Press Recap

Click here to see press highlights for Prima Donna.

Über Rock

A most welcome return for one of my favourite bands from over on the West Coast of the good ole US of A.  Prima Donna slink back into the house folks, and this time they've hooked up with the Über cool label Wicked Cool to knock out these 11 tracks of ear candy.

Sure, Messrs Preston and co know how to write über cool power poppin', punk rockin' tunes a plenty, and over the years they've never failed to deliver the goods - and this ain't no exception boys n girls. They might have had a few changeroonies in the personnel department, but that hasn't stopped them from dropping the melodies and riffs left, right and centre.

One thing you might pick up on is the keys are to the fore a little more, but on '4 Real' they have a big fat dirty rhythm with an organ roll that pierces through to the chorus and we're off, chanting along like one big happy gang on the “4 Reals”.

If it makes sense, it sounds like a band maturing, and as they get older they try new things, like on the cool 'Vulture Culture' that has a nod in the general direction of Blondie around the ‘Eat To The Beat’ era. If I didn't know better, I'd swear these cats come from out of some dingy yet totally glam New York City ‘hood. The chorus is simple yet infectious, which is much like this record. They follow that up with something that sounds like it is influenced by early Duran Duran or Japan: 'Recurring Nightmare' gets funky and has some great rhythm breaks.  Before I get carried away, I might add that, whilst there are changes, they are subtle changes and it’s still very much Prima Donna, and Preston’s voice and style oozes through and is instantly recognizable.

'Not For Nothing' is dripping with attitude as it soars with a great bass line and dirty riff, whilst 'Until I Break Loose' has the familiar ‘70s glam stomp coursing through the rhythm and into the chorus.

As we head into the home straight’ 'Year Of The Rat' mashes up the swirling keys and guitar around a solid beat as the chorus borrows from 'Jumping Jack Flash', before some mighty fine saxophone blowing and the song just builds into its frantic rock out - most excellent song indeed folks. One of the things I got out of this record was the fact that, no matter what, it's like sunshine music - you can't help but feel good after you've heard it: its rock ‘n’ roll with a big huge smile.  I wouldn't say Prima Donna have grown up, because that wouldn't be right, but they've evolved record on record, or gone through rock ‘n’ roll puberty right before our eyes: they've learned a thing or two and managed to record it all into one great big fantastic record that is this self-titled album. If you've ever fallen for their take on 70s glam rock ‘n’ roll with attitude, or you've seen them kick up a shit storm live, then you'll get it and this album will be burning a 12" hole into your end of year top ten.  In a nutshell - buy it!

California Rocker

Prima Donna’s Kevin Preston and David Field Join The Longshot Band

What do the bands Prima Donna and The Longshot have in common?
Both have the great Kevin Preston and David Field as band members.
Preston and Field along with Jeff Matika of Green Day have been announced as the band members in Billie Joe Armstrong’s project, The Longshot. Preston plays guitar, Field is the drummer, Matika is on bass and Armstrong is the frontman.

Mysterious Clues and Music …
The Longshot has been dropping mysterious hints and music and has been booking gigs around Northern and Southern California.
The Longshot has been quietly dropping singles, one-offing shows at places like DTLA’s Redwood, Orange County’s Wayfarer and Oakland’s 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, where they played a 15-song set last weekend.

At 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, the band opened with ‘Ziggy Stardust’, before launching into new tracks including ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Chasing A Ghost’ and ‘Love Is For Losers.’

Prima Donna’s New Album S/T
Prima Donna is rounded out by Lights Out Levine on bass, and Aaron Minton on keys. Prima Donna is one of the best local bands in Los Angeles and has a fierce following.
Preston is an outstanding songwriter and Field is an accomplished drummer with great experience, so Longshot is getting some amazing band members.

Stay tuned for our record review and interview with Prima Donna. In the meantime, here’s two more new releases from The Longshot, the titles of which may or may not be so PC for today.

All Access Music

Learn more about Prima Donna in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So what is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
Kevin Preston: I really dig “Love From Above.” That and “Recurring Nightmare.”
Light Out Levine: I’d say “Automatic” is the one we’re all really into. I don’t think we disagree about any of them.
How has 2018 been treating you all so far? What is one musical goal that you have for this year?
David Field: Any year you write, record and release an album is a good year, so I’m pretty happy with 2018 right now. Now that it is being released, all that’s left to do is hit the road and tour.
Aaron Minton: So far we’ve just been waiting to release our new record this year. As far as goals go – more and more exposure.
Lights Out Levine: We’ve just really been chomping at the bit to get this record out and start performing it live. Hitting the road is always a main goal for us.
Kevin Preston: 2018 has honestly been the best year of my life so far. My musical goal is to take our show on the road and play in some countries we’ve never been to.

Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in this band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are?
Kevin Preston: I can’t pinpoint the moment, but I do remember just having this awesome summer. It started with 2 songs I wrote. I really wanted to be in a band with David and Aaron, so we spent the summer in David’s garage and it was rock ‘n’ roll magic. Summer of love.
David Field: No one call themselves a band unless you can survive touring together. If you still love playing music with each other after weeks and months on the road, then you’re in a real band. Luckily for us, we realized that pretty early on. After years of touring all over the world we are more like brothers than band-mates.
How much do you think you all have grown as a band since you first formed? What has remained the same about your dynamics?
David Field: Our musical taste and influences have changed a lot since we first began. While we still love all the rock ‘n’ roll bands that helped shape us when we were young, we are now listening to all different styles and bands. It makes us better songwriters and musicians.
Kevin Preston: We’re straight up mind-readers at this point. We pretty much know what we need to do musically to make the songs pop. Much of it, we can do without even discussing, you know?
Lights Out Levine: We have always worked so well together. That has always remained the same for us. We all write tunes and contribute to everyone else’s songs. A lot of respect, personally and professionally exists in this band.
Why do you think that Wicked Cool Records is the right place for this band and your music today?

Kevin Preston: They support bands. Real bands with real instruments that have real things to say.

What does it feel like to be releasing your album, S/T? How does this collection show a new chapter for the band? What was it like putting it all together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?

