Photo by Patrick Boissel
Interview with singer and guitarist Kevin Preston | By Jones V
Los Angeles punk rockers Prima Donna have been glamming the Sunset Strip since 2003. 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.