In the music spotlight: The Donnas

Culture | Contrasts abound within The Donnas

Issue: "The cost of war," Feb. 15, 2003

Punk lovers who mourned the death last year of Joey Ramone-and, by extension, of his band, the Ramones-can take solace from the fact that in the Donnas the Ramones' ethos lives on. The most obvious similarity aside (four members united by a fictional common name), the Donnas share the Ramones' passion for tales of teenage debauchery set to surging, three-chord rock 'n' roll. That the Donnas are female and prefer celebrating booze to celebrating model-airplane glue (the Ramones' favorite drug) are, ultimately, distinctions without a difference.

There is, however, a difference: The behind-the-scenes footage on the DVD accompanying the Donnas' Spend the Night (Atlantic) suggests that for these apparently happy 23-year-olds the sowing of wild oats is merely a fictional template. Not once do we see them drinking, smoking, swearing, or waxing strumpet-like. And not only do they speak affectionately of their families, but their mothers like the act. Not role models, obviously, but not Madonnas.

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