The Donnas have been around the proverbial "punk rock block." They've traveled every corner of the globe bringing with them a fun live show and a testament that guys aren't the only ones allowed to brandish a Gibson.
I remember the first time I heard them, sometime in the '90s. I was riding around the streets of Las Vegas in a friend's car, listening to music and enjoying the utter lack of responsibility that comes with being a teenager. At some point, she ejected the Reagan Youth tape we were listening to and popped in one I hadn't heard. "You're probably not going to like this…but I really don't care what you like; it's my car." The tape was (you guessed it!): The first Donnas LP.
"What is it?" I asked. "
"It's the new Donnas' record. I really like it."
"The Dooonnnaaas," I replied in disgust. "This band sucks, man. Why don't you put Reagan Youth back in?"
"Whatever," she said in a really irritated voice. "Like I said, it's my car so shut the hell up."
And I did.
In keeping my mouth shut, I started to actually listen to the tape. It reminded me a lot of the Runaways. It had the attitude of the Ramones. The music was stripped down and fun and the lyrics were pretty rad. They we're pretty funny. And although I wouldn't dare admit it out loud, I started to dig the record. A lot.
Fast-foward to 2006. I'm at the Donnas concert here in Philly. I don't care for the opening band too much and there are crap loads of roller girls rolling about so I head over to the bar. After a few (too many) drinks and an introduction from the aforementioned roller girls the band takes the stage. Granted, the girls have matured a bit from their Lookout! records days, but it's a good thing. They're now very much a rock 'n' roll band but all the elements that made me enjoy then before are still there.
As I stand watching the band I'm transported back to a time when life was easier. Where the most unseeming things are totally fun and each day contains completely new experiences. My mind wanders back to the car rides spent listening to the Donnas. The ones where I requested the tape.
Band site: www.thedonnas.com
Label Site: Atlantic
All photos and content by Justin Rosenthal