Today in Music History:
Kiss appears in public for the first time without their make-up.
The Donnas released their 7th album today simply called Bitchin'. I have been eagerly awaiting this release all year. One look at the cover gives one a pretty good idea what lays waiting for the listener inside. The girls have always been unabashed fans of 70's and 80's hair metal bands. The leather-pants-clad ass cover could easily double as a Joan Jett album cover. In fact if you look at the cover closely, you'll see a purple feather sticking out of a back pocket. What importance is that you ask? Well it seems the gals pulled a Joan Jett of sorts. Let me Explain.
In 2002 the Donnas released Spend the Night , their first album on a major label, which was Atlantic. It had a slicker production than the previous 4 albums and was chock full of good tunes. Yet Atlantic wasn't satisfied and for their next album they wanted the girls to work with Butch Walker, who had shepherded discs for Avril Lavigne and Pink. Evidently trying to garner a more friendly radio sound (ie: crappy sound). Released in 2004, Gold Medal was definitely a tamed down Donnas album. Being a huge fan I loved the album, but you could tell the fire was missing. After Gold Medal Atlantic wanted the girls to work with outside writers, evidently trying to turn these rocking chicks into Britney or Christina clones. They gave it a go and Atlantic poo pooed the first demo they turned in. The Donnas did have the option to leave the label as they had produced the two albums required in their contract. So they said the hell with this and left. Freed from the major-label mindset, the band set about recording the tunes the way they wanted them to sound. After the disc was completed, the ladies looked around for a new label, but none seemed solid enough or willing to do what they wanted. So they pulled a Joan Jett and started their own label dubbed Purple Feather, named after the plumage that distinguishes mallards from other ducks.
The album has a definite 80's sweaty metal vibe to it, which I say right on, we could use more flat out rock n roll. Some of Allison Robertson's guitar solo's could put several 80's shredders to shame. As always I'm amazed at Torry Castellano's drumming. She's a little hellion on those skins and she must weigh 90 ponds soaking wet. If you've ever seen them perform you'll know what I mean. She blows me away. How does that teeny thing keep going? If you like your rock nasty then Bitchin' will be right up your alley. Bitchin' most recalls the glory days of Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi. "We like stuff that's simple and sounds big," says Robertson. "We're not idiots, but we love bonehead rock."
It's been 14 years since the quartet started playing together in Torry Castellano's mom's Palo Alto garage, running through covers of Shonen Knife's "Riding on the Rocket" and L7's "American Society." That's a long time for any band, regardless of whether or not they're signed to a major label. Robertson adds, "We're not making the best music in the world, but we really enjoy playing together."
All I know is that I headed to the record store after working my graveyard shift today to get a copy and when the first track started playing, I was ecstatic. Torry's Drums, Maya's bass and then Allison's heavy riff made a believer out of me. The Donnas are back baby!! So here's the opening track which is merely a kick ass intro with very little lyric that goes:
You're Gonna listen up
We're gonna take you overt
You're gonna lick it up
And You're gonna want more, more, more
Bitchin' offers little you haven't heard before -- even if you haven't heard a Donnas record -- but it should go well with a beer or six.
Bitchin' by The Donnas