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Getting to know The Death Valley girls


by Rose Blanton

The Death Valley girls are part of the Burger Records family and it seems that family subscribes to a very powerful spirituality, the Church of Rock and Roll. I would go as far to say that Bonnie Bloomgarden is a rock and roll zealot. I was able to chat with her about her raucous religion along with the concepts behind the bands latest release Glow In The Dark and their upcoming west coast tour with Burger records.

Rosie Blanton: How are you feeling about the tour?

Bonnie Bloomgarden: They chose great bands for both nights. I’m kind of bummed I won’t get to see both nights. Such good bands and we’re all such good friends. I’m actually a little scared for how much fun it’s going to be.

RB: Just bring a big bottle of Ibuprofen.

BB: And tequila. It’s really a family thing too, like Sean and Lee are like family. It’s really crazy.

RB: Yeah, how has this past year with Burger records been?

BB: They really are like family, Sean’s girlfriend is a good friend of mine, she’s actually come on tour with us. They’re angels that are just trying to bring rock and roll to kids. They have great taste too. Our religion is rock and roll. We believe in Iggy like other people believe in God and Sean and Lee just feel the same way. After putting out the record last year we went on tour. And being on tour is like being a monk, you have to want for nothing, no desires. You just have to want that half hour that you get to play. Behind this record we go to tour for like a year and half. It was a dream. And this was all possible because of Burger. Burger is a great manifester. We manifested it too because we wholeheartedly believe in the power of rock and roll.

RB: Music is sacred, I completely agree. It’s universal. You mentioned you’re friends with Sean’s girlfriend, is that how you got in with Burger records? How did this relationship start?

BB: Actually when we first started the band, we couldn’t get a show and our dream was to play the Burger record shop. Somehow that ended up being our first show and we were there I was so nervous. We met them that day and we asked them to put out our tape and they agreed. I knew about Burger records before I was even in a band. The kids get a chance at Burger, they get a chance to play and place to play.

RB: I’m really glad Burger a Go Go is coming to Portland because that’s an essence of the old Portland music scene, giving everyone a chance to play. There’s still a lot of house shows and free shows. Everyone wants to be apart of it no matter their age or economic background. I think Burger records embodies that same vibe. The Portland music scene is a very supportive, nurturing scene.

BB: Yeah! Our good friends The Shivas live in Portland!

RB: With Glow in The Dark, can you tell what the creative process was like or what made it different from the other tapes you’ve put out?

BB: The first cassette, we recorded it in one and half days. And then Glow In The Dark, the first idea for it was a little weird. When I was a kid, they sent me to the looney bin for some mystical ideas I had. So when we were making this record, that’s the kind of ideas that we were making the record about. Then, this is a little complicated but I was walking down the street with our old drummer and she kind of notices this person that is acting really weird, and we realized that this person/ thing had no jaw and that it was basically just bones wrapped in leather. It was banging and screaming on the gas station window. I’m serious, it was a mummy. It wasn’t like a meth head or a hobo. There was no question in our minds that this was a mummy. We did some research and discovered that just two weeks prior the natural history museum had received a mummy from Chicago. Then they invited us to play their exhibit New secrets to the Tomb and what was even weirder was our booking agent had worked at the museum in Chicago were those mummies came from. We realized then that these mummies had never heard rock and roll before so we really had to do them justice. So we wrote this record for the mummies to hear.

RB: So Glow In The Dark is a record for mummies? That’s the most unique answer I’ve ever received. Pretty wild concept. I love what a radical concept this is. Maybe you guys are necromancers? Were you afraid your music would wake the mummies?

BB: Yeah I mean I really wanted that before but I made sure not to tell anyone that but once we saw the mummies in person at the exhibit I was like “please don’t wake up!” It’s weird because as much as you or I think about death after life, I never really thought about the bodies, so seeing them freaked me out.

RB: My next question is not nearly as deep but I feel like you’ll still enjoy it,what is your favorite scary movie?

BB: Texas Chainsaw Massacre it our favorite horror movie. I also love Rosemary’s Baby. The Shining is up their too. The classics ya know?

RB: The Timberline hotel is in Oregon, it’s on the top of Mount Hood!

BB: No way! We’ve got to make a stop there.

RB: What’s next for DVG?

BB: We’re just trying to get some new songs on to tapes. We’re talking things in a whole new direction and we’re pretty much going to be playing all new songs on the road.

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