An Old Brooklyn native, singer-songwriter Colleen Duffy has toured as the rockabilly act Devil Doll for the past 20 years.
Duffy attended Case and was the first female rockabilly/psychobilly radio show host at WRUW. She also started the distribution company Hep Cat Records.
She moved to New York in the mid-’90s and had a deal with Epic Records and then moved to Los Angeles in the late-’90s and recorded an “expensive record” for Geffen Records. When Universal bought Geffen, her record got lost in the shuffle (but she wound up self-releasing it).
All the time, she continued to tour and record and develop a fanbase both in the States and overseas.
Unfortunately, due to a recent illness, Duffy had to stop touring and return to Cleveland for treatment. She’s been diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder called EDS (Ehlers-Dalos Syndrome).
“It has been a hellish past three years,” she says.
Due to the extra finances that came in from her medical expense fund, she was able to afford to seek unconventional treatments and resources. Because of that, she is finally recovering and has plans to record her first studio album in more than 10 years.
She has launched an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign
to help with recording expenses. The campaign ends on Feb. 1.
“This is very new to me, and I find it stressful,” she says of the campaign that features a number of different tiers that include different merch bundles. “It’s a beautiful thing to be accessible to your fans in that way and have that interactive experience. It’s not like the days when you could wait for the record label to show up as your knight in shining armor.”
Returning to Cleveland has been a real blessing for Duffy. She's not only recovering from her illness, but she has also rekindled her affection for the region.
“I would never be in this stage of recovery if I hadn't returned to Cleveland,” she says. “We are really lucky to have all the medical resources we have in this community. I would really like to stay here in Cleveland and just go to Los Angeles for work in the future. Cleveland is pretty cool, and Los Angeles might be huge with all kinds of events, shows, galleries and a killer fabric/jewelry district, but it certainly doesn't have everything, and it definitely doesn't have the Cleveland Museum of Art. Oh, and Clevelanders are way funnier than people in Southern California. We are fucking hilarious.”
Duffy, who says she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to tour again, also connected with the director of the EDS Society and hopes to start working with the organization to help raise awareness about the disease.