KATHY VALENTINE has had a lifelong love affair with music, gravitating to it while attending “a hippie commune school” in Austin and listening to AM pop radio–the Beatles, Stones, Motown and girl groups–with a Texas twang. “I grew up hearing the Vaughan brothers, Jimmie and Stevie Ray, and from there got into B.B. King, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, all the right stuff,” she says of her Lone Star state upbringing. “As a result, my guitar playing has always been blues influenced, not just in the notes I play but trying to convey something with feeling.”
On a trip to London with her English mother in the early `70s, fifteen-year-old KATHY turned on the telly and saw Suzi Quatro (the Detroit glitter rock star). “The only women musicians I had ever seen played acoustic guitars,” KATHY recalls, “and there she was in black leather, singing ‘Can the Can!’ I wanted an electric guitar immediately.”
Her first guitar was a Fender Telecaster Deluxe “like Keith Richard played.” The second was a `62 Strat: “I still play to this day. I’m psychotically attached to that guitar.” VALENTINE started a few high school bands, almost went on the road with the British female headbangers Girlschool, and played in Austin’s first punk band, The Violators, before moving to Los Angeles at 18 to form The Textones. Two years later in the ladies’ room of a rock club, she was approached by Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Go’s who was in search of a substitute for the punky girl group’s ailing bassist.
“I promptly borrowed a bass, and spent four days and nights learning how to play it,” KATHY recalls. “We played three sold-out nights at the Whiskey. I thought, ‘I like these songs. I like these girls. And that poor sick bass player is not getting her job back.’”
A classic case of too-much too-soon, the Go-Go’s topped the charts and defined post-punk American pop and the dizzying decade known as the `80s, disbanding after only three hit LPs and periodically reuniting over the past 20 years. “I was incredibly wrapped up in being a Go-Go,” KATHY admits. “So much so that I ceased to be me. It took me many years to find Kathy Valentine again!”
During that time, she picked up her axe and determinedly set about becoming a lead guitarist in the bluesy Bluebonnets and, from 1995 to 2002, a trio, The Delphines, which released two independent CDs. Also available is LIGHT YEARS, Kathy’s self-produced debut solo debut released on her own label, All For One, and distributed through the independent major Redeye. “I really made it as a calling card,” KATHY VALENTINE concludes. “Light Years is a document of several decades of being a musician that reveals more about who I am as an artist.”