Living to her own beat

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by TYLER SIESWERDA / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

kvue.com

Posted on May 20, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 22 at 8:48 AM

AUSTIN -- A small West Austin basement studio is a very comfortable place for Kathy Valentine. With a guitar slung around her neck and surrounded by fellow musicians, Valentine is in the process of a new adventure -- life after The Go-Go's

Most people met Valentine after a New Years Eve 1980 offer to fill-in with the up-and-coming band. But Valentine was no stranger to those in the Austin music scene. 

"In Austin there was so much good music and it was a great spectrum and it wasn't snobby. Well at least for me it wasn't. I would go see blues then I would go see the rock band from Dallas playing at Mother Earth," said Valentine.

She was born in Austin and raised by the city's music. But one thing there was not a lot of in Austin at the time was female musicians.

"There were no guitar players as far as I could see. It was the Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan," she said. 

So Valentine started her own band. In the late 70's she headed to LA and as they say the rest is history.

"It was just fantastic. We were very sought after and everyone wanted to meet us and we were invited to all the best parties and movie stars wanted to meet us and we were on big TV shows," said Valentine.

They became the most successful female rock band of all time, selling millions of albums and helping define the music of a generation. And the wardrobe.

The songs Valentine wrote or co-wrote are some of the most famous. "Head Over Heels", "Can't Stop the World," and of course the tune she wrote on a plane after leaving Austin, "Vacation."

"I got to headline Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl and tour the world and I got to do all that stuff. So I have no issues with my career path," she said. "I feel extraordinarily blessed and grateful."

But it was not all glamour for the group. Constant touring, substance abuse, and bickering led to more than one split. And then on March 8th, 2013, word spread that Valentine was no longer in The Go-Go's. 

This is how Valentine explained the situation to KVUE: "There's a lot of things that aren't going to be discussed about that right now. But I'm just moving on. It was [painful] but I don't wallow too much. It started with a broken wrist and just seemed to snowball into a situation where it wasn't the five of us anymore so it was painful but you know."

It has been one of those moments in life for Valentine to remind herself of who she really is -- the mother of a ten-year-old, an artist, and fighter. 

"I kind of forgot about the Kathy Valentine musician from Austin and one day I was like wait a minute I was a musician long before I was a Go-Go," said Valentine. 

That musician is going strong. She has been chosen as the musical director for a concert at Seattle's Experience Music Museum to kick off its "Women Who Rock" exhibit. And the Bluebonnets will be playing South Congress institution The Continental Club ever Tuesday beginning in July.

Valentine is fearless about her future.

 

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