Please add your Bikini Kill story to this blog! It can be totally off the top of your head and doesn’t need to be fancy. Maybe it’s your reaction to a song we wrote, something weird that happened at one of our shows, a personal anecdote or just WHATEVER.
Just leave a comment below or somewhere on the site. Thanks!

We are also trying to collect press clippings, images and videos of our shows so if you have any you wanna send us please do!
Bikini Kill c/o Kathleen Hanna
130 7th Ave #310
NY NY 10011

362 Responses to “About”

  1. Hello dear Bikini Kill ! A beloved friend of mine recommended your music when I was 19, going through depression and low self-esteem. You helped me find where my strength comes from, and how powerful I can be if I strive to be myself at every moment of my life. When I get really anxious, I listen to your music and it reminds me I am amazing and I need to smash patriarchy with all my love and rage ❤ I love you.

  2. Surya Bhandari Says:

    I heard Deceptacon recently and it was the kind of music I wanted to recommend to my sister. It’s post-punk, politically conscious, raw energy,non-sexualised female power stuff that embraces common tropes about being a girl. It’s refreshing, to say the least.

  3. i found bikini kill and riot grrrl this summer, it played a big role in me finding myself and i’m still trying. listening to the music makes me feel a sense of validation that i was kind of missing before, i know i’m not suppose to need validation but no matter how much of a cliche it is, being a teenager, especially a teenage grrrl is really hard, riot grrrl and grrrls like kathleen hanna inspired me to be me and for the first time i felt this sense of constructive anger, and anger that fueled me instead of setting me back. growing up as a grrrl is just something u have 2 experience in order to understand and i don’t blame the guys in my life for not understanding my experiences but it is tiring. i feel like i have to prove every aspect of my being to them in order for them to be valid and sometimes it feels like they interprete my opinions as a personal attack, so for me, riot grrrl is like this awesome movement and set of ideals that’s just like “we hear u, u have a right to be mad and we’ll be mad along side you”
    thx 4 the support and inspiration i’ll try to keep it going, much luv

  4. My seven-year-old daughter loves rock music, especially bands with female singers. Kathleen Hanna is her favorite (followed closely by Joan Jett). Playing “Rebel Girl” for her at the end of a three-day road trip, the song ends and she says, “Wow, I know that’s just a short song, but now I feel like I’m capable of anything!” (And in the driver’s seat I wiped away a little tear.) Music matters. Representation matters. I am grateful for all the strong, brilliant women who have made great music that can be an inspiration to my daughter, and all of us.

  5. Riley Souza Says:

    I found Bikini Kill a little over 2 years ago when I was 15 and I instantly connected with it. They’ve been my favorite band since then. I was really lucky to get to go to one of their shows in LA last year, my mom managed to find tickets for my 16th birthday. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to and everyone there who I met there was super wonderful. Bikini Kill really means a lot to me and I really have no idea who I’d be if I didn’t find them. They taught me to be confident, speak up about things that are important to me, and to stop caring about what other people think of my clothes or my body which are things that I’ve really struggled with. I still struggle with those issues like most teenage girls do but finding riot grrrl has helped me so much.

  6. Jolene Rayas Says:

    Ironically my abusive ex boy-friend introduced me to Bikini kill and I fell in love with the band and started my love affair with Bikini kill. Revelation gurrrrl style NOW! I wish I could have attended the Los Angles shows my nice ex boy-friend tried getting me tickets but no luck I know one day Ill met you guys can’t wait .<3

  7. psychosabby Says:

    Bikini Kill concert, May 1st 2019. At the end of the show, a bunch of panties and bras were thrown at the stage, Kathleen showed us her killer Glenn Danzig impression earlier on in the show, and the whole set was just awesome! One of the best concerts/days I’ve ever experienced!

  8. Timothy w.tuck Says:

    dear Kathleen, could you send me a autograph picture of the band .pretty please. bikini kill is a great band glad you are reuniting to tour again.yours truly Timothy Tuck, 1525 park lane Hillsborough nc 27278. thank you for reading this email

  9. William Diaz Says:

    I found Bikini Kill when I was about 11 yrs old. It was the perfect time as a male to find them as I was full of pent up aggression and anger for no reason. Listening to them opened the door to the Riot Girl movement and I learned about feminism and overall treating women with respect and dignity. It was a confusing time period for me because I didn’t have any father figure and a lot of what I was learning about being a man came from what I saw and read. I believe learning about feminism at such an early age taught me how to be a better man and now a better father for my daughter. I am always grateful for what Bikini Kill and punk rock in general taught me. Thanks.

  10. Felipe Valdes Says:

    I got the album cover of the singles tattooed on my back and most people who don’t know about bikini kill think is just a bad tattoo done by some amateur but the artist who did it is actually the most expensive out of all the ones that have tattooed me. I love everything about that record player tho

  11. Hey when you come west play Fingerprints Records in Long Beach Ca.

  12. I use to go to the shows all the time up in San Bernardino County back in the 89-2,000. They kicked A$$!
    Michelle S.- DLT

  13. Caitlin Marks Says:

    I had always been aware of Bikini Kill growing up but didn’t listen to them that much or know what they were about. It really wasn’t until the breakup of the semi punk band I was in at the end of high school where I rediscovered BK again and realised how truly amazing they were/are. Their music was there for me just when I needed to hear it.

    So thank you Tobi, Kathleen, Billy and Kathi for continuely inspiring me, making me laugh, cry, feel empowered and making me feel like I’m not alone.

    ~ Caitlin

  14. Michael Says:

    Thanks for everything Bikini kill. I still wear your shirts ,still hear your music and your still a part of my life. Fyi . My favorite tracks . Double date you and White boy.

  15. I miss you. Where art history

  16. I miss you. Where art history

  17. Just bought the pink vinyl Newbury Comics exclusive of Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah. Redeeming the download somehow brought me here.

    I was peripherally aware of Bikini Kill as a teenager but didn’t really get into them until my last year of high school, ’99/’00. I was really into folk music at the time but my friends were all into punk and if I wanted to hang with them I had to listen to all these guy bands, Dead Kennedys and the like, although they were really into PJ Harvey as well. They encouraged me to broaden my music horizons.

    Used to do this thing where I’d go into a record store and buy cds solely on the cover art. It was something I’d do once a month to try to discover new stuff. The C.D. Version of the First Two Records was one of those. After that I wasn’t much into folk music anymore!

    Never got the chance to see Bikini Kill live but a few years later one of these friends and I went to Boston to see Le Tigre w/Mary Timony opening. I think it was in 2002 at the Roxy. Fantastic show! Side note, Mary Timony underwear is the most interesting tour merch I’ve ever bought!

  18. Jenysis Lopthien Says:

    Finding Bikini Kill when I was 15 helped me form into the person I am now. I was already into feminism and punk rock but she was the first female I have ever listened too with so much power. Since I was born I was raised to suck in my stomach and not talk until spoken too, Bikini Kill taught me to say fuck it and take no shit from anybody. They still help me through the days and I could thank them every day for it.

  19. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen in the early nineties when the band I was in, the Barbed Wire Dolls from Pittsurgh, PA were lucky enough to be the opening act for Bikini Kill.

    I remember being amazed that she knew all about our band and that she was a big fan of ours. She was so incredibly sincere and genuine that it made a lasting impression. I was floored and will never forget that show.

    Back then (1990’s) it was hard to stay in touch with people you met. There was no internet, just postcards and telephones. I never saw her in person again. I watched her success from afar and then the documentary was a reminder of this amazing woman who had the world by the balls and was completely fearless. So many emotions were running through me as I watched this. Pride, envy, awe, and sadness and generally missing that feeling of being carefree and unstoppable that only youth provides.

    Seeing Kathleen struggle with her late-stage Lyme disease in this documentary made me feel connected to someone who can understand having their life and creative force ripped away and fighting every day to try to get it back. I also suffer from a neurological disorder called Meige’s Oromandibular Syndrome and has caused a secondary disease called Cervical Dystonia. I love that once again she put herself out there and shows the brutal truth of chronic pain and illness. I am so happy for her that she was able to come back strong. GO Kathleen, GO!

  20. Norma Jeane Mortensen Says:

    Im quite young, so I never had the oppurtunity to get into Bikini Kill while they were still a band or while riot grrrl was highly influental. I also live in a small country in an even tinier city in Europe where being the exact same as everyone else is encouraged. When I found out about Bikini Kill it felt like I could finally be someone. I have always felt discouraged to be who I want to be because of my gender, but now I fully embrace who I am, and, I couldn’t be happier being a girl. And it’s all thanks to Bikini Kill. They’ve made me feel like it’s okay to be a girl and to have body hair, and to embrace it. To have periods, and embrace it! And not be afraid to tell my gym teacher that im on it! They have made me feel comfortable with the small things about being a girl. About being a TEENAGE girl. And I couldn’t thank them enough. When I feel mad at the world, I just listen to Bikini Kill and their lyrics just give me a little bit more faith that I, as a young woman, can succeed in whatever I put my mind into. Thank you Bikini Kill. Love u forever

  21. I first heard Bikini Kill when I was around 20 or 19 years old, so basically 2013/2014. After listening to an album and whatever I could find on the internet I felt like my life was shifting, everything was changing and it felt wonderful. I used to be angry, just angry about things, but nothing specific, I was a rebel without a cause. Hearing Kathleen sing and talk on stage felt amazing, even if i was in my room with headphones on. I felt chills going down my spine. I felt like everything became clear. I was angry, I wanted to scream and kick, I wanted to make myself visible. Men used to put me down since I could remember, but not anymore. Bikini Kill gave me the strength to say ‘fuck this, im going to burn you to the ground’ to the patriarchy. I live and study in the small town in Central Europe where feminism is still some weird concept that many women despise because of demonizing image of the feminists by the media. But I am doing my best to educate them, I show men why feminism is important to them as well. I am still angry, but I’m making a change with my anger. I feel like Bikini Kill made me free, the music just took my hands and told me I can be whatever I want, I am enough and no man can put me down. It’s amazing, empowering music. Life changing, actually.

  22. I’m 17 and recently i came across grunge music, heavier rock and punk and finally found bikini kill. Fuck as soon as i heard it i actually felt empowered you know, it’s not the same recycled generated lyrics you hear around a lot now. It means something and it really reached out to me. Then I learned all about riot grrrl and the waves of feminism and it really inspired me.
    Sometimes now i write down lyrics that come to me and try to play guitar with it, obviously it sounds shit because I cant really play but it’s the meaning thats important and I’m just really glad that I discovered all this because I feel like I have stuff to add and i have a voice and a real passion and all that you know? Anyway yeah thanks to bikini kill for kicking it all off for me you fucking rock

  23. I’m excited to find this site. I want to to thank you
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  24. joseph m. lawrence Says:

    One he’ll of a ride good job love the tunes play on its all good . wish I could write like you what talent !

  25. Jennifer juniper Says:

    As a feminist and a punker bikini kill was immediately close to my heart. I’m lucky i found the band early on. Years later, I became a mom to a girl. One night my feminist friends and i were listening to bikini kill and doing art and crafts. One of my friends altered a soft doll for my daughter who was a toddler at the time. My daughter loved the Rebel Girl song the most. My friend embroidered Rebel Girl on thr doll’s dress, gave her a punky haircut and altered her so she would be hairy like us. She sewed yarn hair under her arms, etc. The rebel girl doll became an instant trasure.
    Now at 14, my daughter still has the doll and nowhas a Sim on Sim’s freeplay named Kathleen Hanna. After we watched the Punk Singer mivie, my daughter told me need a 4th wave of feminism and asked me if i would chaperone or sponsor a feminist club for girls. The next gen is down with the vibe. Thanks for everything. 🙂

  26. My 16 year old daughter and I bond over The Punk Singer. We’ve watched it about a dozen times so far, and love it every time.

  27. I met kathleen last fall in Durham, NC. She asked my name and immediately told me I need to be in a band because my name sounded like a member. I told kathleen about my teenage infatuation I still 17 years later.

    I never got to see them play because I grew up in Oklahoma but I did send a zine and a letter to Kathleen. I had hoped I could swap her zines… I also sent her 2 bucks for shipping. A few months later I got a response where she said she was out of stock and gave me my two bucks back. I felt like a stranger wasn’t being a dick… I felt safe knowing there’s a deep seeded connection all girls have and Kathleen showed it to me in a tiny gesture. I still have the letter and envelope somewhere in a box after 17 years.

    Last year in Durham bikini kill came together for a moment and played a few songs and I cried so hard. I have never felt anything close to that bond everyone in that room had.

    I should have prefaced all this with saying I am not a creep or weird or whatever… I just think what a force this band was/is generally is belittled or taken for granted. However this band helped me grow into what I am similar to a parent. Thank you bikini kill and demanding girls to the front.

  28. I wasn’t alive when Bikini Kill was playing, (I’m only fourteen,) but I literally cannot express my love for them. This is gonna sound weird, but I just really love how angry Kathleen Hanna is in Bikini Kill. I’ve never heard any other music with that much raw, real emotion in it. It just feels so much more real to me, like they’re real people with real emotions. I absolutely adore the way Kathleen Hanna screams/sings, it makes me wish I could sing like that (ha). They perfectly articulate everything I feel. I didn’t even know there was feminist music before Bikini Kill, and much less screaming, angry, hardcore punk feminist music. And I found that I love screaming, angry, hardcore punk feminist music through this band. Bikini Kill has inspired me to pick up guitar and make my friend do drums, once I know what I’m doing, we’re gonna start a band. I’m just really sad I’ll never see them live.

    • check out the slits!!not as angry but still pissed off. check out the album ‘cut’ from 1978!!!!proper punk!

  29. Jason Overton Says:

    I saw you girls play Atlanta in the early 90s I know or I’m pretty sure it was the point but it could’ve been the Star bar also. It was definitely in Little five points

  30. I was born in 1994 and got into bikini kill in high school which really inspired me to learn about women throughout art history, then later go into art school (where I am now). Bikini Kill saved me from years of confusion, and I’m eternally grateful. Someone probably posted this already but this is one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever seen and I wasn’t even there:

  31. Just watched the Punk Singer on TV in England. Awe inspiring film! Incredible performer. Good health & love to you .

  32. Bikini Atoll Says:

    And I’ve only just realised that my band name is coincidentally a lot like Bikini Kill. One day soon our releases will be shelf neighbours in a record shop near you! What an exciting thought!

  33. Bikini Atoll Says:

    My first contact with Bikini Kill was hearing a fucking incredible sustained shrieking din blasting from a side stage at Summersault Festival (The Spit, Gold Coast, Australia, just after new year’s, 1996) while waiting for some other American alt band. Nothing else on the bill sounded anything like that, (and that was the best I’d ever heard Sonic Youth that day). No photos or anything else from the day to share (maybe a ticket or flyer), just the image of that searing sonic assault. Fucking! incredible!

