Personal, subjective rankings with a short commentary.
I came across the Donnas while listening to WMSE, probably during a daily commute. Like the bastard stepdaughters of The Runaways and Joan Jett’s solo career, the Donnas redefined the “girl group” as a kind of snarling, sarcastic rock outfit. They entered my pop culture radar during the early 2000s, during the era when the question was asked, “Who will save guitar rock?” The White Stripes, The Vines, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club all entered my music collection, but the Donnas remain an iconic group set apart from those other groups. What made them iconic was the sheer energy of their performances and the snarky badass personas, ready to kiss or throw a punch.
Back in my graduate school days here in Milwaukee, I had the opportunity to see the Donnas open for the Violent Femmes. As George Clinton would say, “They blew the roof off tha sucka.” The Violent Femmes were great, but the Donnas were thermonuclear.
What are some of your favorite women rock groups? Let us know in the comments.