A songwriter, composer and producer, Donnie Barren (born Holtzinger) is a creator in a room where there's no day or night...only walls of instruments and glowing rows of console lights. Branded "dB" by his bandmates, he's known for incessantly pushing Les Pauls and Marshal stacks to 11 at the Troubadour, Whiskey a Go Go and other reverberating Hollywood venues.
Now relocated to the Evergreen State (Seattle), his goal is to create hooks big enough to catch a Marlin and earworms that wiggle and squiggle to the far corners of your brain...producing thunderous stomp-rock anthems as well as happy/clappy Indie tracks...and everything in between.
Excited that my song "Can't You See The World Through My Eyes?" is being used in Season 2 of the Netflix hit "GLOW"! If you are familiar with 80's music, you'll recognize some of the other songs, including "The Warrior" by Patty Smyth, "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel, "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oats, "Crazy For You" by Madonna, "Man on the Corner" by Genesis, and "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now" by Starship. https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/GLOW-Season-2-Soundtrack-45005960
Donnie Barren played lead guitar for the Los Angeles rock band "City Lights" in the late 70's and early 80's, writing and singing songs for the group's single ("Action/Back Off Babe") and EP ("Blackout"). Some of the more fun gigs were at the Whiskey a Go-Go, Starwood, Gazzarri's, and the Troubadour, where City Lights headlined or shared the stage with bands like Dokken, Ratt, Snow, X, Oingo Boingo, Joshua, and Dubrow (formerly Quiet Riot).
Donnie ventured out on his own in 1982, releasing the single "I Love My Cat's Meow/Falling In Love" in March 1983 (acting as musician, singer/songwriter, producer and promo-man). The tune was well received, being played on over 15 Southern California radio stations during its 1st month and garnering college radio coverage across the USA and in Germany.
"Cat's Meow" hit # 1 on LA's KXLU, entered KROQ's "Rodney on the Roq's" Top 10 in April (at # 7), and moved to # 1 for all of May and June. At the time, KROQ (FM 106.7 in Pasadena, CA) was the # 1 Album Oriented Rock (AOR) station in LA and was regarded as the new music trend-setter across the US. For perspective, Nena's "99 Balloons" (CBS Records) held the #1 position on "Rodney on the Roq's" Top 10 the following month, July of 1983. This was long before other AOR stations added the German song to their play lists, ultimately making "99 Balloons" a national Top 40 Hit.
Unfortunately, just as Cat's Meow was climbing the charts, Donnie's distribution partner (Faulty Products, a division of IRS/A&M Records) ran out of money and stopped promoting its stable of artists (groups like the Bangles, Dead Kennedys & DOA). Looking back, it's ironic that Donnie signed up with a label called "Faulty Products", but they were considered one of the best "new music" distributors at the time. If they had put some promotion support behind the single, the song could have had a strong national showing.
Donnie went back into the studio and recorded several more tracks in 1983, planning to create an album to accompany the Cat's Meow single. While he was shopping this package to record companies, he became even more intrigued with the business side of the music industry and opted to take a break to finish school. Donnie ended up earning an MBA from Harvard and then diving into the business world (albeit not the music biz), working for Procter & Gamble and Microsoft.
As a result, these songs sat on a shelf for more than two decades. Realizing that his kids were old enough to understand a bit about music, he re-released "Cat's Meow" in 2005/06 with the hope that the tracks would spur a musical interest his two children. If nothing else, he figured maybe he'd have two new fans.
Shortly thereafter, Donnie hooked up with the Seattle-based "Indigo Soul", where he handled the lead guitar work for their "More Punch Than Punch Line" CD. Those sessions led to a renewed interest in recording, and Donnie started writing and laying down tracks for a rock-oriented instrumental CD titled "Freedom".
Donnie left the corporate world in 2015 and is back to playing music with various Seattle bands as well as collaborating with songwriters and producers from around the world.
Most recently, Donnie's "Can't You See The World Through My Eyes" was used in Netflix's "GLOW", and he's starting to get traction with music libraries (Crucial, Black Toast, Catch the Moon, IMFM, etc.) and sync (Zappos, Inland Surfer).
Some people have asked: "Donnie who?" When Donnie was younger, he thought his last name was too long for a musician, so he opted to use his middle name. Now, many years the wiser, Donnie goes by either Donnie Barren or Don Holtzinger (or Donnie Barren Holtzinger). So, for those people that knew Donnie Barren (or "dB" for short), we'd like to introduce you to Don Holtzinger.
Drop Donnie a line on Facebook (@donholtzinger) or Instagram (@donniebarren). I know he'd like to hear from you.