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Donna Matthews

Played guitar and did vocals in Elastica (1992-1998)
Date of birth: 2 December 1971

From Newport. Expelled from school at 14 (supposedly for cutting her hair into a Mohican and dying it orange!), Donna moved to London when the band she was in split up and joined Elastica after answering a Musicians Wanted advert in the Melody Maker. Before joining the band Donna had also played guitar for a while with The Darling Buds who also come from Wales. These two previous bands may in fact be one and the same although Donna was sacked from The Darling Buds which doesn't sound much like splitting up...

Donna's previous boyfriends have included Chris Gentry, Ric Witter and Justin Welch. Donna's romance with Justin came to a particularily stormy end in the now infamous 'Scottish Hotel Bust-Up', which was so bad the police ended up being called!

"Me and Justin had been trying so hard to be nice to each other over the split, that with all that brandy we just went mad and had this massive, massive row in my room, we were just punching the shit out of each other. The room got so trashed the police had to move me to another room, they nearly arrested Justin... a mad outburst! But we needed it."

It's a bit difficult to put a picture here and say "This is Donna" as she is forever changing the length and colour of her hair. It has been any combination of short/long red/blonde. Its real colour is brown (I think). Hopefully all the abuse it takes won't make it fall out!

Donna has written all Elastica's songs that Justine Frischmann hasn't. She says that she would like to write more but finds lyrics much more difficult to write than the music itself...

"Justine's taught me a lot on how to put my songs together. I feel grateful for having been able to work with her. When I met Justine, I was quite underdeveloped in a way. I wrote songs and she gave me the freedom to put songs on the album. In regards to the lyrics I wrote compared to the music, the lyrics are just sidelines. The lyrics aren't the main thing for me. I feel more proud of the music."

"I don't think I'll ever be a great lyricist. I've written lots of okay songs. I prefer putting songs together musically than sitting and thinking of a theme."

Donna left the band in mid-1998, officially 1999, apparently "by mutual agreement due to a breakdown in both personal and creative relationships within the group". Since then there hasn't been much heard about her. She resurfaced again on 13 April 2000, when she joined Elastica onstage at their gig at the London Forum. Midway through the set, Justine Frischmann, admitting it was very 'Spinal Tap', invited her up onstage. Later Donna appeared for the encore, 'Connection'.

Justine: "It was unrehearsed. I'd heard she was coming and I said that we should get her to do a song. I asked to see if she was up for it and then she appeared at the side of the stage. I'm glad we did it."

Elastica's spokesman: "It was great to ask Donna to come up, and great she felt she could, after what they've been through. Nobody would've believed it a year ago."

Donna: "Yeah, that was really good, I enjoyed it. I just did it for a laugh, really."

Later, in May of 2000, it was announced that she had signed a record deal with Alan McGee's new label Poptones.

"Yeah, I'm really happy. I'm doing an album for Alan McGee's new label, Poptones. He's just told me to take my time and finish it when I'm ready. He's given me the money to do it and it's on the way, it's just when I'm ready. I've been recording it at home, I've got my own studio and I'm just finding my feet."

"I'm not really ready to do interviews yet. All people ever want to talk about is me leaving Elastica, so I'm hoping that will die down eventually."

Late in 2000, Donna has been attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings with Justine Frischmann.

Justine: "Going to NA with her has been really good... it has just been really inspiring to see how there's someone who nearly got finished off by rock 'n' roll mythology, and she's such a cool, together girl that she went, 'I'm not going to let this bullshit finish me off, I'm going to sort my life out.' That's been really inspiring."

It remains to be seen what will become of Donna in the following years. She is supposedly still in the process of writing her solo album (which was first promised for the end of 2000), but it isn't to be expected anytime soon.