“Roller derby puts the ‘roll’ in ‘rock and roll,’” says Mishey Moreno of the Touchies, which’ll play the May 12 roller derby halftime show when the San Diego Derby Dolls all-star team, the Wildfires, battle the L.A. Ri-Ettes at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. And, by battle, we don’t mean like pro wrestling. “This stuff is not staged,” according to Moreno. “I’ve seen the bruises. It’s pretty insane.”
With most matches featuring live music during the halftime show, I ask Moreno what roller-derby crowds are like while the bands play. “Sedated. Disinterested. San Diego. Sound familiar?” She laughs. “The cool kids get into it. It’s a halftime show, so some form of entertainment is expected with the admission price. If you’re in a band and let a hard time get you down, you’re in the wrong biz.”
Founded in 2005, the Derby Dolls currently have multiple teams: the Wildfires (travel team), Hard Corps (B team), and two home teams, the Swarm and the Diego Rollers. There’s even a junior training league of rollers aged 8 to 17, the Juvenile Dollinquents.
The roller-music connection has been strong since the local league’s early days, with moonlighting players like singer Jacquie Bazinet, formerly of Unruly Bangz and currently with the Love Lashes, whose Derby Doll name is Shiva Mi Timbas. Bands performing the halftime show bring their own backline and P.A. “We promise to keep the lyrics clean for the kiddies,” says Moreno. “We’re even going to change the title of one of our songs to ‘Sex, Hugs, and Rock ’N’ Roller Skates‚’ just for the occasion.”
The Touchies are recording a vinyl EP, Mess with the Unicorn, Get the Horn, set for release on their own Seek Therapy Recordings label. According to the Derby Dolls website, the last time the Wildfires played against the L.A. Ri-Ettes, for January’s season opener, L.A. had the winning score (140 to 115). General admission for the May 12 bout starts at $15, with doors open at 6 p.m.