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 CaliforniaRocker.com 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.