The Donnas + Real Gone Music

As many of you maybe waited in ridiculously long lines on Saturday for your Record Store Day gems and must haves, I thought it might be an appropriate time to focus on one of my favorite reissue focused labels who won’t gouge or pander to resellers. Of course I’m talking about the Orange, California based label Real Gone Music who have seen many features on these here pages over the years. They have been absolutely killing it recently with thoughtful reissues which won’t require 4am wake up times and certainly won’t drain your bank account. If you care to read on, hit the jump (I promise to keep it short).

One of the things I love about Real Gone, is the label’s willingness tohit on some albums that I used to love as a young adult, but haven’t revisited for whatever reason. San Francisco based The Donnas certainly fall into that category of – used to love ‘ em, haven’t listened to ’em in years. Why? No one can be totally sure why we leave certain pieces of music behind, though my general thought is that I simply haven’t held on to a lot of the late 90’s and early 00’s alt/garage rock sounds that helped transition me from the radio to more indie and underground bands. To be straight, some of the copy cat bands from the time are simply… well, bad.

The Donnas however have always been the band that was supposed to be so much bigger and more popular than they were. Again, why did they not reach the same level of fame as some of their counterparts? Was it in part due to their gender and being asked to play a “sexy” role they were ever comfortable with? More than likely, though I can leave that discussion for another day. Let’s focus on the good times and touch on two album reissues from possibly the greatest all female rock band we’ve ever known.

Real Gone originally chose to re-release two albums from The Donnas, both Get Skintight and The Donnas Turn 21. If you’re going to get into The Donnas right now, these would be the albums for you. Both were released on the independent punk label Lookout! and were total underground, Orange County gems before the band made the (regrettable?) leap to Atlantic for the hit maker Spend the Night. This was when the band was still hungry and after something.

Get Skintight originally came out in 1999 and has not been repressed in any form for over 10 years. For me, this is the sound the band should have stayed with. It’s punk rock with a hint of pop and a sense of young immaturity as evidenced by songs about racing cars, giving the cold shoulder to unwanted male attention, and partying. It’s just a straight fun record and The Donnas weren’t taking themselves too seriously at this point. The Real Gone release comes in a couple of color swirl options and comes with some pretty dope inserts and band commentary sheets.


The Donnas Turn 21 is when things sort of started to shift for the band. Things started to get a little heavy with classic rock and it felt like the band was chasing after bigger stardom. Things weren’t as carefree, sounds were heavier, and the group at times sounded a lot more like Alice Cooper than they did say Green Day. It certainly has some of their bigger hits, and personal favorites – “40 Days in 40 Nights” and “Play My Game” to name a couple. I can dig it, but Skintight continues to resonate more with 16 year old me. This Real Gone release is also available in a couple of cool color swirl options and also comes with some unique and well done inserts.

Both of the releases I mention here can be purchased from Real Gone at the low price of $25 each. They’ve also re-released every Donnas album from their pre-Atlantic days, which I look forward to checking out when time allows.

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