The Cherry Dolls on the road to their debut album
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The Cherry Dolls on the road to their debut album

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On stage, The Cherry Dolls’ frontman Joshua Aubry is a modern day manifestation of the ‘streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm’ that Iggy Pop described in 1973’s seminal punk rock classic Search & Destroy.

Aubry grasps the raw energy constructed through music by his bandmates – the bleeding riffage of Jakob Kagan and Jim Stirton, Brendan West’s rumbling bass, Thomas van der Vliet thundering drums – and figuratively box it up into an infectious rock goo that is smeared all over the audience via his belting vocals.

Yet despite wielding such power on stage, off stage he’s an unassuming, amiable, mild-mannered and empathetic 25-year-old who seeks only to help enlighten those to the same level rock music has enlightened him.

It seemed only appropriate to ask a man so possessed by rock’s spirit what his top three albums are. “Fuck man, that’s a big question,” says Aubry with a genuine sincerity. “I have to put in Is This It by The Strokes, I don’t care what anyone says that is one of the greatest albums of all time. Led Zeppelin ‘one’; Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin.”

As Aubry’s mind-quest for his number one rock album lengthens, your correspondent prompts Aubry after I  was reminded of a moment during a limo ride to Golden Plains 2016 with The Cherry Dolls singer in which he had fervently, and with much gusto, sung along to Rod Stewart’s 1971 hit Maggie May. The suggestion of a Rod Stewart album gets a swift and good humoured ‘no.’

“My mum always said I sounded like Rod Stewart and I love Rod Stewart but not an album. When we were in LA, Jakob was fucking swimming in Rod Stewart’s pool,” Aubry says. The Cherry Dolls were in LA to record their EP Lone Palm, their second release of 2016.

Aubry formed the band back in 2015, after moving from Melbourne to Queensland. This was after realising – through his experience with his former act Drake The Fake – that maybe the Sunshine Coast lacked the cultural depth to provide personnel for the kind of band he wanted to start. “When I started The Cherry Dolls it was just me and a bunch of other younger dudes and then out of nowhere we were playing to packed out rooms,” he says. “I can think of one, maybe two shows where it hasn’t been full to the brim.”

Despite this sounding like every band’s dream Aubry admits, “We never had the songs, we always had the reputation of these live shows that dudes would come to because they knew girls would be there and girls would come because they thought the guys in the band were cute and we were enjoying it.

“Recording an album was not a priority. But then last year we decided that our peak was when we were on stage and that if we didn’t do something about it that’s all we would ever be known for, so we decided to write this album.”

A listen to Viva La Dolls’ closing song Blister affirms that the texture, depth and, for lack of better word, ‘art’ that The Cherry Dolls yearned for has been achieved. “It was written by Jim a couple of years ago about his grandmother that passed away. He showed me the demo of the song and I fell in love with it. I kept listening to it on his Soundcloud until finally we were out one night and I asked if he was going to do anything with the song and he said ‘No, I don’t want to.’

“I said ‘Give it to me and the band.’ It’s probably the song I am most proud of on the album.”

Oh and if you were wondering Aubry’s number one album is Primary Colours by Eddy Current Suppression Ring.