DVG ascended in Riverside on October 22nd to headline a Beau Monde showcase. It was their first show back in Southern California in over a year.
Photo by: Juan Perez
Live music has returned, or is slowly returning, around the world slightly back to "normal." More and more bands are playing a first show back since before the pandemic, especially in Southern California. However, few were as special as this return to a home as I’ve ever seen. The show was opened up by the always fun King Flamingo and the wonderful Triptides. Certainly a magical atmosphere was felt throughout the night inside of the MTL in Riverside.
October marked a year since the release of acclaimed record “Under The Spell of Joy.”
Unable to tour for the album last year, the band ached to get back on stage and do what makes them most happy. Not only did the past year keep them from playing live shows, it also kept them from entering the studio and recording new material. They did manage to stay busy, bringing different content and work out during all this time. Bonnie has come out with a very own Death Valley Girls podcast where she is constantly interviewing interesting people and dropping multiple episodes a month. Pickle has been doing great things with her “Church of Pickle” and most notably collaborating with The Black Angels for some shirts on their tour. On top of that she has also been touring with the great Frankie & The Witch Fingers.
Photo by: Juan Perez
2021 also saw the debut album by DVG titled “Street Venom” get a remixed and remastered Deluxe Edition reissue drop back on July 30th. Three different vinyl versions were released in different phenomenal color schemes, along with exciting new cover art, completely different from the original record. I’ll just and say that the style and overall aesthetic of DVG as a whole, whether it be music, videos, art, etc., is some of the best I have ever seen. With all those creative juices flowing for the band, even in the most confusing times, you wonder what terrific things are in store for the future.
First show back for the band was at Psycho Las Vegas, followed by an appearance at Lose Yr Mind Fest in Portland, Oregon. I had the great pleasure of having a conversation with Bonnie before they hit the stage on October 22, 2021
Q: You really had your first show back at Psycho Las Vegas, what were your thoughts going into that?
A: It was wild! I mean for your first show to be in Vegas, for a pool party, at a metal fest, with like bikinis, tattoos, beer and weed everywhere… it was surreal. It was just like a continuation of the long dream. Totally just seemed like a dream but it felt amazing, and to feel human energy again just changed everything.
Q: Being here tonight back in California, how special is that?
A: Yeah! This is our first show back in like a hometown kind of thing and it’s amazing. You don’t realize how you don’t remember what a physical activity feels like when you’re not doing for so long, whether it be running, sex or whatever… but when you just play it’s like “oh my god, that’s what I’ve been missing.” It’s the only thing you truly love to do you know, so to actually do it again you go “oh my god I forgot I like being alive!” It’s shitty to say but it’s true.
Q: What were some inspirations behind the new single DVG just released?
A: We recorded a few songs to come out. There’s one really exciting thing that’s going to come out early next year that we are super, super excited about. This latest one is like my guides, I guess some people call them angels or they call it something else, whenever I get super down they just sing me this song and I’m just like “oh shit, why don’t we record it?!” Then everyone can sing it when their down and it’s basically you don’t have to be 100% happy or 100% sad, you can be super sad but notice that there are good things. They always sing it to me when I’m like “there’s no point!” and then the song will pop on in my head because a dog ran by or I’ll see a cool plant, just something outside of my myself that’s like, “oh, it’s not all lost.”
Q: Recently on social media you openly talked about having social anxieties and trying to work on them, how do you get through that to get on a stage and deliver amazing performances?
A: Well, I think it’s everywhere aside from being on stage. I’m like really sensitive to people’s energies. If someone’s mad at you, you know how that feels you can point your finger like “they’re mad at me” but I can’t do that. For me if someone’s mad at anyone I can feel it, they don’t even have to be mad at me. I can just tell their mad and I don’t know how to handle that. But on stage, I know what to do! It’s like make people excited & happy and if I can perpetuate excited & happy, and stay away from mad & sad, it feels good. So it’s not really a question up there, you know, the more and more we play. Sometimes people are mad at each other on stage but it’s just kind of fuzing with everything on stage. You’re out of body where you’re not feeling any energy other than excited & happy so it’s like the safest place I can be. Which I guess is weird *laughs* and that’s why this past year sucked! I was just stuck in bed like not knowing where to go. I really don’t know what it means when you can feel everyone’s energy but, it sucks. It’s really far out and I didn’t know this about myself until everyone was home for so long it was like “damn, I’m kinda free” even though I was so scared. When I would interact with other people their energy would slam me and it was like I finally got it! Everyone’s energy is always slamming me and when everyone was at home I was safe. So now I’m like, how do I go out? I have to put on my big girl shorts and just go outside. It’s okay to be uncomfortable so now I’m just uncomfortable whereas before it was unbearable.