  34. GodIsGayKurt Says:

    it is not the first time i have a crush on someone, but it has never being like this. there is this girl i like and i don’t even know why. but i really cant get her out of my head. she listens to punk rock including bikini kill. so i do anything that makes me feel closer to her. but the thing is i don’t have to pretend i like it. i really love punk, Bk, and the other bands she listens to. that makes me a lot more attracted to her because it makes me think we are alike. i am now also completely obsessed with Katheleen

  35. Johnb229 Says:

    Because here is a list of multiplayer games is that the leave was asked kkbebgceedke

  36. My friend Jessy was always more of a fan. I listened but she was invested in BK at age 16. A true hard core fan. She was the coolest prettiest punk rock girl in school. All the boys loved her. She wore BK and Free Kitten t-shirts all the time with little shirts and knee high combat boots. She was a feminist and never afraid to speak her mind. And god damn did she know her stuff even at 16 she could back anyone into a corner, when it came to women’s topics. After high school she continued her crusade. She studied politics and English and eventually became of professor. Jessy passed away when she was 28. It was heart breaking. I think it’s my duty to carry what she believed in. BK inspired her and she inspired me.

  37. Jesse Hayes Says:

    I saw BK on the Gold Coast in Australia 1996. Heard of them through Kurt… didn’t know any of their music but their show was life changing… wish i could see it again! Ever since I’ve collected the vinyls and they are just one of the greatest punk bands ever.

  38. Hey, I’m 21 years old and just began researching riot grrrl after going from Portlandia to Sleater Kinney to Bikini Kill. I’m almost done with college and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life artistically (I’m a visual artist interested in performance), so researching riot grrrl is me looking for answers. Things I’ve been thinking about are the pros and cons of a movement and community, fine arts as relevant artistic outreach, how to be inclusive coming from a place of white female privilege and dealing with my fear of being accused of being otherwise. Still a lot of figuring out to do, but Bikini Kill has definitely got me thinking productively and raised my confidence. Whenever I am too afraid to speak in class, or do a performance piece I think “I want to be a girl you can;t shut up” and I’m exciting to continue growing.

  39. Around 91 or 92 I got introduced to punk and indie rock. I was living near Boston at the time, so it was Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Soon enough, I found my way to Minor Threat, Fugazi, Unwound, Huggy Bear, Heavens To Betsy, and of course Bikini Kill. Just had to hear Rebel Girl once and I knew there was something special about them. A couple years later I helped found an incarnation of Riot Grrl Boston, and I got to see Bikini Kill play (one of) their last shows in Cambridge (at TT the Bears I believe, with either Bratmobile or Cold Cold Hearts). I briefly met Kathleen while my best friend at the time hugged her. It was an amazing time.

    Now, I live near Olympia (my teenage dream!) and it’s kind of sad because no one here really knows what was going on 20 years ago. I do my best to remind them of their history though 🙂

    Everyone go see The Punk Singer this weekend in your cities participating theater!!!

  40. I used to like your band but I notice now you are just another suburban faux political whiner. You have no problem calling out white heterosexual men on their sexism when they call a girl doll or something equally benign but sexism and homophobia in any other part of america you are too scared your whitebread audience might not think you are pc. Yeah surprise black men hate gays and rape women too. Also compared to any country in the middle east america is a gender equal utopia but you dont bitch about muslims. U afraid to piss off brown people with destructive beliefs but white guys who you know are more peaceful and take your critiques you are proud to rip to shreds, or is it that only white americans are all that matter to you. ugh the only thing you did to feminism was make overpriveledged white women feel less guilty about their luck in life by comparing themselves to someone slightly more priveledged. I guess it is important to tear down the current reigning class when you know you are the next in line for the throne so when white women take over the world please remember me and kill me quick. I do like some of your songs though you are not completely mediocre.

    • Dude..wow good points. I’m an apostate and left Islam a long time ago for its homophobia and sexism. You are right, no liberal feminist wants to touch that! I wish they would, because something needs to be done! White dudes are easy targets and that is not cool!…that’s why in my band I wrote a song that’s kind of a bitchy reply to Bikini Kill’s song White Boy! Surprise it calls out White Girls for their hypocrisy.

    • It’s not for white feminist’s to go after Black men or Muslim men. There is enough demonization of these groups by white society. There are many, many Muslim feminists and Black feminists/womanists working within their communities to call out sexism and effect change. You’re comment erases them.

    • Bikini Atoll Says:

      Cool Problems. What I love about this century so far is this resurgent righteous reactionary racism that believes itself not to be, asserting some bullshit ‘deeper truth,’ and won’t shut up about it.

  41. Imagining the world without Bikini Kill and the whole riot grrrl movement makes me wanna cry.

  42. I was on a bus ride across Ireland last spring, and when me and my friend and her mom boarded the next bus, it was so full that we had to sit separate. I was sitting next to this fancy girl, and I was slightly afraid to even brush her in case I got her dirty, because I was a rather worn looking traveler. Across the aisle from me was this obviously drunk guy, who was sitting next to an irritated looking, twenty-something girl. He kept nudging her and trying to talk to her, kind of harassing her. At one point, he even stood up and started yelling. I wanted to do something… but I didn’t know what, and I’m 14 and I was admittedly a little but afraid of this loud man who was in his 50s. After he finally got off the bus (the girl was so relieved, and this elderly woman came and sat next to her) I listened to Bikini Kill “White Boy”. It just seemed like a good thing to do.

  43. Firstly, I am only 20 years old, born in 1993. I have to say, I didn’t know what riot grrrl was until I found an extremely obsessive interest (to the point of being detrimental, actually) in grunge sometime last year. What I mean by obsessive, is that I have Aspergers Syndrome and develop such “special interests”, that, when I become interested, it encompasses my whole world. Day in and day out I focused on little more than Nirvana in my spare time, and I branched out to their contemporaries like AiC and Soundgarden. But I was bothered, deeply, by this obsession. There was a kind of unrest that I experienced. I guess it was the tragedy of nearly 20 years ago, that I was barely even age one during the time, of the death of Kurt. I kept researching this, even though it made me feel awful, and of course had to learn about Courtney Love. I’m not into the whole conspiracy thing, let me just say that. But I started listening to Hole’s first album, and I found it intriguing in a sense. So I reasearched Courtney. I guess because Courtney is (was) such an abrasive persona. But she made me feel awful. I still do. Maybe it was a deep-seated, strange jealousy that she “was” punk-rock. That she “was” grunge. That she “was” talented. That she could pretty much do and act however she wanted. She fills me with a feeling of absolute unrest, even though I doubt she is hardly relevant in 2013. But then I came across riot grrrl and Bikini Kill. At first, I had mixed feelings. But Rebel Girl eventually grew on me, and I would listen to that song when I became overwhelmed with my feelings about Courtney. That song is calming to me. Bikini Kill itself, for what it was, is calming to me. Because this band happened during a time that I am personally obsessed with, and that I hate this obsession for how it makes me feel…Listening to some different, that isn’t grunge, that isn’t Nirvana-esque and reminiscent of Courtney…It just makes me feel a lot better. Kathleen Hanna just makes me feel hopeful. It is hard to explain. When I can’t stop thinking about Courtney (this obsessive nature that I am ridden with), switching to Kathleen Hanna just refreshes my mind. Of course the other members too, but Tobi unfortunately makes me think of Kurt, which makes me think of Courtney, and really fills me with anxiety…Anyway, from someone who was basically just born when this music was being made, Kathleen Hanna, you are an inspiration and give me hope for dealing with the world. Thank you

  44. I am trying to recall in my blurry memory when I first heard bikini kill. from what I can remember it was around 1994 or 1995 and I was 11 or 12. I would go over to my cousin’s house and make bootlegs of any of his tapes and later on CDs, that looked awesome. I had already amassed a large collection in the past 2-3 years. Bikini Kill was one of the bands that simply owning a bootleg wasn’t enough, and I saved up and went out and bought the records. I wish I would have seen them live. I settled instead for listening to them 24/7 and making anyone who would stand around long enough listen to me babble about the toughest greatest band all female band they’ve never heard of, but needed to fall in love with immediately.

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  47. A Girl. Says:

    I believe in the radical possibilities of Bikini Kill, babe. Always in my headphones, forever in my heart.

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  49. Stephanie F. Says:

    Bikini Kill has kinda made a resurgence into my life lately… Long & very uninteresting story, so I’ll leave those details out. But it’s got me thinking about what a profound impact the band had on me as an angry, confused teenager trying to find her place in the world. Between discovering the music and the entire zine “scene,” I suddenly had a new outlet. Writing zines was so freeing to me. I never let anyone close to me read them because they were so personal, but yet had no problem handing them out at shows or to total strangers. Which of course, led to some of those strangers becoming some of my closest friends because I had bared my soul to them, so to speak. The bands that inspired me, if I got the chance to see them live, I would give them a copy as thanks. The ones I couldn’t see, I mailed copies to (I miss the days of communicating via letters!). The highlight of those years was actually getting a letter back from Kathleen Hanna (the only response I got), thanking me for sending her my zines & asking if she could display it for others to read. The fact that she took the time to read AND send a letter in response meant so much to me in ways I can’t even explain. I know it sounds silly, but I always wanted to say thanks. Thanks for being an inspiration. Thanks for making me feel validated in my passion. Thanks for making me feel like I too could make it by following my own path.

  50. this is kind of about bikini kill. it’s really long, though. and a lot about yoga and punk and me, so i’ll just offer the link:

  51. Can someone answer this question for me?

    I have been wanting to know this for about ten years. I have researched it online to no avail!

    Why do we spell “yr” like that? I spell it like that because that’s how bikini kill spells it and I like to spell it that way!

    The only clue I have noticed is that Allen Ginsberg, the beat poet also spells it that way.

  52. I first heard Bikini Kill when I was 14 in like 2002. I was starting to get into feminism and notice gender inequality in the world and I was also diversifying the music I listened to, and getting into more punk rock.

    Around that time, I read the Jigsaw Youth article that Kathleen had written, and a lot of what I read resonated with me and still does. The fact that you can’t neatly divide everything into “real” or “fake” and the fact that growing up in this fucked up culture has affected all of us, whether we choose to admit it or not.

    She definitely inspired a lot of my studies in feminism and a lot of the books I’ve read.

    I really wish I could have been to a BK show. I am really sad that like riot grrrl and all this stuff isn’t going on right now. Like, watching some of Kathleen’s Youtube videos has inspired me to want to start a radical feminist consciousness raising group for women in my community. She has also made me feel more confident about my art, and not to feel like I’m not gonna try something because I might not be good at it.

    Bikini Kill made songs about like, things all women can relate to, a lot dealing with sexism and sexual abuse from men, and like, obviously, this has been going on, so why aren’t there any songs about it? so much music is like, from a male point of view. its nice to hear music with lyrics that I can relate to. other favorite musicians are Morrissey, Tori Amos, the Mountain Goats, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper.

    jigsaw youth is a special song for me because I work in the adult industry and im a feminist.

    She has a great voice for bikini kill and LT. She can sound like a young girl, but when she screams, it can sound very aggressive.

    The Julie Ruin Album is probably my favorite thing she has done so far. VGI is like my favorite song.

  53. When I was in summer camp (14 years ago?) there was this really cool kid who rocked a bikini kill shirt… a black shirt with the words bikini kill with a star on each side (I think?).

    I became friends with him and that’s how I got into bikini kill. I would listen to the songs (on CD. Walkman had skip protection so I was obviously really cool) and not get even the most obvious references (Thurston hearts the who…. what is the who?).

    14 years later I’m still in love. People have commented that it’s strange when I wear my bikini kill shirt because I’m a straight dude. Fuck ’em.

    Thank you.

  54. I grew up in Suburban MD and DC and went to Catholic University. I was coming to terms with my homosexuality at the time Bikini Kill came out and yes, they were girls singing about feminism but to me they were about empowerment and taking control and being yourself. Also, misery loves company and I took solace in women’s rights knowing that I had a lot to fight for on my own. They helped me come out they helped me have fun and they helped me grow as a person. I loved seeing them live and I was truly lucky to be where I was at the time because I was exposed to so many great bands. Sure Bikini Kill stuck out among them but the whole scene was ripe with excitement and they were a huge part of that. Always had a gay boy straight boy crush on all of them and they’ll always be a huge part of my life. Thanks Bikini Kill for helping me grow and for showing me a great fucking time.

  55. Hi! I had never seen Bikini Kill or Le Tigre in concert, but I do have a story about meeting Kathleen Hanna! Actually, It’s probably just about a year ago that I had met her. It was really surreal because, you just never think you’re gonna meet one of your heroes. I saw Kathleen give a lecture on “”Riot Grrrl: Then and Now”, it was so, so cool and informative. It was unreal to sit in front of her, hear her speak, and see her smile. At the end of the lecture, I was like first up there to talk to her, and I felt really, really nervous, cause like an idiot I smoked weed before and I was just not all there, hahaha. But yeah, I was sooo nervous, and I was hoping that I wouldn’t come off as rude when I walked up to her as she talked with some people behind a desk or something. But then she saw me standing there, and I could hardly talk and I was stuttering, and I had never been so scared in my life. SO Introduce myself to her, and she shakes my hand and says “hi I’m kathleen, nice to meet you!” And I had to stop my super high self from being creepy and complimenting how soft her hands were, hahahah. So I gave her a note I made for her. Which I guess was more like a letter, but I like saying note better, though I digress. Of course, being high, I felt the need to explain that I once gave beth ditto a note as well? I don’t know what I was saying, I was just so star struck. After word she thanked me for coming, and then another person behind me called her name, and I was so nervous I took that moment to literally run away and out the door. I must have looked so fucking dumb.
    But I wanted to say that, on the letter/note, I had thanked her for everything she has done, and thanked her for inspiring my girlfriends to be themselves. But what I really should of been thanking her for was, well, for myself. For helping me not kill myself in high school, for having me realize that no one could stop this fire inside of me TOO! I feel like maybe that wasn’t my story to tell or thank her for, and I just hope she doesn’t think I’m some stupid gay lame fan boy embarrassing himself. Oh god, also I drew pictures all over the note, drew a picture on the back of two girls holding each others hands and hearts that said “sisterhood is a powerful thing”, and of course, I fucking tried to write a song lyric on the page but wrote the wrong lyrics. UGH. But though as I said I never saw BK or LT play, I did get to sit sort of near Kathleen as she played a Bikini Kill show on the projector, I guess that is as close as anyone is going to get to a BK show unless they have a time machine. This is super long, I apologize. I just wanted to share my story, and tell Katheen Hanna if she ever reads this, or remembers, that I’m sorry I was so dumb, and wish I could have a “redo” kinda deal. But also, to thank you for keeping me alive!

    • We will have a redo and thanks for saying my hands are soft!!! What you wrote means so much to me I don’t think I could even explain it. So thanks, you made my night. xoxoKathleen

      • Kathleen, you’re the best! I just saw The Julie Ruin play at the Union Transfer in Philly the other night, and lemme tell ya, it was such a beautiful show, my gossh. Even though we couldn’t have that redo, it was really great seeing everyone play. You really made me laugh in between songs, you funny lady, youuu. I think when Apt.5 came on I almost cried.
        Okay like when you first came out on stage my heart started to beat out of my chest and all I could do is remember dancing (or sometimes sulking) alone in my bedroom to yr songs. I really liked closing my eyes, and picturing all of us in the audience becoming connected, sort of like wires, while we all listened to yr voice sing into the microphone. That prob sounds really weird, but I think thats okay! (Also I might steal Kenny’s Divine shirt so watch out!)

