L-R: Gaylene Goudreau, David Thomas, Dawn Fisher, Lorna Donley
|Origin||Chicago, IL, USA|
|Labels||Autumn, Factory 25|
|Past members||Lorna Donley
DA! were a Chicago-based post-punk band of the early 1980s.
DA! was formed by 17-year-old singer/bassist Lorna Donley in 1977, along with guitarist/keyboardist Evelyn Marquis and drummer Dawn Fisher. This lineup performed only once, and guitarist Gaylene Goudreau (who had previously played with all-girl punk band Lois Layne) was added in late 1979.
By early 1980 DA! had parted ways with Marquis and replaced her with guitarist David Thomas (who had previously played in St. Louis punk bands The Singapores and Cool Jerk). By that summer, they had become a fixture on Chicago's early punk music scene, performing regularly at area clubs like O'Banion's, Tuts, Waves, Exit, Oz and Space Place and opening for visiting groups including The Fall, DNA, Bauhaus and Mission of Burma.
DA!'s manager, Terry Nelson,a local punk radio DJ, formed Autumn Records with producer George Kapoulas. DA! began to record demos in the late summer of 1980 with Timothy Powell and Metro Mobile. Their first single, "Dark Rooms"/"White Castles", was produced at Acme Studios by Kapoulas and Mike Rasfeld. With the spring 1981 release of the single, DA! garnered attention outside of Chicago, and performed in Milwaukee with The Ama-Dots, in Minneapolis with Hüsker Dü, and in Madison with X. Kapoulas, an engineer at WGN-TV, produced a music video for the single and "Dark Rooms" went into heavy rotation on "Rock America", a pre-MTV video cable service available in music clubs.
DA! was featured on the next Autumn Records release, a 1981 compilation LP titled Busted at Oz. Recorded over three nights, it featured live recordings by DA! and other seminal Chicago punk bands including Strike Under, Naked Raygun, Silver Abuse, The Subverts, and The Effigies.
Following the release of the Busted at Oz LP, Fisher was briefly replaced by Strike Under drummer Bob Furem. DA! recorded the Time Will Be Kind EP with Powell at Sound Impressions in late 1981, but by the time of its 1982 release, the group had disbanded.
DA! and Lorna Donley were featured in You Weren’t There a/k/a You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk, 1977-1984, a 2007 film about the Chicago punk scene from 1977-1984. In 2010, Factory 25 Records released Exclamation Point, a vinyl LP compiling the band's previously released and unreleased material. DA! played two Chicago shows in 2010 to support the LP, the first show with Furem on drums, the second with new drummer Jason Batchko.
Donley, later a librarian in the Chicago Public Library system, died on December 1, 2013.
Music historian Joel Whitburn once speculated the band had recorded "Ready 'n' Steady," a lost song, credited to D.A., that appeared on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles for three weeks in 1979. The band insisted that they had not recorded the record.
- "Dark Rooms/"White Castles" 7" single (Autumn, 1981)
- Time Will Be Kind 12" EP (Autumn, 1982)
- Exclamation Point LP (Factory 25, 2010)
- "Fish Shit" and "The Killer" on Busted at Oz LP (Autumn, 1981; reissue Permanent Records, 2011)
- "Da "Dark Rooms"". Discogs. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Various - Busted at Oz LP". Discogs. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Various - Busted at Oz re-release". Discogs. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Da - Time will be Kind EP". Discogs. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977 to 1984". IMDB.com. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "DA - Exclamation Point - [Un]released Recordings 1980-81". Discogs. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Dark Rooms" video on YouTube
- "Next to Nothing" video on YouTube
- Da! live at Empty Bottle video on Vimeo, Chicago, 2010
- Interview with Lorna Donley and David Thomas, Chicago Tribune, 1988
- Interview with Lorna Donley and David Thomas, Victim of Time, 2010
- Interview with Lorna Donley, Gapers Block, 2010