Dorothy Martin has good reason to be exhausted.
Her eponymous, five-piece band, Dorothy, has been on the road with hard rockers Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace and Chevelle since July 17 in support of its second studio album, “28 Days in the Valley.” The group will break off from that tour to play a headlining show at the Domino Room on Friday.
“Longest tour I’ve ever done,” she said with a laugh from a recent tour stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “So it’s fun, and I’m tired.”
Despite this, she brimmed over with energy as she discussed her love of Oregon (“The trails, the hiking, the nature — Portland’s interesting and fun. Yeah, it’s just beautiful up there,” she said), her upcoming writing sessions and her musical roots with GO! Magazine recently. The Domino Room will be her Bend debut, and when asked what to expect from her show, she didn’t hold back.
“You can expect some rock ’n’ roll, because that’s what we’re doing,” she said. “I mean, we’ve been out here with Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace and Chevelle — I wanna say we’re the least heavy band on the lineup, and that’s OK. We’re a little more psychedelic and groovy and whatnot. But I think if you love rock ’n’ roll, there’s several variations of it that you get to see on this show.”
That enthusiasm probably comes as no surprise to fans who have watched her rise since 2014, when Rolling Stone named her band as one of its “10 New Artists You Need to Know.” With a powerhouse voice and commanding stage presence, Martin has turned heads from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello to 4 Non Blonde’s Linda Perry, who co-wrote and produced “28 Days in the Valley.”
Perry helped Martin expand upon Dorothy’s 2016 debut, “Rockisdead.” That record features a straightforward mix of stomping, hand-clapped rhythms and metallic guitar riffs, at times sounding like Heart filtered through The White Stripes. “28 Days,” meanwhile, was mostly recorded live in the studio and touches on classic rock, blues and even some spaghetti western on the title track.
“The songwriting, it was more abstract,” Martin said. “I don’t want to say less cliché because when you’re playing rock ’n’ roll music, you hear your songs about whiskey and women and fighting and partying, and that’s a very common theme. … ‘Rockisdead’ was a fun record — it was fun. It was kind of like, I don’t give a (crap), and it’s fun. I feel like ‘28 Days in the Valley’ was a little more introspective.”
That introspection comes from a number of places. Martin got sober during the recording of the album, encouraged by Perry — her Facebook biography leads off with a story about how she showed up to a vocal session hung over and was promptly chastised by her producer and co-songwriter. (She wouldn’t discuss it beyond saying, “It was a journey; it was a learning experience.”)
But that aside, the album also touches on the story leading up to Dorothy’s formation. Martin grew up in San Diego listening to her father’s classic rock, soul and R&B record collection, and started singing at an early age.
“The first time (I) ever (sang for an audience), I did the school talent show, and I blew it; it was really horrible,” Martin said. “And then, I did the national anthem for my high school graduation, and I kind-of-sort-of blew it, but saved it. … I don’t know why I kept doing this thing that scared me so much; I just kept doing it. I was terrified, but I was like, I’m gonna try again. And then karaoke bars and then my band.”
Soon after, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue playing music professionally. The first incarnation of Dorothy would form there in the early 2010s, but she struggled for a while, she said.
“I had no plan; I really had no plan,” Martin said. “… Listen, being a young adult or a teenager, moving to Hollywood with no support network and no idea what … you’re doing can be very dangerous. I’m lucky that I made it through. L.A.’s a very big city. It’s got a lot of good, and it’s got a lot of bad; it’s got a lot of light, and it’s got a lot of dark. I fell into those — like the seventh layer of hell a couple of times in fact, and I write about it. It’s something to talk about. But if you don’t take those risks, you never know — you’ll miss out on your dream.”
Perry helped push Martin to open up about these topics on “28 Days.”
“She can crap out a song in five minutes; it’s amazing,” Martin said. “But so can I; I learned that about myself, too. I know when it’s happening; I can kind of feel it. You get the hairs on the back of your neck stand(ing) up. But hers are much better than mine, obviously. She can play every instrument, and she’s very good at pulling out ideas. I personally really love writing lyrics, so I learned a few new tools about how to write lyrics — writing letters and whatnot.”
With “28 Days” more than a year old, Martin is itching to get back in the studio. She plans to take a break in October and then travel to Nashville and L.A. for writing sessions with new collaborators, whom she wouldn’t reveal just yet.
“I don’t want to plan it too strictly because I like to let the inspiration happen, so if you’re set in your ways, then it’s very hard to let the inspiration happen,” she said. “I know what to look for when that song or that riff makes me feel excited, and I get butterflies and I know we’re on to something.”