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The Donnas Biography

Home > Music > D > Donnas, The > Biography

Birth Place: Palo Alto, California
Years Active: 1993–present
Genres: Hard Rock, Pop Punk, Garage

The Donnas is an American rock band from Palo Alto, California. They consist of Brett Anderson (lead vocals, guitar), Allison Robertson (guitar, backing vocals), Maya Ford (bass, backing vocals) and drummer/percussionist Amy Cesari (Cesari replaced Torry Castellano, who left in 2009 due to tendonitis). Three of the founding members: Anderson, Robertson and Ford became friends in eighth grade and formed a band to play at school shows. The girls practiced all through high school and played local gigs, going by the name of Ragady Anne and shortly thereafter changed their name to The Electrocutes.

Toward the end of high school, 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, their 1997 self-titled debut “The Donnas,” was released on Raffaelli's Superteem! record label. They took a week off their senior year of high school to tour Japan as The Donnas. Afterward, they signed with Lookout! Records. Their second album, “American Teenage Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine,” was released in 1998 on Lookout!

Lookout! Released their next album, “Get Skintight” in 1999. Their last release on Lookout!, “The Donnas Turn 21,” was issued in 2001 and marked their transition away from their previous pop punk sound and towards a more hard rock approach.

As the band grew, they were urged to sign with a major label company and later in 2001 they signed with Atlantic Records. 2002 saw The Donnas release “Spend the Night” as their label debut for Atlantic. The album garnered the band some mainstream success with the crossover single, “Take it Off,” leading to appearances several late night American talk shows.

2004 marked the release of the band's sixth studio album, “Gold Medal,” followed by a tour of Australia and a performance at the Big Day Out music festival.

2006 saw The Donnas part ways with their record label. They independently released their seventh studio album “Bitchin'” in 2007. It is the last album to feature drummer Torry Castellano who was replaced by Amy Cesari.

In 2009, the band released a retrospective collection entitled “Greatest Hits Volume 16” to celebrate the band’s 16th year together. The album contained new songs, re-recorded older songs as well as some unreleased material.