Kevin Preston: I’m completely elated. This album is wholly different than anything we’ve ever done. We tapped into some vibes we’ve always wanted to dig into. Eric Palmquist [producer] really pushed us out of our comfort zone and made us try new things. We rose to the challenge and we really loved the process.
David Field: It feels great. On this album we have matured a lot and I think it shows. Recording was a very different experience in the studio than we were used to. Eric our producer really pushed us and made us think about different ways to approach the songs. It was also our first time collaborating on songwriting with someone not in the band.
What was the inspiration for your album’s first released single “4 Real”? How did you decide to release it first? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music?
Kevin Preston: It was inspired by the disappearance of Richey Edwards (Manic Street Preachers). It seemed like the clear choice to kick off the new era because it just has this wild, freight train kinda energy.
Aaron Minton: The musical inspiration for ‘4 Real’ was just something driving and powerful. It’s the first track on the album because we figured it’s a good engine starter kinda song, since it’s so driving. After that, we picked it as the first single naturally.
Lights Out Levine: When you listen to 4 Real, you get to hear a bit of what everyone does. We all get our shit in; Aaron has the great organ line, Kevin has that magic voice and the sweet guitar riffs, I get to play some cool lines and David gets to blast off on the drums.
I’ve got to ask what was it like sharing the stage with Green Day on two arena tours on two continents?! What did you learn about performing live from those experiences?
Kevin Preston: It was a dream come true. They were one of the bands that turned us into rock ‘n’ roll fiends. We learned so much more about putting on a show. Most nights we were playing in front of 20,000 people that had never heard of us, so we really had to give it our all.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Where can people see you perform next?
Aaron Minton: I think we’re happiest on stage. We’re also very happy after a great show, hanging together wherever it may be.
David Field: Definitely on stage and touring. We work hard in rehearsals and in the studio so we are able to play these songs live. Being on stage and having the crowd respond to us is the best feeling.
Kevin Preston: These days it’s a little bit of both. I love getting creative in the studio. Making the songs come to life is as intense as it is rewarding. Playing live never gets old. It’s such a cool give and take of energy. Such a rush.
Lights Out Levine: For me, being on stage performing is what it’s all about.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today? With everything going on in the world today, how do you think your music is a reflection of these times?
David Field: The world is so crazy right now that it can become overwhelming. There’s a lot of negativity that’s constantly being shoved in your face. We think that with this band, and especially this album, we are making something positive. We want our fans to put this album on and feel good and forget the world for a while.

Kevin Preston: It gives me joy that I can have a blast playing music that also makes other people happy. I get to have my cake and eat it too. Songs like “Vulture Culture,” “Automatic” and “Give It Up” are a reflection of how I feel about all the crazy things going on. Songs like “Love From Above” and “Until I Break Loose” are meant to help escape all of that.
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Kevin Preston: I’m always checking out music from other countries. My two current faves are Makthaverskan from Sweden and La Femme from France. I’d love work with Eric Palmquist again. I love what he did with this record. I’ve always wanted to write a song or two with Billy Idol. Call me Billy!
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all of your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it all?

Kevin Preston: It’s fun for us because we have really cool fans. We maintain all of the socials ourselves. We try to give everybody a glimpse of what we’re up to behind the scenes and all that.
David Field: It’s important for us to keep in touch with our fans, especially the ones overseas. Social Media has helped us to do that.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? What do you hope they take away from one of your shows?
Kevin Preston: Overall, I just hope our music and concerts help people have a good time and break loose for a little bit.
Aaron Minton: I hope people find whatever songs they favor most and that it makes them happy to play over and over again. And hopefully they have just as much a good time seeing us live!

BuzzBands - LA

Prima Donna have proudly flown the garage-rock flag for more than a decade, displaying all the energy, grit and swagger that goes with the territory but never quite carving out a sound distinctive enough to elevate them beyond most-rip-snorting-support-band-in-L.A. (And they have opened for some heavyweights.)
The L.A. quartet of Kevin Preston (vocals, guitar), David S. Field (drums), Aaron Minton (keyboards, saxophone, vocals) and Lights Out Levine (bass, vocals) remain a work in progress, though. (Aren’t we all?) They tweak the formula on their fifth album, which is notably titled “S/T.” “Self-titled albums are usually a band’s introduction to the world,” Field says. “Even though this isn’t our first, we feel this album represents a new era in our music and who we are as musicians and people.” Preston calls the album — made in two weeks with producer Eric Palmquist (Thrice, the Bad Suns) — “a true sonic leap for us.”
Their music has a champion in Steven Van Zandt, the E Street guitarist, actor, radio host and label impresario. The album came out last week on Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records.
Meanwhile, Prima Donna worked with director Arthur Leon Adams III for the video for “Press Your Luck,” filmed in an abandoned boathouse shipyard in Crockett, Calif. They’ve played nicer rooms.

VENTS Magazine

LA rockers Prima Donna has announce the release of their new music video for their single “Press Your Luck”. The video showcases the bands garage- and punk- influenced dynamic, drawing influences from Oasis and Social Distortion with an almost Four Seasons vibe. “Press Your Luck” previews the new direction of the band explored on S/T, their forthcoming album out now.
As Keyboardist and Vocalist Aaron Minton comments:
This one has a cool Oasis/Social Distortion thing to it with the singing and melodies. My favorite part occurs in the chorus, when Kevin sings “…you know you better.” The notes sung have almost a Four Seasons vibe.”

Music Connection

Prima Donna Tracks at Palmquist Studios

L.A. rockers Prima Donna will release S/T on March 30 through Wicked Cool
Records. The album was recorded in Palmquist Recording Studios in El
Serano, CA and was produced by Eric Palmquist (MUTEMATH, Night Riots). For
more, visit Pictured (l-r): Kevin Preston, guitarist and
vocalist; Aaron Minton, keyboard and saxophone; David Field, drums; Lights
Out Levine, bass; Eric Palmquist, producer.

Highwire Daze

LA rockers Prima Donna have unleashed a new video to accompany their single “4 Real,” PRESS HERE to watch via New Noise Magazine! The video follows the rock & roll treatment of patients too stuck in the virtual world, with mixed results – and an amusing twist ending. The song, which initially premiered via Yahoo, takes inspiration from the mysterious 1995 disappearance of Manic Street Preachers’ Richey Edwards and is the first release from Prima Donna’s forthcoming album S/T.
S/T will be released on March 30, 2018 via Wicked Cool Records in partnership with The Orchard and is available to pre-order now, PRESS HERE to pre-order.
Prima Donna have shared stages with an incredible range of rock acts, from Green Day (who they supported on two arena tours on two continents) to Andrew W.K., Blondie, Fitz and the Tantrums, Adam Ant and more. Lead singer Kevin Preston, who first emerged on the LA scene in the reformed early 2000s lineup of legendary LA punks The Skulls, also plays in Billie Joe Armstrong’s garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs – further testament to the band’s rock & roll credentials. Garage rock tastemaker Little Steven Van Zandt has named five of Prima Donna’s tracks as his “Coolest Song In The World,” most recently 2015’s “Deathless.”
Produced by Eric Palmquist (Thrice, The Bad Suns, The Mars Volta) in the band’s hometown of LA, S/T Harnessing influences that cover the corners of rock & roll from Ronnie Spector and the Stones through Nina Hagen and the Ramones. With the release of S/T as part of Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records’ ongoing partnership with The Orchard, Prima Donna continue to push forward as infallible rockers with multi-dimensional capacities and showcase their development into a fully formed garage- and punk-influenced outfit.
Prima Donna is comprised of Kevin Preston (vocals, guitar), David S. Field (drums, percussion), Aaron Minton (keyboards, saxophone, vocals) and Lights Out Levine (bass, vocals).

