We had a few days off but now we are now back into action! As you can see, we are still going through our archive and we are finding a true treasures there. This is the oldest interviews we have ever conducted! In 2002, Rita and Mal have been contacted by one of the journalists from Polish Radio Programme 3 to create a fan led music website that was to be called “The Rock Service”. Unfortunately, the project never really took off and we were left with several interviews and lots of materials. Please read our conversation with the to incredible bass player Val.Ium. Enjoy!!
Interview with Val.Ium (ex – Pist.On)
There are not many women in metal music. Val.Ium, a bass player for New York City based band Pist.On is a notable exception. Known for her incredible skills and stage performance, Val took the male dominated music world by storm. The following interview has been conducted in April 2003 for a “Rock Service”, a fan created music website in co-operation with Polish Radio Programme 3. Sadly, the project never took off, but the interview has been placed on PistArmy website two years later. Now updated with new information, it proves that the legacy of the band still lives on!
Part I: Life before music
Vanadian Avenue: You are one of the world’s top female bass players. What made you to pick up the bass guitar for the first time?
Val Ium: Well, I had originally learned to play the piano as a child, but, when I got into my teens, I developed an attraction to the heavy thumping beats of the bass. Once I met Henry, he wanted to switch over to the guitar, as he was originally a bass player as well, so, I just practiced my ass off so I could keep up with him.
Vanadian Avenue: You were raised in a religious family. You even attended two Catholic schools for 12 years. Do you think your childhood had any impact on your adult life?
Val Ium: Look at what a freak I am. What do you think?! 🙂
Vanadian Avenue: I know that The Cars are one of your favourite bands. Can you name your past and current favourites?
Val Ium: I grew up when MTV had just begun, so I was exposed to everything from Devo to Judas Priest and I’m thankful for that! MTV today in theUS sucks! I hear very little new bands that I really get excited over; I get more excited listening to the old metal bands; Priest, AC/DC, White Zombie, Motorhead, etc.
Part II: A life in Pist.On
Vanadian Avenue: Was Pist.On your first band?
Val Ium: It was my first serious band! I played in a few others that I consider “practice” now looking back.
Vanadian Avenue: Pist.On was described by many music journalists as a cross between Metallica and Paradise Lost. True or false?
Val Ium: I never even heard or heard of Paradise Lost until we signed with their manager. I think the Metallica thing was a result of Josh Silver making Henry sings like Hetfield on that first record. They were never considered an influence though!
Vanadian Avenue: You are good friends with Type O Negative. Your first record “Number One” was produced by Josh Silver You can be also heard singing on one of their records – “October Rust”. How do you recall working with them? Are you still in touch?
Val Ium: We don’t really keep in touch at all anymore. We’ve all basically gone our separate ways in life. I sang on “In Praise of Bacchus” because I was there during the recording and I worked cheap!
Vanadian Avenue: Does Peter Steele scare you?
Val Ium: I would think that I scare Peter much more than he could ever scare me. I’m sure he’d agree.
Vanadian Avenue: Shortly after finishing your debut album guitarist Paul Poulos and drummer Danny Jam Kavadlo left the band. Later your second drummer – Jeff McManus was told he had only six months to live plus you had numerous other problems not easy to solve. Bad luck, curse or a fatal fate?
Val Ium: All three!
Vanadian Avenue: Ok, what’s the story with dropping the dot in your name for Atlantic label in the US?
Val Ium: Atlantic Records refused to release anything that “referred to bodily fluids”. We were against it from the beginning but no one ever cares what the band thinks when that much money is the issue!
Vanadian Avenue: After releasing your second album $ell.Out your band went on hiatus. Henry have satisfied himself that Pist.On wasn’t active for almost year and a half. He said, “My current [back in 2001 – Rita] situation made me attempt to disappear from the human race for the past three months”. – Can you tell what happened?
Val Ium: Allegedly he went into a deep depression, but looking back I think he just needed a little attention and knowledge that some people still cared.
Vanadian Avenue: In statement published in January 2001 on your official web site you wrote, “We realized that we are happier being miserable together than being miserable apart and beside that we all tried to join other bands. But nobody wanted us so we are all doomed to stay together forever.” But six months later you have announced your departure from the band. Why?
Val Ium: Because I was tired of trying to hold things together. Looking back I realize that it was just a selfish effort I made to keep the band going when no one else really wanted to do the work anymore. It was probably a mistake, but, if it did nothing else, it made me realize that I definitely had had enough. I regret things turned out the way they did to this day, but, it was a question of whether or not I wanted to keep my sanity. I chose to keep my sanity.
