'Blind to Your Misery' brings the Barb Wire Dolls and a message of activism to ASU

ASU professors and the Greek punk rock band will collaborate to discuss activism and artistic expression

ASU lecturers Enrico Minardi and Julieta Paulesc are teaming up with Greek punk rock band the Barb Wire Dolls to speak about activism and artistic expression at “Blind to Your Misery,” an ASU event slated for November 21.

The Barb Wire Dolls are no strangers to foreign culture and migration, having migrated from Crete, Greece, to Los Angeles in 2012 during their country’s economic crisis. 

Both Minardi and Paulesc are quite familiar with this subject as well. Minardi teaches courses about French and Italian culture, and Paulesc teaches Romanian and a topic course intended to inform her students about migration and the formation of identity.

Minardi, intrigued by the group’s aesthetic and sound, was eager to get them to ASU. He was fascinated by the group’s unique nature and the success they had achieved as immigrants in a new land, he said. 

“I am interested in their political activism — punk rock bands of a political nature are rare in the U.S., however, common in Europe,” Minardi said. "I don't think there are many bands like them."

Paulesc was also excited to collaborate with Minardi and the Barb Wire Dolls for the opportunity to share her knowledge at this event.

“This initiative stems from both of our classes, so we merged, and now we are going to drill our different perspectives and experiences to these people,” Paulesc said.

The Barb Wire Dolls were happy to join, given their natural fit for the project. Their lead singer, Isis Queen, stated that self-empowerment is the foundation of their group.

“Bands that I admired, that didn’t care about what other people thought, helped me to empower those thoughts into putting that into my music,” Queen said. “A lot of that had to do with the first wave of punk rock that came out in the late seventies. That was all about not caring about the rules of how you are supposed to act and be, as opposed to doing it for yourself.”

She listed Sex Pistols, The Clash, X, Ramones and Iggy Pop, among others as influences on her sound. 

“I was very uninspired by the rock n' roll music that was being pushed out into the mainstream. I didn't like the bands that were forming and being put on the radio. None of that represented me. I needed some attitude in rock n' roll," Queen said. "I decided to start a band instead of complaining about it and express what I wanted to put out in the world."

But, Queen said she prefers to avoid labels for the music she plays.

"We're influenced by punk rock, but we're definitely a rock n' roll band when it comes down to it," she said. "However, the Barb Wire Dolls — we are constantly changing, our music is constantly changing, the emotions in the music are constantly changing, but it's always got an attitude behind that when you see it live. It blows you away, and that is what rock n' roll is about - that aggression that you really can't label."

The drive to become a successful band did not come without some obstacles.

“The punk rock scene in Greece was non-existent. We couldn’t even book a show in Crete,” said Queen. “Nobody wanted to book the genre of punk rock, and no one was even interested in it.”

But the tides shifted when the band received an invitation to play in Los Angeles.

“The fact that opportunity came out of nowhere and that we were a baby band at the time didn’t stop us at the time from grabbing the opportunity and doing something with it,” Queen said.

Migration, though a risky move, ultimately led to the success the band enjoys today, including getting signed to Motörhead Music and being included on the Vans Warped Tour 2017.

Queen tied the band's story to the theme of self-empowerment. 

“That has been our blueprint for our whole career," she said. "We don’t really do anything that is expected, and we’re very different from bands that are around nowadays.”

The Barb Wire Dolls, with Minardi and Paulesc, hope to combine all of their perspectives to inform others of the importance of taking a stand.

The event will be held in the Durham Language and Literature Building on ASU's Tempe campus, from noon to 1:15 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 21. It is free to students and the public. The Barb Wire Dolls will also be playing a show later that evening at The Rebel Lounge. 

Reach the reporter at dgatalic@asu.edu and follow @danielgatalica on Twitter. 

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