Magic Wands are indeed magic. The band is a duo of the couple, Dexy Valentine & Chris Valentine, and I adore both of them. Listen to their song Black Magic and tell me you aren’t hooked. Listen to Kiss Me Dead and again tell me it’s not sultry fun. I just love how they blend their vocals and guitars – it’s so perfect. And these lyrics, I like these lyrics off Teenage Love: Meet me down by the soda machine/ show me now what our love means/ take my hand and sex me up/ give me all your teenage love.
They spent some time with me before their set at Neumos. Read away.
Dagmar: You two initially met online?
Dexy Valentine: Not exactly. We met in person once and then we reconnected online – it was a year later.
D: How did you come up with the name for the band?
DV: When we first started talking on the phone we’d send each other little packages. One of the things he sent me was a magic wand.
Chris Valentine: The snow globe kind.
DV: Six months later we were just sitting in his apartment in Nashville and I was playing with it and [asking] what are we gonna call this band? I was twirling it around and then boom, I got the idea.
Magic Wands – Backstage @ Neumos, 2009
photo by Dagmar
D: Did you grow up in Nashville, Chris?
CV: We moved around a lot but mostly in Nashville.
D: And Dexy’s from California?
DV: He was born in Phillie and I’m from the East Coast. We’re both from the East Coast but I was living in California and he was in Nashville [when they met]. I left California to go to Nashville but now we’re back in California. We didn’t actually move there [California] – we went there to mix our EP, and we somehow got stuck there. Now we’re in LA. Trapped.
D: If you could do one thing with a magic wand or have a wish granted by it what would it be?
CV: It would have helped the night we tried to make a giant unicorn out of fiberglass. It ended up looking like a weird space creature. I don’t know. What would we do?
DV: I would stop all violence.
CV: Stop all the war.
Magic Wands – Onstage @ Neumo’s, 2009
photo by Dagmar
D: I was reading you like unicorns – I do too. What do you like about them?
DV: We just like things that are mystical and magical. They have an essence of pureness to them. We try to gravitate towards the lighter things in life. I’ve had enough of the dark things.
D: Do you still have this stuffed lion that you’ve toured with?
CV: He’s outside in the car. We need to get him dry-cleaned.
DV: He’s missing part of his tail now. He’s named Sylvester.
D: You’ve also got those two tiger heads onstage.
CV: We picked those up at a gas station about three shows into the tour.
DV: We wanted to wear them as masks but there’s no way to see through them.
D: Do you like a lot of things from the 80s?
DV: I think some of that stuff is pretty cool. I like a lot of 80s movies. You can’t really top ET and Goonies.
D: Before this band you were in punk groups?
DV: I wouldn’t say punk – just harder, darker, angry music – channeling a lot of negative feelings. We both believe that what you say and do will manifest itself in your life. We were both singing a lot of negative lyrics in our old bands. We wanted to do something a little more positive. Our whole thing is based on magic, love and dreams. Those are the things we’re really into. I used to be more, “fuck you, what did you say?” He was never like that – he’s like a saint. I feel like he picked me out of the murky waters of LA and brought me into the green hills and sunshine. Which is nice, but every once and a while I want to get crazy and drink some whiskey. Break a glass over his head. I try hard not to. Keep it positive. There’s so much anger out there – and violence and negativity. It gets old.
Magic Love & Dreams is out now.
D: Besides a human, if you could be any type of animal, what would it be?
DV: I would definitely be a tiger.
CV: Yeah, a lion or a tiger.
DV: A white tiger. I love white tigers. I just went to the zoo recently and my friend was like, “come on let’s go.” This white tiger is pacing back and forth . . .
D: How did you get into music?
DV: I started playing piano when I was five. I’m self-taught. I never had a lesson.
CV: My dad was into it so I was always around music. Seemed like the thing to do.
DV: His family is so musical. When you go over there, they’re like having sing-alongs. His mom’s music is new age – when you hear it you goose bumps.
D: Does she have those bells?
DV: Yeah, she’s got the bells and the chimer that makes the high pitch frequency. We have that stuff too. We’re like a new age rock band, aren’t we?
D: Do you like to go to magic shops?
CV: There’s the magic shops that are more new age stuff. We kind of like those better than the ones that are more witchy.
DV: We like to go the party store a lot. Get crowns and sequins . . . we have dress up all the time.
D: What do you like to dress up as?
DV: We make our own videos and I’ll wear a sequin thing with feathers – he’ll hold the blow dryer so my hair is blowing.
D: I like that.
DV: We have rabbit ears, tiger ears . . .
CV: We’ve got so many videos that we’ve made that we’ll put up for ten minutes. Then we’re like, no, nobody can ever see this.
D: How do you shop for your clothes?
CV: Thrift store shopping.
DV: We’re thrift store junkies. We go to flea markets, thrift stores, vintage stores. We don’t follow fashion at all, that’s probably not a good thing but . . .
Gallery of Magic Wands @ Neumos
Magic Wands start a national tour at the end of September to continue through the end October. The tour includes a 10/10/09 appearance with School of Seven Bells @ Neumos. I can’t wait to see them again!