Although our Follow Friday features are generally dedicated to new, up-and-coming acts, this week's edition is a special treat. We're pleased to introduce you to Donots, a pop-punk outfit from Germany that throughout the past two decades has developed a massive following outside the U.S. The group recently signed with OK! Good Records to finally release their ninth studio album, Wake The Dogs, on American soil.
For a band with nearly 20 years under their belts, Donots have done little to conform to the trends, and this is certainly why their fans have a cult-like allegiance to the dudes. They've witnessed the rise and fall of countless American bands during the pinnacle years of the pop-punk movement, but they've managed to avoid slipping into musical oblivion by maintaining a steadfast devotion to the music they've always loved to make.
Donots are currently at the tail-end of their U.S. tour with Flogging Molly, and they just arrived on the east coast to perform a few final shows (two of which will be in NYC). Shortly after they landed, I caught up with frontman Ingo to see if they had a good time in the States, and to make sure we were at least semi-decent hosts to our punky German brothers.
Watch Donots "Wake The Dogs" music video and read the Q&A below.
With the tour coming to a close, how was your U.S. journey?
It's been mind-blowing so far! We didn't really know what to expect when we set our sails and came over for this month's long stretch of shows, but it's more than we could have asked for. So far the reactions of the kids in the USA have been overwhelming! We're getting great feedback from the crowds every night, we're getting amazing reviews for our new album Wake The Dogs, we're making new friends wherever we go and we get to travel and see so many cool places! The West Coast felt like being on vacation especially because we are having such a cold winter over in Germany. We have finally arrived at the East Coast and we can't wait to play one more week of shows (although it's of course a lot colder here!)...
Were there any highlights?
Every day feels like a new highlight to us. That's probably the best thing about touring: It never gets old and when you play places you have never been to before, everything is just twice as exciting. We even enjoyed getting pulled over by the cops down in Huntington Beach. [Laughs] But seriously: Especially the Flogging Molly and Anti-Flag dates have been awesome. The most amazing clubs, such great audiences and on St. Patrick's Day we got to play our first ever US open air festival to some 15,000 people going wild.
How was it performing with Flogging Molly?
Flogging Molly happen to be one of the nicest bands ever to walk this planet and we're here in the States all thanks to their invitation. They are a marvellous live band and I think this tour is pretty much the perfect fit when it comes to sound and people. I also think we are kindred spirits in regards to giving it all on stage and touring relentlessly and all that. We take every new show as a new challenge and I guess Flogging Molly take it just the same way. By the way: Mariachi El Bronx were on that tour, too. Yet another amazing band.
How did you and The Donots come to know each other?
Our guitarist Guido and me, we're brothers. We met the rest of the guys in high school and since we were all bored kids we decided to start a band together. Together with our bassist JD and two other guys we started covering bands we liked...you know, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Bad Religion and stuff. Alex and Eike joined the band a year after we started out, replacing those two other guys and our line-up has been consistent ever since. Next year sees our 20th anniversary. Can you believe that?
How would you compare your U.S. shows to those in Europe?
Well, we're playing to all new audiences over here so it's more of a challenge and competition winning over the people at the show who have probably never heard of us before. It worked out pretty well so far, though. In Europe and Japan we have toured countless times so you kinda know what to expect. People come to the shows to see us and we do have a lot of fans already. Over here everything's totally new which of course makes it pretty interesting.
What has been the general reception of Wake The Dogs in the U.S.?
So far both our last albums Wake The Dogs and The Long Way Home have been getting glaring reviews everywhere. People seem to enjoy our shit a lot which of course makes us happy German tourists! We've been getting many messages throughout the years from kids asking us when we finally come over and play. Well, here we are finally - and finally we have found ourselves a nice label called "Ok!Good Records" who are releasing our music over here.
As punk/pop-punk veterans, whats your outlook on the current state and future of the sub-genre?
Well, to be honest there haven't been a lot of new bands recently that totally blow me away but that's probably just me. I still love the old stuff a lot (you know, Descendents, The Clash, Bad Religion, Jawbreaker, Samiam, Face To Face, that kind of stuff) and I sort of hate the trend of bands spending a lot more time in front of a mirror rather than developing their trademarks in the rehearsal room. Of course it's hard to re-invent a whole genre but too many bands rely on just copying or imitating what's already around.
What are your hopes?
I hope that Joe Strummer, Johnny Cash and Joey Ramone are coming back to save the world!
Are there any surprises in store for your NYC shows? I see theres a special guest listed. Can we get a hint?
[Laughs] We won't just tell you! That would ruin the surprise, wouldn't it? You better come out and let yourself get surprised on the shows! One thing's for certain: We will sweat blood and piss for everybody!
Donots will be performing at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn on March 24th, as well as The Studio at Webster Hall the following evening. To keep track of Ingo and the boys while their on the road, join the Donot cult on Facebook and Twitter.
Wake The Dogs is out now via OK! Good Records. Grab your copy here.