Published on September 26th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


The Punch List with Doug Walters of Torture Town

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and bandleader Doug Walters of Torture Town takes a turn.

1. What is your favorite local hang and why? 

“EarthFare. Because it has my two favorite things: food and babes. I’m one of those hippy vegans, so the vittles there are sometimes on the money.”

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…

“The Triscuits taste like victory on the ride home.”

3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?

“I was especially impressed with Stop Light Observations at an Awendaw Green event for Nick Collins earlier this year. Their name and wardrobe was wildly misleading. They kinda blew my mind.”


Doug Walters with Torture Town at the Tin Roof, 2012 (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.

“I’d say that I always try to tell the truth.”

5. What’s your theme song? 

“‘I’m A Girl Watcher’ [by the O’Kaysions] Cuz I’ve got an eye for the ladies. One time a I asked my old Secrets drummer, Brother, what his theme song. He instantly said, ‘Oh that’s easy. ‘I’m a Girl Watcher.'” I thought it was funny — and appropriate. So I actually stole his theme song. I think every guy can relate. But you can’t really embrace it unless you’re single. “

6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?

“The Almighty Marshall JCM 800. It was always there. Just waiting for me. I got it off a dude on eBay in like 2000. But as soon as I plugged it in, I knew that we were made for each other. She is always crapping out in one way or another. I’ve spent a small fortune on tubes. And it’s no fun lugging around a half stack year after year. But I would do anything for perfect tone. It’s inspiring to hear that warmth behind me. Takes everything to the next level. It’s the perfect rock ‘n’ roll sound. Truly.”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?

“Ironically enough, it’d  probably be Van Halen’s 1984. It was stuck in the tape player of my old van for about five years. So it was either Halen or nothing. I know every little nuance of that album like the back of my hand. The solo to ‘I’ll Wait’ is forever etched in my brain. Which is fine, because it’s dope as hell.”

TortureTown CD III

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?

“One time I had a gig at a wine bar and Elvis Costello was in town. A guy came in who looked exactly like him. He sat at the bar and watched me play for three hours. In my mind I knew it was him but I tried to play cool and not even really notice. I played and sang beyond my very best. Turns out it wasn’t him, but for three beautiful and slightly nerve-wracking hours it was.

So it would have been Elvis. But since I never actually met him, I’d say it would have to be Alex Lifeson [of Rush]. I met him on my birthday in Santa Fe, walking by himself on the street. Very gracious, humble guy. I’m sure he was dying to know how much 2112 and the first solo to ‘La Villa Strangiato’ and 50 other things he’s done meant to me. “

9. What’s your poison?

“If you were to asking seven years ago I’d say something much more PG-13. But these days it’s coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. And Triscuits. God, I love those things.”

10. In 10 years, I will be…

“Eating Triscuits. And napping more often.”

“Life Eternal” from Torture Town III:

      1. ‘Life Eternal’ by Torture Town

A native of Columbia, Doug Walters has been making music in Charleston for years. He formed the heavy-duty rock trio Torture Town as his main songwriting project five years ago. Under the Torture Town moniker, Walters has independently released two studio albums – the self-titled Twisted Tales from Torture Town (2010) and the EP Voodoo Woman (2011). This week he and the band will unveil their third official collection, Torture Town III, a five-song mini album tracked at Walters’ home studio and mixed and mastered at Ocean Industries.

“In terms of style and substance, I think it’s the heaviest Torture Town album yet,” Walters says. “On the other albums, there has been some humor and a little bit of parody, or like a character or caricature of sorts, almost cartoonish in a way. But this one is straight-ahead, for whatever reason. Pretty dark. All minor key. I don’t think I realized that until just now.”

With cover art by Charleston-based artist Gil Schuler, Torture Town III will be available at Charleston-area record store Monster Music and online through

Torture Town will celebrate the release of Torture Town III with a performance at the Tin Roof in West Ashley on Sun. Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. Local four-piece Bully Pulpit will open the show. Guest horn players Steve Spaulding (trombone) and Ronnie Ward (trumpet) will be on hand as well. Admission is $5.

Torture Town also performs at the Mill in Park Circle on Sat. Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. Admission is free.

See and for more.

*Metronome Charleston’s Ballard Lesemann performs with Walters in a duo called the Fairy God Muthas.




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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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