  56. Wow! I realized this music wasnt meant for me back in the 90’s (being a white male in my 20’s) but I didn’t care one bit. They were so raw and punk rawk they renewed my faith the first time I heard them: the song was White Boy!

    I knew they were hating on me in a way but I loved them for being so free and rare. I remember the press writeups about Riot Grrl this and that but all that seemed to be missing the point that this was one kick-ass Rock&Roll band, Joan Jett’s association with them clinches that for me. Cheers to anyone who can kick as much ass as they did. Much love and respect Grrls!

    I actually got into a fight with a honest-to-god flannel-wearing bull dyke lesbian in the bathroom of the venue who said I “raped her with my eyes” because I stopped for a second and stared at her peeing standing up in a urinal of the mens room. I laughed a little and it was on to the strains of Bkini Kill’s angry,screeching anthems in the background. We ended up being the best of freinds and roommates later, still talk to her and her partner to this day.

    Thank you Bikini Kill, you changed my life for the better!

  57. Just wrote a little blog piece to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Biknin Kill EP. It share some of my memories of seeing the band play in the 90s. It also has a great video of BKs show in Dublin in 1996 which I found on YouTube. I Double Dare you to watch it all.

  58. Rafiella Garcia Says:

    My sister, my girlfriends, & I, insanely love BIKINI KILL! We love you bikini kill! All the guys who hate your music can SUCK OUR LEFT ONES!

  59. Bikini Kill was a huge part of my introduction to punk music and “Rebel Girl” was one of the first songs I’d heard that celebrated female relationships and the awesomeness that we all share! Also, they showed me what a true badass is…someone who speaks their truth.

  60. First song I Heard from bikini kill was during my first break up.. “Don’t need you” , never needed anyone’s bs since then and always looked up too Kathleen. Revolution grrrl f o r e v e r

  61. Wesley D. Meier Says:

    As a young gay male in the early 90’s it seemed that I was at odds with society, my family, and who I thought were my friends. So much bad stuff was happening to me and I just kept my mouth shut. Then I found Bikini Kill; and while I wasn’t a woman I still embraced the revolution and what it suggested. I could have easily been either a doormat or barely alive but after I found Bikini Kill I will forever be a survivor! Because of Bikini Kill I realized my internal worth and power…

    • Good for you man! I had a similar experience, except I’m a straighty! I can so relate to being ostracised by society, family, etc for being different. Bikini Kill gave me permission to break convention, thank you ladies!

  62. Fuck yeah! Bikini Kill let me be a woman!!!!

  63. This is a story for the future. I got great at guitar, showed off my singing and got into the spirit of the band that changed my life. Then I joined Bikini Kill Records. I will make it happen eventually. I’m already getting a bit better at the guitar, though its a slow process but I want this more than anything… 🙂

    • Wesley D. Meier Says:

      Keep Rocking, Ashley… it does seem like a slow process something. I remember when I started teaching myself the guitar and then suddenly I found myself playing live a year and a half later!! To this day I still have no idea what I am doing but I make my own songs and write them… it is actually really easy when i dont think about it!! i wish I could sing 😦 my old band recorded twice… let me know if you ever wanna hear it.

  64. grifftastic Says:

    I fucking love Bikini Kill, and while I give much respect to the philosophy and social stance, I hope that they are remembered for the music first. I miss them so much…they had their moment in the sun and then it was gone. Thank God for original voices, whenever and wherever they show up.

    — a white boy in his 40’s

  65. I didn’t actually hear a Bikini Kill song til my 16th birthday. But in middle school I bought a magazine called “Women In Rock” (cuz it had No Doubt on the cover) & it had an article about Bikini Kill. I had also snagged a copy of the Bikini Kill zine from The Fireside Bowl when I was 15. I cut out a lot of things from that zine & taped it in my high school planner. When I heard “Suck My Left One” on my 16th birthday, I asked the grrl driving the car who we were listening to. She said, “Bikini Kill!” It all came together at that moment & I knew that riot grrrl was something I had to find out more about. The word “slut” has been written on my stomach quite a bit & I’ve helped out with The Riot Grrrl Cover Band shows in Chicago. So many good things came out of finding out about Bikini Kill (among other feminist bands). I’m glad that there are still kids (young & old) who appreciate such an amazing, ground-breaking band!

  66. I really need information about Bikini Kill, because I am writing a thesis about feminism from 1982 to 2008, HELP.

    • VegJenski Says:

      Hey Naomy,
      The book “Girls to the Front” by Sarah Marcus is about the riot grrrl movement, and has a lot of information about Bikini Kill in it. Also, it’s a really really great book!
      Hope that helps.

      • Hi Naomi, I wrote my thesis about the riot grrl movement in 2009 and I used the book ‘riot grrl revolution gril style now!’ and wikipedia and a bunch of thesis about the third wave feminism that I found online. I can give you my email for help if you want. we are all pussy riot xoxo cla

  67. Back in 1991, when BK was getting going, I was eight. I wouldn’t get my copy of the first two records until the late 90’s, when I was a teenager. I remember getting that album, I remember something clicking inside of me. I listened to it non-stop. I listened to all of the records non-stop, once I acquired them, with the exception of Pussy Whipped as I could never find it.
    In 1991 I also had to make the choice between trying to prevent my father from killing my mother or potentially killing me. Luckily, we both lived. He was going to kill her because she was his property and had stepped out of bounds.
    Two memories of questionable sexual abuse happened during a chain of events after this incident. I guess the only sorta good thing that happened that year was that it marked the last that I would ever see of an older half-brother of mine who was in prison and convicted on multiple charges of rape and statutory rape.

    I didn’t know about Bikini Kill when you guys were still around, but your music was so important to me once I found it. I’ve had to swallow a lot of crazy things but your music helped me to realize that I wasn’t crazy for it, even if I hadn’t yet met anyone who understood the truths that I did about being a girl or woman.

    Thank you. So, so much.

  68. David C. Says:

    I’m a middle-aged white guy. Saw BK once, at the Black Cat in Washington, DC, in maybe 1994. Nobody could deny, then or now, that they were one of the most important bands of the period, and I liked them a lot, but at the show I was pretty conscious of being the ‘wrong’ sex. But they had the moment, and really, ever since Bikini Kill, it has been difficult for white guys to have much credibility. I listen to a broad range of music from the 1930’s to the present, but almost never anything done by white guys who got popular in the last 20 years. The zeitgeist is elsewhere. Bikini Kill played as big a role as anybody in this historical development.

    • I was at that gig too David C. As a female fan of punk I’d spent 10 years watching boys thrash and shout and as much as I love(d) Kim Gordon, Tina Weymouth, Chrissy Hynde (and of course, the legend that is Patti Smith) it was Bikini Kill who really made me feel ‘at home’ at a gig. Years and years of elbows to my chest in the mosh pit listening to all the boys (Blag Flag, Fugazi, Ramones, Husker Du, Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney) and finally women on stage, not just in the crowd. My point is, I never felt like the ‘wrong sex’ watching men on guitars so you shouldn’t think like that about BK, or Breeders, or Savages or whoever. Its just music and kicking against the pricks. We’re all wrong. We’re all right! : )

  69. Paleblueriot Says:

    When I first heard or saw the name Bikini Kill was after reading that article on Spin magazine in 1995 about Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna at Lollapalooza. In my teens I was a big fan (and still am) of girl bands like L7, Red Aunts, Babes in Toyland, Lunachicks, Hole, etc. So, on that same day after reading about them, I went to buy any record from them and the only one I found was “pussy whipped”. Listening to their record for the first time, I was like “holy shit!!!” I had goosebump all over my body! The lyrics were amazing and helped me in many different ways. The music was just so powerful! I learn to play guitar to every song and bought all their albums after that. Even now, when I play them, I still get that same feeling I got when I heard them for the first time! In 95′ I remember begging my dad to let me see them open for Sonic Youth at the Hollywood Palladium but it didn’t happen. At least, I never miss a Le Tigre show.

  70. Erica Hess Says:

    I just listened to Bikini Kill again for the first time in like 15 years. I always loved Sonic Youth, Nirvana and that kind of stuff in high school and still do, but I totally forgot how fucking awesome Bikini Kill was. I’ve been listening to “CD Version of the First 2 Records” for days now and it’s just fantastic. So raw, so intelligent. I absolutely love Kathleen Hanna and what she was trying to do, no matter how grotesquely she chose to do it. Just brilliant!

    Thank you so much for music that still makes me feel great!!!

  71. just tried adding my bk story but waz denied. wtf…// 2001 was my 1st taste of ‘bikinikill’ …jetski-bloody icecream-lil’red-outta me-demirep, all of these seminal bk favz lit a fire that still burns within …i’ve fried various amps & speakers prooving the awsomeness of bikini kill…..word.// i also have a small black heart tatoo with kathleenz enitials in it…..

  72. After leaving a violent and psychologically abusive marriage, I crank up BK and it takes all the self loathing and shame for simply being a woman all away. I used to dig BK as a teen in the 90s but now I’m a Domestic Violence survivor the music really helps.
    Thankyou Kathleen for your lyrics. I read your bio and I want to show my daughter all the things your mom did.

  73. product83 Says:

    Ive been a HUGE BIKINI KILL, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin, Kathleen Hanna fan since High School… I have seen Le Tigre and it was AWESOME!!!

    I love live concerts… and would love to find some more… Does anyone have some shows they want to share? Pretty Please..

    email me @ productofculture@gmail.com

    Adam G

  74. Géraldine Says:

    Wow It’s very emotional to real all the comment here.
    I was ( and still am ) a french teen. I remember listening to bikini kill L7 and le tigre since a long time, but in a first place I didn’t understand the lyrics, just get the energy coming from the songs. I was a lesbian in a conservative city and the music was giving me a lot of energy. Then later on I understand the lyrics and everything took a real sense. It’s really uncredible to observe that without understand the lyrics something was deeply having a fesminist lesbian power inside me. Thanks you for everything though !
    I’m actually writing my essay for college about you guys and also about other band like MEN or sexy sushi ( french queer freaks band) I wish I could talk to you one day not as a fan of your music but as a researcher /// writer.

  75. i’ve been feeling lost in my identity lately and have been looking for something or someone to help me find my way out of this dark, fleshy hole I’ve dug myself into, namely, musicians that can help and inspire me…

    But in the times of smiley cyrus, and the pathetic house wives of classy behavior, I don’t know where or who to turn to. so, since I can’t look up to many of the women of today,(with a few exceptions) I’ve begun looking back, to women I can actually respect: bikini kill, garbage, hole, no doubt, brody dalle and many other women of the riot grrrrl movement.

    I came across kathleen hanna’s website and lost my ever-loving mind. I’ve been listening to bikini kill for a few years and they continue to inspire me when nothing else does. I’m slowly finding my inner feminist and hope to nurture her into reality.

    I also just wanted to thank you girls for fighting for me, and being my courage and voice when I had none.

    Thank You.

  76. I have loved Bikini Kill since I was 13. I owned a bunch of their vinyl and made my own t-shirt, because no one carried them where I grew up.

    Now, 15 years later, I co-own a company that makes guitar pedals, etc. and there is so much work to be done. Women are not welcome in the rock & roll club yet. There are bands out there doing it, but not with the help of their male counter-parts. I am shocked at how sexist some of these dudes still are. I was out of the loop having babies and such and when I came back it was as if someone had hit the rewind button.

    It is so important to keep working. Thanks to Bikini Kill and all the other riot grrl bands for teaching me how to fight it.

  77. I saw Bikini Kill in 1995 in Indianapolis. It was in a room about 20 feet by 60 feet and it was packed. I went with a friend who disappeared right after the show. About ten minutes later he came around the side of the building. He told me that he had met the band, and he had told Kathleen that he was a virgin. I asked him why, and he said he didn’t know, he had just blurted it out.

  78. i just realized i’m one of those women who has a husband and child, lives is a lovely house, enjoys reading Martha Stewart cover to cover and Rachael Ray for the recipes, gets bi-weekly pedicures, and after a lovely meal including a to die for cerviche, likes to scream Resist Psychic Death in a parking lot until my throat is sore. Thanks Bikini Kill…your effect is everlasting. In one way or another!

  79. Wanjiru Says:

    I’m a 22 year old woman from London. I just discovered Bikini Kill about a year ago and I can honestly say that their music is amazing. Before listening to Bikini Kill, I didn’t know that music like that even existed. Listening to Bikini Kill, I am just amazed at Kathleen Hanna’s courage and at the innovativeness of her style of singing. I am so grateful to Bikini Kill for creating music which is feminist. I really do believe that women need women’s culture, they need access to female voices which aren’t merely spouting pseudo-feminism. As a woman, when you live in a patriarchal society in which culture is predominantly male it can become hard to find things that you can relate to. Listening to Bikini Kill, and in particular Kathleen Hanna’s voice, has helped me in so many ways. I can relate to so many Bikini Kill songs, especially SUGAR- love that song. I have never listened to anything so radical, so feminist and so inspiring. Other girl bands that I’ve listened to in the past have been a bit too depressing; I like the fact that Bikini Kill can counter depressing subjects with a sense of rage; Kathleen Hanna doesn’t seem to scream ‘I am dying’ but ‘I am alive and I am fucking angry’. Seriously, Bikini Kill has blown my mind. Just when I was starting to buy the media bullshit message that feminism is ‘dead’, that women haven’t created anything brilliant, I stumble across Bikini Kill. They’ve taught me to have respect for myself, to value myself, to not let men screw me over, to value female friendship and to not sacrifice myself for men. They’ve also encouraged me to open my eyes the sexual politics of everyday situations. I love Bikini Kill. ❤

  80. shesaiddestroy Says:

    In school I was always the weird loud mouth girl who would piss people off. I was often asked if I was a feminist, and for years I would always respond with a no. I knew I felt strongly about women’s rights and abortion access and all that but surely that didn’t make me a feminist. During my last semester in high school I had a class with a super cool punk chick who referred to herself as a riot grrrl. I became curious and after some research I discovered BK and the awesomeness of the riot grrrl movement. The music made me realize that 1. I AM a feminist and 2. this is something to be proud of. My discovery of BK totally changed how I look at life. Now I am a college student studying gender and sexuality. I love it. ❤ to all my riot grrrl sisters.

  81. I just wanted to say, I am an 18 yr old girl from the midwest, who discovered BK when I was 15 and it legit blew my mind.I am pretty sure if I hadn’t found BK I would be dead or in a nuthouse. I had made small zines when I was 10( I called them newspapers) and it is totally the most rewarding thing. I also wanted to say to all the girls out there that you can change the world with words. Use education and other tools to empower yourself, question the rules of society and politics, and get to work!!! xoxo

  82. So I was a young married 20 something back in the nineties, with a small baby. Mormon on top of it, though a politically and socially liberal feminist one at that(yes, there is such a thing, sometimes change must happen from within…lol). Anyways, my musical tastes have never been that interesting, but I heard “Rebel Girl” on the radio one day and became obsessed on the spot with Bikini Kill. The most romantic thing my husband ever did for me was get a babysitter and take me to see you guys in concert for an early birthday gift. THere sat my Dockers wearing husband in the midst of your guys live show! lol Well, now my baby is a teen and we actually had a great conversation about the lyrical context of “I Like Fucking” when he gaped at the title on my ipod the other day. Bikini Kill-the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂

  83. Gerard d23 Says:

    Just like to say, that how it has taken me so long to discover Bikini Kills music (i’m 38) is fukn unbelievable… but discovered it I have. Bikini Kill are up their with Fugazi and Sonic Youth as radical movers in the US punk scene.. How I would have loved to have seen them play with Fugazi in the early nineties. Anyway, just to say that I dj frequently in Bristol, Uk and will play them forever. peace, love and respect.

