The She Wolves are
not the group they were a year ago. They’ve gone from Ramones-style
power pop punk to straight out metal punk with Motorhead as their
foundation of raw power. This new direction could fold, bend and
mutilate an unsuspecting listener. Lord help us all, they are
At the front of the
pack is a petite inked dynamo named Donna Nasr. In a past
incarnation, she was the lead singer of a strange and marketed rock
combo called the Cycle Sluts From Hell, with big hair and tight
clothes. It was during her affiliation with this group that Donna
wrote the song that put the CSFH on the map, “I Wish You Were a
Beer.” They even made an appearance on the “Morton Downey Jr. Show”.
Donna knew that her time with them was not exactly where she wanted
to be, but she waited and learned her craft: a wicked guitar frenzy
and a growl in her voice that sounds 110% proof.
She formed the She
Wolves with Tony Mann (also known as Tony WolfMann), a powerhouse
drummer of varying hair colors who played in any numerous groups,
from metal to punk and back again, and also worked recording
sessions and toured with the likes of DeeDee Ramone and G.G. Allin.
He had once been in a heavy band called Angel Rot with bassist and
punk legend Gyda Gash. But when the She Wolves first became an
assemblage, Tony’s girlfriend – and competent bassist in her own
right – Laura Sativa joined in the fray. They played for a while,
gathering fans of other musicians and music affectionatos alike. It
was not common for those with known names to get into the moment and
jump in during a show, including legends like DJ Scratchy, Gass
Wild, Kenne Highland, and Buckshot BeeBe and Ro the Knife of the
Canadian band the Poisoned Aeros. This version of the She Wolves
released an excellent 5-song EP. But things were changing, and Donna
wanted to go in a different, harder direction. Remaining friends,
and often seen at their shows, Laura excised herself from the
performance part of the power trio.
Enter power metal
bassist and Tony’s ex-Angel Rot band mate Gyda, and the She Wolves,
v.2, crawled out of the rubble. Gyda is a contradiction: she is
definitely not someone you would want to mess with, because she is
f-I-e-r-c-e. After years of band-jumping, disastrous punk relations,
and a history of substance abuse, like a phoenix she pulled herself
out after bottoming out and learned to be a band’s bottom sound,
thereby raising her up. But there is a sharp and wicked sense of
humor that peers out when she is more comfortable and finally lets
her guard down, and then you know you’ve earned her respect, which
is not easy to come by.
Both Donna and Gyda are self-described Alpha women, and yet they are
in the process of creating this thing, this band of musicians, this
friendship, this sisterhood. They have much in common, including a
no-nonsense attitude, strong in their beliefs, and a defined sense
of humor. On stage, when they interact, it’s a fireball. One can
hear them roar on songs like “Vicious Tit,” “Prepared” and “Ghost
Boyfriend” via MP3s at www.shewolves.com or
As evidenced by my
interviewing them at Pastis, a shockingly high-end restaurant in
Chelsea on October 6, 2005, they are still in the learning stages of
each other. And they are obviously in awe and respect for one
another, so while they seem comfortable they remain inquisitive.
Since they both know Tony from either previous or present
expeditions of musical metal, it’s the two front women who are
learning to interact. A long road tour, sharing a small space of
many miles, will surely tell where this relationship is going.
Punk Globe: Just so you know, I have no formal questions.
Donna Nasr [vox/guitar]:
We have no formal answers [laughs]
Punk Globe: Well, I
guess the most obvious question is what direction you see the band
going, now that Gyda has replaced Laura [Sativa].
Donna: Now it’s a metal
band and it's getting much heavier all the time. Gyda is a very big
force in this direction.
