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Mydolls Records

 Collection
Identifier: 2019-008
The post-punk band Mydolls is a Houston band formed in 1978 with members Trish Herrera, Dianna Ray, Linda Younger, and George Reyes. The archive of the women-led group reveals its 40-year advocacy of equality, female empowerment, and minority representation in the arts. The archive preserves the band’s early history in photographs, letters, flyers, zines, and cassette tapes from the road, unreleased materials on analog media, original records, and hand-painted tee shirts worn during a cameo in the film Paris, Texas.

Dates

  • 1978-2018

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

The punk/post-punk band Mydolls was formed in Houston, Texas, in 1978 when Trish Herrera (guitar and vocals) and Dianna Ray (bass and chanting) began to write songs together. Soon after, Linda Younger (guitar and vocals) and Herrera’s cousin George Reyes (drums) joined. In 1985 Ray’s future wife Kathy Johnston performed with the Mydolls at their farewell show at the Orange Show (now Orange Show Center for Visionary Art), and she continued performing with them as a band member after they reformed in 2008 until 2011 when she died from myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Largely self-taught, the Mydolls played their instruments unconventionally. Younger sometimes played only the top three guitar strings, while Herrera concentrated on the bottom three, or vice versa, thus achieving a layered sound. Reyes’s Latin and tribal-influenced drumming complemented Ray’s unconventional bass playing and chanting. The band began performing early in the Houston punk community, before the punk genre became more rigidly defined in the mid-to-later 1980s. Early in their careers, they performed with Houston bands Degenerates, Hates, Culturcide, AK-47, Party Owls, Anarchitex, Bevatron, and Really Red as well as with Texas punk bands including Dicks, Big Boys, Meat Joy, Beatless, Buffalo Gals, Stickmen with Ray Guns, Marching Plague, and Butthole Surfers. Their music was influenced by the Red Crayola, Wire, Velvet Underground, and the Raincoats. The band’s name came from the over-the-counter medicine Midol, used to relieve menstrual symptoms, and one of the most memorably-named double bills in Houston punk history occurred when the Mydolls opened for the punk/rockabilly band the Cramps. Mydolls performed with other touring acts, including Minor Threat and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The Mydolls released three recordings on Houston’s C.I.A. Records during the 1980s. Mydolls songs were included on compilations, Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death (Ward-9 Records, 1983), Sub Pop 7 (Sub Pop Records, 1983), and The Dog That Wouldn’t Die (C.I.A., 1986). A double-CD retrospective, A World of Her Own (named after one of their singles), was released by Grand Theft Auto in 2005. Their song “Imposter” appeared on French filmmaker Claire Denis’s 2008 film 35 Shots of Rum (originally titled 35 Rhums). In 2015 the Mydolls eight-song CD It’s Too Hot for Revolution was released on the Betsey label.

Following their first single, “Nova Grows Up/Therapist/In Technicolor” (1980), the Mydolls traveled to London where they were greeted by native Houstonian Mayo Thompson of Red Krayola (aka Red Crayola), who worked in distribution for Rough Trade Records. On the same trip, John Peel interviewed the band on BBC Radio 1.

In 1983 the Mydolls performed in a bar scene in the movie Paris, Texas (1984)—the Cannes Film Festival award-winning film directed by Wim Wenders and starring Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski. Their single “A World of Her Own,” from their EP Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick, was on the movie soundtrack. The Mydolls performed at the movie wrap party at Dirty’s, a restaurant in the Houston Heights area.

In addition to touring widely in Louisiana and Texas, the Mydolls toured the Midwest (1983). In 1984 the band embarked on their Go to Fish, East Coast tour. The nine-date tour, which began in Memphis, revolved around an October 14, 1984, performance at New York City’s Danceteria for the premiere of Paris, Texas at the New York Film Festival. The tour concluded in Nashville. The Mydolls disbanded in 1986 and reformed in 2008. Since then, the band has performed locally and nationally and has played in festivals and events including Noise and Smoke (2008), Denton 35 (2015), Meow Con (2013), and Fabulosa Festival (2015). In 2013 the Mydolls were among the inaugural inductees to the Houston Music Hall of Fame. They opened for the Avengers in San Francisco in 2015 and in 2016 were featured in a music-based lecture series at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. As of 2018 the band still performed for benefits and was active in Girls Rock Houston.

Citation: Manning, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xgm31
Title
Guide to the Mydolls Records
Status
completed
Author
Courtney Tutt
Date
September 2019
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA
713-743-9750