The Dollheads is a sibling pop punk band from Las Vegas composed of Angela, Samantha and Austin Avery. The band has been playing for six years and was formed when the oldest was only ten years old.
It’s 2002 and you’re rushing home from school to watch TRL. Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ holds the number-one spot on the music video countdown show and you can’t help but sing “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” at the top of your lungs while rocking your low-slung dickies, skate shoes and both arms stacked with studded bracelets.
For Millennials raised on The Ramones, often referred to as the founding fathers of punk rock, and girl-powered punk bands from the 90’s Riot Grrrl movement, a consensus that ‘good’ punk rock music is hard to find these days. Fast forward to October of 2022 where young and elder emos gathered in Las Vegas, NV for the When We Were Young Festival for a nostalgic, inclusive, and celebratory pop-punk-rock music experience that reignited its popularity with a younger generation.
Enter Angela (16), Samantha (14) and Austin (12) Avery, aka The Dollheads, a sibling pop-punk band lighting up the Las Vegas music scene. After connecting with Angela over Instagram, I was invited to attend their live show at SoulBelly BBQ in the Arts District of Downtown Las Vegas. I immediately opened Spotify and listened to the band’s newly released LP ‘What Teenage Angst’ from start to finish. The Dollheads effortlessly evoked a teenage nostalgia of adolescence and coming-of-age, with every tune on the 10-track album.
Their live show was truly one for the books. The band’s youthful energy, fueled by an unmatched sibling chemistry, kept a nearly sold-out crowd hyped and engaged throughout the entire performance. Playing a combination of newly released and unreleased songs, along with classic punk covers, Angela’s powerful and edgy vocals, Samantha’s shredding basslines, and Austin’s explosive thundering drums, kept you longing for “one more song”, which they delivered by the demands of the crowd, ending the night with punk rock anthem – “Hey Ho Let’s Go” by the Ramones.
With talent and musicianship beyond their years, we’re excited to watch them evolve as a band and lead the pop-punk revival one city at a time.
Check out our interview below with the coolest kids around and support their musical journey!
How long have you been playing music and what inspired you to pursue a musical path?
Angela: We all started playing musical instruments at very young ages, like around 5 years old. Our journey towards becoming a band probably started when Austin turned five and got his beginner’s drum set, which was almost eight years ago. At the time I was taking piano lessons, but once I saw Austin really pick up the drums I switched over to learning guitar. Just over two years later we had our first performance as a band when I was finishing 5th grade, Sam finishing 3rd grade, and Austin finishing 1st grade. Samantha was playing keyboard at that time, but switched to bass when she finally got one for Christmas 5 years ago. We’ve been playing together ever since.
How would you describe your sound to someone listening to your music for the first time?
Samantha: Well we always introduce ourselves as a pop-punk band because we think that’s the best genre to represent ourselves. We love the punk genre and some of our favorite covers to perform are songs by Rancid and the Ramones. One of the greatest compliments we’ve gotten was after our Life is Beautiful set when a couple approached us and said that seeing our set was the closest thing they would ever experience to hearing Green Day play Dookie for the first time. So I would say that we’re a modern rock band that is built on a punk foundation, and we’ve seen that this sound relates to people of all ages.
Who are your musical influences?
Austin: I think you’ll get different answers from each of us based on our instruments, but I think we’d all agree that our first major influence as a band was Green Day. You can probably pick up some of their styles in our originals, but for the longest time we would work on covers of their older songs. As we’ve grown, our influences have expanded to some of the greatest bands ever like Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters.
Congratulations on releasing your first LP! What do you want fans to take away from your album and what’s your favorite song and why?
Angela: Thank you! All of the songs in our album are about our experiences as teenagers and what we have encountered during this part of our lives. Listening to our lyrics from that perspective will help give greater meaning to what we’re trying to express. Given that everyone has gone or is going through their teenage years we know that the songs can be relatable to just about anybody.
My favorite song on the album is “Better Half”. This song means a lot to me, because it helped me express a feeling that I had difficulty expressing otherwise.
Samantha: My favorite song is “She’s a Girl”. I wrote these lyrics to express the difficulties of being a girl in a man’s world. The song is a response to anyone that thinks less of someone just because they’re female. It also doesn’t hurt that the bass line is fun to play.
Austin: Mine is “Before Friday” because I love playing the drums throughout the whole song, from the fast-paced beats to the huge fills. For me, it is the most complicated drum track I’ve written.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to your (even) younger selves?
Angela: The process of just getting where we are at has been really long and has been a lot of work. We’ve put in so much practice time at home, and that has definitely been draining at times. One of the most discouraging things was when we thought we were almost ready to get out there, so we applied for the Henderson Battle of the Bands in 2021, but we did not get selected as finalists. We applied for the event the following year and ended up winning, but not without going through a lot of emotions to get ourselves back ready to try again. We still face these challenges regularly, but the advice that we tell ourselves now is the same as what we would go back and tell our younger selves, which is to not give up or get discouraged when things get hard. Stay on track, and keep getting better and the opportunities you want will come to you in time.
Tell us about your upcoming shows!
Austin: We have a lot of shows that haven’t quite been announced yet, but we keep our Instagram up to date with announcements so stay tuned there because we will be playing regularly throughout the year. Our next show is on January 28th in Downtown LA at Boomtown Brewery where we’re part of a cool line up with 6 other LA based bands, and our next local show is on February 3rd at The Space where we’ll be supporting a couple of really awesome local bands, White Noise and Pure Sport, for their album releases. But I am really excited to play at Punk Rock Bowling music festival in May.
What’s your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
Samantha: I think Raw Femme is a representation of being a kick ass girl/woman and proving that you deserve every opportunity you get. We feel like we’ve done this by proving our place over and over again in spite of many challenges, including winning four battle of the band competitions in 2022 and earning spots at Life is Beautiful and Punk Rock Bowling. Raw Femme is showing that we won’t be discouraged by any obstacles because we know that anyone who doubts us only needs to see us play once to be won over. And we believe that by embracing that mentality we can go on to do great things.