Gyda Gash [bass]: I
personally come from a heavier school than the direction the
original She Wolves was going in, ‘cause I played with Angel Rot --
with Tom Five who was an original White Zombie member -- so I’d been
playing that kind of music for the last five years, and Tony
WolfMann [aka Tony Mann, drums, now also in the She Wolves] was also
Angel Rot’s drummer, so when I joined She Wolves, we started
exploring that type of music, sort of merging, like, punk style with
heavy metal style. And the music has gotten a lot stronger; we’ve
whittled down the heaviest songs from the old repertoire, and Donna
and I have been writing new stuff. I asked what ideally would you
like the She Wolves to sound like and she said ideally I’d want it
to sound like a female Motorhead. We’re not really a female
Motorhead; I think we’re actually more –
Donna: -- An
amalgamation of a lot of heavy metal touchstones from different
subsets. In Cycle Sluts [From Hell], when I was in that band, we did
some metal songs, the kind of stuff that would appeal to me. Gyda
raised the playing level considerably. She writes really amazing
bass lines. I mean, she’s very talented. We’re not approaching it
the same way and it’s been something different. So everything is
different. It’s been a whole process up to this point. I still think
my roots in metal are still straight ahead, and it’s loud, you know.
Brutal metal kind of stuff. She’s more into Heavy Doom, I’m into
Brutality. I like a lot of new metal. I couldn’t be happier
creatively. The music has a gravity to it its never had. Not that it
wasn’t fun in the past, it was a fun band, and it was more on the
punk and the retro garage tip because frankly Laura does not like
metal at all. And things took time to morph into what they morphed
into, I guess. I was very lucky to inherit Angel Rot’s bass and
drums. It was just me having to move in there [laughs]. And get with
Punk Globe: One thing
I’ve noticed is that the band is a “musicians band.” Other musicians
gravitate to you.
Donna: All we know is
other musicians. [laughs]
Punk Globe: But
that’s also rare, to find a band where other musicians all show up
and jump on stage.
Donna: I think we have
some peers that are mostly concerned with their own excellence and
nothing else, so it’s nice that everyone checks everyone else out.
We all see what everyone else is doing.
Punk Globe: Do you
think that is old school? Because I find a lot of bands now, they’re
show up, they’ll play a gig, and then they’ll leave.
Gyda: I like to do that.
Donna: You may have
noticed that Gyda’s very contrary. By nature. [laughs]. I stay.
Gyda: Donna hangs out,
she’s social. I’m anti-social.
Donna: It never kills
anybody to be a little nice. Not yet, any way.
Gyda: No, I start to get
panic attacks though. I have trouble breathing. My throat closes up
when I’m too nice. [Donna laughs] I don’t care if people think I’m
not cool if I’m not nice. ‘Cause I’m a fuckin’ bitch if I don’t like
you. I reserve it for a select few.
Punk Globe: Even with
Gyda’s hesitation, the band seems to be excellent connecting with
musicians and fans. Just look at your Website [with all the photos
of musicians hanging out with the band], it seems as if everyone
just loves you. I was hanging out with Tony and Laura at Wigstock
and like very third person would stop and say “Hi”.
Donna: That’s because
Tony is running for Mayor. He’s on the campaign trail [laughs].
Punk Globe: I’d vote
for him before Bloomberg.
Donna: I think
Bloomberg’s voting for him, actually. He knows everybody. And you
were also hanging out with our friends from Canada [the Poisoned
Aeros]. Yeah, we wanted to go and play [at their Halloween show in
Hamilton, Ontario], but it’s so difficult for a band to get into
Canada now. It’s a rig-a-ma-role at the border. They don’t make it
easy on you.
Punk Globe: I think
the reason for that is that the States have made it so hard for
bands to come here.
Donna. Sure, in these
times, with the current state of affairs. It’s no good for anybody
to go anywhere.
Punk Globe: Was it
this tough in Europe as well?
Donna: Well, I haven’t
been in Europe in two years. It seemed much easier to get around and
see music, and you’re not treated like a second-class citizen over
there, they seem to have some respect for artists, and it has no
correlation with the socio-economic level. Whereas here I don’t find
Punk Globe: That’s
one of the beauties of the Web.
Donna: It’s amazing,
Punk Globe: Gyda,
you’re still working with Tish and Snooky [Bellomo of Manic Panic],
Gyda: Yes, I am. Thank
God for Tish and Snooky, and punk rockers who employ other punk
rockers. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even have a job, ‘cause
Lord knows no one else would hire me. I do their Website, I do
graphic art, packaging art, and stuff like that.
Punk Globe: I have no
idea who does the Website for the She Wolves.
Donna: Our Website is
done by Roger Manning. who’s a very talented musician, and he works
in anti-folk. And he still is, I guess, I haven’t seen him perform
in a while. So he’s yet another one of us that does something else
to do something else. Yeah, so he’s been doing our Website for quite
sometime. He’s a very sweet guy.
