Hunter Valentine is an all-female rock band formed in Toronto and now based in Brooklyn, New York. The group is featured on season three of Showtime’s “The Real L Word” and will also be rocking the Sunset Strip Music Festival this Saturday at the Roxy Theatre. Drummer Laura Petracca spoke with us regarding the name, the new line-up and why marriage should be available to everyone.
Question: What’s new with Hunter Valentine?
Answer: “The line-up has been changing in the last year with ‘Collide and Conquer,’ the album we just released. We’re kind of always on the road. We’ve been grinding it out for at least nine years. Kiyomi [McCloskey] and I, the founding members, have been playing together for 10. Our new members are Aimee Bessada (guitar and keys) and Leanne Bowes (bass). We wanted our sound in live performances to reach the next level and we needed extra keyboard lines and great guitar riffs, vocals, etc. We just needed a fourth member.”
Q: The name?
A: “The first time we came up with the name, it meant a heartbreaker. That high school crush, that person you meet and want to be or be with, like a James Dean character. But we’ve been growing as a band. Now it’s more just a name we represent and who we are. Our performances are different, more raw and edgy.”
Q: What are your creative influences?
A: “Growing up, I was really into the classic drummers like John Bonham and Keith Moon, not to say that I play like them, but I am influenced by their style, personality and craziness. I love Muse, Metric and Radiohead. I’m getting into classical music lately. Anything with piano, strings or a choir.”
Q: What about the Sunset Strip Music Festival?
A: We’ve been coming down to L.A. for a few years now, playing at the Roxy. The SSMF was an opportunity that we really wanted to be a part of, and our agent made it happen. I love Los Angeles. It’s sort of one of my next goals in life, to move to California. Great bands. Great festivals.
Q: Is Hunter Valentine an all gay band?
A: “It’s really hard to label anybody and their sexuality, but the lead singer is in a very committed relationship with another woman, Lauren Bedford Russell. She’s what we like to call a ‘celesbian.’ We were on ‘The Real L Word,’ a reality television show for lesbians. Our bass player is in a relationship with a man. Me and the guitar player are single, you can’t really label who you fall in love with but I definitely prefer ladies, way more. They’re softer.”
Q: Do you have any strong political beliefs?
“I’m all about gay rights. The United States should have a federal law where gay marriage is accepted. Before I die, I would love to see the U.S. do like Canada did years ago and let everyone marry.”
Q: What about California’s Proposition 8 being declared unconstitutional?
A: “To be honest, I never thought I’d actually see that but you guys came so much further now having that. If one key state agrees, then it could be recognized federally. A lot of states surprise me, like Iowa. We need more states like that.”
Q: What’s happening after the show this weekend?
A: “We just announced a fall tour with Girl in a Coma and Krissy Krissy, three all female bands. And believe it or not, we’re not all gay. We will be back in L.A., Sept. 12 at the Echoplex.”