Long before the burlesque troupe of the same name strutted on stages across this city, Atlanta had another Doll Squad blazing its own path across the local scene. "I think originally we were described by some people as this band that was made up of the girlfriends of guys in local bands, and we were," says bassist and singer Katy Graves. "We had someone tell us after a show at Masquerade that we would be better if we played naked. That was classic."
Formed in late '89, Graves says she and drummer/guitarist Susanne Gibboney wanted to be the female Ramones with a little Runaways thrown in. "She had drums and I had a bass that some old boyfriend gave me," Graves says. "We worked at Junkman's Daughter, and so did Molly Pitts. She heard us talking about this band idea and asked if she could sing. We just went with it from there."
"At the time, there weren't many girls playing in bands around here," says Gibboney. "The Y chromosome was seriously under-represented." The band also included Stephanie Beiling, Katherine Peavey, Shannon Dockery and Ann Ciovacco and inspired a new series of all-female rock outfits. "Susanne and I played together in Doll Squad and when she left, Ann was our drummer," explains Graves. "Then Ann and I started Catfight with Jennifer Kraft, and then when Ann left, Susanne came to play with Catfight. It's really just like the Atlanta scene, very incestuous."
And now, at least 10 years after the final Doll Squad show, the band is reuniting to celebrate the birthday of late bassist and beloved scenester Scott Shamel. "We all knew Scott and played one of his infamous birthday parties. If we weren't playing at one of those parties, you can bet we were there anyway!"
Doll Squad plays Star Bar Fri., Oct. 21, 9 p.m., with Shades of Shamel and other special guests. $5. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net.