Guest Blog: University of Oregon’s KWVA Music Director Thor Slaughter on The Donkeys’ In-Studio Hang

The Donkeys at University of Oregon — Eugene's KWVA

The Donkeys spread goodwill wherever they go. It’s just a fact. They recently went into University of Oregon — Eugene’s KWVA’s studio where the interviewer/DJ Thor Slaughter (yes, that is his actual name and we’re enormously jealous of it) was so inspired by his time with the band that he wrote us the kindest email to simply sing their praises. We asked Thor* if he would extrapolate a bit on his Donkey love. And below you will find his recollection The Donkey’s KWVA visit to Eugene on their latest tour. You can also read  about it at the KWVA site HERE. Also, The Donkeys are on tour in July and August, sharing a stage with the excellent (and very public Donks fans) The Hold Steady. Peep those date HERE. And now, ladies and gents, I give you Thor Slaughter:

*You should also check out Thor’s great band Le Fiction HERE.

It was five minutes ’til The Donkeys were supposed to arrive. With my cell phone in-hand I waited in the studio anxiously for the band to arrive. I was supposed to interview them while they were in Eugene for a show later that night at a local hot-spot bar.

It had been a little over a year since I saw The Donkeys open for Deerhoof in Portland, Oregon. A fond experience, not only because of the music but because it was one of the my first few concerts I had to travel for. The Donkeys played their hearts out, throwing it all out there for an audience to delve into. They blew the previous band out of the water and set the stage for Deerhoof, no easy task. With their San Diego charm; sitar jams that built up like a George Harrison take on a Who song; lyrics about lost love and fun times; and a crowd-pleasing explosion of radness that was a great cover of “Gloria” that got the crowd on their feet shouting along to the letters. They won me over enough to buy their album that they were still supporting, 2008’s Living on the Other Side. Flash forward an entire year and I’m no longer a kid from high school, but Music Director at a campus radio station that jumped at an opportunity to drag The Donkeys into the studio.

I looked up at the studio door which had a tiny window that revealed four beaming rockers. The Donkeys were live at KWVA, and it was one of the most fun interviews I’d ever had. Sometimes with bands, you can see where the music comes from, and I definitely saw where the music came from with these guys — four men that couldn’t find a way not to laugh if they were in a room together. The energy exploded and the next hour flew by as we all casually talked about their music, the tour, the newest album Born with Stripes, and the “Shelby Shakedown.” I didn’t feel like I was talking to stuck up musicians that would foam at the mouth to be featured on a hipster indie buzz blog. I felt like I was talking to four friends that would die if they couldn’t play their special brand of sunshine-blasted rock ‘n’ roll to crowds every day.

They played the live show that night and lit up the place with energy that was par for the course for an awesome summer night. It was so hard not to be swept away in the fun of it all. If I ever know someone who’s flatlining, I swear you could use a Donkeys live show as a defibrillator. They even dedicated a song to me as I cheered and shouted as loud as I could from the back of the room the entire set. By the end of the night, the entire room had been dancing, laughing and shouting along with me as the four men — that I now had the fortune of calling friends — descended from the stage looking haggardly tired from the tail-end of a huge tour and covered in sweat from head to toe. They put everything they had into that show, just like they do every night at every venue they play. Over the course of one day, I had met, befriended, laughed and jammed along with one of the hardest-working bands in rock ‘n’ roll. So, you better start paying more attention and catch them while you can, because they aren’t going anywhere but up.