INTERVIEW: Death Valley Girls | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Describing themselves as ‘California doom boogie’, Death Valley Girls are a gaggle of Los Angeles’ finest occultists who are hell-bent on reviving rock and roll. Absorbing garage, psych and metal influences, their obscure combination of genres is making waves across the West Coast and beyond.

Comprised of frontwoman Bonnie Bloomgarden, guitarist Larry Schemel, drummer Patty Schemel (of 90’s alt. rock icons Hole) and bassist Rachel Orosco, the four-piece are a sun-drenched force to be reckoned with. “We [Larry & Bonnie] met through two little kids, they’re both our sister’s kids, they met and knew we both wanted to start a band. After our first practice, we became the Death Valley Girls.” Explains Bonnie. “To us, rock and roll is everything! It’s our life’s blood. Whatever people wanna call it: rock, punk, garage, heavy metal, psychedelic…it’s all rock and roll and it’s the universal language to make people wanna dance, scream and have a good time all the time!”

The outfit team their adoration for the brooding, heavy sounds of the 70’s alongside an intense passion for the paranormal that often sees them take trips to haunted houses, perform séances and delve into the supernatural. As to whether the prospect of ghost hunting and having midnight natters with spirits inspires their ditties, Bonnie cites: “We spend most of our time outside of the band reading, researching and enjoying all things paranormal and those interests seep into every aspect of our lives – especially our writing. But, even if lyrically a song doesn’t seem to carry a heavy message it doesn’t mean it’s going to have less of an impact on someone or inspire them in a major way. We think The Stooges’ No Fun has its own message that is as important to some people as John Lennon’s Imagine is to others.”

To us, rock and roll is everything! It’s our life’s blood

The group’s latest album, Darkness Rains, epitomises DVG’s scuzzy, kaleidoscopic sound, and couldn’t have been concocted without the help of some fellow rabble-rousers. “We thought we sure have a lot of  talented friends…why don’t we take advantage of them by offering them free chips and salsa if they come by the studio,” explains Bonnie, “once there, we asked them to play or sing back-ups on a tune or two.  Mark Cisneros from The Make Up/Kid Congo/Des Demonas played sax on a couple tracks, Sean from Moaning also contributed some sax, Shannon Lay did some back-up vocals along with Kristen Leonard of Shivas and Rare Forms, and Alexandria James of Twin Temple.” However, they garnered the most attention from a VIP super fan that starred in the music video for acclaimed hit Disaster (Is What We’re After)… “Kansas Bowling, the director, had a dream about making this video, so she told us she wanted to make it a reality. Iggy Pop had been playing us on his BBC show Iggy Confidential so he was familiar with us, but him being in our video seemed pretty far-fetched! We left it to Kansas who was able to contact him and he said yes! He loved the concept which was reenacting the old Andy Warhol film of Andy eating a burger directed by Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth. So next thing we know we’re in Miami where Iggy lives hanging out with him at the video shoot!”

While there may not be any Ouija boards or fast food-eating rock royalty at their Cluny gig on Sunday 3rd March, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be an unmissable night of alt. rock that will be nothing short of hypnotizing.  


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