… You either want to beat someone in the face or bend them over. So no real changes are needed from the originals.
JH: Alright guys, this is my final question, I ask everyone this because of the young LGBTQ suicides in Utah. What would your message be to the young kid who is gay, in the closet and in that vulnerable state?
Chris: Wait, sit it out, it’s not that long and you will have your life under your control, you can find your own family. It may take you breaking away from everything you have ever known, but if you do that, you’ll find that there are like-minded people. I did, I had to get away from my family and friends, and I started over. You can do it, it’s worth doing. If the option is to eliminate yourself, then why not give this other way a shot. When you see your exit get out and find “IT”.
Brian: It does get better, I am living proof of that. You can do what you want to be, be who you want to be. Believe in yourself, don’t listen to those voices that tell you you’re not anything. Look for the way out, look for help, there is a lot of websites, and LGBTQ organizations ready to give you a hand. Reach out, as long as we can, we will be putting the message out there to believe in yourself.
Steve: I would say for GayC/DC is doing what we do for that very reason, if we can be a voice or a beacon, or an alternative showing you through our example, that you always have a choice. You have a choice, you are not out of choices at that point. I had to leave where I was to find out who I am and realize that it’s the family that you find. These people that believe in you, I realized I wasn’t by myself. Most of that is feeling like you’re alone. None of that is true, find your family, look for some inspiration that we can share with you, and you always have a choice, even if it’s just to walk away from that.
Frank: I would boil it down to three choice words, “FUCK THOSE GUYS”. All those people telling you this or that. FUCK THEM, THEY’RE WRONG.
JH: I would say look at these 4 guys, if you get out there and take their inspiration, but you might not be the biggest band. Look at these guys, they all said “I’m going to do this my way”. You guys have done so much in rock and roll, you are successful in rock, and music. You are a shining example of what is possible. Thank you all so much.
The full audio of this interview can be heard here. BRACE YOURSELVES.
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Watch out Rolling Stone…The Dobermen are coming for your cover!