The Farsighted Bog

NMM Sound Byte: PRIMA DONNA to Release New Album Next Month

As soon as you hit play on Prima Donna, no matter what song plays first, you get a jolt of instant electric energy. Their authentic sound stays true to the careless garage band spirit, mastering the balance between complex and heavy. Listening to their single “4 Real” I instantly thought of Duckie’s rockout scene in Pretty in Pink.
Prima Donna gives us head banger after head banger on their upcoming S/T album. If you’re looking for fun boppin’ rock, Prima Donna is for sure the way to go.

New Noise

We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Prima Donna’s music video for their song “4 Real”. The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming self-titled album, which is scheduled to be released on March 30, 2018 through Wicked Cool Records.
Kevin Preston of Prima Donna commented on the video:
"Making this video was a real experience. It was an exciting set. Working with the pro team at the Enclave made it easy and fun, and we had a blast hanging with the actors. The song is an homage to Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers, so it was important to us that everything looked cool. We’re very pleased with the results!"

VENTS Magazine

LA rockers Prima Donna have announced the impending arrival of new album S/T with the release of a new single – 4 Real. Inspired by the mysterious 1995 disappearance of Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers, “4 Real” captures Prima Donna’s unstoppable energy in pure garage rock form. S/T will be released on March 30, 2018 via Wicked Cool Records in partnership with The Orchard and is available to pre-order now.
“It’s a new chapter for us,” lead singer Kevin Preston shared of the 11-track collection, which was produced by Eric Palmquist (Thrice, The Bad Suns, The Mars Volta) in the band’s hometown of LA. Harnessing influences that cover the corners of rock & roll from Ronnie Spector and the Stones through Nina Hagen and the Ramones, S/T showcases Prima Donna’s musical development into a fully formed garage- and punk-influenced outfit.
Prima Donna have shared stages with an incredible range of unstoppable rock acts, from Green Day (who they supported on two arena tours on two continents) to Andrew W.K., Blondie, Fitz and the Tantrums, Adam Ant and more. Preston, who first emerged on the LA scene in the reformed early 2000s lineup of legendary LA punks The Skulls, also plays in Billie Joe Armstrong’s garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs – further testament to the band’s rock & roll credentials.
Garage rock tastemaker Little Steven Van Zandt has named five of Prima Donna’s tracks as his “Coolest Song In The World,” most recently 2015’s “Deathless.” With the release of S/T as part of Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records’ ongoing partnership with The Orchard, Prima Donna continue to push forward as infallible rockers with multi-dimensional capacities.

Yahoo! Music

Los Angeles’s Prima Donna have brought their garage rock power to arenas both near and far — the group has shared the stage with such names as Green Day, Fitz and the Tantrums, Adam Ant, Electric Six, and more. They’re poised to release their fifth album, S/T, which marks their first for Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, on March 30. The band says this is a “new direction” and a “sonic leap” in their career, moving briskly through a variety of musical influences.
Yahoo Entertainment is excited to debut the upcoming album’s first single, “4 Real,” a toe-tapping, chugging bit of rock that will whet fans’ appetites for the new release. Lyrically, the song was inspired by the mysterious/infamous 1995 disappearance of Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers.

California Rocker

On the Eve of Prima Donna Gig With Blondie, Kevin Preston Tells Us What Makes Him Tick

Prima Donna is one of those beloved California bands that wows the crowds whenever they play. The guys are opening for Blondie on Sept. 10. at the Observatory in San Diego.
Prima Donna’s Punk Rock roots run deep. Frontman Kevin Preston sat down with editor Donna Balancia to answer some of the important questions.
DB: How did you guys meet Blondie?
KP: I met Clem a while back at a Hugh Cornwell (ex-Stranglers) show, or maybe it was a New York Dolls show. Then a few years ago, he introduced me to Debbie and Chris at SXSW. I hung out at their shows that whole weekend. Total dream come true.
DB: How did you manage to keep in touch over the years?
KP: It’s easy to keep in touch because Clem and I go see all the same shows. We’re always bumping in to each other.
DB: Why do all these punkers love Prima Donna, i.e. Billy Bones and Clem Burke, etc.?
KP: Well, I think it’s that primitive rock n’ roll connection. They Just totally get where we’re coming from. When we started the band, we really just threw all of our influences into a blender. Back then, we were heavy on The Saints, Little Richard, New York Dolls, Adam and The Ants, The Boys, The Animals, The Sonics, X-Ray Spex, Bowie, T. Rex, The Undertones, Dead Boys, The Stooges, Roxy Music, Blondie etc. That list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
DB: Your band hasn’t been around as long as some of these other groups, yet Prima Donna manages to capture the essence of the post-punk period. How did that happen?
KP: Crate digging. I’m a vinyl junkie. I think that has a lot to do with it. Really though, I don’t know. We just all speak the same language, musically. Kinda creepy.

DB: What’s the age of your fans for the most part and how did you attract that demographic, or that group of fans?
KP: It’s all over the place. We’ve done countless tours across the U.S., Europe and Asia with various bands, so we’ve ended up with an awesome group of fans of all ages. We’ve done tours with punk bands, rock n’ roll bands, pop bands and it always seems to work out.
DB: Who writes the songs mostly?
KP: Early on I was writing the songs. Now we all write together. We’re in the middle of writing a new record right now and everybody is bringing interesting ideas to the table. One song started with a saxophone riff and a cool drum beat, so we’re really getting into some cool territory.
DB: If you could describe your style what is it?
KP: Man, that’s always a tough thing to describe. Our style is constantly evolving. We still have a habit of mixing garage, glitter and new wave, but you really can’t limit it like that. It really varies song to song.
DB: Do you have a song that was a bigger hit that you thought it would be?
KP: Recently, ‘Deathless’ had some legs. It was getting airplay from here to Peru to Japan.
DB: How do you like playing San Diego? Anything notable about the crowds?
KP: We love playing San Diego. The drinks are always pretty cheap and SD people just like to have fun. We’ve had some memorable shows down there. We played with Adam Ant at Balboa Theatre. We did a rad show with Duane Peters at Radio Room. I think I’ll be spending all my money at Spin Records before the Blondie gig.

SLUG Magazine

While some might suggest rock n’ roll has been played out after years of use and abuse, Prima Donna are here to say through their defiant, no-shits-given tracks, “Rock and Roll Is Dead,” and “We Don’t Care!” Prima Donna are what L.A. rock n’ roll sounds like at its most pronounced and best. Nine Lives and Forty-Fives is a great addition to the no-bullshit sensibilities of punk while playing on the passionate adolescence of rock n’ roll rebellion. It’s simply electrifying, snotty, fast and defiantly raw. The opening track, “Pretty Little Head,” defines this album’s tire-less energy, and “Like Hell” carries forth awesome riffs and prominent sax. Prima Donna even cover Blondie’s “Rip Her To Shreds,” which, followed up with “Eat Your Heart Out,” tugs at notions of sex-filled rock n’ roll that begs for a flirt with the New York Dolls.


