Origin:
Newport, South Wales, UK
Decades:
1993-1998

60 Ft. Dolls were a British rock trio active in the 1990s. They were formed in Newport in 1992 by Richard J. Parfitt and Michael Cole, who met through Donna Matthews (later of Elastica), who was at the time, dating Cole and working part-time in the same pizza restaurant as Parfitt. After problems finding the right drummer, they eventually took on pastor's son Carl Bevan.[4] Initially influenced by touring American hardcore bands that played in Newport (and in particular, prominent local venue T. J.'s), the Dolls played noisy yet melodic rock, described by the NME as "grunge mod...proto-pub metal blues of the first order". In 1993, Huw Williams of the Pooh Sticks became their manager and released the debut single "Happy Shopper", named after a British convenience store chain, on his own Townhill label.

After supports with Oasis, Elastica and Dinosaur Jr., 60 Ft. Dolls released their second single "White Knuckle Ride" on Rough Trade Records and then "Pig Valentine" on the RCA imprint Indolent Records. These early singles were championed heavily by BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq, and as a consequence were picked up by influential American DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ. This resulted in the band signing a deal with Geffen Records in the USA. The New York Times listed "Pig Valentine" among its 1996 singles of the year. The band broke into the UK Top 40 with their third single "Talk to Me" (Indolent, 1996). This was followed by their debut album, The Big 3, which was called "[a]s close to soar-away rock perfection as it's possible to imagine" by the NME and "[p]ure, unadulterated, no nonsense, emotional, tuneful, impassioned, purposeful, hedonistic rock 'n' roll" by Melody Maker. The album was included in Mojo's 2003 retrospective feature "Top 12 Britpop albums of the 90s", which called it "a devilishly evocative document of the period".

The band toured extensively in the UK, Japan and Europe, including several summer festival appearances as well as opening for The Sex Pistols at their 1996 Finsbury Park reunion gig. But they were dogged by alcohol problems, and after an exhaustive three tours of the USA in 1997, never toured again. They released their second album, Joya Magica, in late 1998 and split soon after.

The band recorded two sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, in 1996 and 1998, and appear in the top 125 Peel sessions of all time.

Mike Cole once played guitar for Newport's The Darling Buds but was asked to leave after just three gigs. He was also asked to stand in for Paul McGuigan on Oasis' 1996 tour of the USA, but declined.

Carl Bevan's father, Pastor Ray Bevan, heads one of the biggest evangelical churches in the UK and once sang guest vocals on the Dolls' "Let The Spirit Move You", a 12" white label-only release, limited to one thousand copies and mixed by Wubble-U.

Welsh pop-soul singer Duffy credits Richard Parfitt with "changing her life" and setting her on the road to fame after he hooked her up with manager Jeanette Lee.

The track "Hair", written by Mike Cole about his then-girlfriend Donna Matthews, was placed Number 7 in Mojo's "100 Most Miserable Indie Songs of All Time" feature.

The Dolls were included, with Catatonia and others, in a House of Commons Early Day Motion, extolling the virtues of Newport's rock and roll credentials.