Being in orbit with Death Valley Girls' Bonnie Bloomgarden is like swimming in the super infinite with a galactic white witch that transcends space and time.

Invasion of the Death Valley Girls


Death Valley Girls are an L.A. band that started out as seedy, low-life devils in the city of angels. They channeled Charles Bukowski, Morrison Hotel / L.A. Woman–era The Doors and the beautifully twisted, late ’70s and early ’80s B-Movie horror cinema. All this swirled together into a Philip K. Dick sci-fi trance set on fire by John Doe and Exene Cervenka.

Death Valley Girls represents the most interesting of L.A. with album titles such as Street Venom (2014), Glow In The Dark (2016) and Darkness Rains (2018). As the reality of COVID set in, a different vibe of warped spirituality, positivity and transcendence started to creep in. Death Valley Girls did not leave their previous vibe behind—they just added to their sound and evolved with the record Under The Spell Of Joy (2020). 

Now that we are a few years removed from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Death Valley Girls are continuing that space with their new record, Islands In The Sky set to be released February 23, 2023. 

Being in the same orbit as lead singer Bonnie Bloomgarden is like swimming in the super infinite with a galactic white witch that transcends space and time. Bloomgarden is like an an occult high priestess mystic here to stitch the world together and make the future the past. She believes that, we are all a bunch of cosmic scavengers in a time loop of ultimate awareness and continual self-discovery.

“I learned at some point that I had been a jazz singer in a previous life,” Bloomgarden says. “Because of that, I’m like, oh my god! I could be listening to my old life.” Bloomgarden goes on: “So I decided I’m going to make my future self a record. I’m not totally sure if it is my future self sending me messages of what it needs or if it’s just me in this lifetime writing what I learned.”

Bloomgarden has a unique life philosophy that has blossomed since the shared trauma we all experienced with COVID. “During lockdown, I got a real good look at my life and what I wanted to change. I feel grateful for that,” she says. “Most other generations didn’t get a two-year break in their life to assess what’s going on and reconstruct how they want to live.” Bloomgarden adds to her philosophy: “Something I believe is that we are already our best, higher selves. When we come into our bodies all these rules, expectations, our families, societal programming are all different things that lead to shame and guilt. Life is about trying to get back to who you really are.”

This is the essence and the overall theme of Islands In The Sky. “I spent so much time waiting for someone else to care, or someone else to tell me everything is okay or that I am worthy,” says Bloomgarden. This record says: “you’re worthy, you’re ok, you’re special, you’re loved, you’re you, so be nice to yourself.”

With a new album comes a new tour, and Bloomgarden and Death Valley Girls are ready to get back on the road. “Nothing can replicate the feeling of everybody getting together in a room for the same celebratory reason.” Bloomgarden says about touring: “Nothing else in the world that has that dynamic, and it turns out it is something I need to do. I need to be in that dynamic with people where we are all uplifting each other.”

Bloomgarden is excited and anxious to introduce new songs to their live set and is especially stoked to sing the title track. “‘Islands In The Sky’ is really something I want to say, and when I look out and say it, I’ll try and look at every single person when I sing that song. It will be a really important moment for me,” she says.

Death Valley Girls consists of Larry Schemel (guitars), Rikki Styxx (drums) and Sammy Westervelt (bass). The band delivers a constant driving bass, relentless percussion and a guitar that simply murders and slays like dragon fire. Schemel’s guitar whips up dust from the blues and surf rock, along with intoxicating riffs that blow up like vintage, British Invasion–era metal from the early ’80s. However, it is multi-instrumentalist Bloomgarden who unleashes the Death Valley Girls’ storm.

I brought up how much I hear Ronnie Spector in her vocals, and Bloomgarden gushed. “I could live off that comment for the rest of my life and never be sad a day again,” she says. Bloomgarden continued, “Ronnie Spector is the best. I just got chills, she’s the absolute best. I think about her all the time. Ronnie Spector, Tina Turner, Aretha and Billie Holiday—that’s all that matters to me,” Bloomgarden says. “We all had the same influences—early American music, blues, gospel, early rock ‘n’ roll—so we were bound to have a similar sound.” 

Bloomgarden is her best, higher self, and her band is a rock ‘n’ roll machine leaning into an institution. To quote the aforementioned Ronnie Spector: “The people need to feel the music. That’s what’s so important, and that’s what is missing. You have to let the audience feel you—you have to let them feel the love, feel the rock ‘n’ roll, feel the energy.” This best describes Bloomgarden and is the perfect Death Valley Girls mission statement. Death Valley Girls will perform at The DLC at Quarters in Salt Lake City on March 21. Don’t miss this band! You owe it to your future self to discover their music.

Read more interviews with Suicide Squeeze–affiliated artists:
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: An Interview with The Paranoyds
The Coathangers: Suck My Shirt!