Matt Potter 12:47 p.m., Dec. 10
Sound description: A blend of indie pop-rock, blues, and alt-country.
RIYL: The Sarees, Pavement, Delta Spirit, Swim Party, the Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers
Upcoming Local Shows
- Jam Session: "The Donkeys Trot to Canada" · June 1, 2011
- Blurt: "Donkeys to the Rescue" · March 11, 2009
- Lists: "Donkeys in the Gig Rig" · July 16, 2008
Influences: The Blasters, Rocket From the Crypt, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, the Sess, Bright Eyes, the Killers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Grateful Dead, the Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers
Jessie Gulati, Anthony Lukens, Sam Sprague, and Tim DeNardo have been friends since high school. They shared a rehearsal space together as part of different bands, including Parking Lot Kids. But when those bands stopped practicing, they came together and started creating songs and playing shows. Though two of the band members surf, nobody would accuse their country cooked, burrito baked songs of being surf music.
They were mentioned in the May 2008 issue of Spin, and featured on National Public Radio, as well as recording several live sets for Daytrotter.com, a studio-concert website. After being signed to the Dead Oceans record label, whose roster also includes Dirty Projectors, These Are the Powers, Bishop Allen, and Phosphorescent.
The Donkeys album Living on the Other Side was released in September 2008. Sam Sprague's brother Andrew usually joins the band for tours, as an auxiliary musician.
The band also provided music for the TV series Lost. In 2009, their song “Excelsior Lady” was retooled into “Dharma Lady” for the series, portrayed in the show as being by a 1960s psychedelic band called Geronimo Jackson.
Their album Born with Stripes, mixed by the Pernice Brothers’ Thom Monahan, was released in April 2011. On the album, multi-instrumentalist Jessie Gulati plays sitar on the closing song, “East Coast Raga.” Gulati learned the complex stringed instrument while visiting India in 2005 and 2009.
On May 5, they embarked on a 39-city 3-month tour in their new 12-seat Econoline van, which is outfitted with the infamous “La Cucaracha” horn from their old van. Summer 2011 included a gig at Canada’s Sled Island music fest in Calgary (playing alongside Crocodiles, the Soft Pack, and the Dum Dum Girls), as well as a short tour with the Hold Steady.
After playing the Casbah June 17, 2011, they drove their new 12-seat Econoline van (outfitted with the “La Cucaracha” horn from their old van) to Canada’s Sled Island music fest in Calgary, to play alongside Crocodiles, the Soft Pack, and the Dum Dum Girls.
In August 2011, Born with Stripes won Best Rock Album at the San Diego Music Awards. The following year, the band took home the SDMA trophy for Best Rock.