  84. I was pretty much raised on bikini kill and nirvana, when other kids around me were listening to chart music. I was obviously born to late to ever see either band live, but god i wish i did.
    Bikini kill are definitely one of my favorite bands today, they inspired me to actually be outspoken, and to have a little bit of self esteem. They showed me that girls dont have to sit down, be ladylike and shut up. That i can say what i want, and it doesn’t matter if other people don’t like it. Thank you.
    Ps, thanks to Tobi for telling me about this blog 😛

  85. Bikini Kill are probably my favourite band, ever! It was 1993, and I went to this predominantly female music school, called Rock N Roll High School, in Melbourne, Australia (Brody Dalle went there – back then, she was known as Bree Leslie, and was in the excellent band, SourPuss!) . I heard ‘Suck My Left One’ on the radio, probably on the community radio station PBS or Triple R, and looked for their CDs/vinyl at my local record store. Luckily, the store Missing Link had their CDs and I even ordered a Bikini Kill T-shirt.

    I was learning how to play my favourite songs on guitar and piano at the time, and was trying to form bands with my friends. There really seemed to be a revolution going on, with the whole punk scene suddenly experiencing an influx of female musicians! Yay!

    Then, in 1996, Bikini Kill played the Corner Hotel in Richmond, and they were absolutely phenomenonal! I remember Kathleen saying, “Are there any women writers in here?” And I screamed back (as I was doing a writing course at the time). She encouraged everyone to follow their dreams, and a few years later, I started writing for music magazines! Kathleen also sang a few bars of ‘Puppy Love’ and she said, that when she was younger, girls wanted to be with Donny Osmond, but that she wanted to “be Donny Osmond.” I think that message is still true today – women can do anything that men can do – and they can often do it better!

    Bikini Kill also visited Rock N Roll High School, and I got their autographs. They gave a little impromptu ‘press conference’ in a rehearsal room, where they answered questions. I remember them talking about setting up information about self-defence classes for women. They really seemed to genuinely care about the welfare and safety of women – it was really touching. I remember they also stayed at one of the girl’s houses that night. And when they left the school, Kathleen was on a search for a “smoothie.”

    They were and are inspirations for all girls and women, and they changed the music scene forever! Just look at how the ‘alternative rock scene’ has embraced women musicians in bands like Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Gossip and Paramore – women are seen as equal to men, and Bikini Kill were a huge part in making that reality happen. Girls and women involved in the music scene are hugely indebted to Bikini Kill. Thanks so much!:D

  86. People have told me to turn BK down ’cause it’s “Just angry.” But it’s not truly anger. It’s love… and it changed my life. Thank you.

    • Kate Thomson Says:

      I put “In Accordance To Natural Law” and “Strawberry Julius” on every mixtape I made in the mid – late 90’s.

      R.I.P is one of the most beautiful, emotional songs ever written. I still love screaming and crying along with that one when I’m alone and need to release some emotions.

  87. Rachael Wigley Says:

    Growing up I was very sheltered, my parents hovered over me and gave me little room to grow and become my own person. One day around fourteen years ago I was watching a movie and they mentioned Bikini Kill as something the girl was listening to. I had to wait until my parents were asleep and look this name up online. The first song I heard was “Rebel Girl”, it was amazing. I had never heard anything like this. I identified so much with the message, the anger and pain in the voice touched me. I had to continue listening in secret until one day I was taking a CD to a friend and I was discovered! My mom put the CD in and listened silently. I was terrified, I just knew I was dead. She turned the CD off and looked at me, slowly a smile formed and she started telling me about being in marches for choice, gay rights, never shaving her legs and all the things she did growing up in the 70’s. I heard how my mixed-race parents met in a race riot and how she watched people drink at “white” fountains and “black” fountains.

    I can say without a doubt Bikini Kill changed life for me! I was able to be myself in my home suddenly and was encouraged to look for new music, new books, new ways of thinking. I can thank them for their music, the songs that I identified with and helped me address feelings I couldn’t reach. I can thank them for being so in your face that it shoot my mother up to allow me to be myself.

    I’m too young to have ever been to a show, but I am eternally grateful for this band!

  88. bikini kill changed my life forever.

  89. Julianne W Says:

    Oh my god.. Kathleen Hanna’s sound is just amazing. I wish I had the talent to sing and scream at the same time. Its not the typical sound either, its raw sound. And I love adorable yet smart she is at the same time. It makes me want to be the kind of girl who gets respect and can still have fun. Your music is like nothing else out there, Kathleen!

  90. My favourite song is In Accordance to Natural Law and I never really understood the title until one day I was in Religious Studies in Philosophy and we were doing Natural Law and the phrase “in accordance to nature” kept popping up until I made the connection and did this massive gasp, no one knew what I was going on about but I walked about all day with this massive smile!
    Kathleen is that where you got the title from? Or is it something completely different?

  91. bikiniboy13 Says:

    I never got the chance to see BK (or Le Tigre for that matter) because my parents definitely wouldn’t have let me go (not because of the show’s content, but) because I was too young. Riot grrl would’ve been too much for my parents at the time. The first time I heard Bikini Kill, I was 9 (circa 2001) and I heard it in the film Not Another Teen Movie and my sister wouldn’t tell me the name of the song during the painting/art class scene and I realized later it was because my sister herself didn’t even know the name of the song.

    More recently, I discovered Bikini Kill again. My best friend used to like it when she was 12. I think it’s kinda given a nice, little spunky edge to her personality. She spent her young teen years listening to the likes of Bjork, Bikini Kill/Le Tigre, Goldfrapp, and The Dresden Dolls. All women in bands who’ve admitted to being bisexual. Fuck yeah… Anyway, my friend re-introduced me to Bikini Kill when I found out who Le Tigre was, and… Just as I’m listening to it now, I just love what a stir it would’ve caused in the early 90’s. Just the lyrics themselves and everything else. My mother can’t handle it, I wish she could though. She should meet Kathleen Hanna. Her views are life are slightly skewed and definitely a reason why I’m pretty feminist. Kathleen Hanna’s bands and music definitely makes me think Riot Grrl. Like everytime I listen to Bikini Kill, I remember why I’m a feminist and why I love being a feminist.

    My mother… I know this is entirely off-topic, but regardless of how many times I try to reason with her, I can’t seem to. I have trouble getting along with her recently. I shouldn’t be blogging on a public website about this, but watching her go through marriages and the way men treat her on an emotional level just reminds me that I, as a gay man, would never want to treat my boyfriend or husband that way. The same goes for my dad. Watching him treat women the way that he does… Like belittling my mother when they were getting a divorce. I have to give her empowerment credit for when she fucked my dad one last night and then the next day told him she wanted a divorce. Anyway, the reason I want my mom to be friends with Kathleen Hanna is because: there’s something that neither me nor my sister nor any family member can give her, but something that a friend could give her. It runs in our family. We take more advice from our friends than we do from our family members. But this something: someone needs to give her a sense of woman. I’ve tried so many times to get her to say “fuck you!” to her husband. She’s told me several times that she has to get off the phone with me because her husband is “going to be home soon and if dinner isn’t ready by the time he gets home, he’ll be cranky.” I’m her fucking son… We weren’t done having a conversation. I don’t know what to do. Kathleen or anyone, if you’re reading this, what do you reommend I do? With my mother’s current married, all of her “friends” are my stepfather’s male friends’ girlfriends (or wives). And my mother is convinced (from my stepfather’s behavior around her used-to-be real friends) that she can’t have her own life and friends. She can have acquaintances through work, but that’s it. She also is convinced that, because she bought a house and is married to this man, that she can’t back out. She “barried herself a grave and just has to lie down in it.” It hurts to see her so unhappy and so convinced that she thinks she’s stuck. She’d never declare divorce, it’s all my stepdad. He’ll be the one to call divorce, but who knows if that’ll ever happen? It is so painful to see my mom go through this much pain, knowing that she’s unhappy, and knowing that she’s in this constant thought process that she has to stay.

    With all of my female friends, I always remind them to be and feel empowered being a women because with men, you can chop off his dick and watch him run around. With women, there’s nothing to chop off. Also, all the benefits of being a woman. I would want to be a woman, but I enjoy being a man too much. Some of my girl friends can make a guy’s jaw drop to the floor and have them drooling after her, but…guess what? She’s gay. =)

    Bikini Kill’s lyrics are so beautiful in a really spunky way. I used to listen to music like this, but it was men, not women. I’m kinda bummed now that I realize what I was missing out on. I really want my mom to find her woman empowerment side. I’ve seen it come out, but she quickly puts it away. The women empowerment side of myself that I found through listening to feminist music, like Bikini Kill and Le Tigre through my teen years. Kathleen or anyone, if you’re reading this, how would you recommend I go around this? I don’t want to spend another 5 years seeing her unhappy and not feeling good about herself.

    • Erica Hess Says:

      I think you were brave to say all of that, and I admire you for your concern over your mother’s happiness and well being. She needs to know that her wants/needs are just as important as those of her husband, but some women have the type of personality that, for one reason or another, makes it difficult to be assertive.
      I see that you posted this a long time ago but I hope your mom is OK now.
      It’s kind of refreshing to get these things off of our chests among strangers sometimes 🙂

  92. Whenever I listen to Bikini Kill, I feel like a male lesbian. jokes.
    Its a sexy time, I grew up around alot of single mothers, my aunts, my mother, my grnadmother. so I pree much grew up around alot of chicks.
    therefore I have deep respect for bikini kill lyrically, it amuse’s me and also fills my brains with badass knowledge and also can energize me like a coke fiend gettign thier fix.

  93. Bikini Kill’s lyrics feel like having a friend who understands.

    • In 1994 I was a suicidal teenager from a fucked up family in a conservative Midwestern town. I was drowning in abuse and hypocrisy. Bikini Kill saved my life. Knowing that there were others out there who could verbalize thoughts and feelings that I wasn’t able to at that time gave me the strength to live through it. Thank you.

  94. Kenziejane Says:

    The first time I found out about bikini kill, was very, very recently if my memory serves. I found out about Kathleen Hanna through reading ‘Riot Grrrl Revisited’ in Bust magazine’s June/July 2010 issue. Yes, this is sad, but I am only 19… so I wasn’t around to be an active part of the scene anyway.

    The funniest part about my realization of being a feminist…
    The only reason I am really aware of these views of mine are due to an ex BOYFRIEND who really opened my eyes up to being politically active/not being afraid of speaking my opinion. In reality, he deserves no credit for this realization, but I came to it through being with him and realizing that I had certain views about men that were keeping me from being able to be intimate with them in a sexual way. So the fact that I was afraid of him seeing me as vulnerable as that kind of made me realize there was a reason WHY i was so afraid… and eventually it all tied into the fact that I am a feminist, and am no longer afraid of expressing my sexuality…

    And that’s where BK come in. The lyric, “It’s hard to talk with your dick in my mouth..” has always stuck with me and just really helped me to realize/form certain opinions.

    I suppose I am really unable to put into words the impact that BK and Kathleen Hanna have had on my life… It’s kind of like the way that I came to the realization of my feminist-ic views/beliefs and the belief that women can fucking do anything a man can, if not do it better. And listening to them made me realize I need to stand up and express how I feel because another revolution needs to be started. At least in terms of the people I am forced to spend time with/the area I live in. Because no one is able to respect my views apart from my lesbian and gay friends. So I’m feeling as if I need to follow in their footsteps and start my own revolution.

    And as I’m typing this, I’m in english class at my college writing an essay on feminism/the acceptance(or lack thereof)of women in music today. 😛

  95. The Teen Witch Says:

    Hi – here is my Bikini Kill story/memories 🙂

    I think the first time I heard of Bikini Kill was in 1991 or 1992 – there was a brief article/review in either Spin or Rolling Stone. Based on the article or maybe because they were the only other hard rock girl band I knew of, I thought Bikini Kill was something like the heavy metal band Cycle Sluts From Hell, who I discovered when they were on some talk show*.

    Anyhow, years later my friend had a copy of Pussy Whipped, which he played and I loved. They sounded more punk rock than heavy metal, which was cool by me. I bought all of the other BK (and Frumpies and The Fakes) records; they were really liberating (I was a repressed gay boy blah blah blah). I eventually got to see BK play in 1994 in Richmond, VA. I even talked to Kathleen despite being scared of her (she was very nice & cool) and bought a Viva Knieval record from her too. The show was tight – I thought they sounded really good. Kathleen did some jump roping, cartwheels and played a recorder or something (maybe I am misremembering though); Tobi sang 2 songs I think and Kathi had this weird hat and chewed gum the whole set (cool). Billy was kind of a mad rock n roll guitarist. There wasn’t too much commotion/confrontation really from what I remember – what their shows were known for at the time (it seemed like every issue of Maximum Rock n Roll had some article about stuff going down at Bikini Kill shows during this time).
    Throughout the 90s, I wrote to the band and even got some letters and zines/publications back, which rocked my world. I couldn’t believe they had time for lil’ ole me ha ha ha. I even made a Frumpies web site – I’m not sure what happened to it.

    In any case, I *heart* the Bikini Kill, the Frumpies & the Jigsaw zines too. All of this, of course, changed my life (for the better).

    PS I think it would be awesome if Kathleen (aka Maggie Fingers) could republish some of the old books like The Most Beautiful Girl is a Dead Girl (amazing)… some kind of anthology, compilation, etc. We are still hungry for this.

    *I Googled this and I guess it was Morton Downey Jr’s talk show

  96. Without Bikini Kill, I wouldnt be who I am or where I am today. I was introduced to Bikini Kill be a few coworkers at the record store I worked in as a teenager. I then found out about the julie ruin album, and le tigre, and it all began. I never felt the empowerment and strength of women telling their stories and feelings with such an amazingly aggressive way until I was about 16. I was sexually molested for several years by a neighbor when I was just a little girl. It tore away my self respect and confidence at an early age and I was terrified to be around guys who werent family. I didnt know how to channel my anger and shame. Bikini kill lyrics and kathleens voice also carried me through a very emotionally abusive relationship that I couldnt find the strength to get out of until I found empowerment through music. I truly love kathleen for everything shes done for my mind.

    • That’s horrible. I think that’s one of the worst crimes that can be committed, and there is no excuse for someone violating another in such a manner, especially a child. I think people that do that are really, really sick individuals. It makes me sad that things like that go on in this world.

  97. I was a little young when riot grrrl was in full force but I really wish I had something like that in my life while I was a teenager. I am now just getting into bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile and my story is now that I am learning about these bands and the strong women of that whole era I feel like I am not alone. Not alone in having been through a really powerless feeling teenage female.

