California Rocker

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

prima-donna-11-wtmkR (1 of 1)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.

prima-donna-12-wtmkR (1 of 1)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.

prima-donna-5-wtmkR (1 of 1)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.

Prima Donna

Prima Donna – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

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.


The ‘Velvet’ Reunion: Prima Donna Band and The Sold And Bones Tonight at The Maui Sugar Mill Saloon

With a Film, A Single, Family and Friends It’s Full Speed Ahead for Billy Bones

The Sold And Bones - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Sold And Bones – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA – The Sold And Bones is a good-time punk band, with Billy Bones having a career that has been going strong since the late 1970s.

If you’re a punk fan you won’t want to miss this dynamic group that plays tonight at the Maui Sugar Mill with Prima Donna.

“It’s awesome to get together with Prima Donna and those guys, I call them the Velvet Boys, cause they really get it,” said Billy Bones.

The bands have been collaborating for a while, Billy Bones said. “They’re stylish, they got the music; and there’s a gang of them, they know who they are.”

Veteran punker Billy Bones knows what he’s talking about. He was the lead singer the 1977 L.A. punk band The Skulls, as well as the band Forbidden Colors between 1979 and 1980, he formed The BillyBones in 2006, and Sold and Bones came together six shows ago.

Billy Bones’ various bands and Prima Donna have been intertwined as friends going back some years. Sold And Bones is Easy Lou Jones on vocals and guitar;  Charles La Ferrera on bass and backing vocals and Justin McGrath on drums and backing vocals.

The Sold And Bones - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Sold And Bones – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Sold And Bones is putting out a cool single, “All Night Rocker” written by Kevin Preston from Prima Donna, Billy Bones and Drew Milford, the original bass player from Billy Bones’ band.

It came about because of the documentary film based on Billy Bones’ life.  “All Night Rocker” was the closing track for the film Who is Billy Bones, a documentary by Kathy Kolla released last year.  It’s about how Billy Bones came out to L.A., put his band The Skulls together and ripped up the L.A. punk scene.

“It’s going to be released at some point maybe within the next year,” Billy Bones said. “Who Is Billy Bones is about family and the struggles, and love. I get to take people down to The Masque, where we played 30 years ago, it’s really an interesting film. It’s humbling to me, how people have reacted to it; my mom’s in it, my dear friends are in it.”

So Billy Bones was looking for the B side to the single “All Night Rocker.”  Easy, who came to work as the bass player in Billy Bones band, came up with  “You Just Don’t Get It,” for the B side and voila!  The single was planned.

“Easy did it all,” said Billy Bones. “He came up with so many songs and before you knew it we had 10 songs. We already recorded a live CD, now we’re going into the studio and do proper album.”

Stay tuned.

Fitz And The Tantrums, Prima Donna, The Knitts For New Year’s

Fitz And The Tantrums California Rocker

Fitz And The Tantrums headline Long Beach New Year’s Eve – photo by Nataworey

By DAVE DALY — LONG BEACH — Fitz And The Tantrums headline the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Long Beach.

Supporting bands are The Knitts, Prima Donna and The New Electric Sound, all playing at The Federal Bar.

The New Year’s Eve in Long Beach is one of the biggest events in the state, with three blocks of Pine Ave. closed off for live music on three stages. The festivities start at 8 p.m. and end at 2 a.m.

Pine Avenue between First and Fourth Streets will be closed off for three live music stages, 12 bars, and more.

The Knitts California Rocker

The Knitts – Photo by Lucy Rendler Kaplan

Tickets are $25 per person at Tickets will be $35 at the gate.

Fitz And The Tantrums take the main stage at Pine and Broadway at 11:20 p.m., they will host the countdown and play until 12:40 a.m.

A live remote of the main stage will be broadcast at The Federal Bar.

The Knitts play The Federal Bar from 9:35 until 10:40 p.m. and they’re followed by Prima Donna from 10:40 until 11:20 p.m.


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