Punk Globe: This may
sound like a bizarre question, but do you guys ever hang out?
Donna: We’re starting to
hang out more. That’s a good question. [laughs] We hung out last
Donna: She got me
Gyda: I took Donna to an
extreme doom metal show of this band that plays mostly feedback and
noise, and I thought she was going to hit me with a bottle and walk
out and hate me for the rest of my life. I turn around and she’s in
the front by the stage with her head in the speaker, loving it.
Donna: Oh, it was
awesome. I can’t pronounce the name of them though. It’s “Konnay?”.
Gyda: “Konnay” It’s
Donna: I was telling
people I saw “Ka-na-tay”. It was really a very intense -- even
though two of the guys didn’t have long hair, it was still pretty
Gyda: That part was
disappointing. A lot of drama and suspense.
Donna: That’s not the
word I wanted to use, “suspense.” Like when you’re hanging on the
edge of your seat, to see when he was going to end the chord and
start another one?
Gyda: You know, it’s
very difficult to go out in this day and age and be inspired by
musicians. There’s so many rehashings of rehasings of rehashings. So
many things that are so repetitive and so useless. I mean, its so
depressing to go out. That’s why I’m very inspired by people who are
doing new things.
Donna: They totally push
the envelope. I’ve never seen anything like that before and I’d be
hard pressed to describe it because they did it so successfully that
I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to convey that to somebody without them
coming to see it. Because how could you explain that? Extreme doom I
guess would cover it. Isn’t that the music of today?
Gyda: That’s the music
of today, because that’s where we’re headed. Listen up kids:
D-O-O-M. It’s the message that punk rock started to spread before
punk rock became pap and commercial.
Punk Globe: That’s
called New Wave.
Donna: Yeah, New Wave. I
usta be a New Waver, I guess.
Punk Globe: Sort of
punk meets commercial. I was saying yesterday that a big part of the
problem is that, using the Ramones as the fulcrum, when they made
everyone go “whoa”, everything became different. Rock’n’roll was
only like 20 years old. Now it’s been nearly 30 years since the
Pistols broke up. If you look back from the Ramones from now you’d
be just after World War II.
Donna: I know, it gives
you a scale of things.
Punk Globe: The kids
now, they complain about all the music from the ‘60s, they don’t
realize that the Ramones kind of music changed it so radically, but
most bands now who don’t listen to anything before that period,
they’re not really doing anything that different. They’re doing the
same thing over and over again.
Donna: They’re rehashing
Gyda: It’s because of
media: computers, television, and videogames destroying the minds of
men for generations.
Donna: It’s also a
conglomeration because when I was young, you could still see old
things and you could filter through things and still find the
obscure. I feel like it’s been really obliterated since maybe the
‘80s and ‘90s that anything authentic is done away with in order to
make room for the next commodity they’re trying to push. ‘Cause they
don’t want you to know how good the original was, because you may
not buy the new crap.
Gyda: ‘Cause they don’t
have stock in it so they can’t make money off of it.
Donna: It’s all commerce
Punk Globe: They’re
[corporate record companies] trying to stop people from copying
music, but CDs are selling three times as much as last year.
Donna: If you’re looking
to the United States or maybe the world right now for any kind of
culture or evocation through art or music, you’re gonna be
hard-pressed finding something, I think. It’s the art of the deal
Punk Globe: Well, one
of the good things about technology now is that there are more
independent labels that can afford to do things.
Donna: Yeah, or you can
just start your own independent label. [laughs]. It’s really true.
Punk Globe: A demo is
just a computer key press away.
Donna: I know.
Ultimately it’s just reaching like-minded people.
Supposedly more people will get to hear it.
Donna: Yeah, who cares
as long as they listen to the music. [laughs]
Punk Globe: When is
the next She Wolves CD going to come out? I know you’ve been working
on it for a while.
Gyda: We’re mixing, so
we don’t have a date yet. We’re hoping by December. That’s what
we’re shooting for. December 2005.