  98. Angy Ruin Says:

    The first time i heard Bikini Kill was two years ago. While playing one of the rock bands. I liked the beat of Rebel Girl so i looked more into the band.
    Bikini Kill is one of my favorite bands and the music has truly changed my thoughts on the punk genre. Because this music wasn’t about getting drunk and being a douchebag O: This music was about empowerment and about girls standing up. I love Kathleen :DD
    I have recently checked out more of her musical “experiments”
    And i hope one day i have the honor of meeting her:)
    Bikini Kill revolutionized girl punk bands all around, girls in general!:D

  99. I first heard bikini kill when i took the bus home with this high school girl who had short hair and wore kids tshirts, corduroy pants, granny sweaters and chucks while i was in junior high. She played them for me and i had no idea what just happened. it was a different experience than the bands full of angsty boys i was used to hearing and i felt like someone understood my rage as i read the liner notes. while i had a very “alternative” friend group no one except my friend J was down with my love for screaming girls so i sought out and found the first online community i would become a part of. A Riot Grrrl email list serve! I felt like i bonded writing email diary entries to this group i didnt know by face, hearing their responses and their sharing of stories too. I learned so much and thought there was such mature women in the group some being as old as 24 (im now 28)! There was mailed zines back and forth and one day I, “Dartgrrrl”, was suppose to meet “Chicariot” in the lower east side of nyc for a riot grrrl meeting at this place i heard of called ABC No Rio. I hadnt been to manhattan without adult supervision in some way before but my, at the time, closeted friend J and i concocted a plan to meet her and her friend at the Astor St. cube. We met and trekked to les to find the meeting cancelled, went to Kim’s bought some 45’s and a zine store on st. marks. A few days later my parents asked me about my time at the Mall with over the weekend. I slipped and said something about the train and since I lived on Long Island u dont take the train to the mall i was interogated until the truth came out, grounded and banned from the internet and manhattan for a long time. You can guess I was blasting bikini kill and all the other great bands i had learned about from the list throughout my incarceration. While through high school I became more involved in long islands hardcore scene i never stopped listening to riot grrrl and it lived in my heart and actions and still to this day.

    • Its interesting that you mention LIHC, because I’ve actually been a part of LIHC/NYHC for many years now. I don’t play in a band or anything like that, but its been a part of my life for a pretty long time. My situation was that my younger brother and sister had gotten into it during their junior high days. I, on the other hand, was wandering around aimlessly and confusedly with a different “regular” kind of crowd. But, my siblings and I have always been very close. At around 18, I began to go thru a period in my life I like to refer to as my spirit quest of sorts. I started to question what I was doing with my life, where I seemed to be heading, and if that was really the right thing for me. I was surrounded in my circle of friends by many shallow, materialistic people of not a very high intelligence level. And, the things that seemed to matter greatly to them, didn’t really mean much to me, and vica versa. I come from a long line of blue collar, yet intelligent, good people and I was always proud of that fact. So, there was a combination of things about the music that appealed to me and tended to draw me more towards the scene. It helped me to gain a greater sense of self and individuality, and a deeper appreciation of my background and the people I came from. So, I pretty much said goodbye to friends I had and went my seperate way. I like to think, towards a path that was more meant for me, and that meant more to me.
      I’ve never really had a problem so much with the guys expressing themselves. I mean, granted, there’s always going to be some piggy kinds of men who are brainless and idiotic. That’s a given. But, there are always going to be women like that too unfortunately. I’ve found that there are some good guys around and their words and music can be very insightful as to their feelings and how we treat each other as sexes in general. For instance, after I started to listen to the music, I began to realize that boys actually sometimes have feelings too! lol And, that’s a pretty important revelation I guess. Especially after having known so many of the dumbass kinds of guys, its a HUGE revelation to realize there are some decent ones out there as well.
      Anyway….. so it was important for me in that way, and for my growth as a person, from little girl into adult, you could say.
      We were fortunate enough, my sister and I, to grow up with an above and beyond exceptional kind of dad and brother. They always have encouraged us to strive and reach our full potential, and have supported us in our endeavors, rather than even having attempted to stifle us in any way due to our sex. So, I tend to feel and know from experience that there are some good guys out there and not to give up on them as a whole as a sex, just because of some of the idiot kinds around. lol

      In other words, I listen to both male and female bands, and music means quite a bit to me. It tends to soothe my soul. Like you say, that coming of age period in my life has lived in my heart to this day also.

  100. i just wanted to say thank you. bikini kill got me through highschool…in all honesty i don’t think i would be here today if it weren’t for your music. i had a tough time growing up and listening to what bikini kill had to say not only left me feeling empowered but most importantly didn’t make me feel alone anymore.


  101. Harriet Doorstop Says:

    Two years ago when I was fourteen I was desperatly trying to find some music that I could get into. I live in rural south-eastern Minnesota and everyone I knew was just a buncha red-necked airheads who listen top 40, so I never had an outlit to get away from that sorta shit.
    I didn’t have any friends mostly just because I hated everyone and everything. All the music that I listened to just seemed like bullshit. None of it was real or angry or real angry. And even it was, it still didn’t matter, because none of it was like me. It wasn’t what being angry as a girl meant.
    Eventually a fluke chance led me to discover and fall in love with Green Day, though. And one day while I was bored and reading the credits on American Idiot I noticed that the guest vocal intro to Letterbomb was credited to Kathleen Hanna. For some reason that name happened to stick with me and I ended up looking it up on wikipedia. And it of course said that she fronted the riot grrrl band Bikini Kill. And I was just like, “Riot Grrrl? That sounds interesting…” and then clicked the link “Feminist. Punk. Movement.- I’M SOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    And the rest was history. All I ever remember doing after that was smiling. Smiling as I read about Bikini Kill, Sleater-kinney, Hole, and Bratmobile. Smiling as I listened to Rebel Girl on youtube. Smiling as I ordered an album called Pussy Whipped (“Pussy Whipped??? Holy shit!) off the internet. Smiling as I started learning how to play the guitar…. 🙂
    Smiling was never something that I did a whole lot before. I never felt like I was entitled to. Now I know that I am, though.
    I suppose that I was always like this. It’s just that I never felt okay being like this. I never felt okay being angry, I never felt okay being a girl, I never felt okay with intellectualizing, I never felt okay about being loud, or brave, or smart, or brash. I felt ashamed for being who I am and who I want to be. Now I don’t anymore.
    I’m the queen of the nieghborhood, bitches. 🙂
    And I intend to take this new-found confidence and knowledge and use it unbashedly when I start my owe band.
    Thank you so much Bikini Kill.

    • theadventureclub Says:

      Your band is gonna change the world. Don’t delay, start it now!!!

    • When you get angry tho, its important to channel that anger in the proper way….creatively, artistically. Use it to your advantage to make YOU a better, stronger person, not just a mirror image of what perhaps made you so angry in the first place. Unfortunately, it seems too many people go about expressing their anger in very wrong, disasterous ways nowadays.
      When you hold onto anger for too long, and/or express it in the wrong manner, it festers in you and eats away at your insides, and it can destroy you. So, its important to find the proper balance. I don’t take any crap, but I don’t go around just hurting people because it makes me feel good or something either. I’m a strong enough person internally where I can be me, and be proud to be me, and stand up for myself and stand on my own when needed, but not ever be a cruel dominating bully either. I can take people’s crap and then take a few deep breaths and walk away from it and be “the better person”, and then channel that anger and/or pain I felt into something productive that I can be proud of myself for and yet still have had my say, rising above so to speak.
      Some people grow from anger and pain, and become better, stronger people for it. Others become just the flipside of the coin of what they hated.
      Just some words of wisdom from a long-time non-conformist, proud to be me, pretty tough b*tch.
      BTW- check out an old school punk band called Xray Spex. They did an awesome song called “Oh Bondage, Up Yours”.

      • Harriet Doorstop Says:

        Thanks for your insight. I really apprecaite what you had to say, cause yeah, channeling anger has been a hard thing for me to do. But what I was trying to express in my previous comment was that Bikini Kill has given me a way to use music as an outlet for channeling anger and thats why they are so important to me.
        But, yeah. Growing from anger and pain to become a better, stronger person is pretty much my goal in life. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to write that out for me!
        P.S. I LOVE Xray Spex!!!! My boyfriend actually found a used copy of Germ Free Adolescents at some record store and gave it to me for my 16th birthday. lol.

    • I first found out about Bikini Kill and the Riot Grrrl Movement early last year through my obsession with Joan Jett. I am 16 too and hate the fact that I will miss out on the experience of going to a BK show but went to a Joan show last summer and got so emotional when she came on the stage, it felt as close as I was going to get to a BK show, Joan and BK inspired me to pick up a guitar and they got me through the hard times when I felt alone and now all I need to do it listen to Reject All American or In Accordance to Natural Law and my mood is instantly lifted. I have never met a girl my age who loves Bikini Kill so just reading posts like these give me hope that one day I can start my band and make awesome music just like Bikini Kill did. Start your band and I’ll start mine! if you want e-mail me because I would love to chat with someone my age about this sort of stuff

      • Harriet Doorstop Says:

        Hey, I’m so happy you posted!! I live in the most desolate town on the face of the planet so I know absolutely NO ONE my age or older who even knows who Bikini Kill is, so I would be uber-excited to talk to you anytime! Is there supposed to be a link or something for your email?


  103. I just uploaded some of one of the three Bikini Kill shows I video taped (other two are Jabberjaw and Rhythm & Brews in Indio):

    I remember talking to Kathleen on the phone once and she announced after a while: “I need to run because my bath water is running”.
    My girlfriend at the time talked to her about a week later and she used the same excuse!
    I still to this day will say that when I want to stop talking to someone annoying on the phone. G1 Kathleen!

    • this is a great clip…i almost feel like i was there! it struck me as a bit comical/ironic that Kathleen gets very irate and a young man who is taking pictures of her . Maybe he said something derogatory, not sure buuuut…. I just finished reading a CNN interview with her where she says she wishes the Bikini Kill days were archived better instead of a bunch of “crappy youtube videos”. Well maybe if you would have let a few of those geeky AV dudes take pictures of you it would have been! And if you are bouncing around in your undies on stage MORE POWER TO YOU, but expect folks to look at/take pics of your ass. Girls and boys alike. Who cares, anyway? This is where BK lost me.

  104. Working-Class Geek Says:

    I grew up a working-class geek: too poor to hang with the suburban alterna-kids, too nerdy to hang with the tough guys. Although I was a boy, Riot Grrrl in general and Bikini Kill in particular pointed me to a way out of that conundrum. I didn’t have to be a macho prick to be cool. I didn’t have to be rich to change the world. My personal acquaintance with Bikini Kill was limited: I saw them play twice and they stayed at a friend’s apartment once (of course I was too terrified to do anything more than stammer “hello”). But they were a huge influence on me, as well as one of the rockin’-est bands of their day. Thanks, Bikini Kill!

  105. I don’t generally post on blogs and what not because truthfully its not really my thing but….I came across Kathleen’s blog post about her husband’s speech at the award show in ’99 and also another about wanting people to share their thoughts here etc. so… I remember when Adrock made that speech about the rapes at Woodstock and it really hit home because my sister had been raped the winter previous to that. It obviously was a very emotional experience for us, and it was awesome to see someone calling attention to things like that and working towards change for the better. Because forced copulation, whether done to woman, man, child…whatever…is wrong. It was great that he did that and I would have been proud of him too if he were my husband.

  106. finding bikini kill was just like by accident. i was reding the book ‘kurt cobain’s diaries’ and while reading the name bikini kill it just sounded cool to me and i thought well let’s try em out. so i listened to rebel girl and sat there with this really huge smile in my face and looked over to my boyfreind who wirnkled up his nose and said: i really fell in love with this bitch! two days later i got all the records from the internet and today, i’m writing like an essay about you ladies, and i hope i’ll pass my exams with it.
    i really love you ♥

    • One of our cats is actually named Coby, for Kurt. He passed away right about the time we adopted her as a kitten. After his death my sister, who was in 9th or 10th grade at the time, went into mourning and then decided that should be the cat’s name. Coby is approximately 17 years old now and still kicking *smile*. She’s actually the oldest cat we’ve ever had, and one of the sweetest!
      Too bad about your boyfriend. But maybe it was meant to be. I always find it such a shame that there seem to be so many people willing to forego true romance and connection. I’m uber old school in that I believe in things like soulmates and “the one” and true love and what not. More and more nowadays it seems like people just get together randomly with no real connection or bond between them, and try to just make it work and force the issue, even if its not meant to be…instead of holding true to ideals and romance and belief that there is someone special out there for everyone, and they just need to keep looking and maybe they’ll find that right person, rather than try to force the issue with Mr.wrong for them, you know what I mean?
      I’m single and I’ve been single since I was 17 years old, now rapidly approaching 34. It takes a tough woman, a strong woman to hold out and not give into pressure from society to “get married, have kids, don’t be seen single for too long, yada yada yada…”
      if you find your one, your true love, whenever that may be, and it really is the person you’re meant to be with…that’s great. But just to be with a man, any man, any random man whether its meant to be truly or not, whether there is love there or not… so as not to be seen single or not following along with supposed expectations by society etc…I know for a fact it takes a strong person to not just go along with the crowd and get married and have babies with some random person just because everybody else is doing it.
      Its hard to be alone, you know? Sometimes its lonely, but also you don’t have some idiot there constantly yapping at you and misunderstading you and your heart. Its hard to hold out for true love and true bond and connection, and to keep looking. Because everybody expects you to do things a certain way and also its easier to get by by relying on a man sometimes.
      But when you’re strong, you can endure it and hold out for what is really meant to be, and not just go along with what everyone expects you to do and be, and what everyone else is doing so as not to seem “different” or a black sheep.
      So, if you’ve got some guy that you perceive as a jerk, then be strong and go your own way. Make your own path, forge your own future, and hold onto the belief that yeah there may be some guys that for you it is not meant to be. But maybe out there somewhere there is someone special who will love you for you and you won’t have to deal with all kinds of bullsh-t. because it will just be right, you know? Not Mr.so wrong for you.
      Its just too bad so many people out there are willing to settle for bad relationships and not-right situations. Foregoing the possibility of true love for other reasons etc.
      One of my favorite songs is “The Only One” by the Cromags. It helps to inspire me and keeps me from settling. lol

  107. I have mostly been known to speak of Bikini Kill and how it made me feel growing up when I get drunk and emotional. But I guess today I’ll make an exception and share with everyone else.

    Finding Bikini Kill was revolutionary to me, not because of the message, but because I had never seen or heard chicks in bands before. I grew up in a small town in Texas. I met a girl who moved to my town from Houston. Her mom is an artist and her dad is a scientist. Her dad always told us, “Do not, for any reason, ever go into the basement.” One day we decided to just do it. Upon stumbling into the basement, we find a turn table and crates full of records. Records weren’t really big in my time because I grew up in the 90’s so cassette tapes were fazing out and CDs were hitting their prime.

    We carefully went through each and every one of those records. I stumbled across Bikini Kill’s self titled record http://www.historylink.org/db_images/BikiniKill_1992.jpg. The chick on the front stuck out to me immediately and hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never seen a chick with a microphone besides old country singers (not that I don’t appreciate it, but Kathleen was different). We figured out how to work the turn tables and the first thing we hear is “Double Dare Ya.” As soon as Kathleen’s vocals came in, it was all over. After hearing a few more songs, it was no longer about a chick fronting a band, or the entire band being made up of women. It was about what they were doing and what point they were trying to get across.

