Shari Black Velvet: You started a section in your myspace/facebook – Meat Free Recipes. One comment from a fan/friend said that they weren’t veggie but were going to try it. How does that make you feel?
Kelly Ogden: It's great! I love that I can get people to at least try it out. Most Western diets are so meat-centric I think it's just a strange concept to people. They think it's automatically unhealthy or a bad thing to do.
SBV: You said you’ve been veggie since you were 12 and saw your 1st PETA pamphlet. How did you get to see that pamphlet?
KO: A teacher gave it to me... and thinking back I think it was a little early to start pushing that to young people in such a graphic way. I went vegan first and didn't know enough about nutrition to do it safely. That lead to some health issues so... I think it would be better to educate kids about nutrition and their choices without scaring them into something. I don't regret it but I wish there was a PG13 version of PETA for the youngsters.
SBV: How did the pamphlet make you change? What was it and did you immediately decide to stop eating meat?
KO: I cried my brains out and was so horrified that I just stopped eating animal products that day. My parents let me do it and figured it would last a week but I gradually informed myself and learned to cook food that everyone likes. Meat eaters and veggies too.
SBV: You have a sister. Did she go veggie too? And are you the only veggie in the band?
KO: My sister still eats meat on occasion but buys grain fed, organic free range foods. Luis and Chris have stopped eating beef and pork... creatures with nipples... but still eat poultry.
SBV: Have you ever converted any meat-eating friends to vegetarians?
KO: Not intentionally. I try to lead by example in every way in life. I'm not a fan of converting people in any way. People need to make their own choices, all I can do is help inform those choices.
SBV: What vegetarian tips would you give to other bands on tour?
KO: The Taco Bell Fresco menu is great for vegans and you can always buy a Veggie Delight Sub from Subway and add your choice of protein!
SBV: You twittered on Oct 6th ‘that whole no-dairy thing is over until I’m in the US or I might starve’. Tell us about stopping dairy? Are you going vegan, or trying to?
KO: I've tried to go vegan before but had trouble finding the nutrition I need. I love eggs and have no issues eating free range farm fresh eggs when I can but dairy I can usually do without. Honestly it grosses me out and messes up my stomach anyway. This is our first time in the UK and for the first few days there I couldn't find anything but crackers and cheese. I've since picked up some peanut butter and found a Chinese place with bean curd and have been doing better lately but sheesh!
SBV: You said in a past interview that some essential ingredients for a Dollyrot besides things like passion, is kindness, awareness, to like animals and believe in equality. Can you expand on those?
KO: Without going on forever... that's hard!
Passion: Love what you do and do it well or don't do it at all. (Kepi Ghoulie quote)
Kindness: To EVERYONE. No matter what. Assholes, drunks, street people, surly people...
Awareness: Be informed, know how your choices impact the world around you in small and big ways.
Liking animals: People who don't love animals are just weird.
Equality: for EVERYONE. Race, gender, sexuality, religion, political views, size, you know... EVERYONE.
SBV: What do you mean by awareness? I know in the song ‘A Desperate S.O.S.’ you sang about ‘mass extinctions, global warning’ and other things. Do you strive to make others more aware in any way?
KO: Again, I try to educate myself and do my best to encourage other people to do the same. Our lyrics touch on homosexuality, bullying, eating disorders, politics etc but we aren't a band to cram it down people's throat. We just hope by bringing it up it might encourage them to think about it or even better do something about it.
SBV: Do you have any songs on your latest release ‘A Little Messed Up’ that are more social commentary or political?
KO: Some of our songs are silly/sarcastic/sweet love songs, others:
1. Rock Control - get sweaty dirty and have a good time at rock shows, and don't worry about genres.
2. Some Girls - don't be one of "those" girls or dudes.
6. A Little Messed Up - let's love who we love and don't judge a book by its cover, especially if that person is good at heart and interesting to talk to.
8. Big Mouth - enough back stabbing!
9. California - don't take yourself too seriously, especially around people who only care about being famous or how much money they have.
10. Coming After You - bullies are bad, and teenage bullying is the worst.
SBV: You’re signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records. Joan’s a great animal advocate. Has she inspired you in any way regarding her animal rights beliefs? Have you talked to her about animal rights?