4th album from Los Angeles band—blustery, gut-driven guitar rock ‘n’ roll that pulls no punches with its classic blues-roots stylings and unapologetic retro-roar of melody & power.  Irresistible songs with an alluring, recognizable flair and energy; hum-along rips of move-your-hips, fist-in-the-air rock ‘n’ roll served with a side of glam/punk and power pop riffs.  Includes covers of songs by Blondie, the Rubinoos and Dwight Twilley.  Recalls bands like early Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Chuck Berry, New York Dolls.  Totally addictive!

Vive Le Rock Magazine

Bubblegum rock from the City of Angels.


Fronted by Kevin Preston, a mainstay of Green Day offshoot Foxboro Hot Tubs, California's Prima Donna knock out glam-injected garage rock 'n' roll, that blazes through the ages, down the Sunset Strip, stumbling into Rodney's English Disco, circa '74, Iggy's on dope, Joan Jett lurks in the shadows, and Kim Fowley plots large scale. Prima Donna covers The Rubinoos 'Rock and Roll is Dead', a smoking version I gotta say, ala latter-day Hellacopters, who thinking about it had an album called 'Rock and Roll is Dead'. Full Circle Baby! In full stride, Prima Donna let off a mighty head of steam, with mucho foot stomping riffage. Yeah, stacks of groove going on here. Did I mention the banging 'Too Much Too Soon' take of Blondie's 'Rip Her to Shreds'?

Billings Gazette

Punk rock with 1970s glam guitars and horns is a nice combo, and there should be more of it.

And, nobody’s doing it better these days that the L.A. band Prima Donna.

On their new album, the foursome adds eight of their own songs to raw, thrashing covers of cuts like Blondie’s “Rip Her to Shreds” and Dwight Twilley’s “I’m On Fire.”

But, they hardly need to call on the oldies to get things jumping. Original tracks like the triple-speed “Tattooed Love Girls” and the Clash-ish “Living in Sin” are great send-ups. And, it gets better. “Like Hell” and “Rubbish,” with it Chuck Berry guitars and Clarence Clemons sax are pure old school rock ‘n’ roll.

“All the boys, all the girls, they all talk the same now,” Kevin Preston sneers.

Everyone but Prima Donna, that is.

Blurt Magazine

Prima Donna has long been one of the more exciting acts strutting through the rock & roll underground, but it takes a while for the L.A. quartet (recently shorn of second guitarist Erik Arcane) to make a record, what with leader Kevin Preston’s involvement with the Green Day project Foxboro Hot Tubs and all. But when it does spit out a new LP it’s always worth the wait.

The product of numerous sessions in different locales over the course of a couple of years, Nine Lives and Forty Fives follows the band’s usual garage-rocking glam punk MO, with tunes and attitude in equal measure. Preston and Aaron Minton’s exuberant guitar and sax riffs roll across the bouncing rhythms of bassist Lights Out Levine and drummer David S. Field, as Preston’s grainy pout lords over all. The band’s attack brings out the best in its energy-spewing songs, from the sneering “Rubbish” and the pogoing “Pretty Little Head” to the roaring “Eat Your Heart Out” and the cheeky “Tattooed Love Girls.” The quartet also blasts through a trio of covers that give insight into their musical minds, putting the Prima Donna stamp on Dwight Twilley (“I’m On Fire”), the Rubinoos (“Rock and Roll is Dead”) and Blondie (“Rip Her to Shreds”).

By the time its 33 minutes are over, Nine Lives and Forty Fives will leave you exhausted from head-bopping, air guitar slashing and general leaping about the room in rock & roll abandon. 4/5 stars.

Kevin Preston interviews with enthusiasm on his band Prima Donna's upcoming Tuesday (6 P.M.) Amoeba Music gig, on the group's new album and on playing with the members of Green Day:

W.E. What are you most looking forward to about the Feb 10. performance at Amoeba Music?

K.P. I can't wait to play these new songs for our fans. That's the main thing. I'm also gonna shop 'til I drop. Amoeba has everything. I can't get out of there without spending more money than I have.

W.E. How would you describe your new studio album Nine Lives and Forty-Fives?

K.P. No holds barred rock n' roll. We touched on a ton of different influences, but it's still a very cohesive record. I wrote "Pretty Little Head" right after seeing The Sonics a few months ago. "Deathless" was something I wrote in Spain when I couldn't sleep. Every song has a story.

W.E. What was the experience like working on the Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs with Billie Joe Armstrong?

K.P. It's always awesome! We get together and do at least one show every year. Foxboro Hot Tubs is all of the members of Green Day plus yours truly. Those guys are so locked in musically. Tré counts to four and then it just explodes man. The energy is infectious.

Color Is Its Own Reward

Prima Donna have been reliably pumping out scuzzy, Dolls-indebted rock for over a decade and have finally made the album they have long been threatening to.  “Nine Lives and Forty-Fives” is a step up for Kevin Preston and co., a rollicking 33 minute drive into the seedy underbelly of L.A…the songs are sharper, the attack both more precise and menacing, and the choruses reach for the rafters.  The spy-theme riff that underpins first single “Deathless” worms its way into your skull, and the driving “Rubbish” matches pounding keys with a staccato guitar slash that wouldn’t sound out of place on “L.A.M.F.”; when Aaron Minton’s sax bleats out a quick run in the middle, you’d be hard pressed not to floor the accelerator and just give yourself over to the rush. 

The production, courtesy of California punk stalwarts Bruce Duff (Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Triple X records) and Paul Roessler (the savagely underrated Screamers, 45 Grave, dozens of others), is just the right amount of raw…this is a band that benefits from scuffing up the veneer a bit, and Duff and Roessler have a very good handle on how to keep one foot in the gutter.  Not everything here works – “I’m On Fire” is generic and too “bloozy” by half and “Tattooed Love Girl” seems to be a bit TOO in love with the riff and rhythm of Jim Carroll’s “Friends Who Died” - but album centerpiece “Rock and Roll is Dead” belies its own title and shows exactly how precise and powerful a band Prima Donna have become.  Roll down the windows, clap along  and play this fucker loud!

Classic Rock Magazine

Prima Donna - Deathless
Kevin Preston, who sings with LA glam-punk'n'rollers Prima Donna, is also a member of the Foxboro Hot Tubs, a band that includes Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong. But wait! Come back! This doesn't sound anything like Billie's boys, but is instead a rather lovely nugget of new-wavey pop-rock, like The Strokes, but harder. Steven Van Zandt is a fan.

New Noise Magazine

With their new album, Nine Lives And Forty Fives, set for a Feb. 10 release through Naturalsound Records, they’re ready to take the party out to the world. Singer and guitarist Kevin Preston formally extends an invitation.

How did you guys get together?

We all pretty much met at shows and parties in Los Angeles. I had been writing songs that sounded like The Sonics meets New York Dolls meets X-Ray Spex. I knew I needed to get [drummer] David S. Field and [keyboardist and sax man] Aaron Minton involved. They totally got the picture.

What was it like leaving legendary band The Skulls to form your own band?