Punk Globe: I guess
an inevitable question would be: What do you think about CBGB’s
Donna: It’s upsetting
personally, but I think its time has come. I mean, it’s great for
bands like us, but it’s just been exploited to the max. It’s
Gyda: I have mixed
emotions. My selfish reasons are: I like to play there, I like the
way it sounds, and it’s very close to my house. However, I have my
sledgehammer ready and on the day when they padlock the doors, I’m
gonna be there smashing up that stage and those walls. It’s going to
be the most cathartic experience. [laughs] That night of the Little
Steven thing when they had the Washington Square event [September
28, 2005], they thought they were going to padlock the place;
everybody was holed up in the club, thinking, “Ohhh, they’re going
to close us.” I was like, “Yeah, we’re gonna rip this place down,
it’s gonna be great, man! The eviction is finally here!” It didn’t
happen, y’know. It isn’t going to.
Punk Globe: Yeah,
they’re still booking bands.
Donna: We recorded our
CD there. At what, like 10 in the morning?
Gyda: A live recording
at CBGB’s, yep.
Donna: Jamie Gorman is
the sound-guy there. He recorded us and it came out great. Now we’re
doing the rest of it with Paul Kastobi. But you know, I spent a good
hour looking for a Cycle Sluts sticker? I couldn’t’ find one. I
said, “I know there’s gotta be one somewhere.”
Gyda: Oh, you’ll never
find a sticker before, like, 1998. They’re ALL buried.
Punk Globe: Yeah, it
really pissed me off when you couldn’t see those huge photos
Gyda: Oh, I know, it’s
so sad. And no more dog shit anymore, that’s gone.
Punk Globe: Poor
Punk Globe: I think I
knew CBGBs was doomed as a philosophy. When I used to go in the
first half of its life, we avoided wearing brands. Like, no Nikes.
Then CBGB’s became a brand.
Gyda: I wear their
tee-shirts because I get them for free; okay, I’m poor, I need
clothing. Food and clothing are essential things one must have. But
I always turn them inside out or blacken out the “CBGB’s”. Hilly’s
gonna kill me.
Donna: Naw, you wear it
Gyda: What do I care,
I’m already dead. [all laugh]. Wait, does Hilly Kristal read this?
Well, he can’t read, so that’s okay. Nevermind. [laughs]
Punk Globe: I’ve
learned to edit.
Donna: And he has a
sense of humor, no?
Gyda: No, that’s got to
be in there.
Punk Globe: It amazes
me the way you mix the punk and the metal thing together here.
Because all of our histories sort of go that way. I remember going
to a punk club and they’re playing the “Thriller” album over the PA.
And all these little punk kids were dancing to it. And I’m thinking,
all the stuff that we used to rebel against and used to drive me
nuts is now accepted.
Donna: It’s disturbing.
Everything is the opposite of the way it used to be, man. When punk
came out – I was never a punk; punk usta scare the shit outta me. I
was getting clocked in the head occasionally or threatened to get
beat up. It was a terrifying musical movement and that’s not the
case anymore. But I was a drugged out bubblehead most of the time. I
was asking for it. I was like a rockabilly doll (for a little
Punk Globe: If it
makes you feel better, I sold my tickets to the Clash at Bonds to
see the Rockats.
Donna: I would have done
the same thing.
Gyda: Oh, I HATED the
Donna: You know, that’s
funny, because her and I have that in common. I was never a Clash
Gyda: A bunch of
Donna: Man, I totally
needed this coffee. I got hammered last night. I over did it a
Donna: I’m like really
nervous, I can’t talk to people, It’s really hard for me to be,
y’know, say something myself and have to make small talk
Gyda: You mean you were
hammered when you told me you were throwing up out of your cunt?
Donna: It was a dream!
Is this the right thing to be talking about? During a very fancy
French dinner? [laughs] I mean, I was coherent, right?
Donna: I felt like shit
Punk Globe: I get the
impression the band likes to party.
Donna: This part of the
band likes to party.
Gyda: I like to party!
Birthday parties, Halloween, Boston Tea Party.
Donna: And Tony is a
well-restrained young man. You’ve never seen him get out of control.
Punk Globe: I ask
this question hesitantly: Do you think part of the appeal of the
band is the “chick” factor?
Donna: Not at all.
Gyda: We’re not chicks.
Donna: We’re MEN, baby!
Gyda: I don’t hear any
peeping, do you?
