Bob Otis is feeling it. Just prior to taking the stage for the official record release show last weekend at AS220, the guitarist and co-founder of Lolita Black, PVD's reigning heavy-goth-metal foursome, hands over a vinyl copy of Flesh, Blood, and Bone ($9.99 at lolitablack.bandcamp.com) with an approving nod.
"Finally," he says exhaling, his perma-goatee giving way to a proud smile.
Otis is a Providence lifer within the music community, as lead singer for crust punk vanguards Dropdead (which played a recent string of sold-out shows in Italy) and uber-heavy metal trio I, Destroyer. He reiterates that Lolita Black is far from just a "project."
"Dropdead has been an amazing trip, but I also have many different sides and creative avenues that define me as a person and right now Lolita Black is an important part of my creative development."
Bob Otis is as genuine and candid as they come — a burly dude in black denim with a big heart. And over the few dozen shows I've caught since stumbling onto the single "Tightrope" (from the 2009 debut Into the Wasteland), Otis and I have shared countless just-between-me-and-you moments outside a club or Olneyville warehouse parking lot, in Lolita's Mystery Machine van, and over birdbath-sized margaritas at Chilango's. He wants and foresees big things for this band, particularly since signing on Scarlett Delgado as lead singer late in 2010. Watching this band operate, it's hard to believe Otis, drummer and co-founder Kayleigh Melise, and bassist Jake Blanchette had never crossed paths with Delgado.
"It was like my long-lost little sister walked in the door — we had immediate chemistry right away," Otis gushes. "Scarlett had the whole package with a bigger-than-life personality, amazing vocals, and just a down-to-earth and creative vibe that was infectious.
"We totally adore her," Otis continues. "She is like family to us."
Scarlett "Skizbot" Delgado is fucking psyched. She sips on her beloved Jameson as her three bandmates plug in and tune up, and she's absolutely abuzz about debuting a new song tentatively titled "Serpentine." Her best friend Stephanie arrives and Delgado is boiling over, now officially "wicked fucking psyched," as she grabs me by the shoulders and glares intently, "I know you love 'Fireheart,' but wait until you hear the new song. I am so fucking pumped right now.
"A year and a half of hard work went into this record, and I'm proud to say that it's 100 percent ours," she says. "I am able to hold this record in my hands and say that every hour, every setback, and every dollar was completely worth it."
Delgado recalled her first meeting with the band; she had memorized Into the Wasteland prior to the audition.
"Bob told me to do a mic check, so I sang 'Bat Out of Hell,' " she says. "And everyone gave each other a 'Did this chick just sing Meat Loaf?' sort of look, but then we tore into 'Tightrope' and the rest is history!"
But does this Lolita lovefest prohibit honest criticism amongst members? Not so, Otis says. "When Kaleigh and I started this band I knew that I wanted everyone to be happy on every level with the final product. It's worked out wonderfully so far and I feel like it's fueled our friendships and the success of the band."