Dave-Michael Valentine Interview Wendy Smith

Dave Michael Valentine sporting Larry Norman cartoon on shirtFollowing the Aberdeen emanon performance, Wendy Smith was able to catch Dave-Michael Valentine for a chat. The following is the transcript of that interview:

Smith: Dave-Michael Valentine, or DMV, has been around the Pacific Northwest for some time. I think I first saw you play with a band in Centralia in the mid-eighties. When did you actually start playing music?

Valentine: I guess I always had a desire to play guitar. I remember playing with my mom on tennis rackets, while listening to the radio, when I was really young. Then, I got a guitar for my 10th birthday. Although I only knew how to play two chords: C and G7 – with one finger. Then when I went to stay with my grandparents the summer when I turned thirteen, my grandfather taught me to play. It changed my life.

Smith: What do you mean, ‘It changed my life?’

Valentine: Well, prior to that summer, I had always been considered more of an unsociable outcast. I was pretty much the invisible kid. After I learned how to play guitar a bit, I started to interact with people more.

Smith: So, you started playing when you were thirteen years old. Did you play anywhere?

Valentine: Let’s see… that was a long time ago. I think it started with a talent contest at Hoquiam Junior High. I lost to Bruce Jakola’s band because I was a single act with a guitar, and I chose an instrumental. But the guitar instructor at the school, quickly approached me and told me that I should assist him as a student teacher, which I did. Then, I started playing with Blue Flax, in Aberdeen and ended up transferring to Hopkins Junior High.

Smith: So, you’re a local boy?

Valentine: I was born and raised in Astoria, Oregon, but my grandparents lived here, so I spent mostly the summers in Aberdeen, then after my parents divorced, I spent a lot more time in Grays Harbor, with stints of traveling outside the area to chase opportunities to play music.

Smith: Being from Aberdeen, did you ever cross paths with Kurt Cobain?

Valentine: Barely. I mean, he lived with my brother at our mom’s house for a couple of months in the garage on South Side. I met him once while he was staying there, we jammed to the blues a little bit. He wasn’t very good. My brother and he talked a bunch of stuff that young dreamers talk about and as I recall, there was plenty of ‘herbal influences’ around at that time. To tell you the truth, I never thought he’d amount to anything. Little did I know he was a budding musical genius. I wrote a cute little song, loosely dedicated to his ‘making it’ in ’91. If he heard it, he would probably hate it.

Smith: You’ve been writing your own songs for a long time?

Valentine: Oh yeah. I can’t help it. For me, it’s like my coping mechanism, or self-therapy. I can write a song in the third person, step back, look at it, examine it and it helps me re-frame and get on with my life. Or I can write about what I see as shortcomings in others, as sort of a warning to myself, not to let myself get caught up in the same kinds of scenarios. I’d write, even if no one was there to listen to it. As a matter of fact, most of my songs never get shared in public. They’re just too personal.

Smith: What other bands did you play with?

Valentine: Oh, man… too many to list, really. Most of them were bands that played covers of popular music and oldies, to play at dances. Since I started chasing my musical tail, relocating a lot in my early music career, every location, I was in, found me in a different band – and sometimes more than one-at-a-time. Playing music is really the best job a person can have. Think about it: How else can you get paid to party for five hours? Plus, you have the added advantage of getting wonderful attention from the opposite sex.

Smith: So, did you see the music as a way to meet girls?

Valentine: When I was young, my social skills were so bad that the music was cool because I could use it as a conversation ‘ice-breaker.’ So, now, I could talk to anyone, guys or gals. And even though I liked the attention from the girls, because it made me feel good – my self esteem – I don’t remember ever dating anyone that I met playing music. I suppose I’m more of a romantic than that.

Smith: What do you mean by more romantic?

Valentine: Well, what I mean is that when I ask somebody out, its only because, in my mind, this person is a potential love interest for me. I’m already pretty much invested with my heart, by the time I get around to asking someone out, so I get hurt by women, only because to them one date is no big deal, but to me, if the dating stops with me, or if they decide to date someone else, too? I’m devastated. It’s like my best friend just died. I suck at relationships.

Smith: So, are you seeing anyone, right now?

Valentine: Why, you asking me out?

Smith: No. Just curious.

Valentine: Well, actually, no. I’m kind of in a state of flux, right now, in my life. I’m focussing on my growth, spiritually, as a human being and trying to figure out why I keep setting myself up for failure in relationships, being careful not to over-analyze or simplify issues. You know? I’ve sufferred my worst failures, by following well-thought-out plans and goals that bite me in the butt everytime.

