THE VALENTINE KILLERS first caught the touring bug way back in 1999 after the release of their first piece of wax, a four-song, seven-incher (that's vinyl, y'all), and then hit the road for a 17-stop whirlwind tour of the Midwest and East Coast with fellow Seattle punk rockers, Zeke. Two years, countless beers and several bass players later, the Valentine Killers are still blitzkrieg-ing around the nation, spreading the hard/fast rules gospel and becoming ever-more dependent on their touring habit. After all, who wants to sit around the house watching pathetic geezer wimp rockers like Journey and Styx get all weepy on VH-1's Behind the Music when you could be out there kicking out the jams and making a little rock history of your own? They make a stop at Ichabod's North this Friday night with Wayward Youth and local lads, the Creeps.
Taking their cues from such legends of primal rock 'n' roll as the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers and the Saints, the Valentine Killers play full-throttle, meat-and-potatoes punk rock. They may not be the most innovative kids on the block, but in their earnest, honest and pretense-free exploration of the genre, they rise to a level of pure rock 'n' roll transcendence that few bands with loftier ambitions rarely -- if ever -- achieve. And if there's better music to have pounding in your ears as you swill cold drafts, I'd like to hear it.
At the time of this writing, the band is guardedly comfortable with its current lineup that includes misfits from every corner of the nation and the latest in a long line of bass players, Scott Myrene. The rest of the Valentine Killers fall in as follows: Brian Coloff (lead guitar player and lover of fine cheeseburgers and booze-spiked ice cream drinks), Brian LaManna (vocals or, "the guy that has to stand in front with nothing but a puny microphone for protection"), Stu Miller (guitar and shameless worshipper of Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and Jim Beam) and Jill Trueblood (drummer, alleged gymnastics -- not "Gymkata" -- expert and lifetime member of the Steve McQueen fan club). Together they create a sonic maelstrom that is frequently provocative, occasionally alarming and, more often than not, very entertaining.
Since the early days, the band has released a full-length, self-titled album and numerous singles (the latest being the Let It Burn EP on Junk records). They've also toured extensively, making stops at all the best hellhole bars and managed a warmly received appearance at the 2000 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. They are now embarking on yet another jaunt around the States, playing, drinking and using the bathroom, seeing the country through the muddy windows of a cramped van, spending money faster than they can make it and loving it all.
Now that you've met the Valentine Killers up close and personal, it's high time you grab a cold one (or even a lukewarm one), secure your spot next to the stage and pay your respects to a band that is living the life you can only dream about.
The Valentine Killers play with Wayward Youth
and the Creeps at Ichabod's North on Friday, March 30, at 9:30 pm. Cover: $6. Call: 328-5720.