Donna: I would be
flattered to death but I don’t think that flies anymore. Cycle
Sluts, that was the whole point of that shit, though. This is a real
band, with real musicians. And I knock myself out to look appealing.
And maybe the last three seconds before I hit that first chord, then
my make-up is all over my face and my hair is bedraggled, and my
butt’s hanging out, so I think my answer to that question would be
no. Gyda, on the other hand, is a yoga expert. She can do these
amazing backbends and stuff.
Punk Globe: I think
you’re all talented, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t; I was
just wondering about other people’s perceptions.
Gyda: There are some
going, “Hey, you’re great for a woman.” “Hey, a woman” is like, you
know, “there’s a trained seal”. “Amazing, they taught that parrot to
Donna: I don’t accept
that kind of comment any more.
Gyda: However, for the
most part, especially in the genre that we are in, it’s all dues,
and there’s really none of that, “Let’s go look at the girls”. It’s
nothing like that; it’s all about listening to the music, it’s about
Donna: We’re both
veterans in our own right, we both have our own unique musical
histories, and if someone is coming to see us they kind of know us
already. So I think their perception is more that they’re thinking
of what we’ve done in the past, what we’re doing now. I don’t think
it’s a “womanly” thing. I don’t think that’s much of the attraction.
It’s really not. We both have emphysema and we sound like men.
[laughs] Nah, I’m just kidding.
Gyda: Tony sings the
chick part. Tony has a high, pretty voice, and us, forget it. I was
watching a video of us the other night, and omigod, we sound like
men. We really do. So I think the chick factor is not happening
Donna: And on a bad day I look like one. I never feel like a woman
when I’m playing guitar. I don’t feel like a woman when I’m NOT
playing guitar, but I never feel like one – that doesn’t even enter
my psyche. That’s a good question, though.
Punk Globe: I just
think it’s something that needs to be addressed.
Gyda: Well, you know
what’s very funny too about our music, in our case maybe you could
tell with some of our vocals, but if you didn’t have our vocals, you
wouldn’t know if it was a man or a woman playing the bass, or a man
or a woman playing guitar. You would assume it was a man.
Donna: Yeah. [to Gyda
about something in her food:] You have something in there that’s
Gyda: I have a sewing
needle in my salad.
Donna: Get the fuck
Gyda: No, I’m kidding.
Donna: You were about to
witness a lawsuit. [laughs]
Gyda: We’d be rich!
[laughs] We’ll get those fancy new guitars and amplifiers we’d been
Punk Globe: Let’s say
you did get all the money you wanted. What equipment WOULD you buy?
What’s your ideal guitar and bass?
Gyda: I play a Gibson
Thunderbird bass. I’d like to have more of the same. I don’t know,
what would I want? Shit. I’m pretty satisfied actually, in that
Donna: Me too. I play a
’58 Les Paul reissue. I also have a ’59, but I prefer a ’58 because
the frets are wider and it feels right. It’s too fuckin’ delicate,
but I would probably get an original ’58, which is about a quarter
million dollars. And then I would never play it because I’d be
afraid of ruining it or it getting ripped off. Oh, you know what,
today Paul (Kostabi ) showed me his Duesenberg -- not the car. A
really good guitar, I played it the other night, and I enjoyed it.
And I think Paul found out about it from Chris Spedding, who’s one
of my favorite guitar players ever.
Punk Globe: Actually,
I met him
Donna: You met him!?
Everybody’s met this guy but me. What’s he like?
Punk Globe: Honestly?
I didn’t like him. A friend of mine was interviewing him so I went
with him; this is probably the early or mid-‘80s. And he was so
Donna: What kind of
Punk Globe: Like,
“Oh, I hate music. Rock’n’roll is boring. I don’t want to be doing
this. If it wasn’t for money I wouldn’t be doing this.” That kind of
Donna: That’s funny.
Punk Globe: It may
have been a bad day –
Donna: It may have been
a bad life. [laughs]. Wow. He’s such an amazing guitar player. Shit.
Absolutely. I remember seeing one of his bands, the Sharks, opening
for Roxy Music.
Donna: I’ve seen him
several times. I have some of his records. It’s funny, I went to his
Website a couple of years ago. There’s a picture of him playing a
Flying-V wearing a fuckin’ Cycle Sluts tee-shirt.
