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Full-blown enraged and liberated: Death Valley Girls are Rock ‘n’ Roll at its purest

Death Valley Girls

Death Valley Girls (Photo credit: Abby Banks)

There is nothing like loud, earth-shattering and ear-bending Rock ‘n’ Roll. Unabashedly unafraid to be themselves on stage, LA rockers Death Valley Girls are all about breathing rock music and living life to the fullest. Bursting with passion and youthful energy, their punk-infused garage rock sound often packs a punch and hits you hard. From the dreamy ‘Pink Radiation’ to the fervent ‘I’m A Man Too’ to the chaotic(ally good) ‘Disaster (Is What We’re After)’, Death Valley Girls continue to balance the heavy and the light; the subdued and the empowered.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden, guitarist Larry Schemel, organist/vocalist Laura Kelsey, bassist/vocalist Nicole Smith and drummer/vocalist Rikki Watson, the five-piece never fails to bring their audience to an emotional climax during their live shows – offering a monumentally out-of-body experience for those who find comfort in noise and mayhem.

It has been two years since 2018’s Darkness Rains, fans are hungry for new tracks to quench their thirst for Death Valley Girls. Today, we chatted with Bonnie Bloomgarden from Death Valley Girls to find out more about the band’s evolution, their blessed road opener and dream-come-true scenarios, and last but not least, their plans for the next album.

Death Valley Girls
Photo credit: Abby Banks

AN INTERVIEW WITH BONNIE BLOOMGARDEN FROM DEATH VALLEY GIRLS


From 2014’s Street Venom to 2016’s Glow in the Dark to 2018’s Darkness Rains, how have Death Valley Girls evolved and what are the stylistic changes?

Rock ‘n’ Roll to us is an art form that has many different mutations and styles. We just follow our instincts on which direction we like to go in when it comes to writing music.  We sort of work in a circle, evolving and devolving at the same time. We love the primitive simplicity that we started out with on Street Venom but we’re always working on the songwriting and trying to improve on whatever record we did before the last one.

We have witnessed first-hand that your show is extremely physical and chaotic. As the performer, what do you feel on stage?
That feeling of playing live is such a release. The audience is a big part of that energy.  Our aim is to let people have a fun and wild time and get lost in the music for the night. The transference of the energy between band and audience is magic, it’s our therapy!

What are the things that you wish to do during a live performance but have never done?
Multi-media definitely. We’ve worked with Mad Alchemy and other creative folks who do visuals, and usually during the live show people would join us on stage to dance and sing. So, in the tradition of Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground’s “Exploding Plastic Inevitable”. It’d be cool to combine all these together and expand on that idea. Dogs are welcome on stage too, that has happened before!

Death Valley Girls 2
Photo credit: Abby Banks

Which Death Valley Girls song do you feel the deepest connection to and is there a story behind?

“Abre Camino” is pretty meaningful to us. It’s based on a magic spell we are super into. It’s the road opener – meant to open the road to luck, love, success, health and travel. We start every one of our live shows with it to get everyone all together to start the journey.

Are there running themes throughout your albums?
Yes!  We usually have directions we’ve discussed to go into, but we don’t realise the entire themes of the records until it is almost completely written and then the full picture is revealed.

When was the hardest period in Death Valley Girls’ creative career so far?

Right now, it is challenging for us (and everybody around the world) due to the pandemic. We love performing live and going on tours, not being able to do so is super frustrating. But we realise at the moment we need to be patient and do our part to help out.

Are there any artistic works that have made a profound impact on you guys?
So many. Too many to mention in every form, painting, graphic design, books, films, music… We continue to be inspired by new art and newly discovered art from the past as well.

Describe a dream-come-true for Death Valley Girls.

Here are a few things: Having met and worked with Iggy Pop and Roky Erickson. Recording records, touring the world, these dreams have already come true because we believe through hard work you can manifest your dreams and we’ll continue to manifest by believing in the powerful magic of Rock n’ Roll!

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