    I fell in love.

    When I was 14 or 15, I came to spend the weekend with my aunt and uncle who were living in Austin, Texas at the time. They took me to a record store where I found that same Bikini Kill record I had heard for the first time. I begged and pleaded with them to let me get it and eventually they caved in, officially allowing me to spend my hard earned allowance on my first record. I still have that record. It sits at the front of my record collection. And I thank you fine ladies every time I turn on the news and hear about celebs for essentially steering me away from that, in a weird, roundabout way. Had I never found Bikini Kill, no one knows what I’d be doing or what I would be into. But I’m proud to say BK opened my eyes to several things I would have never known growing up in a small town.

    I never had the opportunity to see Bikini Kill because I’m too young. It didn’t stop me from blasting these records and pissing off my parents, though.

    And last but not least, here is me rockin’ a BK shirt before work. I’d post all the other photos I have where I am proudly holding up my BK records, but I don’t want to freak out anyone 🙂

  108. I do I do I do! I remember my friend used to play me all this punk rock music to try to get me to be a punk chick. I hated most of it. So masculine! Then he played me Bikini Kill. Everything.Changed.Then. I became an indie kid.

    • My best friend in High School got me into Riot Grrrl, and im still all about it. I never got to see Bikini Kill, sadly, but I have seen footage, and I saw LE TIGRE at Wexner Center in Columbus, OH….

      Listen to how cool this was….

      First Kathleen was super cool to me, and only me!!!! She decicated Stay Monkey to me!! AND at the end she jumped off stage, hugged me THREE TIMES!!! and ran off.

      I collect concerts, and id love some BK, or LT. does anypne wanna share? I need some flyers for cover art. email me

  109. Unfortunately, I was born too late to actually be part of the Riot Grrrl (I was born in 1996), but the message still speaks to me. Bikini Kill’s message has inspired me to be more confident, and not care what other people, particularily guys, think of myself and my appearance. So, thank you, Bikini Kill, for giving me the confidence to help me make it through my upcoming high school years.

  110. Hello, I am a Ph.D. candidate in History at Purdue University. I am writing a dissertation on gender and American punk rock, specifically, musicians and fans thoughts on how punk rock enacted and created
    its own gendered ideals in the various punk rock scenes that existed from 1970-1995.

    I would like to interview any fans or musicians involved in the Riot Grrrl
    movement from 1991-1995 about their experiences in Riot Grrrl as well as general opinions about feminism, gender, and punk rock.

    While I am approaching this topic from a scholarly perspective I am also a life long punk rock fan and I in no way wish to denigrate or attack those involved. I have the utmost respect for the punk community and for those musicians and fans which helped create it.

    Your participation would entail an interview to be set up at a mutually convenient time and place; the interview can also be done over the phone or completed in writing via email. The interview will last approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour and I will be taking notes and using a tape recorder.

    Your participation is purely voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time during the project up to the submission of the final draft of my dissertation. I thank you for your time and consideration and hope to work with you soon.

    If you are interested please email me at genderinpunk@yahoo.com.

    Thank you!

  111. Denisse Says:

    I dont remember how I came across Bikini Kill but all I know is that I was 14 and it truly was music to my ears. Up to that time I hadnt heard something so angry yet so true. Bikini Kill made me realize there were girls that felt the same things I did. The only thing I wish is that I had been born in earlier to have gone to one of their shows. Hell this Bikini Kill’s so amazing it’s still making girls rock out everywhere. Thank God for the riot grrrl movement!

  112. Like a lot of the people who have commented, I first got into Bikini Kill when I was in my early teens–14 or so. I’m a genderqueer feminist and when I was that age, I was just starting to figure that out. I come from a very, very conservative area of Michigan and the sort of homophobia and sexism I was subjected to as a young teenager filled me with all sorts of anger that I didn’t know how to handle. People thought I was a sweet shy girl because I had such a hard time relating to and talking with other people. Discovering Bikini Kill and riot grrrl gave me an enormous outlet for all that rage I was processing by myself. It made me realize that other people have gone through the same things I have. It helped me assert myself and my political views. I started wearing feminist and anti-war buttons to school; I started writing and making zines. It made me feel like staying alive.

  113. Like everyone else, I heard Bikini Kill when I was 15. Somebody put Rah! Rah! Replica on a mix tape for me, and I can honestly say that song changed my life. When I was 15 I was into drugs, was suffering from anorexia, and felt like I didn’t fit in any place. No one should ever feel the way I did. Bikini Kill made me feel something again. Something raw and real. And to this day whenever I put on any BK albums, I feel electric. Thank you for everything.

  114. I already sent this to you per mail but I think you haven’t posted it yet, and now I just found out that I can post it myself!.. ^^

    what you mean to me:
    1st: you’re one of my 2 absolute favourite bands – the other one is Nirvana.

    I am 20 now. My youth consisted of humiliation (I am, like, a school bullying victim), mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.
    I am still struggling a bit to come back to normal. Your music and lifestories help me to live on. Also, the hope of someone understanding me and loving me for what I am. Your music enlightens me in many creative ways and supports me in making my own music, writing my own things and expressing myself. Also, it’s fun and just sounds soooo cool and is good to sing/scream/dance/freak out to and stuff.
    When my time of depression was about to end – 2 years ago, Bikini Kill and their thoughts of feminism helped me to rise again, it gave me new hope and something to believe in. It filled my days (I was having one year off) with new constructive ideas and positive anger (on the system and society and so). Riot grrrl showed me in those times that I WAS SOMEONE. that I had a right to live and to be happy and that fucking no one had the right to just shit on my head. Like, before I only felt like a piece of shit, had fierce minority complexe, depression, psychotic symptoms and stuff…
    I was a living corpse with the only hope of an escape through death. And suddenly there was someone who said: You don’t have to be like this or that, you are just worthy as you are, which was just healing to the heart. Struggling and fighting and never giving up and realizing that not you is what is sick, but the world is.
    There is no way how to describe this all but just: Bikini Kill saved my life.
    (besides psychotherapy and medication of course ; ) … )

    Love, Anna mollie from Austria

    Ps: Also I want to thank you for inspiring so many bands nowadays, really, you and Nirvana did it and created a kinda “scene” or whatever, like, there are so so many new bands, internationally but especially Europe, that are all mutual friends at myspace, that are all influenced by Riot Grrl and/or grunge, which combines, like, everything I love and my band Ruby Fruit is kinda part of this affectionate family : )))
    Let alone all my feminist friends that I have collected over the last 2 years and that all received the revolution from your music and now continue to work with it!…

  115. rachel1234 Says:

    I’m 15 and I just found out about Bikini Kill a few months ago…maybe last November. I’ve been into punk rock (all kinds…Ramones and Rancid and Black Flag and everything in between) for a while and the lack of females has always baffled me. Living in Atlanta my entire life has been weird due to the lack of punkiness and feminist-ness. Cuz I think ever since I was little I noticed all of this seperation and labeling, and I think feminism has always been this undertone in my head that’s only recently come to the surface of my mind. And with the guys I go to school with, rape jokes are a dime a dozen.

    So basically I came across NOFX’s song taking a swing at Kathleen Hanna, “Kill Rock Stars”. I’d never heard of riot grrl but the idea sounded awesome so I looked up Bikini Kill. Then I heard Rebel Girl and I haven’t looked back. Bikini Kill is so raw and real and they personify all that I want to be. They changed my life in a wonderful way. Now I play bass and write lyrics and pray for a riot grrl revival. I recognize sexism and deal with comments better. I look at my Theology class with more knowledge and, at least towards the teacher, disdain. I don’t feel the need to chase after that one constantly changing boy anymore. I’m learning not to judge myself physically based on what other people think. I plan to get into the small but strong scene if all goes well.

    Bikini Kill has taught me so much. I thank them for that.

  116. I first discovered Bikini Kill my freshman year of high school in 94′. I was instantly hooked. I loved the lyrics, the sound and the whole movement. I was inspired to write, desing my own fashion and learn how to play bass. I remember bringing my Bikini Kill tapes to our neighborhood pool and blasting “Suck my Left One” so loud!! People were like what the fuck did that song say? I loved it! I have been a fan ever since. I then went on to love Julie Ruin and Le Tigre as well. I would listen to Le Tigre’s Hot Topic and write down all the names and then go to the library and get every book i could find about those people. I read a lot of good books and was inspired by a lot of strong women! Just so you know i have three idols in life, Kathleen Hanna, Joan Jett and Johnny Cash. Thanks Kathleen for being such an inspiration to me and reminding me to never give up!!

  117. i’m 16, & a few years ago i heard “new radio” on a podcast and loved it.
    i looked up bikini kill, gave “alien she” a listen and had a bit of an epiphany.
    i live in a very conservative town (the town with the most churches per capita in the US, actually) and the band helped put words to what i was feeling.

    p.s., kathleen needs to pair up with the girls from blatz, because that would be mind-blowingly awesome.

  118. whats up.. we love BIKINI KILL.. a super awesome inspiration for us as a band.. we enjoy the lo-fi of everything.. really love “thurston hearts the who” its super… we discovered yall thru friends and through Le Tigre.. thankss yall for what you have done for music and for a band like ours to actually exsist.. awesomeness.. thanks..

    -the discotays




    MÈXICO D.F – 14/ 04/ 10

    • i really love this post. so much.




    • this song isn’t singing by tobi, tobi sings distinct complicity and false start on reject. but kathleen sing for only



      • theadventureclub Says:

        For Only is sung by Tobi. xoxokh

  120. First ink i got by myself in a shop when i was eighteen, pretty important.

    • THANK YOU David for your kind words. I’m glad you like “For Only”… I think 23 is a perfect age to want to stay at, because before you’re 23 you are still growing up and after 23 you are getting old… seriously that is the turning point I think… but then after you live for a little while longer getting older just becomes normal to you… still at 23 I think there is a brief moment where you are at the perfect state… a snapshot. thanks again for your nice spiel. best wishes xoxo tobi





        GOOD LUCK!

  121. I first saw BK at a Punk Percussion Pro-Choice Protest in DC when I was in high school; I think it was Egg, NOU,…?. I was living in NJ at the time and had no idea BK even existed – I was just going to the protest with my friends (mostly guys in bands). Turns out they overbooked one of the cars they were using to drive up to DC and decided to kick the 2 girls who were going out of the car (which included me). Obvious choice for a pro-choice protest. After some cajoling, we found someone else with a car to drive us to DC.

    We all regrouped when we got to DC but I couldn’t help but think “Man, what a bunch of dicks I hang out with.” When we approached the plaza there were girls handing out fliers. To me. To the girl I came with. “Hey, hey, girl, can I get a flier? Hey, alright, I don’t need your flier.” None of the dicks I regrouped with got a flier. That flier was for riot grrrl. For the first time in that scene I felt like I had footing.

    Then BK got up on the stage and played. They were kind of a big deal. I smiled at the singer. She smiled back. The girls there were looking at and talking to each other. I asked if the band if they had a 7″ for sale. They said a demo cassette was coming out soon. I knew I’d wait for it. I did, and it was worth it.

    Years later I saw them play the basement of ABC No Rio. Right in the front of the crowd was some giant obnoxious man taking pictures of Kathleen H only – eventually she told him she didn’t want her picture taken so cease and desist. He protested, she protested – but she won.

  122. We tried to get into a sold-out Bikini Kill show at the Middle East in Cambridge in 1992. The upstairs space was tiny – far too small for such a popular band – but that’s where they were booked. So we decided to try to sneak in through the back door, which was guarded by a bouncer I’d never seen before, a mean looking thug with a castle tattooed on his neck. I couldn’t forget the tattoo. Or him. We pushed through the door but were quickly intercepted by the bouncer. He grabbed a member of our party (there were four of us) and physically ejected us from the space. Which I suppose was within the job description of a bouncer, but he could have handled it better.

    Our egos smarting, we went home.

    A few days or weeks later this same bouncer – ‘castleneck’ was found dead in his apartment in Allston. He had shot murdered his girlfriend – actually, his ex-girlfriend , a young woman named Kristin Lardner- at point blank range in front of dozens of witnesses, then ran home and killed himself. It was a horrible shocking crime that saddened everyone in the community. She had been an art student and had filed many restraining orders against him, but in the end the law failed to protect her.

    I’ve never forgotten that show or the bouncer with the castle tattoo or the woman with so much promise whose life he cut short with a sudden, uncontrolled and vicious act of rage. I will never forget Kristin, a woman I never knew, because of the connection back to Bikini Kill.

  123. Bikini Kill was much more then just a band it was a movement, that empowered people to question themselves and how they engage with(in) the society they lived. The music was an extension of the performance, the words, and symbolization of the generation. Bikini Kill was a mirror to their audience at times eliciting extreme violence and reaction from people who understood the message in a very unique way.

    More to come. . . .

  124. well, you wanted people to post about their bikini kill experience(your facebook page is why i’m here), so here goes. When I first heard Bikini Kill, it was something off Reject All American that was really punk rock sounding and distorted but the thing that caught me was the energy. So i looked into it more and “Rebel Grrl” also had that energy about it and it was really fucking catchy as well. Just the attitude in the music was enough to hook me but there was a raw talent and emotion that just kept hitting me. I heard some of Kathleen’s and Tobi’s solo stuff and its still there, just in a different form. You can’t just make up passion like that and i love the fact you do what you feel like doing instead of whats expected of you even now that you’re disbanded. Kudos to you and i have alot of respect for all of you.- Matt

  125. I must have erased what I started to write a million times and yet it never sounds quite right. This little box can’t contain the love and appreciation I have for Bikini Kill, Kathleen, Tobi, Kathi and Billy. I first discovered BK and riot grrrl when I was 15 and pissed off with myself, my life and the world I was trapped in.

    I’m 27 now and though I like who I am and my life, I’m still very much pissed off at the world I live in. I have a lot of energy and a lot of opinions that are fueled and furthered by BK’s lyrics and energy. To me, BK will always be just as relevant as they were in their prime and I can’t help but share their music with young girls who want something empowering and progressive to listen to. BK makes me excited to possibly have little girls one day to share with them the music that got me through so much shit and then some.

    I never got to go to a show but I have watched every YouTube video I can get my hands on. I even contribute to a Kathleen Hanna Tribute Tumblr: http://fuckyeahkathleenhanna.tumblr.com/

    I’m a proud BK nerd!
    Thanks, Jess

  126. During the summer of 1992, someone that I met and quickly lost touch with gave me a mix tape with “Suck My Left One” on it. I still remember the first time I heard that song, the sheer giddiness of a revelation. I didn’t know the name of the band and, trapped in a midwestern rural town with no indy radio stations or record stores, I just went on playing the song until it became a mantra. It wasn’t until six years later, when I moved to the east coast, that I (re) discovered Bikini Kill at my university radio station. By then Bikini Kill had just broken up. I can’t tell you how much the CD of the first two albums has meant to me. How it taught me that my own revolution could start with not believing some guy when he told me I was worthless. The songs on that CD have and still give me the strength to be the woman I am still becoming.

  127. i saw bikini kill in san francisco opening for sonic youth and the amps. someone in the audience offered Kathleen a taco. she said something along the lines of “no thanks. this is a sonic youth show. they feed you.” i’m not quite sure what any of that meant but it was and is one of my favorite nights of music ever.

