ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 24, 2002
By Steve Newton
When yours truly hooks up via cell with Donnas vocalist Brett Anderson, she’s in the band’s bus as it winds through the Colorado mountains en route to Salt Lake City and the first of four shows with New York City hotshots the Strokes. It’s movie time, and the Bay Area quartet has gathered around the vehicle’s DVD system to watch Freddy Krueger kick butt in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.
Turns out all four of the Donnas are hard-core devotees of the Elm Street series, so it’s no wonder Anderson perks up at the news that Krueger himself—actor Robert Englund—is currently in Vancouver shooting Freddy Vs. Jason. And when the Donnas play Richard’s on Richards on Monday (October 28), she’s hoping Englund makes it out to the gig—in full Freddy makeup, no less. “You know, we sent [Krueger creator] Wes Craven our new album,” she explains. “He has no idea how much he’s influenced us.”
That said, there are no horror-oriented tunes on the new Donnas disc, Spend the Night. In fact, the young ladies in the band, all 23, seem mostly concerned with just three things: partying (“You Wanna Get Me High”), partying (“Pass It Around”), and partying (“Take Me to the Backseat”). “A lotta people get this image from those lyrics that we party every day,” relates Anderson, “but it doesn’t really say in any of those songs every day. And we’re not weekend warriors, either, because weekends don’t mean anything to us; we’re not on a 9-to-5 schedule. It’s just that, when the opportunity [to party] arises, we usually are up for the challenge.”
The Donnas’ rough ’n’ tumble approach to socializing has also extended to a fast and loose manner in the recording studio. Their 1998 release, American Teenage Rock ’N’ Roll Machine, went from pre- to postproduction in just two days. “Luckily for us, people do see as charming how rustic that album is,” notes Anderson with a giggle. “But the new album, I think, is what we were dreaming about when we were in the studio making that one.”
Thanks to the deep pockets at Atlantic Records, the Donnas were able to spend two months on Spend the Night, working at three California studios. Consequently, the quartet’s major-label debut is much more polished than previous indie efforts, but that punky AC/DC vibe is intact and there’s attitude to spare, especially on tunes like the vitriol-soaked “Who Invited You”.
“There’s a few people that are responsible for that song,” remarks Anderson, who claims that her latest CD purchase was, strangely enough, a Dolly Parton compilation. “I can’t really say their names because they would be flattered. They’re mostly people in bands that you would never have heard of…and you never will hear of.”