By Esther Sanchez
It was last spring at the Coachella Valley Music Awards that I had the pleasure of meeting Christina Magyary-Kossa and Ali (Death Valley Ali) Faith Saenz who were in attendance supporting their significant others, Mike Pygmie and Greg Saenz (You Know Who, Mondo Generator, John Garcia, etc.) I didn’t know they were in a band themselves but there was one thing I did know… besides being gorgeous, these chicks were cool, badass cool! So, over time when I figured out that they too had a band I was like, “Of course they have a band. They are too cool not to.”
It wasn’t always that way, of course. Once upon a time, not too long ago in a desert not too far away, Kossa and Saenz proudly and dutifully supported their men, holding down the homesteads as they toured the world spreading the wildfire that is the desert rock sound. Having bonded over long periods of time pining over their men during extended absences, Kossa and Saenz had an epiphany.
Christina: “The guys had come back from touring with John Garcia and we were watching them at a local show when I leaned over to Ali and said, ‘We should start our own cover band.’ My husband was onstage drumming and wearing a Dead Milkmen shirt, which is a band that I love and Ali does as well. I said, ‘We should start an all-female Dead Milkmen cover band.’ She said, ‘We should!’ and we high-fived.”
Christina continues: “A few nights later I was with Jamie Hargate’s (The Hellions) wife Danyelle. Our families were having dinner together before going to look at Christmas lights with our kids and I mentioned to her that Ali and I were interested in starting an all-female Dead Milkmen cover band and asked if she was interested to which she responded, ‘Yeah! I have been learning the bass.’”
Hargate also mentioned that she thought that Alana Rockwell, wife of Hellions’ bassist Travis Rockwell, had been learning guitar and the girls decided to text her with a request to meet them at Starbucks immediately. Ms. Rockwell showed up and was game except for one detail; she too had been learning bass. Not to be dismayed, the girls shrugged it off and Danyelle Hargate decided to go with the flow and take a cue from the universe that she in fact, should learn guitar.
Christina: “The four of us started a band and it went that way for a while but we were all pretty much in agreement that we wanted a 5th member; someone who could play keys and sing backup vocals. We went through quite a few people who showed up for a practice or two but were hesitant. None of us four original members hesitated for one second about the band so it was important to us that whoever filled that spot was as enthusiastic as we were which brings us to Jen.”
The Dead Milkmaids were having a rehearsal when Danyelle Hargate mentioned Jen and they decided to text her to see if she was up for stopping by. The response to the text was something along the lines of, “Well, I have been drinking wine and my bra is already off but I will take a cab over.”
Christina: “I said to myself, ‘…with that attitude, if she shows up, she is in.’”
Considering the fact that these ladies basically started out at square-one as far as instruments are concerned, they have come a really long way and seem to be having the time of their lives while on the trip. That being said, the roles of dutiful, rock & roll wives are still real and more apparent now than ever. The Elephant in the room is definitely the recent tragedies in Paris. The Eagles of Death Metal are friends with the husbands of Saenz and Kossa who not only tour internationally on a regular basis, but were scheduled to perform at the same show as EODM in Europe shortly after the Paris show. I asked Kosso if she is fearful for her man.
Kosso: “When we found out about what happened we were in shock. The tour was already scheduled for them to leave the country less than a week after the tragedies took place. There was never really any thought or discussion regarding him not going even though he was flying into Paris and will be concluding the tour there in mid-December. I really wasn’t even particularly fearful for him until I found out that the plane that he was on while on the way to Paris had received a bomb-threat. I, of course didn’t find that out until later.”
Kosso continues: “I always worry when he is gone. That is only natural. The reason why I am not worrying now more than usual is because that attack was not against rock ‘n’ roll or Eagles of Death Metal or Jesse Hughes. It was an attack against humanity. Sadly, our hometown boys were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I don’t believe lightening will strike twice.”
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