It was a tough call leaving The Skulls. We had a really cool thing going. I just got super involved with Prima Donna, and I knew I couldn’t do both.

Your new record, Nine Lives And Forty Fives, was recorded in Italy and L.A. How did that work out?

A few of the songs were recorded in Milan, Italy, at Real Sound Studio, but most of it was recorded at Kitten Robot in Los Angeles at different times between tours. I always feel most comfortable doing vocals at Tone Duff Studio in Hollywood, so nearly all of my singing was done there.

You have been constantly touring for years, sharing the stage with the greatest names in punk and rock. How does touring with a big name like Green Day compare to more humble beginnings?

Our first European tour was with Texas Terri in 2005. We were practically babies. We cranked up loud, and drank and went nuts. Everything you’d expect crazy young boys to do. The crowds were up close and really in your face. It was awesome. They wouldn’t let us get off the stage until they got what they wanted. That’s when we learned how to do it right. Texas really taught us the ropes.

Flash forward to 2009: Green Day asks us to support them on a six week tour of Europe. Instead of the small clubs we were used to, it was arenas with nearly 20,000 people at every show. It was incredible. I always liked to take a moment and just let my guitar feed back in front of all those people. Somehow, that’s what made it seem real. They’ve always treated us like brothers. That was such an experience.

Are you planning any reunion shows with The Skulls?

We got together earlier this year to play some little parties for fun. It was like no time passed at all. I think we’ll do something big and proper in 2015. We did some fun tours and made a ton of rad fast music together; we’ll always have that bond.

You’ve also played with the Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs for some time now. What’s happening there?

We played a few shows at SXSW this year. Since 2008, we’ve gotten together every year to play at least one show. It’s always an awesome time. Those shows are completely wild. We always pop up when you least expect it.

What are Prima Donna’s plans for the future?

We are definitely getting back on the road. That’s always the main focus. New Year’s Eve with Fitz And The Tantrums, then we’re heading to Sundance 2015. We’ve got a few shows coming up with The Dictators NYC. Then there are plans to get back to Asia and London. Also, we’re trying to get down to South America. We exist to play live; that’s what we got into this for. Seeing the world through rock ‘n’ roll, man. It doesn’t get better than that.

Hunnypot Unlimited

When PopMatters and Team Rock agree on something, it is cause for curiosity. In this case, the mystery is Prima Donna's new single "Deathless". Known for high-strung, heavily distorted, bulls on cocaine type energy the LA Rock scene mainstay has taken a nonchalantly wide turn towards proto-americana; a change in direction that's as refreshing as it is unexpected. 

Written in a Spaniard hostel (because of course it was) and featuring a driving yet deftly danceable shoe gaze beat, "Deathless" feels like a winding, tumbleweed-laden dirt road in a Robert Rodriguez movie: while scorpions, banditos, and all kinds of precarious dangers most definitely lurk just beyond the horizon, Prima Donna is just too goddamn cool to care.   

Über Rock - Album Review

You know the drill here - Prima Donna release an album and we all go crazy for it because it's chock-a-block, full to the brim with cool as fuck rock and roll with equal doses of sweet sweet glunk, rock 'n' roll, '70s glam sprinkled here, there and everywhere, and just enough punk rock attitude: oh, and great hair cuts to pull this whole damn thing off.  

 There aren't many bands who've released five albums (I include 'Kiss Kiss and 'Vinyl Cuts') that don't contain one single bad song amongst their numbers. That, my friends, takes some doing and sometimes you find a band releases a fantastic debut then slowly but surely the quality slips. Not Prima Donna - no sir, not for a second. Okay, so this new record might well contain three covers and a whole host of previously released singles and songs from last year's European tour CD - the aforementioned 'Vinyl Cuts' - but don't hold that against them, hell, the final track is the monster of a song that was their debut single on red coloured heart-shaped vinyl (I know, they've always been this cool). 'Eat Your Heart Out' is worth putting out again because it really is that good.

 Anyway, it's at the beginning we must start and of the brand new tunes that aren't covers or have featured on previous albums opener 'Pretty Little Head' is a big riff and gang backing vocals mood setter. It's got intent, isn't fuckin' about and rocks like a good 'un and even gets a bit jazzy on the breakdown.

 'Deathless' on the other hand has handclaps and radio hit all over it. 'Born Yesterday' is as cool as it gets and has plenty of glunk piano, cow-fuckin'-bell, sax appeal and just enough T. Rex in its DNA to raise the bar to a ridiculous level, and this album is only a few tracks old (sure, I'm easily pleased when the rock 'n' roll on offer is this good).

 'Living In Sin' is still as fresh as the first time I heard it with a great guitar break and melody to kill for. Kevin Preston knows what's needed with a super cool turn of phrase and a hook to draw you in. It's fair to say Prima Donna have the chops.

 As I mentioned there are three covers in the mix - 'I'm On Fire' (Dwight Twilley), 'Rock and Roll is Dead' (The Rubinoos) and 'Rip Her To Shreds' (Blondie) - Three very different tunes but three that fit perfectly into what Prima Donna are all about. They can shape-shift anything and totally own it thereafter and it all goes to enhance this record rather than detract from it.

 Oh, and for the record 'Rubbish' is just oozing with attitude as it punk rock and rolls and has some barking saxophone in the finest Mott and Hanoi tradition. It's also one of the finest songs I've heard in a long, long time, a real shot of rock and roll.

 I don't care what strain of Rock and Roll you're into this is a must own record and Prima Donna once again show how it's done. Simply stunning and as strong a record as you're gonna hear all year.

With Love, the Underground

"Buying [Nine Lives and Forty-Fives], is a lot of fun and everything is so varied that you can let the album rotate several times." (Original review in German.)

Music News Nashville

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley on a steady diet of punk and glitter rock, Prima Donna are infamous on the L.A. scene. Their curriculum includes musical road trips with Eddie and the Hot Rods, Adam Ant, D-Generation and even Green Day, who they supported on two arena tours on two continents. Frontman Kevin Preston has also continued participation in Green Day side-project Foxboro Hot Tubs.

While touring the US and Europe, Prima Donna was in and out of the studio numerous times, both at home in L.A. and in Milan, Italy. The finished product is Nine Lives and Forty-Fives, an 11-song variety pack that displays the band’s skills in the studio, and compiles some of their rarest and rawest recordings, including “Rock and Roll is Dead,” available for the first time in U.S. The track was named one of the Top Ten Songs of 2013 by Little Steven’s Underground Garage.

Nine Lives and Forty-Fives features eight original songs, and three covers: “I’m On Fire” (Dwight Twilley), “Rock and Roll is Dead” (The Rubinoos) and “Rip Her To Shreds” (Blondie).

Prima Donna’s Nine Lives and Forty-Fives will be available January 27th, 2015 on CD, digital and limited edition colored vinyl through Alive Naturalsound Records.

