Amy Gore & Her Valentines
Over the years, the Detroit music scene has produced a dizzying array of incredible bands in every genre from classic R&B and soul to the MC5 and the Stooges. The current generation has internalized an incredible amount of musical goodness as they develop as artists; musical acuity seems to be part of the gene pool. But chops and taste will only get a band so far in a crowded field of mediocrity. The standouts have that intangible magnetism that can’t be faked – Amy Gore and Her Valentines have it in spades.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Amy Gore has been the heart and soul of bands like Gore Gore Girls and Gorevette, producing critically acclaimed albums and performing with icons like The Cramps and Blondie. In early 2011, she’d written a batch of new songs and booked a one-off show at Detroit’s Blow Out festival to perform them. Originally named Amy Gore and the Squires, Gore assembled Jackson Smith (T-Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue, Electric Six) on guitar, Leann Banks (the Von Bondies) on bass and Joe Leone (Grayling, Fletcher Pratt) hitting the skins. It became obvious on stage that the band’s chemistry was too potent to walk away from. “We had no expectations beyond that first show, but the chemistry on stage was instant and powerful. It was as if everyone in the room knew something special was happening. Afterwards, Jackson called me to say they wanted to continue as a real band, he and Joe were really impressed with my songs and the vibe on stage. I couldn’t ask for better band mates, so we decided to move forward.”
A name change followed (they dubbed it the Valentines following a particularly prolific songwriting session Gore had over that weekend in February) and the band began recording and playing high profile shows. In April of 2011, the band entered the studio with Al Sutton (Kid Rock) at Rustbelt Studios. Gore and the band have stylistically evolved from her roots in the punk/garage world, the Valentine’s sound is pure rock n’ roll with power pop touches; the songs are unbelievably infectious. Smith’s guitar work gives these songs their edge – his bluesy solo on “Drivin’ Around” rips through the pretty vocals and wouldn’t be out of place on a T Rex album.
Amy Gore started playing guitar at age 14. Gore released three studio albums as the leader of the Gore Gore Girls; their sound was tagged as “the Ronettes meet the MC5”. On the band’s second album, 2002′s Up All Night Amy’s songwriting ventured into a 1960′s pop-soul direction while maintaining a low-fi aesthetic. The band was covered by a stack of publications from Village Voice to Women’s Wear Daily. Her next project was Gorevette (with power pop icon Nikki Corvette); they toured with Blondie and The Donnas after releasing Lustfully Yours. Gore’s talents are myriad: she is a ferocious guitarist /singer/songwriter who creates perfect pop gems and delivers them from the stage with passion.
Jackson Smith is a crack studio musician who has played on albums by Wanda Jackson, Steve Earle and Karen Elson. He has toured with Elton John, Leon Russell and T-Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Review.
Leann Banks was born and raised on Detroit’s east side and began playing guitar and bass as a teenager. She has played in Ghost City, the Sirens and The Von Bondies, who had a chart topping single called “C’mon C’mon” which can be heard as the theme song to Dennis Leary’s series Rescue Me.
Joe Leone has drummed in psych-pop quartet the Fletcher Platt, the Gershwins and Grayling as well as Jackson’s Smith’s trio Back in Spades.
Amy Gore and Her Valentines came together organically and quickly gelled into a band that sounds like they’ve spent years together. Their dramatic stage presence demands attention – great song craft and unforgettable melodies will keep audiences in thrall long after that first glance.
For music and more: http://valentines.thisisamygore.com/