CLEVELAND — If you’re looking to take in some garage, glitter, blues, rock, punk or pop music tonight, you may want to stop by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
That’s how Rock Hall inductee Kathy Valentine describes the sound of her band The Bluebonnets, who are schedule to perform Friday at the Rock Hall’s Union Home Mortgage Plaza.
The current iteration of The Bluebonnets was formed in 2007 in Austin, Texas. Founded by Valentine and lead singer and bassist Dominique Davalos, the band features an all-female roster.
Valentine is no stranger to all-female rock bands. Before founding The Bluebonnets, Valentine was the lead bass guitarist of The Go-Go’s, who had a slew of hits throughout the 1980s, including 1982’s “We Got The Beat,” which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Go-Go’s were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Oct. 2021. Valentine said the moment the band was inducted has stuck with her as a testament to the decades of challenges that shaped her and her bandmates.
“When we were inducted in the Rock Hall, so many people were saying, like, it's about time, and you know, why didn't it happen sooner,” Valentine said. “I felt like it was the perfect time because we had overcome animosity and acrimony and breakups and betrayals and a lot of negative, toxic stuff.”
Valentine said working with any band can be a challenge. Juggling personal schedules, side projects and artistical differences can oftentimes drive a riff between bandmates. For Valentine, keeping a band together is all about being open with your bandmates.
“I always just relate it to a marriage or a relationship, how everyone knows how hard that can be and how important it is to be respectful and appreciative and keep your communications open,” Valentine said. “You multiply that with four people and that's what it is with the band.”
The Bluebonnets have also faced challenges. Valentine said all the band’s members have their own personal lives outside of the band.
Valentine is still an active member of the Go-Go’s and is a published author. Davalos works in real estate. Guitarist Eve Monsees owns a record store. Drummer Kristy McInnis works in television production.
Valentine said although jobs, pets and children might sometimes get in the way, the band still finds time to get together to perform or bond as a group.
“Well, we'll still hang out, too,” Valentine said. “I mean, if a show’s coming into town, that's probably who I'll ask is one of my band mates to go with me.”
Speaking of shows coming to town, Valentine said returning to Cleveland to perform has been a sort of homecoming for her and The Bluebonnets.
The group began planning a show at the Rock Hall in 2019, but the concert was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years later, Valentine was inducted into the Rock Hall. Valentine said being able to take the stage as an inductee and share that experience with her bandmates is a special moment for her.
“This will be my third time here at the Rock Hall and it feels great to bring my band that I love,” Valentine said. “I love this band and get to kind of I don't know, come back as part of the family.”
For those that are on the fence about going to the show, Valentine said the band understands how difficult it is to leave the house these days, but it’s worth it to just put everything aside to enjoy some rock.
“If you like good songs, if you like rock and roll, if you like great musicianship, if you like just the spirit and the energy of kind of being in the moment and forgetting about all the crap and just enjoying yourself,” Valentine said. “That's my sales pitch.”
The Bluebonnets take the stage Aug. 12 at 8pm, with special guest Jane Lee Hooker. Tickets are $15 per person and are available on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website.