A German punk institution for over two decades, Donots were formed in 1993 by brothers Ingo and Guido Knollmann in the small coal-mining town of Ibbenbüren. After a few years of local gigs, demo recordings, and shifting personnel, the group settled on a longstanding lineup that included Ingo on vocals, Guido and Alex Siedenbiedel on guitar, Jan-Dirk Poggemann on bass, and Eike Herwig on drums. A catchy mix of anthemic punk, pop-punk, hardcore, and indie rock, Donots released their debut, Pedigree Punk, in 1996, creating enough buzz to attract major-label attention. German support slots for blink-182, No Use for a Name, and other high-profile acts also preceded their signing with BMG subsidiary Gun Records, which issued the band's follow-up, Tonight's Karaoke Contest Winners, in 1998. Two albums later, with 2001's Pocket Rock, Donots broke into the mainstream with their first hit single, "Whatever Happened to the 80s."
They would become firmly established headliners over the coming decade, with albums consistently charting across Europe and even in Japan. With 2008's Coma Chameleon -- one of many '80s pop culture references strewn throughout their career -- Donots launched their own label, Solitary Man Records, which also handled their eighth album, The Long Way Home, two years later. A subsequent tour with Green Day added a major boost to their popularity, leading to a collaborative release between their own label and Universal's Vertigo Records for 2012's Wake the Dogs. Nearly two decades into their career, Donots had their first Top Ten, with the album peaking at number six on the German charts. Their first U.S. tour, which followed in 2013, was captured on the documentary and live release Wake the States. To celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2014, Donots released "Das Neue Bleibt Beim Alten," which was, surprisingly, their first song sung in German. The positive response inspired the band to record Karacho, their first all-German album, the following year. Karacho peaked at number five in Germany and also fared well in Japan, where they released an English-language version. ~ Timothy Monger