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Some critics praised their cheerfully crude adoption of male sexual bravado; others complained that the band's music never transcended its vintage influences, and remained suspicious that their naughty-girl packaging was a bigger part of their appeal.
The Donnas were originally formed in May 1993, when all four members (all born in 1979) were still in the eighth grade together in Palo Alto, CA.
In 1997, the Donnas recorded a self-titled debut album for Super*teem, using songs ghostwritten by Raffaelli.
Critics charged that Raffaelli was acting as the band's Svengali, likening their relationship to that of Kim Fowley and the Runaways; both sides vehemently denied that was the case, and eventually severed their professional relationship to avoid fueling more speculation.
Before 1995 was out, they played their first gig as the Donnas, and released their first single under that name on Radio X.
Their label debut, American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine, was released in early 1998, and did feature some uncredited songwriting input from Raffaelli.
The Donnas quickly became underground punk favorites, and even landed some attention from mainstream media like MTV.
Calling themselves Ragady Anne at first, they played covers of groups like R. M., L7, the Muffs, and Shonen Knife, and entered a junior-high battle of the bands just one month after forming.
During high school, they kept practicing virtually every afternoon, and soon moved into riot grrrl territory with inspiration from bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile (though it was more musical than political).
Aspiring to nothing more than a good old-fashioned rock & roll party, the Donnas won a cult following and considerable media attention in the late '90s after scoring a record deal right out of high school.