“Around the World”
Daft Punk

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Nine thousand miles and 22 cities later I am finally back in LA. I’ve had sufficient enough time to do some pondering on what makes playing in clubs nightly a pleasurable or painful experience. It truly is the little things that count: a clean dressing room, a friendly competent staff, and a stiff drink now and again. I’m not talking about opulence; I’m talking about accommodations that you generally spend about 8 hours of the day in.

There are clubs that totally make the bands and patrons feel like they’re in a special, magical place. The Bottle Tree in Birmingham, AL. for instance is a cool club covered in GREAT, original art from regional artists, has healthy dinner options and a big back stage area with comfy couches, art books, and additional sleeping bunks in a vintage Airstream trailer out back. This club wins my “Coolest Club of the Tour Award”. The Double Door in Chicago wins my “Coolest Big Club Award”. The layout of the place is great because it has a lounge below the main stage area where each band had their own clean, well-stocked dressing room that was mellow with great red lighting everywhere. Honorable Cool Club mentions go to Chop Suey in Seattle, Paradise in Boston, MA and Music Hall in San Francisco.

The Highline Ballroom in New York was very state of the art, modern and clean with a super helpful, nice stage crew, great lighting and sound. But I’ve got to bust the club for taking a disgraceful 30% of our t-shirt/ sticker money. Yes you read that right 30% of our already total bargain $10 American Apparel T-shirts. Tres tacky and quite the racket in my hard working artist’s opinion. And they had no street parking, so we had to pay for that too. “Bite the Big Apple…”

Now I’m not going to mention them by name (because they may be the only club in town to play and I’m not that stupid), but there are many clubs that put virtually no effort into making anyone (artist or audience) comfortable. These clubs are dirty with no décor, usually just black walls, cold concrete floors, no art, no warm lighting, the dressing room is a mess from the night before, with a jaded- disgruntled- probably underpaid staff. I’m not talking about legendary underground dives here, I’m talking about big money making clubs run by seemingly cheap profiteers. There was one club in particular that had every musician from all three bands on the tour mumbling Bette Davis impersonations under their breath, “What-a-dump!”

Well, my tour with The Donnas officially ends tomorrow night at The Roxy in LA. You can check out my “Band at The Van” Polaroids here. One lucky fan/ Polaroid holder will be picked by me from a raffle to receive my guitar signed to them on Halloween night.


Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA. Her first solo record, Transmiticate, has been released nationwide and a US tour is booked for Spring and Summer 2008. Donita is also the co-founder and front person of the rock band L7 who have released six studio albums.

Her original scores can be heard in the upcoming feature film The Life of Reilly starring Charles Nelson Reilly and in online projects for Activision and Microsoft. In 1991 Sparks and L7 formed Rock For Choice with the Feminist Majority Foundation staging numerous concerts benefiting pro-choice organizations.
Donita has been a contributing writer at Firedoglake since July 2006 with her music column The Spin I’m In.