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Interview: The Donnas’ Lead Vocalist Brett Anderson

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They’ve been called everything from the female Kiss (sans make up) to four modern-day versions of ‘70s bad girl Joan Jett.

But whatever label is given, The Donnas’ music – hard core, throbbing arena rock – is what truly defines the band. Now on tour in support for their latest album Bitchin’ the band members seem more confident than ever that this will be their breakout year.

“Everything’s awesome,” said lead vocalist Brett Anderson. “We are doing it ourselves and it’s nice to be able to have complete control, to not make compromises.”

The band, formed when the members were in eighth grade, broke away from Atlantic Records last year to start Purple Feather Records, the label on which they currently record. It was a bold move for a band that has been under the watchful eye of a major label since 1993. 

“We really just wanted to put out arena rock and be creative,” said Anderson of the move. “We keep writing the songs we want and don’t have to compromise with anyone.”

In a way, that made the songwriting more thoughtful, because members could connect directly with their fans via the internet without taking direction from a third party.

“We would love to be Slash and Axl (of the 1980s band Guns ‘n Roses) but when a guy is like that, he’s tough. When a girl does it, she’s a bitch,” said Anderson. “But more than anything we want to be bad asses.”

Bitchin’ may well take them there musically. The album, the band’s seventh studio release, has gained kudos from a wide array of critics.

“…their straightforward approach and succinct tunes still make for freewheeling fun,” wrote one Rolling Stone critic, “Years of channeling their inner (and outer) bad girl have taught them how to juice a kiss-off like the catchy, sorta-disco shout-along “Better Off Dancing,” and they're at their nastiest on the hard-riffing, bare-bones “Give Me What I Want…”

While such praise is noteworthy, Anderson said she and her band mates will take their time fine tuning The Donnas new, independent sound while continuing to play the older tunes some fans want as they tour in support of the new CD.

“Ideally we will keep touring, reaching our fans,” she said. “We have a`Slow and steady wins the race’ mentality…It’s a good balance.”

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