Death Valley Girls are the resilient few who believed in rock ‘n’ roll in a way reminiscent of New York’s 70s punk scene and Patti Smith, Television, Dead Boys and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. (Who were all and still are my music heroes.) Their new full-length Glow In The Dark is available now from Burger and Death Valley Girls' record release show is June 30 at the Echo. This interview by Jacquelinne Cingolani with Kristina Benson." /> L.A. Record


June 30th, 2016 | Interviews

BB: Larry says sex. [laughs] I say … handholding with aliens. [laughs] A selfless sacrificial sex sacrifice where Bernie is president and we get to hold aliens’ hands. Because aliens … there’s this alien … I don’t want to talk about this too much—and also, the word alien is so passe, but I’m just going to use it to make it easier. This is a really important story; it doesn’t have to be in this, but just so you know, one of the surviving ETs that they found at Roswell lived on Earth for an extra sixteen years, and he had his own like … an apartment and a caretaker, and they learned a lot about him, and he learned a lot about us. One of his main things was he saw that humans held hands, and he really liked that. He wanted to hold hands with his caretaker. Now I really want to hold hands with an alien.
Have you been to Roswell?
BB: No.
It’s really weird; I’ll tell you that. Not in a bad way, but it’s weird.
BB: Yeah, we have friends in the community that are like, ‘Oh, come do these things.’ We’re trying to get into that community. Or not TRYING to get into it, but trying to do more things where we are active with other people that are active in exciting things, rather than sitting around and watching YouTube or whatever. But it’s slow. There’s free meetings we’ve been going to for MUFON or whatever but it’s … you know, it’s few and far between. But that’s a community we’d really like to reach out to a little bit more.
On ‘Love Spell’, you talk about how action is all you need, and the cosmic collectives and the underground; is this a song about being in a band and casting a love spell on people who listen?
BB: I mean—kind of! In some ways. It started off as just, ‘Oh, I put a love spell on someone … and like, wait do they really like me, or is it just the love spell?’ Then as you get closer, I was like, ‘Fuck that! What if we could put a love spell on everyone, and it’d make them love in 3-D?’ And then we were like, ‘If we make a song about it, and we sing it, then that’s the ritual. And why wouldn’t we want everyone to love everything?’ So that’s what that’s about.
Why do you think of it as a spell? Because a spell is like, taking control, you know?
BB: I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I didn’t know! I didn’t know what would happen! Everyone says, ‘Don’t do that,’ and then you realize why, but it’s not your fault. [laughs] LARRY’S FAULT! [laughs]
LS: Maybe it’s a temporary spell. So maybe in the moment you give people that feeling so that they know what it feels like.
Do you think the practice of psychic abilities and spirituality brings you closer to a kind of creative energy that is untapped by those who don’t use that part of their senses?
BB: Totally. I use those powers of perception way more than anything else. I like looking into a human’s eyes and reacting to their psychic energy. I try not to interact with that many people cuz I like it to be a really intense interaction with like eyeballs and psychic energy, instead of having a million pointless conversations.
LS: Playing rock ‘n’ roll in front of a room full of people is a way to connect without having a one on one thing. We are all trying to be in the moment and get sucked into this wild experience. For me, some of the most life affirming moments have been walking out of a rock ‘n’ roll show and you’re like ‘fuck yeah!’ That is due to the energy people are sharing.
BB: That’s our religion—that’s how rock ‘n’ roll makes us feel. It’s a spiritual fucking experience and you need it to have something to live for. Some people every Sunday sing to their best friend or their family and that’s how they fill their souls. But for us it’s our religion—we praise his name all around the country living in shitty conditions.
LS: It’s also cool to have people that you look to—like Iggy Pop. He’s the real deal and a believer of rock ‘n’ roll. He’s never not doing it because he’s like too old or something.
So then do you believe that there is something greater than you that exists?
BB: Iggy! Iggy fucking exists, not God. I haven’t firmly come to like one idea of what I think that means but fuck yeah, something greater than us exists—it’s fucking Iggy. That’s all we need to know.
What is it about Iggy that gives you that feeling? What is that ‘thing’?
BB: It’s a completely wild experience. The songs rule and the way he delivers it—to me—is what making love is. It’s the hottest thing ever. You know … we are here as disciples of that thing. I saw him at Irving Plaza awhile ago. The room was filled and by the end of the show I realized I had been smiling for thirty-five minutes from ear to ear, and so was everyone else. I realized my pants were soaking wet from everyone’s beers being spilt—just dancing, these warm bodies, these disciples of rock n roll.
LS: Yeah—and I think like Iggy, Bowie and Lou Reed would bring freaks like us together. I mean Bowie and Lou Reed dying was a big thing. Like, ‘Oh, man—they are mortal.’
BB: And what they did for sex—at the time they did it—is so cool. It is otherwordly. The Stones had it and then those dudes took it from there. Your sexuality is your sexuality and whether the world is ready to hear it or not, they did it.
LS: Yeah, making people feel empowered and comfortable with who they are—
BB: They were the ones that led it and to me, aside from girls, that’s the sexiest thing in the world—the dudes that made it cool to be like a girl. That’s the coolest thing you can do in the world. Is that bad?
No way—being a good storyteller and sexually empowering people are the two things I think an artist must possess in order to transcend. Is that what you want people to leave your shows feeling? Sexually empowered?
BB: Hell yeah. Rock ‘n’ roll to me is about being wild and breaking down other people’s ideas of what they think your sexuality should be.
I fucked up before when I asked why there weren’t women with the force and attitude of a guy like Iggy Pop in the forefront of rock ‘n’ roll right now—it was borderline insulting.
BB: No, it’s not. I mean—it’s the same answer for that as everything else. People are trying to take sexuality out of it. In the name of feminism, they are forgetting about sexuality. It’s fine to be a feminist, but it’s also fine to be sexual. Feminism at some point allowed us to be sexual, so it’d be like taking a step back to be like these girly pre-teen … nothing exciting at all. We are in the middle of a sexual revolution right now and we get to be what we want to be with no explanation, no gender—just complete freedom.
There’s a song that you guys do called ‘I’m a Man, Too.’ What happens when you’re singing that, and there’s a little timid sixteen-year-old boy in the front row and you look into his eyes and you sing, ‘You’re a man, I’m a man, too!’
BB: So far we’ve just been performing it and people are singing along. And it’s cool—no one feels weird about it yet, but I think that’s a cool question for the future because that song came out to the universe today, you know? We’ve only played it for a handful of people, but I’m excited to answer tha tin the future for sure because it’s meant to be uniting, you know? It’s meant to unite.
Who are you trying to unite with it?
BB: Humankind. We’re always trying to unite humankind. If we could unite dogkind, we would, but I only have one dog, you know? A puffy white one. [laughs]Tommy. We’re a dog band, if that matters. I don’t know if anyone’s asking.
Cats have their moments, but I don’t like that they poop in a box and then walk all over it and then trail the poop throughout the house. Dogs can be disgusting, too, but they’re also more endearing, so you put up with it, you know?
BB: I like endearing and excited and energetic for love, rather than playing slightly sometimes. Like, that’s not my stuff, you know? [laughs]


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