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The Donnas are an American all-female rock band from Palo Alto, California.[1] They draw inspiration from The Ramones, AC/DC, and Kiss.[1][2] Rolling Stone has stated that "the Donnas offer a guileless take on adolescent alienation; they traffic in kicks, not catharsis, fun rather than rage".[1] MTV has stated that the band offers "nothing more than a good old-fashioned rock & roll party". After gathering a cult following in the punk scene since their 1993 debut, the band achieved major label commercial success in the early 2000s and afterward.[2]

Origin and early yearsAll band members were born in 1979; Brett Anderson on May 30 (vocals), Allison Robertson on August 26 (guitar, vocals), Maya Ford on January 8 (bass guitar, vocals), and Torry Castellano on January 8 (drums, percussion). They all became friends by eighth grade and formed as a band in May 1993 [3] to play for their school's "Day on the Green." The only girl band in their town Palo Alto, California, they were relatively unknown until they were out of high school. They are all self-taught musicians and practiced in Castellano's garage nearly every day during high school. They called themselves "Ragady Anne" in their early days and shortly thereafter changed their name to "The Electrocutes" [3]

Towards the end of their high school days, while they were still known as "The Electrocutes," they decided to create another band (with the same members) that would play softer tunes without distorting the metal queen image of The Electrocutes. To help their fans distinguish between the two bands, they all took matching "Donna" monikers, where all of their names were Donna and their last names were the first initial of their last name (Brett Anderson became Donna A, etc.), which they used only when performing as "The Donnas."

They worked with producer Darin Raffaelli for their first two albums, the first of which, simply called The Donnas, was entirely written by Raffaelli and released on his own Superteem! record label.[4] (It was later released again on Lookout! Records.) They took a week off their senior year of high school to tour Japan as The Electrocutes. Afterwards, they signed with Lookout! Records. As the band grew, they were urged to sign with a major label company. In 2001, they signed with Atlantic Records.

Mainstream popularity

In 2002, The Donnas released Spend the Night as their Atlantic debut. The album represented their first attempt at mainstream success. With their single "Take it Off" they were booked for appearances on Total Request Live, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman. In the summer of 2003, they played the main stage at Lollapalooza. In 2004, they released their sixth album Gold Medal. In February 2005, they toured Australia with the Big Day Out music festival, playing from Sydney to Perth.

Atlantic repeatedly placed the Donnas' music in video game soundtracks. "You've Got A Crush On Me" can be heard in the PlayStation 2 game, Splashdown. "Who Invited You" can be found on soundtrack for True Crime: Streets of LA and MVP Baseball 2003. "I Don't Want to Know" is in the Gran Turismo 4 soundtrack also and a cover of the song was also used for Donkey Konga 2 for the Nintendo GameCube. "I Don't Want to Know" was also used as the theme song for the first season of The-N's hit series, "South of Nowhere". A cover of "Take it Off" is featured in Guitar Hero and added as a downloadable track in Guitar Hero 2 on the Xbox 360 (released in 2006) and Downhill Domination (released in 2004). Rock Band 2 (for the PS3, Xbox 360 & Wii), released by Harmonix in 2008, features the track "New Kid In School" which was released exclusively on Apples iTunes service. "Fall Behind Me" was also used in a national television commercial advertising the Nissan Xterra.

Atlantic also energetically marketed the Donnas through placements in numerous film soundtracks. The band appeared in the movie Drive Me Crazy in 1999 (as The Electrocutes), and later on the TV show Charmed performing the single "Fall Behind Me" at P3. They also appeared in the 1999 teen comedy Jawbreaker as the prom band, contributing two songs to the soundtrack ("Rock 'N' Roll Machine" and "Checkin' It Out"). A cover of "Roll On Down The Highway" was used in a Disney commercial. The Donnas can also be heard on Mean Girls during the end credits playing a cover of the Billy Idol song "Dancing With Myself", and they also contributed to the soundtrack of the movie Grind. The video "Too Bad About Your Girl" also features the cast of that film. The song "Take It Off" features in the movie Dodgeball. The song "Take Me To The Backseat" can be heard in the movie D.E.B.S. (2004 film). A cover version of the Kiss song "Strutter" was used in the soundtrack to the 1999 movie Detroit Rock City (film). Then Guitar Hero used "Take It Off" for 2009 Guitar Hero Smash Hits. "Take It Off" was also used in the 2009 hit movie The Hangover (film). "Play My Game" was featured in a Season 1 episode of What's New, Scooby Doo?.

