The BlueBonnets' Kathy Valentine
Q. Why did you reform The BlueBonnets?
A. I started the BlueBonnets when I moved back to Austin, Texas in 2006. I
wanted to start playing again and I think Dominique Davalos(co-founder of The
BlueBonnets) came out to visit me. We meet Eve Monsees (another guitarist in
the BlueBonnets). I thought the BlueBonnets was such a Texas type of
band but when we formed originally, we were in L.A. Then I thought,
why not give The BlueBonnets another life in Texas. Plus Dominique and
I had been working together since 1992. So we morphed The BlueBonnets
and the Delphines. We had The BlueBonnets at first. We weren’t doing "Sweet Home Chicago"(Kathy laughs)
but cool, obscure nuggets. Then we started getting into more original material.
After going through a couple of singers, we decided on Dominique to
sing. It seemed like a big enough departure from the BlueBonnets that
we needed a new name. So we changed the name to the Delphines. Then we
became the BlueBonnets again. Me and Dominique have been the core
since 1992, so we just decided we would do some of the songs the
Delphines had done, too, because there wasn’t a huge audience that had
access to that material.
Q. You have been in alot of bands. The Go-Go’s have had massive success,
is very well known, groundbreaking and pioneering, do you feel you in
any way you were going back to square one on some level restarting The
A. When I formed the very first BlueBonnets, it was just that. The
Go-Go’s had broken up and I was little confused and lost in my musical
identity. I had gotten away from the guitar and the variety and spectrum
of music that influenced me. Because The Go-Go’s were a pretty much a
strict pop band. A lot of the bands I looked up to were like The
Rolling Stones, The Faces, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, so many of
those bands started playing blues. They kind of grew from that. I
thought I was floundering a little bit. So I wanted to start playing
and getting my chops back and go somewhere basic and see where that
would take me. I have always seen myself as a working musician. When I
was in The Go-Go’s, I would play in bands. I would get off The Go-Go’s
tour, and two nights later, I would be playing in a club. I don’t mind
if it’s a big tour, or playing a little club, or a studio, or a rehearsal
room. I’m most comfortable as a band person. I don’t crave the
Q. What is different this time around playing with The BlueBonnets?
A. We are evolving as we speak. One of the differences is we have Eve.
She is a fantastic guitar player. Before in the BlueBonnets, I was the
only guitar player. In the Delphines, I was the only guitar player.
It’s great to have another guitarist especially since I’ve become a
mom. I don’t play as much as I used to. I’m not at the height of my
playing. I’m still a competent and really good player. Material wise,
we are still writing as a band. We don’t really worry about direction.
If we like a song, we like a song. I think people who like Jack White,
The White Stripes, The Black Keys and people who like rock music that
has a lot of trashy bluesy elements will like The Bluebonnets. I think if Jack White
saw and heard the BlueBonnets, he would dig it. I’m hoping he gets wind of us
one day. He is very supportive of women. I think alot of people would
like what we are doing if we had the exposure. It’s natural and normal
for me. It’s a good extension of what I am musically.
Q. How long has the band been involved with Stageit and what do
you think it?
A. This is our fourth one. I think it’s great for people to see the band
that don’t live in Austin, Texas, but it also gives them a way
to support the band. We don’t have a record label or financial
backers, so when we play a club, we don’t make alot of money. Stageit
is like a little Kickstarter or Indie GoGo. The fans can support you
and what they are getting back is to see a show. That is how we paid
for our air tickets to come L.A. and to help pay our engineer. When we
came in January, we played three clubs and a Stageit and that helped
us not go broke. We don’t lose money. The people that have started
with their first Stageit come back. I want to get more people watching
them. I liked the first time we did it and the amount of community that
developed from it. I went back and looked at the comments online.
It was like the fans were talking to each other standing at a bar and
saying “Hey I like this song.” Friendships have been made. People are
hanging out together now because they met through a Stageit event.
Q. Why did you leave The Go-Go’s?
I stopped working with The Go-Go’s. My last show was May 2012. I broke
my wrist. I missed out on some of the touring. During that tour, the
band decided they didn’t want to work with me anymore. It was not an
amicable parting of the ways. I’m sad it happened that way. But I’m
very focused on my future and passionate about it. I feel my future is
more relevant and important than the past.