Gyda: Oh, sweet.
Donna: Yeah. I saw it
and went “WHAAAT?!?!” I said, how the fuck did Chris Spedding get a
Cycle Sluts shirt? There was like a window to say, “Chris Spedding,
you are probably one of the reasons I decided to become a guitar
player.” Isn’t that wild?
Gyda: That IS wild.
Punk Globe: I’m
assuming one the great things about being a musician is that you get
to hang out with people you admire.
Donna: I’m happy
Gyda: I did that when I
was a groupie.
Donna: I admire your
Gyda: I was never a
Donna: I’m like a
groupie. I’m like a Gyda groupie. I can’t believe I’m playing with
Gyda Gash. That’s a milestone.
Punk Globe: I
remember Gyda hanging out CBGBs in the late ‘70s. I would see you
Gyda: I hope I didn’t
hurt you or anything.
Punk Globe: Nope.
Nobody ever hurt me.
Gyda: Oh, good.
Donna: We should
probably mention that we’re also working on a new record
simultaneously while finishing this one. That’s how prolific we are.
Gyda: I think we should
talk about how simpatico we are.
Donna: Would you please
talk about that for us.
Gyda: It’s like a comedy
Donna: We have a way
Gyda: I just want to
talk about how simpatico me and Donna are. Even though we sort of
come from different scenes: I come from the old school punk rock
scene and Donna comes from the ‘80s teen metal
Donna: Some people call
that glam; I find that offensive.
Gyda: No, it wasn’t
glam, it was like that biker school.
Donna: No, we weren’t
“glam” until that asshole David La Chappelle took that fuckin’
horrible photo of us. It ruined our credibility. [In a later email,
Donna went on to describe him further: “Self centered DOUCHEBAG!!!
During an awful 10+ hour shoot he kept calling me Celeste, took the
worst photos of us ever, charged a fuckin’ fortune and only turned
in 2 to create the worst cover in the history of music.”]
Gyda: As far as your
personal image, and your personal image was a tough broad,
Donna: Street wise.
Gyda: And I was a tough
Gyda: We’re two tough
broads, but it’s been really great. We create together – it’s like
an extension of myself. We really have a very similar voice.
Donna: I’m about to shed
a puppy tear here. [laughs]
Gyda: No, for real,
because I’ve worked with many other women – I was in an all-women
band the Tomboys, Maria Ex-Communicata – but never had this kind of
Donna: We’re both Alpha
females, but we’re both really focused and serious, very serious. I
mean, I’m pretty serious, man, but the first couple of months I was
playing with her, I was really shitting in my pants because she’s
Gyda: I’m flattered by
Donna: But now I know
her better, but it’s really true. It really has galvanized us as a
band lately. There’s a creative force, and definitely an energy
force. I’d be very curious to see how Europe is gonna react to this.
Probably, we’ll now be playing for different people in Europe
because it’s radically different from what we were doing last time.
It’s wonderful. I mean, what do you want being a musician?
Basically, if you’re serious, doing it right is its own reward.
Naturally we want to make a living, we want a mansion and a yacht
and all that shit eventually, but right now the music now is in the
forefront with no distraction.
Gyda: And another thing
is being from other generations, people think or assume that our
aesthetic is locked into that. And really our aesthetic is something
that is very –
Donna: -- New –
Gyda: -- Oh, yeah, very
new. It might have elements of, whatever, punk rock, metal, Black
Sabbath, Motorhead. But it’s a convergence of different styles. We
can’t be pigeonholed. They’ll hear my name or they’ll hear Donna’s
name, they expect a certain thing. Some people don’t change, you
know, and I’m all about change. I’m constantly changing. As a matter
of fact, I’m changing right now. [laughs]
Punk Globe: Donna,
since you’re a big Motorhead fan, have you seen “Tromeo and Juliet”?
Donna: No. Is Lemmy in
Punk Globe: Lemmy is
in the beginning and end parts of it.
Donna: I saw him in –
what’s that movie, “Eat the Rich”? Did you ever see that one? It’s a
very posh restaurant and basically they’re grinding up the clientele
into burgers and serving them to other clientele. Lemmy’s a really
good actor when he wants to be, y’know, whenever the movie calls for
Lemmy, there y’go.
