Twenty-one years old, and frequently kissed. At least that”s what the Donnas would like to have their fans believe.
The Donnas Turn 21 is the name of their latest record, and the furiously feminine foursome from California is taking it on the road.
Combine two parts Ramones with one part Joan Jett, toss in a liberal dose of sexual innuendo for good measure and stir. You”ve got a Donnas record like 1999″s Get Skintight, plain and simple.
The band”s latest release, its third for Lookout! Records, is chock-full of sardonic smiles and appropriately aged lyrics. “Midnight Snack” has less to do with food than it has in common with “40 Boys in 40 Nights.”
But the girls have never made out with 40 boys in 40 nights most of the songs aren”t true-to-life. “They”re kind of exaggerated,” said Donna F. in an interview with The Michigan Daily. “”Hot Boxing” is a true story, though. Me and my drummer had a make-out contest. I made out with five boys. But I only made out with five boys on the entire tour. So five boys in 40 nights. But now we all have boyfriends. So now it”s one boy in 40 nights.”
The Donnas (Donna A., Donna C., Donna R. and Donna F. no relation) have been rocking together since their time as eighth graders in Palo Alto, Calif. But the sound they”ve cultivated today is a far cry from the lunchroom antics of the Ragedy Anns or the Electrolutes, the first two banners they marched underneath. The Donnas moniker didn”t come along until later.
It hit when Darin Raffaelli, another Palo Alto musician, stepped in and taught the girls a few songs he”d written. That was in 1995.
He helped the girls put together their second long-player American Teenage Rock “n Roll Machine, which was released in 1998, writing most of the material on it.
Flash forward to 2001. These little girls are, to quote Vince Vaughn “all grownz up,” and Raffaelli is no longer in the picture. The Donnas have been writing their own material and sharing production credits on their records. “We wanted to start doing it all by ourselves,” Donna F. said. A Lou Perlman girl band this is not.
Even though the girls will do an occasional Mtley Cre or Judas Priest cover, all the material on the Donnas” latest releases has been self-authored. And it smokes.
“A lot of people think we”re just a novelty act and that we”re young, dumb and full of gum,” Donna F. said. Which is not the way the band wants to be known. They”re happy when comparisons are drawn not to the Ramones, as many critics have, but when people say AC/DC it”s cool, she said.
Which is exactly the way the girls like it. And the ultimate goal? Not love and adoration from thousands of screaming boys. “I”d like people to respect us. As a band. As good musicians. We just want to be like any good guy rock band,” said Donna F.
After they”re done with America, the Donnas head off to Europe for nearly two months. Detroit”s own Magic Stick is one of the last stops on the “Turn 21 Tour,” and it happens this Sunday night. Fellow femme-rockers Bratmobile open the show. Attendance is required. That is, if you”re old enough to handle it.