Profile: Donna Baird


Donna Jeannette Baird; born in Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, UK
nicknames: DB, Donzo Bonzo, Dee Bubs
loves: “I love Nick. My grandma. My mother. My brother, Dave. My father. My cat, Gloria.”


“I was born in England. I grew up next to ostriches. I have synaesthesia. I live in a library.
I took a journey to a parallel dimension in my dreams that one time. I’m married to the bassist.”


“I love hearing Tom Jones. There’s something about the power and resonance of his voice that I can feel inside of my body like his voice is my voice, like I know how it feels to be him, to be powerful with a voice like flying fists. But that’s just when I come across him in the supermarket or flipping through the stations in the car. I don’t really listen to music anymore. There was a time when I was in three active bands. I was always playing music and I had to stop listening to it in my free time or I would lose my mind. I am not one of those people who lives and breathes the stuff. Now that I want to start my own recording project I’m kind of thankful for not having my finger on the pulse of current music. I think that’s liberating. Of course, that could also mean that I’m setting myself up to record the world’s shittiest and untimeliest OK Computer, so who knows.”


“There’s something not quite right with a part of my brain. I could coquettishly describe my condition as “living in the moment”, but really, my memory is not trustworthy and I lack a reliable concept of the future. I’ve played hundreds of shows across the country with multiple bands. This is something I know intellectually as fact; however, that knowledge is based on flashes of silent images that have no story and a void where time and place should be. Photos and friends fill in the gaps. Once in a while, my friend Louis and I will get drunk and dance together and he’ll whisper in my ear, “Remember Little Rock?” and in that moment I do remember Little Rock. In Little Rock, Louis and I got drunk and danced together. The Mathematicians were playing. Lights flashed on the walls and our shadows were so big.”


“My grandfather marched in parades playing the sousaphone across New York state until he was in his eighties. My grandmother sang at church and when she washed the dishes. My father owned a record store in the 70’s. My brother makes such a sweet, sad, beautiful sound come out of his trumpet that it will make you weep. The best in me comes from them.

“I picked up the French horn when I was eleven and I took it pretty seriously for a long time: private lessons, marching band, pit orchestras, honor ensembles. I went to SUNY Albany for creative writing and theater but couldn’t bring myself to stop playing the horn so I joined the university wind ensemble. I hated it. It was the crappiest! Luckily, soon after I quit that, I started living with a bunch of dudes with instruments. I was in their band years before they admitted I was in their band. It was called Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned. There were eight or nine of us. I was in that band for maybe seven years. I played the French horn, cornet and trombone, among other things. We went on a few tours. I got them to like me. Then I quit.

“I was in another band for most of that time, too. Scientific Maps. It was a four-piece. Sixties garage pop stuff. I played keys, and cornet, and backup vocals. That was with my friend Aaron Smith. We haven’t played in years but I like to think we could still kill it if we booked a show tomorrow.

“I’m also in a band called Electric Lake which is just me and it doesn’t exist in the real world. You can find it in your dreams.”

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