Part III: Life after the band
Vanadian Avenue: Ex bands should be remembered fondly. What was the best thing that has happened to you while being in Pist.On?
Val Ium: Without a doubt the two things I am proud of; the friends that I made whom I still keep in touch with and the places I got to see and things I got to do that very few people are lucky enough to. Meeting some big rock stars wasn’t too bad either. 🙂
Vanadian Avenue: “Val will be missed as she was my friend and my business partner for many years, but the show must go on”. These are the words of Henry. Is there a band without Val.Ium?
Val Ium: That’s a question for Henry to answer!
Vanadian Avenue: In an interview for Delirium mag, you said, “I’m pure evil … don’t come near me.” Are you still that angry?
Val Ium: No, my anger ran out when I left PistOn I think. My bitterness remains, though.
Vanadian Avenue: You used to write for British edition of “Metal Hammer”. Do you plan the return of “Vanity Case”?
Val Ium: I doubt “Metal Hammer” would care to hear from me at this point!
Vanadian Avenue: What are your plans for the near future?
Val Ium: I am going to school to get a degree in textile design. (In May 2012, Val graduated with MA degree in Social work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College – Rita)
Vanadian Avenue: Is there anything nice you would like to tell your hard core Polish fans? 🙂
Val Ium: Sure. I’d like to say that I appreciate every moment that I was fortunate enough to live my life as a musician. There is nothing like it in the world and I encourage anyone who wants to do it to work hard and not give up, as long as the fire burns within you. I also say thank you to YOU for even being interested in listening to me!
Interview and layout by Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz
Pictures used with permission, all rights reserved
https://www.facebook.com/valerie.kaye.33 – Val’s official Facebook page
https://www.instagram.com/dollyofthevals/ – Val on Instagram
https://www.facebook.com/PistArmy/ – fan page on Facebook
www.pistonline.com/pistarmy – a fan website dedicated to Pist.On
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pist.On – Wikipedia entry for the band
Thank you so much for reading!
The PDF version of this interview can be seen here:
The Issuu version can be found here:
First publication of this interview was posted on Pistarmy website several years ago and still can be seen there:
As with other interviews, please do not re-post them without our approval. It happened to us many times and we consider it stealing, even if you provide links! Please write for permission first. any questions? Rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com.
XXXX Rita and Mal
A lot of time has passed since we updated this particular entry but now we have a good reason.
Valerie Kaye – the fearless former bass-player of NYC heavy yet melodic outfit Pist.On needs our assistance and we are more than willing to step up to the task.
Known under her stage name Val Ium, Valerie recorded and toured with Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson among many other biggest acts of the 90s. Now Val pursues a new career in a new state. However due to unfortunate circumstances she lost a car that is vital in her current situation.
It will cost a bit to get the car back – so please help out. Any donation counts.
As a thank you – here are some scans from our personal archives of metal madness featuring Val.Ium in all her glory:
Love and kisses
You people are incredible. No seriously, you are all rock stars in your own right. What happened last night is just awesome. In just one day the goal of the fundraiser was met and currently it stands at $3,130
That means Val may recover her car and pay all the necessary fees and charges. But let`s not call it a victory yet. We strongly appeal to anyone who wishes to still contribute – do it. Help Val to assure she can safely be back on her road to build a new successful career. It ain`t easy, and if you can offer a helping hand or few bucks or RTs, we all will be grateful.
“We rise by lifting others”
We promised ourselves that if the fundraiser reached $3000, we would post more images from our musical archives. So here they are:
Keep on rocking good, good people of the world
The fundraiser is still going and we are now at £3275! So it is only fair to reach down to our archives again and share some more Val.Ium related goodies. Did you know that Val used to have her own official page called Tattude Lady? It is now offline but guess what – we have saved portions of it so you can get to see it.
Page debuted around 2000 – and it may look very simple by today`s standards. However remember that Valerie was one of the first in the business to actually have her official page. And she was to our knowledge the only bassist in metal community to maintain this side of business at that time. It was through Tattude Lady that Val communicated her departure from Pist.On to her fans by publishing a special interview (another first in metal world!) – you can read it below, and it makes a fantastic addiction to our own interview with Val.Ium. See, we do spoil you!
That was the beauty and tragedy of Pist.On – they were ahead of their time by at least a decade, both musically and business wise.
We kind of wish Tattude Lady was resurrected. Perhaps one day it will.
Please continue to donate. We still have few things in the archives which we are willing to share.