Color Is Its Own Reward

Scoring the opening slot on the U.S. tour return of Adam Ant would seem to be almost any band's crowning achievement, but for L.A.-based rockers Prima Donna it's just another in a long line of amazing experiences that most bands would kill for. The band's vocalist and songwriter, Kevin Preston, reached out via email from the road and talked about the band's (and his) experiences melting faces and the undeniable awesomeness of Iggy Pop.

First off, congrats on scoring the opening slot on Adam Ant’s US tour! How did that come about?
Well hey, thank you! Exciting stuff. He heard our latest record (Bless This Mess) and thought we'd be a great support band.

Your songs have a very clear New York Dolls vibe….a nice mix of glam sleaze and huge pop hooks. What are some of your musical touchstones, those things that you heard and loved and go back to? Who continues to inspire you musically?
When it all started, we were playing in a garage doing covers of The Sonics and X-Ray Spex. We're into so many things that it's hard to narrow it down. I will say that Iggy Pop is always with me. I love everything he's done, new and old.

“Bless This Mess” seems to be a more collaborative effort songwriting-wise than your previous releases. What is your songwriting process like? Do you start with a riff and build from there or do the lyrics come first?

It's always different. There were some special moments on this record for sure. “Let the Games Begin” was pretty much written in the van on the way to Texas. I pulled out my notebook and we passed it around. Everybody jotted down a few lines. Same with “Puta, Te Amo.” Except, we wrote that one in Spain.

Kevin, you also have served time in Billie Joe Armstrong’s Foxboro Hot Tubs. How has the experience as a sideman informed your “leadership” of Prima Donna?

I love being just the guitar man from time to time. I get to watch the crowd more. Playing alongside Billie is always a learning experience. He whips the crowd into a frenzy every time.

I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you?
If people only remember one thing I've ever written, let it be “Feral Children.”

You’ve been given one “musical wish” – to work with any musician/songwriter/producer – who would you choose and why?
That's a toss-up between Prince and Iggy. To me, those guys are both untouchable, unstoppable, timeless & genius.

Other than the tour with Adam, what is on tap next for you?

Oh you know, just more world domination! We already have another European tour booked. I've been writing music like a fiend, so we'll start working on some of that soon...

HighWire Daze

The first time this publication caught Prima Donna was several years ago playing at a New Year’s Eve Party in the San Fernando Valley. This was way before they were signed to Acetate Records, and even back then, Prima Donna demonstrated a star quality that went above and beyond the little backyard studio they were performing in. Since then, they’ve released at three albums and have toured the world with the likes of none other than Green Day. In 2013, Prima Donna find themselves on the road once again, this time with the legendary Adam Ant & The Good The Mad and The Lovely Posse.

The show at Club Nokia was the third date of the tour, one which would last all the way until mid-September. It was as hometown as you could possibly get for the band, and it was obvious that Prima Donna had a good amount of fans in attendance. And those who had never heard of the collective before were in for a wild and rambunctious punk and glam ride of a lifetime. Once Prima Donna hit the stage, the hot and sassy tunes kicked into supersonic gear. The early arrivals were definitely treated to a top notch show from a support act destined to be headlining their own stages in these bigger clubs all across the nation.

Their anthem about the perils of social media Sociopath was played early on, a wildly infectious tune that is just as addictive as time spent updating your Facebook and Twitter pages. “I will corrupt you,” super-charismatic vocalist (and guitarist) Kevin Tyler Preston promises with a fiendish glee on the show stopping Feral Children. Soul Stripper was another thrilling highlight, which found Aaron Minton switching back and forth from keyboards to saxophone like a total champion. Throughout the set, Eric Arcane unleashed some tremendously tasty licks on guitar, while bassist “Lights Out” Levine and drummer David S. Field brought the rhythm section home with a sexy vengeance.

With the rollicking refrains of I Don’t Want You To Love Me, the Prima Donna party came crashing to a pulsating conclusion. There is little doubt that they made a good amount of new fans amongst the Adam Ant Army. Now in their tenth year of existence, the Los Angeles based collective still perform like a band on fire, fearlessly unique and ready to take on the world at large. Don’t just take our word for it – even Green Day and Adam Ant know raging talent when they see it. Be sure to check into what Prima Donna has to offer in a live setting, and let these guys rock you into the stratosphere. Bless This Mess is Prima Donna’s latest magnum opus, now available from Acetate Records!


Prima Donna - Here to Save Rock N Roll (cover feature)

Rock and roll has been in a rut for the past couple of years. If it’s not hip-hop, it’s deejay programmed and synced tracks or indie rock bands that have more attitude than ability to actually play their instrument. Prima Donna is here to save the day. For the first time in a long time a real rock band is out there making great music and turning heads with a great live show and songs that refuse to get out of your head. Prima Donna toured for a while with Green Day and now on the road in support of the legendary Adam Ant. Lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Preston took a few minutes to speak with Enigma from the road.

Not to blow any smoke, but thank you for being a real rock band, especially the way I've been inundated by indie rock, hipster bands and other genres and sub-genres the last couple of years.

Well hey thanks! We really love rock 'n' roll. It's the only thing we wanna do.

That being said, to you… what makes a rock band?

Sweat, blood, dirt and loud guitars. Keep the guitars loud, man.

How important is attitude?

It's great for the stage, I'll tell you that. You have no business being up there if you don't have some attitude. Just remember to hang up the 'tude when you jump in the van.

You guys are hot in your hometown of L.A. and have gotten tour with Green Day and now Adam Ant. What did and are you learning about your art by touring with two icons in popular music?

Green Day and Adam Ant are some of the best performers of all time. The most important thing I've learned: give it all you've got every single night. You can never ever half-ass it.

Was there anything they may have or are picking up by having you on tour with them?

Well, I think you'd have to ask them that one.

How do you think your attitude and eve motivation has changed the more you've gotten away from home and are on the road a lot?

On the road I get really focused, laser focused on one thing - performing. That's all I think about. I get really intense. At home, I get quiet and write my songs.

To you what makes a good show?

Energy. I go see all types of concerts. You can watch an artist in a dive bar or a stadium and as long as they've got energy, it's gonna be good.

Where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Everywhere. Even bathroom wall graffiti.

How are the songs written? Is it music first or do you write the music to fit the lyrics?

Both. Just depends. For example: "Sociopath" started with words and "Maxine" started with music.

What is the most overrated part about being in a band?

Well, I'd really have to go with the whole backstage fantasy. Everybody wants to hang with us backstage. It's usually us five guys cramped in a janitor's closet with half-eaten food all over the place. Let's just drink at the bar instead.

What songs or songs, if any, were you surprised that people picked up on the most?

On this record, "Broken." It's really personal, so I'm always surprised that other people get it.

Do you consider yourselves more of a "live" band?

Sure. We really get off on stage. We started this band to play shows. Now, we've become a real force in the studio, too.
Are you guys actively writing new material even while touring, or is it one of those things were you have to set time aside just to write?

I write a bit on the road, but I'm really just concentrating on the performance. I write at home when I've got time to think.
You guys have garnered growing attention over the last five years. How have you handled the increase in attention?

