SHE WOLVES: What Music They Make
by Robert Barry Francos

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 amazing.

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 www.myspace/shewolves.com.

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 it [laughs].

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 that.

Punk Globe: That’s one of the beauties of the Web.

Donna: It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Punk Globe: Gyda, you’re still working with Tish and Snooky [Bellomo of Manic Panic], right?

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 night!

Gyda: Yeah!

Donna: She got me hammered. [laughs]

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 spelled K-H-A-N-A-T-E.

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 heavy.

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 the rehash.

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 driven.

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 now, right?

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.

Punk Globe: 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 closing?

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 inevitable.

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 anymore.

Gyda: Oh, I know, it’s so sad. And no more dog shit anymore, that’s gone.

Punk Globe: Poor Jonathan.

Gyda: Jonathan!

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 well.

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 while), whatever.

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 Clash.

Donna: You know, that’s funny, because her and I have that in common. I was never a Clash fan.

Gyda: A bunch of phonies.

Donna: Man, I totally needed this coffee. I got hammered last night. I over did it a little.

Gyda: Really?

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?

Gyda: Yeah!

Donna: I felt like shit this morning.

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! [laughs]

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 talk,” y’know?

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 the performance.

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 here.
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 bad?

Gyda: I have a sewing needle in my salad.

Donna: Get the fuck outta here!

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 wanting. [laughs]

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 department.

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 incredibly negative

Donna: What kind of negative?

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 thing.

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.

Punk Globe: 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 occasionally.

Gyda: I did that when I was a groupie.

Donna: I admire your candidness. [laughs]

Gyda: I was never a groupie.

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 there.

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 routine.

Donna: We have a way with words.

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 broad.

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 rapport.

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 scary. [laughs].

Gyda: I’m flattered by that.

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 that?

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 unique.

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 go backstage?

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 family, y’know?

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 to salute.

Donna: That’s excellent. I wonder who you’d pitch that to? I can see that as a Motorhead DVD. “Sir Lemmy”!

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 horror movie.

Gyda: But also watched them. [laughs]

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 bass lesson?!

Gyda: Never.

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 cover songs.

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. It’s amazing.

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 happened.

Punk Globe: What do you think when you see bands of kids that have no idea what they’re doing?

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 that?

Gyda: Ah – yeah. Of course, I don’t really relate to young musicians who don’t know what they’re doing.

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 all mine.

 

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