Mydolls, a punk/post-punk band and one of the first inductees into the Houston Music Hall of Fame, formed in Houston in 1978 when TRISH HERRERA (guitar and vocals) and DIANNA RAY (bass and chanting) began to write songs together. They were soon joined by LINDA YOUNGER (guitar and vocals), Herrera’s cousin GEORGE REYES (drums), and ultimately Ray’s wife KATHY JOHNSON until her death in 2011. Predominantly self-taught, the Mydolls play their instruments unconventionally. Younger sometimes plays only the top three strings of the guitar while Herrera concentrates on the bottom three, or vice versa, in order to achieve a layered sound. Reyes’s Latin and tribal-influenced drumming complements Ray’s unconventional bass playing and chanting.
The band’s name came from the over-the-counter medicine Mydol 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 Siouxsie and the Banshees and Minor Threat. They began performing in the Houston punk community early, before the punk genre began to be more rigidly defined in the mid- to late 1980s. Early in their careers, they performed with Houston bands AK-47, Hates, Degenerates, Culturcide, Party Owls, Bevatron, Anarchitex and Really Red, as well as with Texas punk bands including Big Boys, Dicks, Meat Joy, Beatless, Buffalo Gals, Marching Plague, Stickmen with Ray Guns and Butthole Surfers. Their music was influenced by Red Crayola, Wire, Velvet Underground and the Raincoats.
In the 1980s, the Mydolls released three recordings on Houston’s CIA Records. Mydolls songs appear 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 (CIA, 1986). A retrospective named after their single A World of Her Own was released by Grand Theft Auto (2007). Their song “Imposter” appears on French filmmaker Claire Denis’s 2008 film 35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum), and the band performed in a bar scene in the 1984 Cannes Film Festival award-winning movie Paris, Texas. In 2015, the Mydolls eight-song CD It’s Too Hot for Revolution was released on the Betsey label.
In addition to touring widely in Louisiana and Texas, the Mydolls toured the Midwest in 1983 and the East Coast in 1984 on their Go to Fish tour. While on tour, they attended the opening of Paris, Texas in New York City.
The Mydolls disbanded in 1986 and reformed in 2008. Since then, the band has continued performed locally and nationally, playing in festivals and events including Noise and Smoke (2008), Denton 35 (2015), Meow Con (2013), and Fabulosa Festival (2015). The band still performs for benefits and are active in Girls Rock Houston.