One of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2004, The Donnas "GOLD MEDAL" takes the top prize for vital, edgy, modern rock'n'roll at its finest. Having broken into the mainstream with their 2002 Atlantic debut, "SPEND THE NIGHT," the Bay Area-based combo now raises the bar, as musicians and songwriters, to deliver the best work of their career. Produced by Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne, Injected), tracks like the provocative first single, "Fall Behind Me," shimmer with rock energy, blasting off the blocks with newfound invention and intensity. With the October release of "GOLD MEDAL," the Donnas take an Olympian leap forward, setting a sparkling new standard for pure rock'n roll brilliance.
"We threw away all of our old rules," says bassist Maya Ford. "We were like, Let's start new. Let's do everything we can think of and not restrict ourselves. We just decided that it was time to try stuff we've never tried before."
"It really is a click adds guitarist Allison Robertson, "but I definitely think this record is the Donnas growing up. It's totally natural we just weren't limiting ourselves in any way."
After almost 10 years as one of rock 'n roll's coolest combos, with the release of "SPEND THE NIGHT" America fell head over heels for the Donnas. The album the band's fifth full-length collection debuted in the #1 position on the Billboard "Heatseekers" chart of new and developing artists, fuelled by the breakthrough rock radio smash, "Take It Off."
The Donnas were also all over the TV airwaves, with appearances on an assortment of high-profile programs, including Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The View. In addition, the "Take It Off" companion video clip was a "Buzzworthy" sensation at MTV and MTV2, spending weeks on the Total Request Live countdown.
Long hailed for their animated live performances, the Donnas spent months on the road, playing all over the world on their own headlining tours as well as at such famed rock festivals as Lollapalooza, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, and the UK's Carling Weekend. They were also the subject of significant features in major magazines and newspapers across the country, including cover appearances in Seventeen and Alternative Press, and profiles in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Vanity Fair.
After a year-and-a-half of constant work, the Donnas finally parked their tour bus in September 2003. The first order of business was some well-earned rest and revivification.
"I spent a lot of time recovering from the wear and tear of the road," says singer Brett Anderson. "Your voice just gets totally thrashed, and you start sounding like Marge Simpson's sisters. So after we got off the road, I just tried to do everything I possibly could to recover and repair my throat."
Unfortunately, drummer Torry Castellano needed to deal with more than just simple wear and tear. As the Donnas rehearsed for Lollapalooza 2003, she found herself in excruciating pain every time she sat behind her kit and started playing. Castellano was diagnosed with deQuervain's Tendonitis, a condition brought on by irritation or swelling of the tendons found along the thumb side of the wrist.
"We're all kind of self-taught," she says. "I always held the drum sticks the way I assumed you should. Well, it turns out that that was the grip of death."
Cortisone shots helped Castellano finish the band's summer touring commitments, and in October, she had surgery to alleviate the condition for good.
"It was scary when Torry had to take a break," Anderson says, "because we weren't sure how it was going to be when we came back, if it was going to be the same."
"After my surgery, I had to work with a drum teacher to learn a new way to play," Castellano says. "My goal was to get better in time to record my parts. It's been really hard, but I'm doing pretty good."