Interviews Music

Bitchin’ all over Europe

{mosimage}The Donnas may not be the correct daughters that every papa
dreams about, but surely they would be excellent partners for some wild
fiesta! They are at these moments touring around Europe with their new
album Bitchin’, and dedicated some time to answer the questions that
FREE! Magazine shot at them.



Power to the girls! Lately our website seems to have been overwhelmed with female rock bands (a dream comes true!!!). From the young new Finnish talents of Stalingrad Cowgirls or Pintandwefall, to the raw power of the British McQueen or the older generation still able to attract a big mass of fans in Sweden Rock like the American Vixen. But if we would have to talk about an American female rock band that is able nowadays to remove the foundations of the venues where they play, that would be undoubtedly The Donnas. We were lucky to contact the girls from Palo Alto while being on tour, and Allison (guitar player) and Brett (vocals) kindly openly chated about everything related to their past and present.

Was it difficult during your first years to study at high school and play at the same time? Could you have a normal attitude in the classrooms just after touring Japan, or the rock and roll lifestyle affects?

(Allison) No, we mostly focused on school the whole time we were in high school, we practiced a lot after school and played shows here and there, but mostly just high school shows with other bands from the school. We didn’t go on a full on tour until after high school, and our first trip overseas as a band was to Japan near the end of our final year, so at that point we were pretty much nearing the final days of school anyway!

How is the present tour going? Do you have time and energy to party between the gigs?

(Brett) The American leg of the Feather Nation tour was amazing and so fun and so far the European leg is proving to live up to the first half. We love the bands we’re touring with so that gives us something to look forward to watching every day, and the audiences are great so we look forward to playing too! Having a bus is the best because we have time to see some sights for once and have some great food and even… shop!

It seems like one of you had a not very nice incident with the police, because of drinking whiskey in the street, in Canada during your last American tour. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

(Allison) Yeah, our bass player was drinking on the bus and ran outside to sign something for a fan, unfortunately not realizing that it’s illegal to have alcohol on thestreets in Canada (and the US as well). The police rolled up and she resisted which enraged the officer, but luckily our smooth talking friend was able to get her out of trouble nicely!

In November, you were visiting some Scandinavian countries, but not Finland. Why? Didn´t anybody show interest in booking a gig?

(Brett) We actually LOVE Finland but there is a lot that goes into booking a tour besides where you’d like to play. The length of the tour, money, and the route the bus takes and whether the opening band can keep up in a van are all factors that a booking agent and tour manager has to consider.

I saw you a couple of years ago playing in Provinssirock here in Finland. Do you remember that concert? As far as I remembered, the feeling with the audience was great.

(Allison) Yes, it wasn’t so long ago! I enjoyed the show, it was rocking and sweaty!

There is a young Finnish female rock band called Stalingrad Cowgirls that is getting quite a big success lately. Have you heard anything about them?

(Brett) That’s a little off my radar, but I’d be interested to check them out! Maybe we could come and play in Finland with them!

{mosimage}Male rock bands usually have a lot of female "groupies" around. How is it among your fans, the Donnaholics, are there many male fans following you? Is there any special anecdote you can tell about this, male underwear thrown onto the stage or something like that?

(Allison) Haha yes, we do get male underwear thrown up on stage sometimes, boxers and briefs galore, even female underwear and bras! In Belgium and Germany we had two different flashers jumping onstage, and just recently in North Carolina a boy jumped onstage and started unzipping his pants. Our guitar tech clobbered him!

How does it feel that you can play Take it off in the Guitar Hero videogame? Have any of you played the videogame?

(Brett) It’s surreal! It’s really fun to play along and look at the characters and hear the funny fake track!

Tell us about your new album, Bitchin’. In what way is it different (or similar) to previous ones? Do you feel  different from that teenager band that was rehearsing in a garage a decade ago?

(Allison) The funny thing is that this album is like a return to that feeling of being teenagers in our garage, because we had all the time in the world to work on it, just like back then. Once we graduated and signed onto Lookout! records and then Atlantic, we were just touring, recording, touring, non stop—no time for anything in between. Now is the first time we could just chill out with our ideas and bat them around like we used to when we were kids, and it greatly affected the outcome! It is much more fun because of that extra thought we put into it and we had a killer time making it!

Do you consider the 4 of you friends on and off the stage?

(Brett) We’re definitely friends first before we’re a band, that’s how we started and that’s always what’s most important. I feel sad for bands that aren’t really friends off stage, what do they do for the other 23 hours of the day? How do they handle sharing hotel rooms and sitting next to each other for 11 hours straight on international flights? How do they write fun songs with inside jokes that make them laugh every night? It seems like a bad life to me, but hey, I guess that’s not my problem! And I’m thankful for that!

Why that title:  Bitchin´? Do you consider yourselves to have sometimes a "bad girl’s attitude"?

(Allison) Well we of course called it "bitchin’" cos that means "awesome" or "radical" and it’s very Californian. I think we prefer "bad ass attitude" to "bad girl’s attitude"!

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