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Chicagoist Weekend Theater: DA! On 'Chic-A-Go-Go'

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 8, 2013 8:15PM

Donley on far right. Photo via Wikipedia.

Chicago's underground music scene mourned the loss of one of its unheralded chief originators, Lorna Donley, who passed away from a "brief, sudden illness," earlier this week, according to the Riverfront Times. Donley, who sang and played bass in early '80s Chicago post-punk DA!, had worked as a CPS librarian after playing music. She was only 50 years old.

Here's what DA! accomplished in its short original lifespan:

DA! released a seven-inch single, "Dark Rooms/White Castles," and a five-song EP, Time Will Be Kind. The band also had two tracks on Busted At Oz, a compilation album recorded at Chicago's Oz club. In 2010, Factory 25 Records released Exclamation Point, a compilation of studio recordings and unreleased tracks.

DA! reunited in 2010 to play a show shortly after the release of Chicago punk documentary You Weren't There, in which Donley appeared.

The Punk Vault posted this remembrance of Donely:

Lorna was incredibly kind and she was flattered that I had saved her band’s records all these years and held them in high regard. We became friends but our paths didn’t cross very often but it was always good to see her when I’d run into her somewhere and chat with her. She was a talented musician and she was also very intelligent and an all around good person.

Mike Appelstein of the the Riverfront Times said:

As a college student in the mid-1980s, I used to play Time Will Be Kind on my radio show at least once a month, even though the band had broken up a few years earlier. It was one of those rare records that would elicit calls from listeners, demanding to know where they could find it.

Lincoln Square record shop Laurie's Planet of Sound wrote on their Facebook page that Donley was a "wonderful musician, punk rock librarian, and supporter of local record shops like ours...".

As a modest tribute to Donley, here's the reunited DA!'s appearance on "Chic-A-Go-Go."

Check out "Dark Rooms" below: