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Kathy Valentine talks postponed Go-Go's tour and her new band's new music

Brian T. Atkinson

The BlueBonnets' "Boom Boom Boom Boom" backs brawny blues ("Kopperhed") with gnashing rock and roll ("Carboy"). Guitarist Kathy Valentine, three decades tenured as bassist in the Go-Go's, believes the multifaceted labor of love is a flush fit for her native Austin. (She returned three years ago.)

"Even with 27 years in L.A., I've always felt like a Texan," Valentine says. "People in Austin find the niche that they love and do it for a living. I'm at an age where I'd rather be doing what I love." The BlueBonnets are having a CD release party tonight at Antone's.

American-Statesman: The Go-Go's farewell tour (including a July 27 Austin date) was called off last week. What exactly happened to (guitarist) Jane (Wiedlin)?

Kathy Valentine: She was hiking in San Francisco at nighttime and stepped off a precipice. When she finally went to the urgent care, they did an X-ray (that showed) her tendon has been demolished. She needs a transplant, because the only thing holding the bones together is muscle now.

Is the tour postponed or canceled?

Gosh, I don't know. I hope it's just postponed until next summer. (Lead singer) Belinda (Carlisle) wants to retire, so it's kind of a crapshoot whether she'll agree to tour next summer. I'm going to assume and hope that she'll want to make up those dates.

As a songwriter, what do you bring from the Go-Go's to the BlueBonnets?

The Go-Go's was more pop and surf, and it was great to develop that part of my writing. But the Blue Bonnets can do a pop song, a '60s garage band song, straight blues \u2013 it's a really fun band. I'm kind of lazy about the band, because I just like to be in it and don't really care if we get a record deal or go on tour. It just feels so right and good.

You are evolving creatively.

Well, I love writing songs. I like a well-crafted song, and I feel like pop music and our brand of rock 'n' roll are the best ways for me to express my writing. I like to really focus on the lyrics and doing something that's not totally expected.

'Howlin' Wolf is my road map' (in 'Kopperhed') seems like a mission statement.

Growing up in Austin, I've never been a music snob. \u2026 I'd hit the rock clubs and then Broken Spoke and I'd go to Antone's. I'd go see anyone from Ray Charles to Bruce Springsteen to Commander Cody at the Armadillo World Headquarters. I can express all of that in the BlueBonnets.

When did the album start coming together?

We've been playing in Austin for three years. At every show, we get a couple dozen people asking where they can buy our music. It took a while, but we compiled the record. I'm hoping to have another record out in more like a year.

But you won't be touring?

The most we'll do is regional touring, if we can get some offers. I know that Detroit and Chicago and L.A. and New York and New Orleans would be good cities for us. \u2026 To me, if the music is good, people find their way (to it).