Friday, April 21, 2006

Temper Tantrum—Punk Rock Diva In Training?

In New York on Palm Sunday weekend, a friend of mine introduced her young charge to the world, as the grade school show-off threw a temper tantrum in front of photographers at a pet fashion show. But in L.A., we do things differently. While my friend in New York is grooming a future Ashlee Simpson, I was at L.A.’s Roxy, watching a young lass who might be the next Exene or Chrissie Hynde. In this case, the temper tantrum in question was a band, not an out of control kid.

SoCal’s Temper Tantrum is a quartet out of San Bernardino County featuring the vocals of ten year old Samantha Donaldson. Her Dad, Abner Donaldson, is the guitarst and drummer Mark Banks and bassist Shawn Bader round out the band. Playing straight ahead punk with a smoothed off edge, the band is tight and Samantha’s voice is not merely a novelty. Her vocals are strong and her stage presence is surprisingly confident. You could still marvel in a high-pitched voice, “That’s a kid singing, That’s so cute…well, it is cute, but it’s real punk rock, and soon after the initial fascination has worn off, you’re just watching a good band.

Of course, Temper Tantrum is not the only band that keeps punk in the family. Seattle’s Dek, managed by former Dead Kennedy’s director Mike Vraney, features his teen-age son Mark on guitar. Punk rock kids tend to inherit their parents’ love of the same music. I haven’t yet heard of an OC punk rocker’s offspring starting a death metal band, for example.

Punk rock aficionados of any age can enjoy Temper Tantrum’s music. I can’t get their song Graveyard Boogie out my head. With its refrain everybody’s dead /everybody’s so dead with a sound that reminds one of the Suburban Lawns or Alice Bag with the benefit of ‘00s production and polish. It just sounds good… and the lyrics are humorous. Tests are a mess/my male teacher, he wears a dress, Samantha sings in What Do You Want.
Expect to hear a lot more from Samantha and Temper Tantrum.

This band is so punk they were banned from the middle school talent show...

Temper Tantrum have just released their first EP, the self-produced We’re Not Nu Skool, We’re Pre-Skool

Click title link to read interview with Samantha at

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