Interview with Death Valley Girls vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden | By Nick Harrah | Photo by Darian Zahedi

Death Valley Girls vocalist and guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden doesn’t sound like the leader of a gang, but she is. Only, it is a dystopic, sexually liberated, proto-punk, rock ‘n’ roll gang seeking to unite humanity.

Over the phone from their home base of Los Angeles, she speaks in soft, almost shy or nervous tones—with a giggle thrown in here and there—and offers a profound admission about how important rock ‘n’ roll is to her and her band. She comes across as persuasive enough to, if nothing else, get you to check out Death Valley Girls’ 10-song sophomore album, Glow In The Dark, released June 10 on Burger Records.

“We believe that rock ‘n’ roll comes from outer space,” Bloomgarden says flatly. “That’s why we love Iggy [Pop] and [David] Bowie. We believe they are true channelers of this magical thing that is universal.”

“For us, rock ‘n’ roll is our religion,” she continues. “For us, in this religion, you can break rules and you can love and you can be good to your fellow man, and it’s the same as religion. But we idolize Iggy. We were brought up to worship rock ‘n’ roll. There’s nothing more important to us.”

“Everybody that we meet, we hope wants to become a part of this, sort of gang that we have,” Bloomgarden expounds. “We call it The Cosmic Underground, which is this sort of, just a way—because not everyone can be in a band, but we want everyone to be connected, whether they do art or just like showing up and dancing or whatever it is. We want everyone to be a part of this, like, underground movement of rock ‘n’ roll and love and the truth in the skies and on Earth and being passionate and coming together to make shit,” she laughs.

Bloomgarden admits that recording Glow In The Dark over the course of two days with engineer Mark Rains at Station House Studio in Echo Park, California, was kind of cosmic. “Well, you record something, and it’s kind of like having surgery in a way,” she offers, “where it’s just like, this thing is taken out of you, and you can finally rest. But, then, you want everyone to see it and hear it.”

With her cohorts—guitarist Larry Schemel, drummer Laura Kelsey, and bassist Nicole Smith—Bloomgarden says Death Valley Girls have made something they’re proud of. She says songs like the title track, “Death Valley Boogie,” “I’m a Man Too,” and “Love Spell” show how the band have progressed since starting out in 2013.

“This has way more meaning to us,” she says of the new album. “After we played some shows and realized what was important to us, spiritually and everything, we got together and wrote these songs. It was really magical, and I’m proud of us for tapping into that magic. We hope to wake the dead with them and turn people on to rock ‘n’ roll.”

When asked about the recent passing of Bowie and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, what it adds to the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll deities and why they’re worshiped, Bloomgarden sums it all up quite succinctly. “We’re more concerned with what happens after [death], and it’s probably pretty cool,” she says. “I mean, it’s sort of a joke to say they’re immortal, but, wherever they are, they’re immortal now. They’re gods. They’ll be gods forever. They always were and they always will be.”

Purchase Glow In The Dark here: Physical | iTunes

Death Valley Girls Tour Dates:

9/2 – San Francisco, CA – Milk Bar

9/7 – Reno, NV – Holland Project
9/8 – Eugene, OR – Luckey’s Club
9/9 – Seattle, WA – Black Lodge
9/10 – Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt
9/11 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
9/12 – Tacoma, WA – The Valley Pub
9/13 – Spokane, WA – The Observatory
9/15 – Boise, ID – The Olympic Venue
9/16 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
9/18 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
9/19 – Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge
9/20 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
9/22 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
9/23 – Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog
9/24 – Detroit, MI – Third Man Records
9/25 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club
9/26 – Montreal, QU – L’Escogriffe
9/27 – Boston, MA – O’Briens Pub
9/28 – Jersey City, NJ – Monty Hall
9/29 – Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium
9/30 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
10/1 – Washington, DC – Comet Ping Pong
10/3 – Nashville, TN – Third Man Records (after party at DRKMTTR)
10/4 – Atlanta, GA – 529
10/5 – Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge
10/6 – Gainesville, FL – The Backyard @ Boca Fiesta
10/7 – New Orleans, LA – Poor Boys
10/8 – Austin, TX – Hotel Vegas
10/11 – El Paso, TX – Monarch
10/12 – Tucson, AZ – TBC
10/13 – Las Vegas, NV – The Griffin
10/14 – Joshua Tree, CA – Desert Daze Festival


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