    • Peanut Butter Says:

      my guess is that she meant that because Sonic Youth was signed to Geffen at that time there was a huge buffet style feast backstage…and maybe even some Chardonnay!

  128. I remember going to CBGB’s to check out a new all girl punk band, so I was, of course intrigued. I use to go out almost every night back then (early 90’s) so not everything was memorable! But I clearly remember thinking this band Bikini Kill was something special. I went w my boyfriend and saw Kim and Thurston there, and remember standing back near the bar and Kim and I were discussing, one of us mentioned X Ray Spex, but there was also a Runaways vibe going on for me. There was definitely a buzz about the band, and after that I felt like they were definitely on everyone’s radar. I’m pretty sure it was the first time they played CBs, but I dont know what year it was… I loved them.

  129. When I was 12 years old I went into a record store on 86th street in Brooklyn called the Record Factory. I had read a generic essentials list in rolling stone and wanted to buy my first punk album. i was looking for the sex pistols even though I didnt really relate to them, I just wanted it cause Rolling Stone said I did.

    And then it happened. The counter girl said she had the album I was wanted. I told her she had the wrong person but she swore I had came in earlier looking for bikini kill. Being young and impressionable I bought it cause she insisted and it opened the world up to me. I was just hitting puberty and man did that album explain so much to me. I wonder if that counter girl was my fairy godmother.

  130. Dear Bikini Kill,

    I love you guys sooo much! You’re such an inspiration to me. I’m 13 and I started listen to you guys’ music a few months ago and I fell in love 🙂 You all totally proved that chicks could be just as (more) punk rock than guys! Also, you all made me feel so much better about myself, as a girl and everything. You made me realize that I can be whatever I want to be. I guess it seems outrageous that just one little band said all this to me, but it’s so true! I love you Kathleen! You made me wanna be a punk singer, even though your voice is soooo much better than mine. You’re all so smart, I love you all!!!


    • oh really yr 13?? This is so cool I’m 12. I don’t know anybody who’s my age who like bikini kill.. wanna talk with me about bk?

      • Totally! I’d love to! I don’t know anybody my age that likes them either 😉

      • ok I don’t know what to say to you? I’d like to ask what’s yr favorite bk song!! so yeah… what’s yr favorite bk song?

      • My favorite song is Strawberry Julius 🙂
        Idk why, its just really awesome to me. What about you?

      • yeah strawberry julius was my favorite one last summer….
        I don’t really have a favourite one, right now… I love every albums they’re all super cool… I love every songs on Pussy whipped except that one Speed Heart and I love every songs on The cd version of the first 2 records and i even really like thurston hearts the who though people think that this song is weird…wtf? and I love every albums!! who’s yr favourite member?

    • Hmm, I don’t really have a favorite member, but I like Kathleen and Tobi a lot 🙂 What about you?
      And yeah, I love Pussy Whipped and Reject All American too.

      • yes I love them all too Kathleen is a really great writer she’s really inspiring and Tobi is a great writer too!! She write a lot about music and I have a copy of one of her old fanzine Jigsaw (number 5 1/2, if u wanna know) and she wrote a lot about good bands that I’ve never heard of. i personally think that Kathi is pretty, I like her hair and she’s cute when she smile. And I think that Billy is a really great guitarist but we never heard anything about Billly or Kathi… why?

  131. I got into Bikini Kill far past its day. I was a high school student taking a guitar class in 2004. I was the only girl in a class full of metal heads.

    My teacher passed a cd off to me, and I completely fell in love. It shaped the way I thought about myself and how I met my goals. The never say Die attitude taught me everything.

    But I have to say the greatest thing Bikini Kill ever brought me was my best Friend Alec Smith. In 2007 I was living in LA, going to school for fashion Design. I was a bit of a misfit.

    I was the friendless wonder until I noticed the boy who sat in the front of one of my draping classes. He has “Rah Rah Replica” tattooed on his arm, with the mirror image on the other. A few weeks later, I worked up the balls to say hello. He has been one of my closet friends ever since.

  132. The things I wanted before I found feminism were the things I’m anti now. My way of thinking was so conformist. I was just so sucked into trivial bullshit when I was 13. I wasnt happy. I knew there was something better out there. Later I disovered punk music and politics and my whole life changed. The first time I heard of Bikini Kill, I was around 14. Listened to Suck my left one and did I ever love it. Years later I guess I totally forgot about them and never bothered to find out more. Fast forward to the summer after my high school graduation. Still unsatisfied with all my peers way of thinking, I was just pretty mad that their lives consisted about unimportant issues. That so many of them didnt care to have an intellectual side. Sex, Drugs..yawn. I didnt wanna be like them. I promised to myself that things in college would change, and on one angry day I decided to look up Bikini Kill again and listened to DOUBLE DARE YA. The words were just pushing inside my brain! Dare you to be what you want! Dare you to be who you will! Dare you to CRY right out LOUD. Like a DARE to be myself and be freaking unafraid to be who I wanted. Then on I got totally into riot grrrl culture and everything about it. They’ve opened the door for me to not take sexist shit and to not be belittle because of what I am. Empowerment and Encouragement. I dont know any other band that has ever done that.

  133. I discovered Bikini Kill through Le Tigre (an ex- whatever of mine made me a mix cd with deceptacon/mediocrity rulez on there)…I was a freshman in college, a women’s studies major. I was on the Le Tigre website and was like wow…And I just had to look further in to Kathleen Hanna because well I became enthralled with her. By this time, I had already been playing in a pop punk band for a year, but after I discovered Bikini Kill I taught myself how to play the drums literally by listening to Tobi Vail’s beats over and over. I formed another band with a more militant feminist edge to it, directly resulting from my newly discovered favorite band! Bikini Kill changed my life. Although I was already working towards developing a feminist consciousness before I started to listen to them, I still had all sorts of internalized hatred/oppression/trauma from fucked up things I survived from my childhood. Bikini Kill gave me a sense of comfort and belonging and launched me on my life’s missions to recover my self-esteem..and I’m still trying to do that.

  134. I worked as an intern and then young editor at Ms. magazine in the mid-nineties in New York. This was when Ms. first started to become pretty square and irrelevant. I remember we used to make fun of the upcoming feature stories—like, “Technology: Is It Bad for Women?” I remember being with another young editor in the bathroom as she moaned from the stall, “I just want to be on the cutting edge of something!” These were the days when the Internet was brand new to the masses; my first Internet search took place in Ms.’s art department. (I did a pre-Google search for “Courtney Love.”)

    The cooler staffers worked in the Art Department. L liked her coffee the color of a brown paper bag; M, the art director, had Sylvia Plachy on the wall and was about to walk; and E had a black-and-white photograph of Kathleen Hanna thumb-tacked near her monitor.

    It was the iconic image of Kathleen in a bikini top and ponytail with the word “slut” written across her belly. On the back of it was a handwritten note from Kathleen, a note to E. (My memory may be wrong here; the note from Kathleen may have been on a postcard—but either way, we ran that image of Kathleen in the magazine.)

    I still remember—today—exactly where I stood in the art department when I saw that image of Kathleen and how it felt to understand, on a visceral level, that what Kathleen had written on her belly, and what that look on her face conveyed, and what the fact of her standing in that room a country away from where I stood, said everything that could have been said in some thousand-word feminist tome—but need not have been said. It just was. Kathleen and the power of her thought, the power of her very being. She spoke through the image; she told me what every injustice and ridiculousness and near-criminal act had meant for the still-alive teenage girl inside me—and the ones peering right behind.

    I can still be in that room whenever I want to think about transmutation.

  135. I was introduced to Bikini Kill’s music about 8 years ago, when I was around 16-years-old. I somehow came across their catalogue online– I think through an Ani Difranco fansite; I didn’t have a “real-life” community of similarly-minded people. I was basically alone in my intensive and critical self-exploration. I had a few friends in whom I could confide, where I could discuss some of the prominent issues in my life that were not too terrifying to acknowledge, but I didn’t partake in a culture of open dialogue. For me there was no in-person, women-oriented, punk, or Riot Grrrl community. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to be surrounded by multiple hot-headed, aggressive, and challenging women. I imagine problematic, chaotic, and consequently cathartic. Anyway, the point is Bikini Kill (but mostly Kathleen Hanna at the time [I was young, come on!]), reassured me that it is fucking OKAY to be unsatisfied with the bullshit, cookie-cutter, social construction of how “we” should live our lives, particularly as it relates to being in denial of the oppressive and abusive society around us. When I got into Bikini Kill, it was the start of beginning to come to terms with the fact that I am a survivor of many things. The music/sound itself didn’t speak to me the way it does now, but the lyrics and aggression encouraged me to make mistakes and to be fearless, to be a creator and to contribute to the community of powerful women/people that really does exist, even if we are unrepresented by the mainstream. Bikini Kill was my introduction to feminism (empowerment, liberation) and resistance to the mainstream (empowerment, liberation). Thank you, Bikini Kill!

  136. I discovered Bikini Kill a few years back, like nearly 6 years ago when I was 15. I was just a toddler when the riot grrrl movement was happening, so I didn’t take part in anything in its prime like I wish I could’ve now that I’m older and know what it is. A big part of my family is sexist so when I discovered Bikini Kill’s music, it was, in my opinion, perfect and just what I needed to listen to when my family would anger me because of certain things I’d hear them say that was sexist. I was pissed, so Bikini Kill definitely helped. Now I even speak my mind when I hear them say something sexist, they can’t say anything like that around me now. So thank you so much! Also, “Alien She” is a song I mostly identify with. See, I interpret as a girl who doesn’t want to give in to/understand her ~girly tendencies. I don’t know if it’s meant to be interpreted as that but that’s how I see it. So again, thank you!

  137. i think i got a copy of a bikini kill zine before i saw bk play. i went to a show of tiger trap and bratmobile at some crap wherehouse in emeryville or oakland in the early 90’s. the only thing i remember at the show was tiger trap tuning their guitars in the bathroom because the sound guy (bro) was heckling them that they didn’t know what they were doing and was asking if they were a joke band and if they would like him to tune for them. i left with a bikini kill zine and girlgerms zine and couldn’t believe that the zines were making public all the things i was feeling and too scared to talk about. i saw bikini kill later that year at gilman and then epicenter. the over all effect of bikini kill in the bay area was a whole lot of people feeling empowered and become creators of culture and a whole lot of mocking feminism and making fun of the aesthetics of riot girls, void of any discussion of content.

    • AW, man. I remember that show! Stupid sound dude. I LOVED Tiger Trap, I so wanted to punch the jerk. And I was excited to see Bratmobile, only to be heartbroken / shocked that they covered Cherry Bomb, which my band had just learned, and I was convinced NO ONE knew who the Runaways were. I’m pretty sure that without Riot Grrrl, we’d never know how well Dakota Fanning plays Cherrie Currie.

  138. The first time I heard bikini kill it was 1994. I was 14. My friend was dying my hair in her bathroom and I heard this screaming coming from her stereo. I thought, “what the fuck is this screaming?” But six months later i listened to a cassette tape–one side bikini kill, one side bratmobile. Everything changed for me then. I had something to identify with that made sense to me. Bikini Kill became my high school anthem that lasted for years after. They’re still one of the few bands i listen to who get me totally excited. I was definitely inspired to start a band because of bikini kill and riot grrrl. We even did a cover of feels blind at a show in 1998. Sadly, bk broke up before I got to see them. Will there ever be a reunion show??

  139. I stumbled across Bikini Kill not too long ago actually. I had heard about Le Tigre through friends and loved the music, and when I saw links to Bikini Kill on YouTube I thought I’d check it out, see if it was any good.
    The music was awesome. I think I had ‘Rebel Girl’ stuck in my head for about two weeks because I kept playing it over and over. haha.
    I wish I had known about them when I was 15, it would have changed my world. But, having said that, I’m in my 20s and I can still totally relate to the music. It’s some damn good music.

  140. Peanut Butter Says:

    The best mixtape ever made in Corvallis, OR in 1994 by my friend, Jelly.
    I hope there isn’t a docudram starring Miley Cyrus as Kathleen in the works…but here’s to the memories!

  141. i was way into bikini kill in middle school, taking after my big sister (circa 2002) and i remember my first girlfriend was from a very religious family, bought a bikini kill album and was forced to return it by her parents. i gave her a copy.

  142. I didn’t care too much for Bikini Kill. It was B-Boy Adam H. I was after, and Kathleen beat me to him sooooo bad.

  143. I saw Bikini Kill two times in 1994 – at Gilman in Berkeley, CA and at the Las Palmas Theater in Hollywood, CA. It is the Hollywood show that I’m going to discuss here.

    The evening started off spectacular. Prior to the BK show, I met Henry Rollins for the first (and only) time in my life at a meet and greet that he was doing in support of his just released Get In The Van: On The Road with Black Flag book at the Tower Records (R.I.P.) off of Sunset Blvd. I’d been a HUGE Rollins fan since the mid ’80s, so needless to say, it was a very big deal for me to meet him in person and get my picture taken with him, which I still have somewhere.

    The main thing about the Las Palmas Theater show and the primary reason why I still remember it vividly 16 years after the fact is because BK (and Kathleen in particular) was BRUTALLY heckled by the audience from the word go. I had never witnessed (and haven’t ever witnessed since) such awful treatment by an audience towards a band. The thing that made it extra nauseating for me though was the fact that the show was taking place in HOLLYWOOD. I’m sure that BK have received similar or worse audience treatment in certain other parts of the world but never in a million years would I have expected to see such a thing in Hollywood.

    I was fortunate enough to meet Kathi and Billy afterwards, both of whom were incredibly nice to me. I would’ve like to have met Tobi and Kathleen too but Toby didn’t play drums that night and Kathleen, not surprisingly, didn’t come out to meet anybody afterwards.


    • theadventureclub Says:

      I didn’t come out to meet anyone because I was hiding from the cops. You may have not been able to see from where you were standing but I hit one of the hecklers in the head with my mic and I guess he called the cops on me. They showed up right at the end of the show but luckily I saw them coming and ran out to the alley next to the club. When the cops came out after me I asked them if they were looking for the lead singer of the band….they said yes and I pointed down the alley and said “she went thataway”. It was just like a cartoon and I was clearly playing Snagglepus. I won’t be signing this post in case there is still a warrant out for me. I know now that violence is never the answer, but those dudes were such dicks.

      • Well, for what it’s worth, I am truly sorry (STILL) about that night. In my 23 years of going to shows/concerts, I have never seen such utterly appalling behavior from an audience.

    • I was at that Las Palmas show as well (did Naked Aggression play?), and I clearly remember the heckling. At one point someone yelled, “Go back to the Valley!” to Kathleen and she said, “This is how I talk, okay?”.

    • oh man I think I was there too. drove down from san fran and was shocked how negative the crowd was in LA! horrible.

  144. There are many memories I could write here, so I’ll start with the first one.

    The summer between 6th and 7th grade, something happened to me. I decided I hated the world and didn’t want to be a part of it. Saving me from depression was my best friend since the first grade, Chrissie. She had an older brother who had gotten her into goth and then punk at an early age. Chrissie suggested I started listening to the local (San Antonio, TX) college radio station, KSYM. One night I heard this DJ, Bart play “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill on his radio show “Aaron’s Record Collection with your host, Bart” so it be my friend, Aaron that actually is responsible for turning me onto Bikini Kill…although, I still think Chrissie gets the credit.