Smith: What kind of failures?

Valentine: Don’t really want to go there. Suffice to say that I spend way too much time developing what I think is the perfect plan, whether its in business, music or relationships. If all I depended on was myself, I would have a higher success rate in life, because I can make a committment and follow rules of my self-concocted outlines, but other people aren’t like that. It seems that any time I hook up with someone, they are looking out for themselves, when I’m focussed on the success of the whole.

Smith: So, how do you see the perfect woman?

Valentine: Oh, I don’t know… I’ve thought I’d found the perfect one for me on many occassions, but must’ve been thinking with something else besides my brain – or maybe thought things through too much with my brain – I don’t know which. But, I’d say that she would have some basic traits, like, she would care more about others than herself. If not others, at least me, because that’s the way I am. I’m willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the success of my family. I’d like to know that she could have the same mind-set. Of course, I’d have to be atracted to her. I’m not saying that she’s a 5′ 10″ fashion model, just that I have to find her particularly appealing. She has a good sense of humor and put up with my childish antics and have an appreciation for my music. Dont get me wrong: She doesn’t have to like my music, just understand where I’m coming from. And she’s got to be able to make a committment.

Smith: So, you’re wife hunting?

Valentine: No, much more than that. I’m searching for my illusive soul mate. That perfect person that is perfectly suited for me. Mind you, I may never find her, but I hope to – and if I do, then damn straight, I’ll marry her, if she’ll have me. I’d be a fool not to. I’ve tried marriage, before, but this time I’d like to find a woman who can make good on her marriage promise, to love, honor – or at least, stay faithful to – me as long as she lives. I would do the same. That’s really happily ever after.

Smith: You’ve been married before. How many times?

Valentine: Well, considering that I only wanted to marry once for my whole life, I’ve pretty much disappointed myself enough to not want to say the exact number because it’s more than once. Anything divorce, or number of divorces, is just exemplifying the sad state of affairs in our present-day society – for me, anyway. Because I don’t choose to engage in casual sex. I’m a lover, not a gigalo. That’s just my personality. It’s who I am. Not that sometimes I wish I could be more promiscuous… They say that, ‘variety is the spice of life,’ but that’s just not me.

Smith: I can respect that. So, how will this perfect woman find you, if not at a concert or performance?

Valentine: Well, she could meet me at a performance, but I’m not always easy to connect with following a show, because I’m shmoozing during the breaks, and it depends what I’m doing after a gig. I’m not listed in the phone book and now, I’m thinking that the Internet is a good place to meet her.

Smith: You mean, like in chat-rooms and online personals?

Valentine: Tell you the truth, I don’t really know how to go about it, but I’m facinated by the possibility. I mean, if my soulmate’s out there, anywhere on this planet, and has access to a computer and the Internet, we can communicate. I think it’s an incredible opportunity for romance to flourish. I really do believe it is possible to find one’s soulmate using the Internet as a tool – because, if it’s true, that there is one perfect person out there, perfectly suited for you – you could break down all the barriers of being separated by geographical space. I think it’s a really cool concept. Whether it has the possibility that I envision, who knows, but I really am jazzed about the possibilities.

Smith: Let’s say, for instance, that I have a friend that might be, ‘the one.’ How could I tell her to contact you?

Valentine: I suppose she could contact me through my promotional post office box. That’s P. O. Box 1753, Aberdeen, Washington 98520, or if she’s on the Internet, she can send me an email.

Smith: What’s your email address?

Valentine: dmv@ghonline.com – and if she’s the one, we’ll take you out to dinner, or something. But if she’s not the one, at least I’ll feel as though she’s still out there, and hopefully, I’ve made a new friend. I love friends.

Smith: What do you mean by, ‘I love friends,’?

Valentine: What I mean, is that I’ve been very lucky to have made a few real close friends over the course of my life. Now, there are all kinds of friends, on many different levels, but I have a few really close ones, that I’d take a bullet for, and they’d do likewise. I can talk to them about anything, at any stage in my life, and they can have that same level of intamacy with me. I guess I have such a good, long-lasting relationship with them, because I never married ’em! Here’s some good advice: Don’t believe that Harry Met Sally B.S. – never marry your best friend. (I guess I meant that sarcastically, but you can quote me on it anyway.)

Smith: Well, thank you for taking the time to share a bit about yourself, I’m sure our listeners will appreciate the opportunity to get ot know you a little better.

Valentine: And thank you, for trying to make me think that they’re might be more than one or two people who might actually care… Nice try.


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