Hunter Valentine Kicks Off the New Year With West Coast Tour, Includes West Hollywood House of Blues

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While waiting to hear if there will be a Season 4 of The Real L Word (and if they’ll be on it), Canadian band Hunter Valentine kicks off the New Year on the West Coast, playing in San Diego and Pomona before taking the stage at West Hollywood House of Blues on Friday.

“I think it’s cool to be playing these well-established, well-regarded venues,” says Kiyomi McCloskey, Hunter Valentine’s lead singer. “We’re playing with Sum 41, a very successful Canadian band, so it kind of gives us a sense of pride to be playing on these stages with them.”

Kiyomi and the band is best known in the States for their stint on Season 3 of The Real L Word. As of this writing, they don’t know the status of the show.  But that hasn’t kept the band from its anxiously anticipated tour that includes fellow Canadians Sum 41 and Detroit’s acclaimed Iamdynamite.

Replacing guitarist Somer Bingham is Aimee Bessada, who joins Kiyomi on lead guitar, Laura Petracca on drums and Veronica Sanchez on bass.

“Aimee is a great musician from Toronto, our hometown. She’s one of the most professional musicians that I’ve worked with,” says Kiyomi. As for Somer, who added to the drama on The Real L Word, “she was in sort of a trial period and she ended up not being right.”

The band just released its third album, Collide and Conquer, which means it’s prime time for a tour. If the TV producers call, however, shooting the reality show will take precedence.

“We’re on tour so much it’s kind of nice to have that break at home,” says the rocker-turned-reality star. “[Camera crews] came out a little bit on the last season, but it’s kind of hard for them to follow a band that way. So yeah, we’ll probably take a little break from tour while shooting.”

The band formed in Canada about eight years ago, choosing a name that fit the image they wanted to present–of hunters and heartbreakers.

“I think we’ve grown up a lot and, you know, it’s not all about that anymore. Our goal has remained the same as far as reaching as many people as possible with the music.”

They’ve reached even more after being on The Real L Word, including young gay kids.

“We’ve always gone to smaller towns, so young people have always been reaching up to us from the very beginning, before the L Word, before any of this,” says Kiyomi. “It’s a very important part of our job to have that sort of encouraging role in the youth community.”

She admits, however, that it wasn’t the band’s “mission” when they started. “When you first start you don’t give yourself much credit, you know. You’re just trying to get by and do it well. You don’t think that people are going to have that admiration and respect for you.”

Asked if there’s a song that resonates with her right now, she says she really likes playing “Crying,” an emotional break-up song.   But there’s no room for tears over lost loves since meeting Lauren Russell on The Real L Word. The relationship created good drama, since Kiyomi was seeing someone else at the time. But once the show aired, the edgy singer and the savvy jewelry designer revealed that they are officially a couple.

“We definitely do have the same drive and the same kind of work ethic,” says the dedicated rocker. “And I think that’s sort of our common bond. We always push each other and make sure we work as hard as possible. It’s really an amazing partnership, relationship we have.”

Next week the band heads to San Francisco and other Northern California dates. For more tour info go to:

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.