Valient Thorr: Rockin' from Venus to the V-Club
WANT TO GO?
With Royal Thunder, The Kickass and Holy Grail
WHERE: The V Club, 741 Sixth Ave., Huntington
WHEN: 9 p.m. Tuesday
COST: Advance $10, at door $12
INFO: www.vclublive.com or 304-781-0680
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- June 5 was Venus transit day, a twice-in-a-lifetime chance to see our neighboring planet traverse the face of the sun.
While coincidental, it's wholly appropriate for an article on the Chapel Hill-based stoner rock band Valient Thorr, which appears at Huntington's V Club on Tuesday. See, as the band tells it, they traveled through time on a mission to Earth to save Venusians and Earth itself with the power of rock 'n' roll.
"A lot of people over the years have been skeptical that we came from another planet," singer Valient Himself admitted over the phone as the band made the much shorter trip to Memphis to start a six-week U.S. tour.
"Our one true purpose was to find a place for the Venusians to live," he said. "So it was like 'Did we fail?' because we never saw whether all the Venusians came with us in whatever time stream we were in. Or did we succeed because we can live where we can have [an environment similar to] what we had in the beginning? We've basically come full circle."
Since self-releasing their debut, "Stranded on Earth," in 2003, these time-traveling Viking rockers have released three more albums, toured with bands like Mastodon or Motorhead and have fans, called "Thorriors," around the world. They've also found a home and a new mission.
"We were from Venus, but right now we live on Earth. We cavort with earthlings," Valient Himself said. "We've accepted it as our home now.
"At a certain point, we said, 'People are destroying the Earth. What is our best weapon to stop this?' We decided it was our music, and that's what we've been putting all our efforts into."
Valient Himself said the band needed some time off after a European tour, but now is ready to get back on the road.
"We had a month off. Sometimes you have to take some time off. Your message gets stagnant and stale, and we want to stay relevant.
"Our message is often a political one, and often it involves what's going on in the world. We have to pay attention to what's going on. Sometimes, when you're on the road for so long, you can become immune to what's going on; you can't pay attention to it. The inertia can make you dizzy."
Speaking excitedly, with a bit of an esoteric and philosophical bent, Valient Himself said reclaiming rock music is Valient Thorr's main mission these days.
"I've always said that when rock lost the roll, it lost its soul," he said. "I've put it like that as far the hair-metal thing being a killer in the '80s. I view it as rock going away in the U.S., but not all over the world. If you think about it, in the '90s in the U.S., rock was big. If you look at movies like 'Airheads' and 'Wayne's World,' there are scenes where huge crowds are listening to hard rock music.
"So there have been times where, even in the popular culture and on mainstream radio, there was rock music, and it has charted since the '80s. It just goes through cycles. It never went away; it's just the U.S. is very fickle when it comes to what's popular at the time."
As out-of-this world of a back-story as Valient Thorr has, the more important story is the one its members live every day as a rock band.
"It's not about where you're from; it's where you're going," he said, contrasting the interstellar versus interpersonal story of the band.
"Where are our lives are heading? We're in a van heading to Memphis. Whose lives are we going to touch tonight? Who's going to impact us? It's a fantastic story that's writing itself."
And even rockers from Venus hear about West Virginia's own legendary rockers.
"We're really excited to come up that way," he said. "We have lots of friends up that way, and I'm a particular fan of Hasil Adkins, so we'll try to channel some hunchin' [Adkins' dance] and see what happens."
Reach Nick Harrah at firstname.lastname@example.org.