The Donnas: Spend The Night (HNE Recordings)


The Donnas
Spend The Night (Deluxe Edition)
HNE Recordings

Rock critics. We’re a fickle bunch; we might rave about a band for a good bit of time, but then move on to other groups. This happens for various reasons: we don’t care for the music, we have some sort of personal affront (be it from the band themselves or their label and/or publicist), or, in many cases, we are besieged by so much music that when a record label or publicist doesn’t service our requests or offer up their music for consideration, we simply ignore it. Sounds petty, doesn’t it? I suppose on some level that it such is the case. Many times, though, it’s because we’ve moved on. Case in point: The Donnas’ Spend The Night is a record I missed, even though they were a band I had heretofore liked.

In 2002, the band jumped from the once-influential Lookout! Records to Atlantic Records.  Between the underground success of their previous records, the charting success of their previous album, The Donnas Turn 21, and the “novelty” of the band—four teenage girls singing hard-hitting cock rock that would rival KISS or Motley Crue—it’s little wonder that the major labels came calling. They quickly recorded their debut album, and though they ran into some hassles with their label and their producers, the album came together quickly, appearing a little over a year after its predecessor.

Spend The Night is a potent-as-hell rock record, and for a major label debut, it’s quite impressive. Gone are the pop-punk predilections of their earlier releases; not surprising, really, considering Turn 21’s turn towards straightforward metal. The onslaught starts instantly with the first notes of “It’s On The Rocks,” and it doesn’t let up until the final notes of “5 O’Clock In The Morning.” There’s nothing on here that’s even remotely mid-tempo or soft; this is pure, ageless, kick-ass hard rock. I missed out on the fun pleasures of “Dirty Denim,” the sassy “I Don’t Care (So There),” and the infectious groove of the one-two punch of “Take It Off” and “Who Invited You,” though coming late to the party is always better than not coming at all. This reissue adds five bonus tracks, and they’re of a piece with the rest of Spend The Night, and keep the party going a little bit longer.

So why did I let Spend The Night slip by unheard?  The answer is simple; it’s a combination of the reasons mentioned above. I had just started my first website, Mundane Sounds, and I was becoming inundated with more music I could possibly review. I attempted to cover Spend The Night, but the incompetence of their independent publicist was laughable; the woman boldly declared that they were ‘beyond’ seeking coverage in underground media and that they “didn’t service e-zines,” even though a few days prior she had recently sent me an email soliciting coverage and offering review copies. Atlantic Records seemed clueless about how to deal with the growing trend of music websites, and merely deferred back to said publicist, in spite of sharing the emails I had received from clueless publicist. So, ya know, I moved on. They were (supposedly) on the ascent to rock and roll stardom, so why did they need the support of some little pischer like me?

They didn’t, and having figured that out rather quickly, I moved on to other, more cooperative bands and artists, sadly feeling that this young band was now a lost cause. Me, entitled? Perhaps. But when you support a band from the get-go and you get the cold shoulder, it’s hard not to feel a little hurt. So I turned my back on the band whose people had turned their back on me, and stopped caring. The nice thing about this deluxe reissue of Spend The Night is that it gives me the chance to reflect upon these things, while giving me the opportunity to enjoy one hell of a metal record.

So to Donna A, F, R, and C, please accept my apologies. Relationships are ephemeral—especially the ones between journalist and artist—and I was wrong to abandon you based upon the actions of the morons who worked for you and seemingly had your best interests at heart.  I’m glad this reissue exists, and I’m willing and eager to sing its praises.

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