We want more! More the merrier when it comes to the band. Not crazy about people digging for personal stuff though...
What can I look forward to when I see you in concert?

Five guys firing on every fucking cylinder!

Prima Donna is currently on tour with Adam Ant. They will be at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville on Monday, August 5 and at the Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, GA Tuesday, August 6.


Prima Donna are a hot 5 piece Punk Rock band from Hollywood, Southern California. Band members include: Kevin Tyler Preston (Vocals/Guitar), Aaron Minton (Keys/Sax), David S. Field Drums), Erik Arcane (Guitar), and "LIGHTS OUT" Levine (Bass). Their latest CD entitled “Bless this Mess” was released in 2012 (Acetale Records).

The CD kicks things off with “Sociopath” a rocking intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm, against infectious groove and heartfelt vocals from Preston. Track 2 “Maxine” serves up impressive follow-up piece delivers a more in your face rock grove with its mesmerizing melody and thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Feral Children” shifts gears a bit with its methodical low end intro impressive vocals and harmonies against a grand slam chorus. As the CD quickly unfolds I can hear influences ranging from Jett, Brandon Flowers, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and even Green Day. The music has everything you would expect from a high-energy Alternative Rock/Punk release. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice impressive vocal harmonies, keyboards, Saxophone, rocked out guitar all build upon a thick as a solid rhythmic foundation. The musical style refuses to be pinned down and offers a wide range of musical depth with elements of Alternative Rock, Pop, and even a splash of Classic Punk. Preston’s vocal style works extremely well with this confines of this 12 song catalogue. He takes many vocal risks throughout indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. The rhythm section - lays down the low end groove thick as a brick, and the vocal harmonies are to die for. What I like most about the music is the very consistent songwriting. Like a heavy weight boxer the strong song line-up keeps coming at you one after the other - with no sign of letting up. From rocking “Broken” and Miss Avenue” to melodic “Let the Games Begin” to the slamming title track to grooving “Starring Daggers” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12 “She Says” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

I normally dedicate this paragraph to any weaknesses found. As you can see I have nothing major to report. I will however say I do wish I heard more ripping solos throughout (Keyboards, Guitar, and Saxophone). All songs over 3.5 minuters tend to drag you to the finish line.

This latest CD teaser from “Prima Donna” is a solid and consistent musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the consistent song for song line-up that keeps coming at you. I will go on record to say there’s not a weak piece on this entire catalogue, and with 12 songs, Bless this Mess comes fully loaded. No doubt these guys are a total riot to check out live in the back clubs of Hollywood and beyond.

Huffington Post Entertainment

Every once in a while life showers us with something so perfect it's nothing short of brilliant, and Prima Donna's recently released album Bless This Mess is as good as down and dirty rock 'n' roll gets. A cynical journey through love wanted, love lost, pure lust, and masochistic obsession and need, Bless This Mess is a reflection of the pure sexy stage presence of the band members themselves. Sappy love ballads and mellow chords it definitely is not.

From Los Angeles, California, Prima Donna consists of Keven Preston, lead vocals and guitar; Aaron Minton, keyboard and saxophone; Eric Arcane, guitar; David S. Field, drums; and "Lights Out" Levine, bass guitar. I was lucky enough to hang out with the guys in Prima Donna in London at The KerPUNK Festival last January, finding them to be some of the nicest, most professional, hardworking musicians in the industry. There is just no ego with these guys.

When I caught up with Kevin Preston again this week via telephone to talk about the new album, one of the first things he told me about the songs was, "The more interesting ones are the ones we write together." Released on Valentine's Day, Bless This Mess conveys lyrics such as "Oh girl you're such a tramp, but I wanna be your man" from the song "Puta Te Amo," Spanish for "I love you bitch," and inspired when band members saw the phrase written on a bathroom wall on tour in Spain. Preston laughingly told me, though it was written in Spanish, they all understood its meaning perfectly; thus the song about a horrible woman he can't help but want anyway was born. Playing around on tour and laughing at the sentiment, they wrote it together as a group.

The first track on the album "Sociopath" speaks of the addictive wasteland of social media, which reaches the point of turning people into detached, narcissistic sociopaths who will "Screw you over just because I'm bored. Manipulate all of your friends," setting the tone of in-your-face brutal honesty for the rest of the album. "Feral Children" talks of animalistic sex as they "...pretend we're virgins / Rowdy feral children" and states very plainly he's a real "sick lover" promising, "I will corrupt you... life so filthy that you won't mind and you won't care." Of all the songs on the album, this one grabs me to the very core, and makes me say, "Yes, absolutely yes, take me wherever you want." And then there is the catchy upbeat sing-a-long in "Broken" that contradicts the sober, cynical lyrics about the evils of love, like he's warning another fool about to fall, "Love will take you down / Wipe off that smile" and "My happiness turns violent."
In addition to the sometimes complex and serious, sometimes satirical, sometimes offensive and misogynistic lyrics, the chords and melodies flow together in perfect harmony, indicating a group of musicians completely in sync with each other's strengths and weaknesses. The guitar riff in the song "Bless This Mess" and the guitar solo and emphasis on the sax in "Miss Avenue" offer up another example of the band's lack of ego as one steps aside to let the other have his moment, allowing the listener a rare chance to glimpse the talent of each individual member as it fits into the whole of the band.

"Feral Children" from Bless This Mess
The stage show is as down and dirty as the music, with Kevin Preston rubbing up against other band members, audience members, male and female alike, inanimate objects and whatever else happens to be lying around, sending the fans into a sexual frenzy. It's this ability the band has of interacting with the audience and drawing them into an intimate give and take of music and dancing that makes a Prima Donna show special. You're not going just to watch a performance. Being with Prima Donna is an experience, and the fans repeat the experience over and over again.

A bit reflective and gracious as ever, Preston talks of the band's early influences, primarily T-Rex and X-Ray Specs, but also The Saints and Little Richard. Like a kid who still gets starstruck over his heroes, his voice lights up when he talks of Little Richard and the times "we've seen him really kick out the jams" onstage. He reminisces about the time he got to play with Josie Cotton, another hero, and drank with her after the show, saying, "She's so much more than [the song] 'Johnny Are You Queer,'" and his gratitude towards the fans who still go through the trouble of sending the band actual fan mail through the post office.

And then he tells me the funny story of how he damaged the heels of his feet a little over a week ago. He was hanging outside of a club after a show and decided to do something crazy, like climb the wall. Kevin has a thing for climbing up on whatever's around. I've seen this personally in London. So he decides to scale the wall of the club. He makes it to the top and realizes the only way down is to jump. He jumps down from the wall and "fucks up" both heels. Now on crutches, he's trying to sit and stay immobile as much as possible in preparation for Prima Donna's upcoming show this weekend at The Mess Fest, a party of sorts to celebrate the new album, as well as showcase other up-and-coming bands. Put together by concert organizer Kat O'Connor, The Mess Fest will be at the Metro Opera House in Oakland, California on Sunday, July 8th.

