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The Donnas are an all-female American punk/hard rock band from Pal Alto, CA, formed in 1993. The band consists of Donna A (Brett Anderson) on vocals, Donna R (Allison Robertson) on guitar, Donna F (Maya Ford) on bass, and Donna C (Torry Castellano) on drums. Amy Cesari replaced Castellano in 2009. The Donnas, to date, have released 7 original studio albums and a retrospective album. They sounded, at first, like The Runaways meet the Ramones but, after signing to Atlantic Records, their punk evolved into hard rock and they sounded more like Joan Jett fronting 70’s KISS meets 80’s Judas Priest!

Girls, guns or zombies! Hard rockin’ girls and guitars!

Selected Discography:

The Donnas (1997). 14 tracks. Super*Teem! Records. 2/5 rating. Choice cut: “Get Rid of That Girl”. Re-released on Lookout! Records in 1998 with 9 bonus tracks.

American Teenage Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine (1998). 10 tracks. Lookout! Records. 3/5 rating. Choice cuts: “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine”, “You Make Me Hot”, “Checkin’ It Out”, “Gimmie My Radio”, “Outta My Mind”.

Get Skintight (1999). 14 tracks. Lookout! Records. Produced by Jeff and Steve McDonald of Redd Kross. 4/5 rating. Choice cuts: “Skintight”, “Hyperactive”, “Get You Alone”, “Hook It Up”, “Searching The Streets”, “Get Outta My Room”, “I Didn’t Like You Anyway”, “You Don’t Wanna Call”, “Zero”, “Doin’ Donuts”.

“Strutter” (1999). A cover of the 1974 KISS single. Featured on the soundtrack to the film Detroit Rock City.

“Keep On Loving You” (1999). A cover of the 1980 hit by REO Speedwagon. Featured on the soundtrack to the movie Drive Me Crazy.

The Donnas Turn 21 (2001). 15 tracks. Lookout! Records. 5/5 rating. Choice cuts: “Play My Game”, “Drivin’ Thru My Heart”, “Are You Gonna Move It For Me?”, “Do You Wanna Hit It?”, “You’ve Got a Crush on Me”, “Little Boy”, “40 Boys in 40 Nights”, “Nothing to Do”, “Living After Midnight”.

Notes: “Play My Game” was featured as the theme song for the MTV reality series Surf Girls (2003). “Living After Midnight” is a cover of the 1980 hit by Judas Priest.

Spend the Night (2002). 13 tracks. Atlantic Records. Major label debut. 5/5 rating. Choice cuts: “Take It Off”, “Too Bad About Your Girl”,  “Who Invited You”, “All Messed Up”, “Take Me To The Backseat”, “It’s On The Rocks”, “You Wanna Get Me High”, “Not The One”, “Please Don’t Tease”.

Note: “Take It Off” has since been featured on the soundtrack to the films Dodgeball (2004) and The Hangover (2009), and in the PlayStation 2 version of the video game Guitar Hero.

“Backstage” (2003). Featured on the soundtrack to the movie Freaky Friday.

“Dancing With Myself” (2004). A cover of the 1981 hit by Billy Idol. Featured on the soundtrack to the movie Mean Girls.

Gold Medal (2004). 11 tracks. Atlantic Records. 2/5 rating. Produce by Butch Walker. Choice cuts: “Fall Behind Me”, “I Don’t Want to Know (If You Don’t Want Me)”, “Don’t Break Me Down”, “Is That All You’ve Got For Me”.

“Kids In America” (2007). A cover of the 1981 hit by Kim Wilde. Featured on the soundtrack to the movie Nancy Drew.

Bitchin’ (2007). 14 tracks. Purple Feather Records. 3/5 rating. Choice cuts: “Don’t Wait Up For Me”, “What Do I Have To Do”, “Wasted”, “Bitchin'”, “Smoke You Out”, “Save Me”, “Love You Til It Hurts”, “Tonight’s Alright”.

Note: Bitchin’ was The Donnas‘ debut release on their own label, Purple Feather Records, formed after parting ways with Atlantic Records.

Greatest Hits Volume 16 (2009). 16 tracks. Purple Feather Records. 3/5 rating. A “retrospective” that included 2 new tracks, B-sides, unreleased tracks, live cuts, and re-recorded versions of older songs. Choice cut: “Get Off”.

“Queens of Noise” (2011). Recorded for the album Take It or Leave It – A Tribute to the Queens of Noise: The Runaways.

Watch the studio-produced videos for “Take It Off” and “Too Bad About Your Girl”, and the self-produced video for “Don’t Wait Up For Me” here …

Band links: Facebook / Youtube

My thoughts… I love The Donnas! However, I’m often torn between their punkier side and their hard rockin’ side! I think “Too Bad About Your Girl” is my favorite song by The Donnas. The beat in the verses kind of reminds me of the beat in the talking part of the 1978 song “Gotta Keep a Running” by The Godz! “Don’t Wait Up For Me” is great, too! It’s a heart-on-their-sleeves tribute to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts! This band’s biggest disappoint, for me, was Gold Medal. The album is lackluster and boring which sucks because it was produced by Butch Walker who is one of my favorite rockers! Hopefully, one day, The Donnas will kick out an 8th album!

Read my original post on MHE (here).

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