Current

On May 19, 2006 The Donnas posted an announcement on their public message board (which required free registration for viewing) that they had "parted ways with Atlantic Records," claiming "[t]he decision was entirely mutual and completely amicable and will not impact the band, nor will it impact upon the writing, recording or touring for the next Donnas album."[5] Within a year of being dropped by their label, in March 2007 the Donnas released a first song (titled "Don't Wait Up For Me") from their forthcoming new independently recorded and financed album, along with a new logo.

The Donnas released their 7th studio album titled Bitchin' on September 18, 2007 on their own Purple Feather Records label. Bitchin' was produced by Jay Ruston and The Donnas.

In 2008 The Donnas toured with the Melbourne-based, Australian band "Kisschasy" as part of their "Skin and Bones" tour. They also toured the U.S. and Canada with The Hives.

The Donnas have had a very dedicated fan-base almost from the beginning of their touring career. The band has a fan only community called ‘The Donnaholics’. Every year these fans are sent a special membership package. Membership sometimes includes concert pre-sales, meet & greets and member only message boards. The band has played two ‘Donnaholic’ only concerts, first in 2005 & the second in 2008. These concerts were named ‘Desert Moon’ and were both held at Pappy & Harriets in Pioneertown, California.

On July 7, 2009, The Donnas released "Greatest Hits, Vol 16", on their own Purple Feather Records. The band joined Blondie & Pat Benatar on a summer tour in support of the release. Drummer Torry Castellano did not play on any of the dates as she is recovering from tendonitis of the shoulder. The band have chosen long time friend Amy Cesari (of the band The Demonics) to fill in for Torry on future tour dates until further notice.[6] On July 9, 2010, Torry announced her retirement due to continued shoulder pain.

According to the bands Myspace & Facebook updates, they plan to release a ninth album by the end of 2010.

Discography

As Ragady Anne

  • Ragady Anne [7" EP] (1995) (Radio Trash Records)

As The Electrocutes

As The Donnas

Studio albums

  1. The Donnas – 1997 – Super*Teem! / reissue July 28, 1998 – Lookout! Records
  2. American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine – January 27, 1998 – Lookout! Records
  3. Get Skintight – June 8, 1999 – Lookout! Records
  4. The Donnas Turn 21 – January 23, 2001 – Lookout! Records
  5. Spend the Night – October 22, 2002 – Atlantic Records – US #62, UK #111
  6. Gold Medal – October 26, 2004 – Atlantic Records – US #76
  7. Bitchin' – September 18, 2007 – Purple Feather Records- US #89
  8. Greatest Hits Volume 16 - July 7, 2009 - Purple Feather Records

Singles

  • 1995: "High School Yum Yum" 7" b/w "A Boy Like You" and "Let's Rab" (Radio X Records #9)
  • 1996: "Let's Go Mano" 7" b/w "Last Chance Dance" and "I Wanna be a Unabomber" (Radio X Records #10)
  • 1996: "Da Doo Ron Ron" 7" bw/ "I Don't Wanna go to School" and "I Don't Wanna Rock'n'roll Tonight" (Super*Teem Records #2)
  • 1998: "Wig-Wam Bam" THE DONNAS b/w "Funny Funny" Groovie Ghoulies (split with The Groovie Ghoulies)
  • 1998: "Rock 'N' Roll Machine"/"Speeding Back to My Baby"
  • 1999: "Strutter" THE DONNAS b/w "Detroit Rock City" Kiss clear vinyl 7" (Lookout Records)
  • 1999: "Get you Alone" (7") (split with The Toilet Boys)
  • 2002: "40 Boys in 40 Nights"/"Wig Wam Bam"/"School's Out"
  • 2003: "Take it Off"/"Hyperactive"/"Rock & Roll Machine" #17 US Modern Rock[2], #38 UK
  • 2003: "Who Invited You"/"Mama's Boy"/"Backstage" #61 UK
  • 2003: "Too Bad About Your Girl"
  • 2004: "Fall Behind Me" #29 US Modern Rock, #55 UK[3]
  • 2005: "I Don't Want to Know (If You Don't Want Me)"/"Done with you" #55 UK
  • 2007: "Don't Wait Up For Me" digital download only
  • 2009: "Get Off" made available for free through various websites, blogs, etc.

Songs on soundtracks and compilations

Television appearances

Tours

Turn 21 Tour(2001)

Spend The Night Tour (2002-2003)

Gold Medal Tour(2004-2005)

The Feather Nation Tour(2007-2008)

Call Me Invincible Tour(2009)

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