In retrospect, Dorothy Martin isn’t sure how she became the frontwoman for one of today’s most promising new blues-metal outfits, simply called Dorothy. “I don’t know anybody in my family that does music,” she says, “Everyone’s a doctor or a teacher on my mom’s side, and my father was an engineer, so I don’t know what the hell happened with me.” She’s a convincing rock star on “ROCKISDEAD,” the band’s ironically titled album on RocNation, with anthems such as “Missile,” “Raise Hell,” and the venomous “Gun In My Hand.”
Weren’t you incredibly shy as a child?
Yeah. I’m Hungarian, but I used to live in Munich, and I went to an all-German pre-school. But moving with my mom to the states when I was young, with English being my third language — my first was Hungarian, my second, German — I finished kindergarten in San Diego. But when I hit middle school, something happened. I was constantly reading books, and I didn’t really make friends. So I went through this weird period where I didn’t talk to anybody. But it made my vocabulary pretty good, and I also excelled at spelling and writing, and now I love doing the lyrics.
And you were planning on studying biotechnology?
But instead I chose a much more loosely-scripted path in life. I moved to L.A., and got married to an illegal alien from Morocco who lied to me and said he was from Montreal. But he played guitar, which I thought was sexy. So I got duped into this green card fiasco, but it put that fire in my belly to survive and not rely on a man at all. My credit card got maxed out, an eviction went on my name — I went through a lot of turmoil with this person. But it basically gave me balls of steel, and now I have a zero-bulls— policy. And making music helped me deal with my issues.
Then you met the production team of Ian Scott and Mark Jackson, who heard something special in your voice?
Yeah. Through George Robertson, my manager. Before that, I had basically left the music industry – I started dating somebody, I moved to Vegas, and then I lost my father. Then the person I was dating dumped me, so I moved home with my mom. But George still believed in me, and Mark and Ian owed him a favor, so we started writing together and instantly there was this chemistry. The first song we wrote had this Stevie Nicks kind of vibe, but then the Sabbath riffs came in, and they said, “Damn! You sound like Janis Joplin! Let’s put some heavier riffs behind you!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13
Tickets: $12.50 to $15
Contact: (415) 626-4455, www.bottomofthehill.com