KO: We've never really discussed that directly, but there's a mutual understanding that neither of us believe in anything too tripped out or weird. By that, I mean we both actively take into account the idea that treating animals as equal beings is the right thing to do and that you should as often as you possibly can. We're pretty much on the same page.
SBV: You’ve talked about how you went up to Joan Jett at Warped Tour and gave her your CD and you were shy or intimidated. Who else would intimidate you? Who would you be nervous to talk to?
KO: Lots of people! Usually I'm most nervous in the most random situations, and most of the time it has nothing to do with music. It's much more nerve racking to have social conversation at a party about academia or art history or whatever than something you're familiar with. I'd say I'm most shy in front of bank tellers.
SBV: Tell us about Quito the dog and how you take him on tour.
KO: Quito has the best life ever. We first adopted him from an adoption fair and he was skittish. Had problems with people's faces near his. After a few months of tour and constant contact with new people every day he's turned into the calmest and coolest dog ever. He loves the road. He shares our seats in the van or bus, stays with us backstage, takes turn sleeping in our beds, and runs around the empty venues happily after everyone clears out every night. He's clearly the most popular Dollyrot!
SBV: Did you used to have a rat that you took on tour - called Sniffy?
KO: Sniffy was amazing as well! She had an amazing diet; mostly a tiny combination of exact proportions of everything I eat. If I had a vegan burrito, Sniffy got a tiny vegan burrito. She came towards you when you said her name and lived long (3 years) for a rat. AND she got to meet Joan Jett multiple times and logged more miles than most humans!
SBV: What goes into taking a dog on the road? Where does he go when you’re onstage? Is he always safe?
KO: He's absolutely safe. Usually we have a nice quiet backstage and a tour manager, merch helper, or venue person to make sure he's comfortable. We bring in his own bed and he takes naps while we play. I think the soft rumble of my bass amp is soothing to him, actually. He literally just falls asleep to the sound of music coming faintly through walls, and as soon as we're done he's up and ready to go hang out.
SBV: Do you think he likes all the traveling?
KO: I don't think that he would be as adjusted or cool with people if he hadn't had so many opportunities to meet and interact. He's come a long way in terms of being afraid of other creatures and I think the constant positive interactions with others has made him a happier boy. You have to remember; when we first adopted him he would not tolerate new dogs, people's faces, or, sadly, seeing someone take off their belt. He obviously had a tough life before us. But now he's an amazing companion and we miss having him around terribly while we're in UK!
SBV: What are your thoughts on the traveling animals that perform in circuses? PETA are campaigning against Ringling Bros for beating their animals. And just last week it was in the news about some lions in a circus that attacked the tamer.
KO: CIrcuses are morbid and abusive institutions. If people want to submit themselves to that sort of abuse it's up to them to make that conscious decision as clowns or freaks. Unfortunately, animals aren't given that choice. An elephant has the brainpower of a human and I can't imagine a situation where it's ethical to force such a conscious creature to perform in a way so against its instincts. It's an archaic and messed up way to entertain.
SBV: You’ve got a cat too, a fish and a snail. Only one fish? Would you ever get another fish so they can be friends?
KO: The particular species of Cichlid I own is actually better off in a tank by himself. The same goes for many types of fish, especially aggressive ones. There are all sorts of number combinations that work best for different species... sometimes your type of fish is better in pairs, sometimes in odd numbers, sometimes alone. You just have to make sure you get accurate information and educate yourself about the type of fish you have in order to make them comfortable. Fighting fish are another typical example of fish that fairs best being alone due to the way they evolved in tiny puddles. Tank size is super important too! You'd be surprised how much water it takes to make a fish happy.
SBV: You have a song called ‘My Heart Explodes’. When was the last time your heart exploded for something animal related – whether it was something joyous or something horrifying?
KO: My heart explodes every time my cat and dog lay on me and we fall asleep together while watching NOVA at home.
SBV: Which animal issues or laws do you think are ‘A Little Messed Up’?
KO: The idea that dogs automatically typically get 2 strikes in the U.S. As in, if your dog bites someone twice, oftentimes your pet is automatically deemed a social risk and put down. What if somebody intrudes on their space? What if somebody kicks him/her and you have no proof? It's a shame, and most of the time an aggressive dog is only aggressive due to the actions of the people around it. And I would be the last to blame an animal for the actions of the people around it.
Visit www.myspace.com/thedollyrots for more info - and go and see them on tour!