You can also catch Prima Donna's live show in September when they spend a week on the East Coast, and also in October when they tour for two weeks in Europe and a week in the UK. Assuring me he wasn't letting a little thing like not being able to walk slow him down or deter him from performing like he always does at his upcoming shows, there won't be any cancellations.

From their Acetate Records debut album After Hours, this is the official music video for "I Don't Want You To Love Me."


Sounding like a band weaned on little more than the New York Dolls and Cheap Trick, LA's Prima Donna (why has no one snatched this band name up before?) play glammed up power pop and punk rock that sounds like they've just awaken from a 35-year coma. Try and name any other glam punk band recording today that includes saxophone and tubular bells?

Bless This Mess, their sophomore effort, is a nice step forward from their impressive if a little uneven 2008 debut. The band has certainly kept busy during the four-year gap touring the globe several times including a high profile world tour opening for Green Day (Singer/guitarist Kevin Preston also plays guitar in the Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs).

Years on the road have worked out well for the band as they sound much tighter on these newer songs than their first go round. "Feral Children" comes off like the Stooges if they had discovered melody and "Broken," with its piano backing, is closer in vain to more modern pop punk songs, but both manage to highlight the band at its best. The record loses a little steam toward the end, tacking on a couple of the weaker tracks, but the earlier songs more than make up for the flaws. What's punk rock without some scars, right?

The Big Take Over

Good old-fashioned glam rock is alive and well – or at least its spirit is, as that’s what powers the delightfully decadent Prima Donna. To say the L.A. quintet’s third record Bless This Mess is a throwback isn’t entirely accurate – the band sounds like it could only have existed in the new millennium. That said, leader Kevin Preston and his merry men definitely flaunt a certain savoir faire, if you will, borrowed from the flamboyance of Great Britain in the early 70s. Not to mention big, fat hooks – the record is practically drowning in them. “Sociopath,” “Feral Children” and “Miss Avenue” indulge in some seriously catchy melodies with roof-raising style, while “Tryin’” and “Broken” take a more classic (but no less memorable) pop approach. “Puta, Te Amo” and “Crimson Lust” rock harder but with the same skull-burrowing tunefulness. Preston’s casual debauchery and cheeky sneer wear the glitter pop duds on display like they were custom-fitted to his throat. Packed with pop hooks and preening attitude, Bless This Mess is sinfully delicious.

No Depression

Pure unadulterated rock and roll from a young L.A.-based five piece outfit, Bless This Mess is an apt title for Prima Donna‟s second release. Like all good rock and roll, it is a glorious mess. Some critics are labeling this stuff glitter rock, but there are no lipsticked, hair sprayed, sequin-studded spandex posers in this band.(check „em out here: Prima Donna looks and sounds like a bunch of sweaty, '7os-era bar band garage rockers.

Although they spent nearly a year opening for Green Day on their ‟09 tour and grew up sharing bills with punk bands, they‟re no punker than Motley Crue. There‟s plenty of attitude, but it‟s done with a swagger, not a snarl. Even if “Sociopath” could be construed as Ramones-influenced, it‟s more fleshed out than anything the Ramones ever raced through and more melodic. And even though you can feel the punk framework trying to poke through the fabric on “Puta Te Amor,” the scratchy sax break, the “ooh woo ah woo” vocal chorus and the funky bass solo pull it out of the oi bin and over onto the rockpile.

On the T Rex tribute “Feral Children,” they promise that “I will corrupt you,” and they live up to that promise. It‟s great to hear this stuff these days- simple but effective rock, with great howling guitars and a pile driver beat.
Frontman Kevin Preston channels his inner Mick Jagger on “She Says,” sounding like Tattoo You-era Stones. And although the band would more than likely have no problem with those who claim punk allegiance with them, in a live setting, it‟s a pretty safe bet that there‟ll be more rocking than slamming going on with those whose feet get caught up in the moment and carried away across the floor to dance this mess around.


As noted previously in my post in praise of Biters, I dig me some glam rock. In that earlier post, I referenced T. Rex, since Sir Bolan struck me as being the most apt reference point to the band at hand, but I’m also an ardent admirer of take-no-prisoners gutter glam as practiced by the New York Dolls, so when Prima Donna’s “Stray Doll” came up in my perusal of the second of this year’s SXSW 2011 torrents with its spoken intro reminiscent of the Dolls’ “Looking for a Kiss,” its swaggering groove influenced by ‘50s rock but dragged through a ‘70s gutter, and its prominent saxophone (!), it was L-U-V at first listen. By the time South-by rolled around, I’d listened to the .mp3 enough times to proclaim to friends in advance that, based on this one song alone, Prima Donna was the band I was most looking forward to seeing in Austin this year.

I’m well aware that expectations of that sort can be a dangerous thing but, as it turned out, I had nothing whatsoever to fear in this case. Did Prima Donna’s dedication to Dolls-influenced glam extend to their hairstyles, clothing, and onstage posturing? You bet it did, and it was when I noticed Dolled up band members posing for pictures with excited (female) fans before they had even played a note that I realized the showcase ahead promised to be quite the rock ‘n’ roll spectacle. And as to the showcase itself, did Prima Donna craft original songs with a spirit, style, swagger, and sexiness of the Dolls in their prime? Oh my, yes. Did the showcase feature a front-of-stage lined two-deep with admiring women who were practically delirious, and fully under the spell of the band throughout the set? Oh, indeed.

Prima Donna’s set got underway with my second-favorite quote of the week when frontman Kevin Tyler Preston intoned, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called South by Southwest.” The set which followed was chock full of originals guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any fan of glam from virtually any period, from the golden age of Bowie/Mott/T. Rex and the proto-punk glam of the New York Dolls in the ‘70s to the Sunset Strip glam metal of the ‘80s. The only exception to the addictive originals that was included in the set was the band’s choice cover of Blondie’s “Rip Her to Shreds,” which I invite you to enjoy now, courtesy of video captured by my friend Jamie:

Incredibly (and admittedly somewhat disappointing for me), given that it was the song they chose to represent them on the official SXSW site (and, consequently, in the torrent), the originals played at Prima Donna’s Friday night showcase didn’t include the aforementioned “Stray Doll.” It did, however, include a number of other choice cuts which I’ve since come to love, most especially the showstopper, “Soul Stripper.” As well, Prima Donna delivered their barnburner of a set with such zeal that their show culminated in that rarity of rarities: the South-by encore.

One thing I know for sure… if you see Prima Donna’s live show, by the time it’s over, I guarantee that you will walk out the door knowing that, by god, you’ve just seen a rock ‘n’ roll band. Odds are good that you’ll also be humming a new favorite melody and grinning from ear to ear too, all while still digesting the rock ‘n’ roll spectacle you just experienced. And that, my friends, is always an exhilarating feeling … and it’s no accident that the hunt for that sensation of exhilaration is the primary reason that 2011 was my thirteenth straight year traveling to SXSW for rock ‘n’ roll spring break.

See you there in 2012?