Rock is dead.

According to Neilsen tracking, in July 2017 rap overtook rock as the most popular music genre of choice.

Isis Queen of The Barb Wire Dolls is not at all surprised.

“Look at the music that they push out to the mainstream as rock and roll,” Queen (vocals) said. “It is not even rock and roll. It is watered-down electronic music. It is watered-down to the point where they are playing their instruments, but is it exciting in your soul? No. I’m very not surprised that any genre has overtaken rock and roll in this day and age.”




The Barb Wire Dolls, who play The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls on Oct. 29, have a pedigree that grants them a certain authenticity to speak to the state of rock, as the band was taken under the wing of the late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister.

Kilmister was looking for a band to sign to his Motörhead Records. A band that he felt could carry the weight of rock and reignite the fires that flamed rock for so many years.

“It says everything,” Queen said. “Rock and roll has needed saving for the past 10 years by Lemmy. The fact he had been looking for a band to sign to his label for all these years. He eventually saw us live, even though he had known about us for a couple of years. He is the catalyst for what we consider rock and roll, so the fact that he gave the nod to us, it is the biggest honor we’ll ever have. It is huge.”

“Rub My Mind,” the group’s fourth studio album, released in August, is the band’s most accessible record to date.

“Up until now, our music has not been very commercial. This album has a lot of commercial songs. It just naturally happened. There are a lot of radio-friendly songs. We will see what the next album ends up doing because the songs write themselves. We don’t force them. When we are ready to write an album, the energy is there, and the flow happens.”

While the music has the Barb Wire Dolls positioned for commercial acceptance, the artwork for the album is a bit risqué considering the strange, current times.

“It has not necessarily helped commercialize the album,” Queen said. “It is art. Art needs to be a little risqué. Rock and roll needs to be risqué. It is the problem with rock and roll nowadays. It is not risqué. It is quite boring actually.”

Boring is not something the current tour The Dolls are on can be considered.

“We have two bands on tour with us. We have 57. They are from South Korea. It is their first time in the US. They are a two-piece. Then we have Svetlanas from Russia. We are doing the whole tour together. It is exciting.

“57 had opened a show for us in England. They were put on the bill there at the last minute by the promoter. They were sweet and quiet until they got on stage and ripped it apart. They blew our minds. We wanted to do more shows together. When we booked this US tour, it is simple enough to get two more people on the bus with us. So, we asked if they wanted to do the tour and they were up for it. Svetlanas we have played within both the US and Europe. They have opened up so many shows for us; it was easy for us to choose them.”

The album and tour are The Dolls' latest volley in making rock relevant again.

“There is going to be a change coming,” Queen said. “Whatever goes down, must come up, everything is just shifting right now. So we will see if we can bring back rock and roll to the masses in a few years.”