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Going Home – The Donnas Interview

6 April 2010 No Comment

The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09

The Donnas
Brett Anderson & Allison Robertson
12/11/2009 @ the Blank Club
San Jose, California
by Jeff Longo
& Alex Guzman

Stubble sits down with Brett Anderson and Allison Robertson (Donna A and Donna R respectively) of The Donna’s for a very intimate conversation hours before their sold out headlining gig at the Blank Club in San Jose, Ca. Signed to Atlantic Records in 2002 The Donnas went on to release their most successful material to date (2002’s Spend the Night & 2004’s Gold Medal both ranking #62 & #76 respectively). Today they own their own label Purple Feather which released moderately successful Bitchin’ (2007) which peaked at #89 and recently The Donnas Greatest Hits Vol 16 (2009).

The Donnas – Now Playing on Stubble Radio
(click image to listen while you read)

Stubble: Welcome to San Jose, you’ve never played the Blank Club right?
Allison: No we’ve never played at the Blank. We’ve played at Cactus Club and some other places; random places.

Stubble: Yeah. How was it playing the Cactus Club?
Brett: I don’t know, last time we were there some people almost beat up our friends…
Allison: It had a violent vibe, the couple times we played there. Sometimes I just went to shows and felt that way, but it wasn’t bad I mean we had some okay shows.

The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09 Stubble (Alex): It was a pretty aggressive scene…the area at the time was a little different. (Jeff) San Jose is kind of like that, it’s a place with no identity or no fingerprint almost…they’re not quite sure what to be.
Brett: It’s like the 10th biggest city in the country and it’s like…

Stubble: …Where’s the downtown? You can’t see it from a highway.
Brett: Yeah, its so weird. L.A.’s like that too though.

Stubble: Well…the Devil made L.A. So that’s why it looks so cool.
Stubble: How did the show go in San Francisco at Slim’s?
Allison: It was good, yeah. It was kinda weird because we just drove up that day and played; which we never do we usually, We used to live here so it’s weird to road trip to get to the show in your old home town.

Stubble: Wow, so where do you guys live at now?
Brett: The Devil’s town… (I KNEW IT)
Allison: …In L.A, but you know we used to play Slim’s and it’s always like something weird happens there. Like you know, we’ve had lots of crazy shows there, and it has so many memories…

Stubble: Like?
Allison: Just all kinds of stuff, like all the bands we’ve seen there all together. I mean we used to go to shows there all the time, then we started playing there. It’s just weird to be there and it’s kind of like; just a mellow normal show like nothing crazy happened, nobody strange from the past showed up.
Brett: It was surreal…
Allison: It is surreal, that is exactly what I think.
Brett: …and then when we were on stage I remember feeling like this is a show; oh shit it is the show!
Allison: It did feel like I was in a dream land.

Stubble: So, congratulations by the way; 16 years…
Brett: Well thank you. It’s almost like 16 and a half now.
Allison: It’s getting closer to 17.

Stubble: So you guys are on tour? Is this a couple of one off shows?
Allison: Yeah, sort of cause we didn’t get to do a Bay Area show in the summer when we toured. We only toured once.

Stubble: With Blondie and…
Allison: With Blondie and Pat Benatar yeah.

Stubble: How was that?
Brett: So fun.
Allison: It was killer.

Stubble: I’ve seen Blondie on these last couple of tours and she sounds great…

Allison: They both do!
Stubble: …is she as cool as she seems on stage?
Brett: She’s funny! Like, there both really funny I thought. When The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09we talk to them they both have really good like, they’re both witty.
Allison: Both nice people

Stubble: Well how is that when you’re touring? I mean you’re just in busses right? In a caravan…

Allison: They were in busses, and we were in a van. So we had a different sort of schedule so that’s what happens when there’s two…

Stubble: What? Who put you guys in a van?
Allison: We did.

Stubble: Why? Is that better than a bus?
Allison: You can’t afford a bus if you’re not on a major label and you’re not making a shitload of money so…
Brett: and we were opening.
Allison: and we were opening so we don’t get paid as much. You know what I mean, all of that stuff factors in…

Stubble: Well did it help, selling more shirts, getting more CD’s out?
Allison: Of course! The tour’s totally worth it you know, it’s just if you’re going to do a bus you really have to be making a lot of money to see any money at the end, you know what I mean? You know it’s a gas sucker; it’s a lot of money a day. I enjoyed the van, we used a Sprinter, it was nice and new. It didn’t feel like a crappy old van. It felt awesome.

The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09

Stubble: How do you stay relevant now? You’ve got this ‘Greatest Hits’, it’s called what; ‘Greatest Hits Volume:16’?
Right, it’s not really greatest hits.

Stubble: Rarities and B-Sides?
It’s kind of new and old stuff mixed together for fun just to have something.

Stubble: …and that’s out on your label? What’s it called?
Purple Feather.

Stubble: Nice name
Thank you.

Brett: I don’t think we worry about staying relevant, because we never were relevant
Allison: It’s true, it’s true. In a good way, I mean we were never like part of a trend or a scene.

Stubble (Alex): You have always been known but not mainstream. I mean you’ve done the talk show thing right?
Yeah, we did the View…
Brett: Haha I just watched that the other day with my Mom! It was weird.
Allison: …yeah were all visiting our families and that is what people do in the morning.
Brett: That’s what people do!

Stubble: So Allison, you’ve been pretty busy right? You have a group called the Chelsea Girls?
Allison: Right, just a cover band though, so it’s not like we’re a constantly on tour. You know we do gigs.

The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09 Stubble: Didn’t they ask you to do a monthly gig there?
Allison: Yeah, we have like a residency in L.A. Just like once a month.

Stubble: Can you do it up here too?
We would if there was a club here that wanted us to, with like a good guarantee. That’s what it’s all about, I’d like to be available to play a show once or twice a month here and there, make some extra money; but I also want to be able to write music and stay home, be available if we get like a great…if the Donnas get a tour offer you know?

Stubble: You guys have a new album coming out?
We want to.

Stubble: And?
We have to work on it first, we don’t have a release date but I’d really like to get it out by the summer.

www.thedonnas.comFor news, tour dates, album info, and merch
www.donnaholics.comfan club boards, blogs, contests,random drawings and giveaways

Email the authors Jeff Longo or Alex Guzman

The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09The Donnas @ the Blank Club 12/11/09

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