Q: Another thing you recently spoke about is how you started meditating, but it wasn’t easy to be alone with your thoughts. What advice can you give someone who is struggling with that?
A: I think the reason I didn’t try meditation at first is because I thought what was so supposed to happen is that you sit down and you’re trying to get to a place where you have no thoughts, but that’s not what it is. I didn’t know that at all but what you’re doing is you’re sitting down and you’re noticing your thoughts, but you’re not following the train. So if your’e “oh I’m hungry! Oh I like mac n cheese and oh I’ll put some sauce on that”, instead of doing that you just think of being hungry. Notice that thought and then poof, it’s gone. It’s just that and sticking with the mantra. Sometimes it happens so fast I don’t notice that I did it and other times after two minutes I’m like “I don’t want to do this!” But it’s not about when you’re meditating, it’s about all the other time. If you just sit down for five minutes with yourself and notice that you’re thinking, but don’t go with the thought, you’ll be so much happier. Or you’ll be much more subtle to the rest of the day. They make it seem when you’re meditating like somethings going to happen but it’s the rest of the day like when someone doesn’t go on a green light or someone cuts in front of you you’re just like whatever about it. But if you don’t meditate, those small things can really get to you. Meditation just makes it so that everything else is just thing. It’s not against me, its not for me, it just happened. I would say try it for 5 minutes a day! You can even do it in the shower or anywhere you’re already spending five minutes that’s just the other trick. Your body has to be somewhere all the time!
Photo by: Juan Perez
Q: Switching gears here, DVG always releases some of the best music videos. Where did the concept of the Dream Cleaver video come from?
A: The song is about DMT. The concept of where you go was described to an old drummer’s boyfriend, Casey. So he made the video but as you know it is very hard to portray verbally what you see. It’s just hard to convey, I can probably tell you after *laughs* but it’s about that!
Q: DVG finally got the opportunity to go back into the studio after a year or so, can fans expect a new album or EP in 2022?
A: Yeah! Our thing is really weird, I didn’t realize it. But it’s like the arch of some of the band of the 60’s who started out covering rock n roll songs and then they got psychedelic and into spirituality. In the weirdest way it’s exactly what’s happening to us now. It’s like The Beatles, in the beginning just playing rock n roll and then our minds expanding, getting way far away from the point. At the end of the day we’re being honest and that’s all that matters. I’m really proud of the last record and I think it’s kinda funny that no one will ever know where it came from, but it came from the funniest place. We’re like the goofiest band, you know. So it may seem serious but it just really took everything. My mind went to the farthest reaches of the galaxy to figure that shit out.
Q: Live music is back! You look around here, you see the night life alive again. What are your thoughts on live music being back and hopes for 2022 with everything that has happened and still happening?
A: I don’t even want to talk about it really but I’ll tell you this, on New Years Eve 2019, the night before I wrote the idea for “Under The Spell of Joy.” It was all there and I thought that the new year will be the most expansive year. I had like 100 pages of drawings and stuff. And then the next day, I watched Contagion and Outbreak. Both before 2020, so I’m like I don’t know what’s real. I think this is a simulation, and I can get into it but the point is I don’t want to talk about what is going on outside because I don’t know if I think that it’s right. I don’t think it’s right but I also don’t think it’s wrong. It’s my job and it’s just sad.
Q: It being Halloween time, can you think of a horror movie you saw that genuinely scared you?
A: Something that genuinely scared me was Poltergeist. It scared the shit out of me I still don’t look in mirrors. I can’t look in a mirror I have the biggest phobia in the world, it’s weird. There’s a mirror in every hotel you sleep in every night and I just sleep on the floor or I just make like a little nest. There’s always like a mirror behind you and I pray. I don’t pray but I pray that the mirrors leave me alone.