Punk Globe: He’s
Donna: We went to see
Motorhead the last time they were here, at BB King’s. They were
amazing. Still amazing.
Punk Globe: Did you
Donna: Yeah. He’s really
a genuine, sincere person, and has never, y’know, treated me any
different if I was signed or not signed. Very warm. I was very
flattered because he wrote his autobiography, “White Line Fever”,
and he mentions touring with the Cycle Sluts and said some very nice
things about us. I was really touched, because when you think of all
the bands that Motorhead has toured with, and then to be singled
out. And, of course, when we were in LA, we hung out with him at the
Rainbow, and Gyda and Lemmy hit it off because we’re all cut from
the same very thick cloth, if you will. It’s like an extended
Punk Globe: It’s
great when one’s idols – well, perhaps idol is a strong word –
Donna: Naw, he’s an idol
and he’s also a gentleman. An extremely warm, intelligent, human
being. He’s one person who has never disappointed. I mean, I really
hold him in super high regard.
Gyda: I think they
should make him a knight.
Donna: He should be.
Gyda. Sir Lemmy.
Donna: I wonder if he’d
be into that? I don’t know, only if he got, like, the key to the
city and a chance to wear a uniform. [laughs]
Gyda: Give her a chance
Donna: That’s excellent.
I wonder who you’d pitch that to? I can see that as a Motorhead DVD.
Gyda: With four original
songs! I like that idea, it makes sense. I mean, Paul McCartney?
He’s a shithead.
Donna: Yeah, I know. He’s no Lemmy. [laughs] I don’t like the
Beatles, never have. They never appealed to me, and no body seems to
agree with that but me. Even when I was younger, I did not think the
Beatles were cool. Oh, my god. I’ve always been attracted to the
sinister, ever since I was like a kid. That explains my partnership
with Gyda Gash! [laughs] You don’t get more sinister than that.
Punk Globe: I grew up
watching horror movies.
Donna: I grew up IN a
Gyda: But also watched
Punk Globe: Do I
remember correctly that Lemmy taught you guitar?
Donna: Lemmy? No, when I
was in the Cycle Sluts I used to hang out with those guys and watch.
I started playing guitar, believe it or not, when I was 17, but I
sort of took the wrong turn in my “yoot”. Other things took up my
time. And then, many, many years later, I decided to pursue it
again. Motorhead were very supportive. Not to name drop, not by any
means, people have been very nice to me – James Hatfield [Metalllica]
was very nice and actually gave me an impromptu lesson once.
Gyda: And he wanted to
play guitar with her, too. [laughs]
Donna: To me, people who
along the way are encouraging and they don’t make me feel like
they’re pandering to you because you’re a woman, and that was very
nice. And as an influence, Chris Spedding, watching him play, I was
like, this guy’s amazing. I was a big Stones fan. Who else did I
like? Lots of friends who are guitar players. I’d say, just show me
something you know. That’s a big question when you’re trying to
learn, you ask every guitar player you know to show you one thing.
My old guitar player Pete Lisa [a.k.a. Lord Roachkill] gave that
piece of advice and it was the best advice I ever got because I went
to every guitar player I knew and said show me one thing, so you
pick up on people’s repertoire. And then when I was bartending in
’94-‘95, Zack Wild was coming to my bar every fuckin’ night. And I
said to him, you’re a great guitar player. If you had to give one
piece of advice to a guitarist to make them a better player, what
would it be? And he said, “Pentatonic scale, pentatonic scale,
pentatonic scale.” I said, alright, I’m going to learn my pentatonic
scale. And I pretty much did. [laughs] You just meet these great
players who are happy to share if I ask them.
Punk Globe: That’s
one of the good things about touring, too, you get friendly with a
lot of these great musicians.
Donna: Yeah, that’s
great. I love touring, that’s all we wanna do.
Punk Globe: What
about you, Gyda? How and why did you start playing the bass?
