By: Clara Lefton/TRT Reporter–
Lifelong musician Laura Petracca’s career has skyrocketed since her appearance on season three of Showtime’s “The Real L Word.” The drummer of the Canadian-based rock sensation Hunter Valentine, HV, is being recognized in the most ordinary of places in her everyday life. Whether walking along the Brooklyn Bridge or riding on the subway, Laura, now 32, says she’s closer to musical stardom than ever before.
Inspired by her grandfather and uncle’s talent on the drum set, she began learning how to play the instrument in elementary school. After performing in a teenage battle of the bands competition, she continued on in a variety of other short-lived musical endeavors. In 2004 she founded HV with lead singer Kiyomi McCloskey, and says her parents have been her biggest supporters from the get-go. HV is about to release the band’s third album Collide and Conquer on October 23.
TRT: How did “The Real L Word” change Hunter Valentine?
Laura Petracca: We already had a semi-decent following just because of our band and what we’ve been doing for the last eight years, but this has kick-started a whole new thing for us. We’re plastered all over the city in posters and people watch us every Thursday. A lot of people have never heard of us and then became fans through the show, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback, so I think this is great.
Originally, you wonder, because you don’t get to have any say in how it’s edited and you don’t know how they’re going to portray you. You have to become very comfortable in front of the camera because otherwise you’ll do things and think, “Oh no, how’s that going to look?” or “How’s that going to make me look?” But I think they did a really good job of creating drama and showing who we are.
Q. Did the show portray the band and its members accurately?
A. It was kind of interesting how they made Kiyomi look like a dictator; a lot of the stuff that was supposed to be serious was really a joke. [For example] when Kiyomi would say, “We’re not supposed to be having fun,” that’s a joke. It’s just funny to me that [the producers] made it look serious. In the beginning it seemed like a lot of people were mad at Kiyomi, because they thought she was treating the band like crap, but really it’s just our sense of humor in general. Then they made Kiyomi look like a sweetheart because she’s in love with [cast member] Lauren Russell. I guess, yeah, I feel good about how they edited us. I just wish there was more of me and [bassist] Veronica Sanchez, that’s all.
Q. You’ve toured with a lot of bands, is there one in particular that stands out as the most fun that you’ve enjoyed playing with?
A. Sick of Sarah, 100 percent. When we did the Lady Killer Tour, Vanity Theft was also on it, it was a party tour, as much as it was hard work. Normally I don’t drink that much on tour, but it felt like we were on tour with our best friends. There’s so many of us that it sort of became a ritual where you decide, “Okay, I’ll have five beers tonight,” when really you should only have one or none. So it was definitely the most fun tour. I’ve never been so tired and hungover in my life — it was six weeks long.
Q. What was the official reason for keyboardist Somer Bingham to leave the band?
A. It was driven by her not being able to commit, and we weren’t willing to wait anymore. There were a lot of things that we had to do to move forward, like, for example, album artwork [and] press photos. So we basically had to put the gun to her head, and she wasn’t ever really satisfying us with an answer. So I said, “I can’t go forward with her,” and Kiyomi agreed.
It wasn’t because we didn’t like her, because the hardest part was that we really liked her. She is a lot of fun and is a great musician, despite all the little technical errors that could’ve been fixed. But it’s just that she had a hard time being away for two weeks and we were about to go away for three months. It’s not like the relationship is over, I mean, she helped finish the album [and] she played on it. In the future, if we get to a point where we’re writing a fourth album and we feel like we really liked her contribution, then maybe we could write another album with her.
Q. What is the craziest fan experience you’ve had?
A. It’s kind of funny because the whole “regional rep” thing was also another joke we made. We get a lot of women and men that want to be my regional rep. A lot of them are pretty serious about giving phone numbers and addresses and it’s really flattering, to be honest.
Q. Would you sign on for another season of “The Real L Word”?
A. Yup, I would, absolutely. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun, so I would do it again. When you’re going through it you’re like, “Oh God, I don’t even know if I can do this.” But then when it’s done you’re like, “Oh yeah, I can do that again.”
Upcoming local performances by Hunter Valentine include New Haven, CT on November 15 and North Reading, Mass. on November 18. For more details visit www.huntervalentine.com.