The Donnas Biography
The Donnas are an American all-female rock band from Palo Alto, California. After gathering a cult following since their May 1993 debut, the band achieved major commercial success in the late-90s and afterward. All band members were born in 1979. As best friends, they formed in the 8th grade to play for their school's "Day on the Green." The only girl band in Palo Alto, 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 are sometimes described as a punk band but the band themselves deny any kind of affiliation with the punk rock movement. Experimenting with different musical styles, they underwent a variety of band names (Screen, Raggedy Anne, and The Electrocutes) before settling on 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. (It was later re-released on Lookout! Records.) They took a week off of their senior year of high school to tour Japan and experimented with riot grrrl as The Electrocutes. 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. In 2002, the Donnas released Spend the Night. The album was their mainstream breakthrough, spawning the hit single "Take It Off" and 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. Some of their influences include KISS, L7, Bikini Kill, Shonen Knife, The Muffs, Guns N' Roses, R.E.M., The Ramones, and Bratmobile. Until the release of 2004's Gold Medal the band used pseudonyms. Each member was known as "Donna" followed by the first initial of their surname (e.g. Brett was known as Donna A). They decided to drop the stage names prior to the release of Gold Medal to present an image appropriate for the more mature sound they had adopted on the new album.