Death Valley Girls, who are prepping a new album, today released a new 7-inch for Suicide Squeeze Records featuring two heavy but poignant covers. In today’s QUARANTUNES, guitarist Larry Schemel talks about his lockdown routine, pet projects and some songs that inspired the new album.
THE LATEST FROM DEATH VALLEY GIRLS
Death Valley Girls, the mean proto-punk/metal machine helmed by singer/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel, returned today with a new 7-inch for Suicide Squeeze Records. It features two covers, each with DVG’s signature scorching stamp. It’s led by a cover of 1971’s “Breakthrough” by Atomic Rooster — a song, it turns out, the band discovered through a 1973 cover by Nigeria’s the Funkees, which appeared on a 2010 compilation of Nigerian Afro-rock and psychedelia.
“‘Breakthrough’ is a song we were super into then became obsessed with once we found the lyrics,” Bloomgarden explains. “They are about breaking free from an invisible prison. At the time, we were studying Damien Echols, of the West Memphis 3, and his ability to overcome being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned on death row for 18 years. He became a magician, master meditator and learned how to astral project. We asked him for a few tips on how energy, intention and music can keep you strong in these strange times.”
[Revolver, where the song premiered, has a Bloomgarden/Echols interview.]
The B-side is a cover of “Rock ‘N’ Roll / EGA” by Daniel Johnston, a song that has special significance for DVG since they briefly served as Johnston’s backing band.
Death Valley Girls are prepping the follow-up album to 2018’s “Darkness Rains.”
HOW ARE YOU HOLDING UP AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MANAGE THE ‘STAY AT HOME’ EDICT?
Larry Schemel: Holding up all right during this surreal time, as everyone in the band has been staying busy with projects at home. We just finished recording our new album before the pandemic hit so we’ve been working on artwork and videos for later this year. I’ve also been practicing guitar now more than ever, which has been really helpful to keep some sort of routine that is productive. I’ve also finally had time to digitize a bunch of live shows I’ve filmed, and weird TV, movie clips and other random stuff I’ve taped on video to share on a YouTube Channel I just started.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN THIS IS OVER?
Larry Schemel: Like most musicians we can’t wait to play shows again and be able to tour. We’re really looking forward to the future when we can all get together again and enjoy some live music, and the simple stuff, too, like meeting up with friends for coffee and going to the movies!
ANYTHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PLAYLIST?
Larry Schemel: The playlist is a bunch of favorites from the ’60s through the ’80s that I’ve been revisiting since I’ve had a lot of time at home lately to listen to records. Some of these songs were an inspiration during the making of our new record.