Gyda: Well, I broke up
with my Dead Boy boyfriend at the time [Cheetah Chrome] and I was a
hopeless drug addict. I came home one day and there was a note in
the mailbox: “Come to LA and play bass with us,” from this band. And
I called the guy up and I said, “Well, Cheetah and I broke up and he
doesn’t live here anymore.” And he said, “No, we want you.” So I
said, “But I don’t play the bass.” They said, “We’ll teach you.” And
I said, “What do I have to lose?” I took one suitcase and left New
York, I kicked the dope habit in California, I slept in front of my
amplifier lying down cooking a dope habit, and I was in such pain
that I just took that pain and pounded the strings of the bass as
loud as I could, and that’s how I learned how to play the bass. In
extreme pain and extreme – duress, I guess. That’s how I became a
bass player. I never really had a bass lesson.
Donna: You never had a
Donna: Whoa. I’m very
impressed. I didn’t even know that.
Gyda: No, my lessons
were being in, like, Fragglerock House Band [an all-girl house band
with various guest singers], or Squeezebox Band where I had to do
Donna: You were in
Fragglerock House Band?
Gyda: Yeah, a little
bit. But mostly I just played from ear, and never set out to be a
bass player. It was just total happenstance. It was totally like – I
don’t know, in the cards. It wasn’t my meaning or desires at all.
Donna: Are you glad
you’re a bass player?
Gyda: Yeah! Yeah, it’s
given me a channel for all that rage, and all that – everything.
Donna: And beauty. The
Rage and the Beauty. So where was the turning point in your
proficiency from just being some angst-ridden girl banging shit on
the bass to being this exceptional, precise musician? You must have
turned the corner at some point.
Gyda: Once I learned the
bass, I got picked up in a bunch of bands, like the Tomboys – they
were like an alternative punk band in the ‘80s – then there was
Maria Ex-Communicata, they were Goth.
Donna: You were in THAT
band? I was on drugs that whole time so I’ve probably seen her in
ALL these bands. I was smashed, and did not even know it was her.
Gyda: And at the same
time I just started writing, because I used to play guitar when I
was a little kid, like from the age of 10. Played guitar and wrote
songs, so I already had, like, “fingers” and a songwriting
capability. So I was writing on the bass. Yeah, so that’s how it
Punk Globe: What do
you think when you see bands of kids that have no idea what they’re
Donna: Those are
probably the best kinds of bands. I don’t think it’s good to have an
idea what you’re doing. Thinking shouldn’t enter into it. Especially
when you’re young because it’s probably easier, because you’re still
figuring yourself out so anything can happen. Cool things can come
out of it. It’s hard when you’re older and you think you have
everything figured out. You really don’t, but you think you do.
Thinking should not enter the musical process. Would you agree with
Gyda: Ah – yeah. Of
course, I don’t really relate to young musicians who don’t know what
Donna: I don’t relate to
anyone young, musicians or otherwise. Look at the fucking state of
things, man, with the extreme fundamentalism and neo-cons dictating
people’s freedoms or lack of them. They better make for some great
fuckin’ music real soon.
Gyda: That’s the thing,
we’re living in these –
Donna: -- Oppressive –
Gyda: -- Tormented
times, where’s the fuckin’ music to reflect the society?
Punk Globe: Usually
this is the kind of society it would come out of.
Donna: I’m hoping
younger people pick up the fuckin’ ball here, but I don’t know,
maybe it’s the 40-50-60 year olds that got it right now.
Gyda: They’re very
desensitized. I’d much rather see young people doing things and not
knowing anything than the ones who think they do know, or they’re
trying to emulate.
Donna: You want
something real. I don’t know where you find that..
Punk Globe: I think a
big part of the problem is there are too many distractions. Used to
be all you could do was play guitar to keep from going crazy. Now
you have video games, 24-hour TV.
Donna: It’s amazing.
There IS too many distractions for any kind of great art. That’s why
the bravest music is going to come out of a very base poverty level
where people have nothing better to do, and believe me, they’re
going to be the ones able to sing the Blues and everyone else can go
fuck themselves. They’re the ones who have something to say, so I’m
waiting to hear. But you’re not going to hear it on VH1, you’re not
going to hear it on M-TV
Punk Globe: Do they
even play music anymore?
Gyda: I don’t think so.
I think it’s all commercials.
Donna: It’s amazing how
oblivious I am to anything mainstream, I have no idea what’s going
on. I really don’t watch TV
Punk Globe: That’s
good! Well, thank you.
Gyda: You’re welcome.
Donna: The pleasure is