Q. Do you feel you are reinventing yourself now?
A. I’m reinventing myself in a career as a writer. I want to write. I
will always do music, it's a part of me. I want to challenge myself and
make a name for myself as a writer. That feels like a reinvention
because you can do that until you are really old. I love the BlueBonnets
and making music, but I don’t know if I will have a career in music
again. I don’t know if lightning is going to strike again like that. A
career is something you make a living at. How many artists paint and
don’t make money? I have been at the top of the mountain. I don’t know
if I want to play casinos and fairs and coast on something from the
1980s. I have feel like I have a second act and more to contribute
than what I accomplished in the 1980s. Being a mom now is fantastic
and the main thing. I want to accomplish something new and in the
literary world. I want to be a published author.
Dominique Davalos - cofounder of the BlueBonnets
Q. How did you and meet and form the BlueBonnets?
A. 20 years ago, we had mutuals friends in the L.A. music scene. We had friends that said you need to work with Kathy. I'm thinking she is already established. I didn't make sense. I have been in maybe 20 different music projects over the years. But when Kathy and I met at a party at a girl Delphine's house, we got to know each other a little more and we just got into a room and playing together, it felt really natural and we complemented each other in terms of our writing and styles. We both love The Rolling Stones and we have rock and roll roots. She has a little bit more pop elements as well. Yet beyond our taste in music when came to sitting down and writing, it seemed to make sense. It a symmetry that works though our lives have taken us on different paths over the years. We toured with different people and she has played with Go-Gos. When we started the BlueBonnets 20 years ago, it was really fun. Things started happening really quickly and the Go-Gos got back together. I started touring with bands in England. We were always in touch.
Q. What do you thing of Stageit?
A. Stageit- I never heard of it before and I thought it was really interesting you could play and people all around the world could have you in their living room. I think it's one of these things that is going to get bigger and bigger over the years and more and more people are going to start going Stageit. Everyone is always going to want to see a band live. It's great opportunity for people who can't get out of the house, mothers that have children get to a show. There are so many reasons why people want to experience music at home and being at a live show.
Q. What's different about being back in the BlueBonnets versus other bands you have played in?
A. Most of the bands I've played in had been playing bass for other people. That's how I've made my living for 20 years. I've been a session bass player for different bands. My song writing relationship with Kathy has gone on for so long that it feels stronger than family. It's super natural.
Q. Tell about the lyrical content in the BlueBonnets? Where does the inspiration come from?
A. I see each song as a different story. It can be about anyone or anybody. It could be about ourselves or our best friend. Personal stories. Things our friends might have gone through. Hopefully they have a good message in the end and hopefully it's empowering.
The BlueBonnets performed live recently at a studio in Burbank using www.stagelit.com to reach audiences everywhere which is a new and innovative concept that utilizes an interactive platform. www.stageit.com allows you to watch the show in real time on any computer device and at the same time chat with other concertgoers using your keyboard to converse back and forth. Unlike the traditional face-to face experience of seeing a band in person, and feeding off that energy, The BlueBonnets, because of the nature of this medium, occasionally put their instruments down and went to their laptop to read any comments, requests or feedback in general and then responded back before starting another song. This didn't detract from the flow of the music or take away from the intimacy. It often provided a vehicle for comic relief and sending it up in a good natured way. The band would on occasion get close to the camera streaming them - mug it up, smile, dance together and striking rockstar-like poses which felt warm and engaging. The Texas/California based combo ripped through what the online fans called crunchy, surf and glitter blues rock with girl group harmonies layered over the top. Other remarks focused on the band's creative use of guitar effects like wah wah and pedals and how they "shredded." The band played with raw abandon and the songs sounded more gritty, making the recorded work pale in comparison reinvigorating the material with a fresh new vibrancy such as "Carboy" and "Kopperhed." The Bluebonnets were really a lot of fun to watch and are a talented, skilled unit of seasoned musicians featuring Kathy Valentine on vocals and guitar, co-founder Dominique Davalos bass and vocals, Eve Monsees on guitar and vocals and Kristy McInnis on drums and vocals