    Anyway, one Friday after school (we went to Catholic school and had to wear uniforms), we convinced Chrissie’s parents to drive us (two awkward 7th graders in their blue and white starched uniforms) to the local record store, Hogwild. Chrissie had been there before thanks to her “cool” older brother, Michael. She told me stories that all the guys that worked there had long fingernails to snort coke with. To this day, I think about that fact and how it made the record store seem all the more mythical and scary.

    I immediately went to the B-section since all I could think about and listen to was “Rebel Girl” which I had recorded on a cassette tape off the late night static-ey radio. I thankfully found the “C.D. of the First Two Records” and gave my $10 bill to Chrissie’s Mom and asked her to “buy” it for me. I was so scared to go up to the counter myself. It kind of was like when I was a little girl and because of my natural red hair, strangers always wanted to touch it and I was super-shy and would hide behind my Mom. That was what the moment of buying my first Bikini Kill cd was like.

    After that, my life completely changed. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to that CD and how much it meant to me and helped shape much of who I am today. Nothing was ever the same in the best way imaginable.

    More stories to follow this I hope. I have to get some sleep.

    Thank you, Bikini Kill.


  145. since i grew up in a small town in indiana and was not at all cool, by the time i heard of bikini kill, it was too late to ever see you live. but my high school best friend and i listened to bikini kill all the time and started writing and playing music together, and finally we grew up to start our very own band. being a musician and playing in a band is what i have always wanted to do, but i always held myself back with my own insecurities. stupid, right? eventually i had to say FUCK IT, live yr life, start yr band, say the things you need to say. riot grrrl made me realize i have a unique voice that only I can contribute to the world, and I think people need to hear it. since it took us into our mid 20s before we even gotupthegutsalready to play music in front of other people, i’m guessing if there had been no Bikini Kill and other riot grrrl bands, we probably would not have EVER done it. I super appreciate all that BK (and of course others) did for me and my friends. I don’t even want to think about what my life would have been like without riot grrrl. shit.

    personally, listening to your music is something i have done pretty much every day for the past 14 years. it gives me strength. it made me feminist. goddamn. it’s helped me get through a lot of terrible shit. seriously, thank you.

  146. Bailea Rutherford Says:

    Bikini Kill was and is, something so very important to me. The music was so raw and meaningful, and so much passion was poured out from it. As I still listen to Bikini Kill, I still get the goosebumps I received when I first listened. Bikini Kill and the whole riot grrl movement has made me into such a confident woman, who is proud to be who I am. Even though I experienced the whole riot grrl movement a decade later, it still had such an enormous impact on my life and who I am today. Thank you so much!

  147. a few years back i moved into a converted storefront live/work space in bushwick (brooklyn), which used to be a feminist book & record store in the early ’90s. moving some boxes of junk one day, i found a pile of old 7″s left over from the store’s heyday, including some bikini kill and kathleen’s spoken word. i dropped them right on my record player and haven’t looked back since!

  148. I am one of those 15 year olds who has just discovered bikini kill and is “experiencing certain Bikini Kill songs as if they are brand new and were written just for them”, as you (kathleen) said on your blog…

    teehee. feel honored ^_^
    y’alls are fuckin awesome

  149. I am one of those 15 year olds who has just discovered bikini kill and is “experiencing certain Bikini Kill songs as if they are brand new and were written just for them”

    teehee. feel honored ^_^
    you guys are fuckin awesome

  150. A really dear friend Madeeba made me a cd of her fav & the most influential songs upon her own band’s style and direction. When i popped the CD in, I immediately fell in love w/ her selection for Track 1… Double Dare Ya! It also had Rebel Girl & Suck My Left One. I really didnt have a clue as to how much this CD would inspire, motivate, ignite, and help enlighten and empower my mind, spirit, & soul. Nor did I realize that in a few yrs my biological egg donor would pass away and my oldest sister and I would reconnect with such a strong bond and that I would have the pleasure of introducing Bikini Kill into her life and that it would mean as much to her as it does to me. She now lives in Baja, Mexico and I am stateside in Tulsa, OK but we Skype and sing Rebel Girl, Suck my Left One, I Like Fucking! Double Dare Ya, & Carnival. Even with a crap load of miles btwn us we feel almost… not quite but almost as close as b4. Thanks for everything!

  151. oregonian Says:

    No time for a full story – but here’s a tidbit:
    I once played Huggie Bear in a set during my college radio show in ’94, and a gal called in to request Bikini Kill. I played my fave track, and on the air gave a shout out to the listener. She called back a minute later and asked me out. We dated for awhile.

  152. Kelly E Says:

    I first heard Bikini Kill as a college DJ in Corvallis, OR. It was early 90’s and we were getting a lot of great music from Olympia bands. I quickly lashed on to the Riot Grrrl bands as some of my faves and Bikini Kill was definitely band #1 in my book. I picked up a spoken word 7″ of Kathleen’s and played it during my hardcore/punk show. You wouldn’t believe the calls it would inspire. Usually stupid boys saying “play punk rock”. It only added to my desire to play more music that aggravated the punk crowd at the time. Fuck ’em! If that 7″ isn’t hardcore, I don’t know what is.

    I was fortunate to see Bikini Kill live 3 times. I even kind of interviewed them (well…I handed Kathleen a list of questions and she mailed me back the response later). Each concert was great and empowering in its own way. But the image of Kathleen in roller skates, a leotard and tiara at a show in Eugene, OR will always remain etched in my brain. What’s more to love – roller skating & great music!!!!!

    I still turn to my Grrrl collection on my Ipod whenever the mood warrants . Frumpies, Bratmobile, Huggy Bear, Heavens to Betsy, The Fakes, Le Tigre, and of course Bikini Kill. Their music will never get old!

    • Peanut Butter Says:

      I was at that roller skate show with my friend, Jelly! We did the whip with Kathleen! Kelly E. are you partially responsible for “Zine”? I remember your name! And yes, the boys saying “play punk rock” from Corvallis can suck my left one (although no they can’t).

      • Peanut Butter Says:

        oh also Slim Moon is an asshole.

      • Wow… someone remembers ZINE. Very cool. Yup, those were fun times indeed.

      • theadventureclub Says:

        That’s crazy that you were at the rollerskating show. I have to disagree with you about Slim Moon being an asshole though. I have known him for a long time and there are lots of words to describe him but “asshole” really doesn’t come to mind. Without Slim ‘s support our records may have never been made. He sunk the very little money he made at his shitty job into starting Kill Rock Stars and basically created the framework that allowed our band to be heard. He has since championed a lot of feminist work, not just with lip service, but by doing the grunt work, so I would hardly call him an asshole. Of course you can feel however you like, just wanted to add my two cents…

    • Peanut Butter Says:

      Kathleen! Yes, we did the whip together with my friend, Jelly! It was a highpoint of our teenage lives. I had really high hopes for liking Slim because of all the things you mention …but alas, i think he’s a jerk. He has said a lot of things that I consider to be basically the opposite of feminist or pro-women. But maybe he’s just misunderstood…heck, that happens to me all the time! Regardless, he helped get your records out so he can’t be all bad.
      MUCH LOVE, Peanut Butter

      • slim moon Says:

        dear peanut butter: i am sad that you feel that i have said “a lot of things” that you consider “the opposite of feminist or pro-women.” i would love the opportunity to apologize or explain myself. it is possible that i said something stupid, i have said lots of stupid things in my life. it is also possible that i was misquoted or misconstrued. like most people, my ideas have changed over time so it’d also be interesting to know whether this is something i said a long time ago or recently. i can’t promise that you and i would agree on every point about what it means to be feminist or pro-women, but i can promise you that i have considered myself a feminist since i was 12 years old, and i’ve grappled with what that means and how to behave consistently with my beliefs ever since, just like anybody else. if you’d like to engage about this, you can reach me at slim@musicfordataports.com

  153. Hey the biggest musicians in world I have an idea you all could make some zines with bk stories y’know? Anyways, I think it would be cool, but like, not ALL the stories in ONE zine,but a few stories in one and then a few in another one… write back, please!!!!!!!!!!

  154. I’m from Brazil and have 22 years old. This was the first video I saw of Bikini Kill, when I found a tape in the gallery of rock. I was about 14 years and it all made sense.

  155. To this day, my chest still fills with pride and I almost get a little misty eyed every time I hear Rebel Girl. It happened yesterday when I heard it as part of the Girls Rock documentary about the Rock Camp for Girls here in Portland, OR. I love those kind of goosebumps!

  156. Valerie Palmer Says:

    I remember seeing Bikini Kill play with Nation of Ulysses at a place called DC Space in Washington, DC. It might have been 1990 or 1991, not sure. Anyway, I’d grown up on DC bands, which were very anti-establishment in a white male kind of way. When I saw Bikini Kill play that night, I finally realized what had been missing. The energy in that room was electric. Kathleen Hannah had the word “slut” written in big black letters across her stomach, and I distinctly remember feeling a wave of pure glee when she screamed into the microphone “I’m fat!” Bikini Kill really shook things up during their time in DC…this made a distinct impression on me at a very crucial age. I remember overhearing a lot of complaints from insecure guys involved in the DC music scene, but they were just jealous! Bikini Kill was like a force of nature; they could not be stopped.

    • yes I think thheir show at dc space was their first show as 4…

      • hi Lenora–that first show at DC Space was a part of our first US tour, we’d probably played 20 or 30 shows by then, most of them as a four piece xo Tobi

      • Yes but I watched Don’t Need You documentary for the 12th time yesterday and it says that yr first show was at DC Space but it doesn’t say that it was in a tour… And I have 1 question if you could answer it would be cool here it is “Did you ever played a show in Canada?” so answer if you can.

        PS:I’m going to Olympia this summer and I’ll try to find this bk graffiti downtown… it would be hard but I’ll try…!!

        write back,please

      • Tobi Vail Says:

        Hi Lenora. Our first proper show was at The X Ray Cafe in Porltand, OR with a band called Gas Huffer. We had played a party or two before that. We lived in Olympia when the band first started. That show at DC Space was our first show in DC, I am pretty sure it was the last show of our first US tour–it was probably our 25th show or something like that. Someday I will make a list! xo Tobi

    • Yes thank you a lot but did you ever played a show in Canada?

  157. Your body is a temple, but how long can you live in the same house before you redecorate? — Author Unknown

  158. Show Us Your Riffs
    By Shannon Webb-Campbell

    I grew up in a punk rock city. Most people think of Oshawa as an
    automotive town, but blue-collard workers breed an anti-middle class
    mentality. Cue the combat boots, rebellion and noise.

    As an adult I wear dresses, own suit jackets and most often wear
    feathers in my hair despite Halifax’s high winds. Teenage me had
    bleach blonde spiked-hair (egg whites, no gel), wore cardigans with
    thumb-holes, shopped exclusively at Value Village (before it was
    trendy) and believed in revolution. In retrospect I looked more like a
    dyke back then when I was hanging out with metal-heads than as a
    modern day femme.

    Every weekend passed at the Dungeon, an underground all ages bar below Laser Quest. In the early days the venue was home to Kanker Face, The Mark Inside and The Void (now Cuff the Duke).

    At school I kept peace with the jocks, hippies and yuppies despite my
    personal politics, though no one was more surprised when the
    photography teacher asked me to be the yearbook editor. Didn’t he
    know that I secretly hated everyone? I did live and breathe
    photography. I loved the darkroom’s chemistry, escapism and sense of
    sorcery. Even then I understood the significance of documentation.

    I identified as a rocker –later a feminist, a dyke, and a riot grrrl
    –whatever didn’t get me lumped in with the rest of the Eastdale eagle
    adolescent flock. I understood the language of alternative culture
    before I understood myself.

    I didn’t wear leather, plaid or spikes but went to Rancid and
    Distillers concerts. Bratmobile’s show at the Reverb opening for The
    Donna’s changed my life. I wanted to wear sequins, put my cropped mop
    in pigtails and tell the boys what I really thought.

    My best friend Ashlee and I saw Hole twice that year. Both nights I
    screamed along the lyrics to “Boys On the Radio,” while Ashlee twirled
    and whirled with the blonde blur of chaos that is Courtney Love. We
    kissed the ground and bottled air. Ashlee still has Courtney Love’s
    fishnet tights tucked away somewhere in her bedroom.

    We tacked flyers to the wall and swore by the anything released by
    Kill Rock Stars. I sent love letters to the already deceased Kurt
    Cobain, but secretly dreamed of sleeping with Kathleen Hanna.
    Riot grrrl picked my sorry teenage ass up from the ground, dusted me
    off and smeared confidence across my pudgy face. I exchanged my
    adolescent awkwardness for a pair of Mary Janes, knee-high socks and a
    pleated skirt. The universe didn’t seem to be such a horrible place
    with headphones burning in my eardrums.
    Music became my lover when I felt I was immovably unlovable. Rock n’
    roll became a lifestyle, a state of being. It was as vital as oxygen
    to my survival.

    I’m not talking about your hip grinding cock-rock anthems, as it
    wasn’t some poster boy on the radio who stole my heart. The strength
    and sexiness of a woman’s voice through a microphone shot through my
    body like a spiritual awakening.

    Veruca Salt, Babes in Toyland, Le Tigre, The Gossip, PJ Harvey, Bikini
    Kill, L7, Bratmobile, Free Kitten, The Plath, Cibo Matto, Sleater
    Kinney –this source of sisterhood untied the noose and gave air to the
    conformity and suffocation that were my gruelling high school years.
    Ashlee and I pleaded with our parents to buys us instruments, she took
    on lead guitar and I picked up a plumb-coloured bass. We coated our
    eyelids in tar-coloured eyeliner, tore up our fish net stockings,
    plastered the basement walls with posters and formed our own
    angst-ridden band, Mercury Vapors.

    We weren’t satisfied by watching the boys play their out of tune
    guitars; we wanted to be the queens of our own noise. We mostly stuck
    to Hole covers, occasionally learning an L7 or Bikini Kill riff.
    The camera’s self-timer option helped us stage band photo shoots, as
    we mimicked the poses of our favoured performers from glossy rock
    digests. Our band was drummer-less so we never played a gig outside of
    the basement. Beyond our rock n’ roll mockery, suddenly just being
    women inspired us.

    Despite how miserable we both might appear in our yearbook mug shots
    (see our unwashed mops and First Choice haircuts), we no longer
    allowed sadness and self-pity to consume. We just turned up the volume
    and danced around our bedrooms until we felt nothing but the melody.
    My true eagle spirit rang years after high school. After an editorial
    meeting for the university paper, Laura, Ashleigh, Lindsay and I joked
    about starting a band. For fun one night we rented a room at the Rock
    Garden. We quickly downed cans of Faxe and nervously played with our
    backs to one another.

    With three of us being English majors, our band was primarily
    instrumental. The only clue to our literary background was our
    excessive use of punctuation in our chosen band name: Oh, Beautiful!
    Majestic! Eagle! Instead of being merely Laura, Ashleigh, Lindsay and
    Shannon we became Laureagle on glockenspiel and toy accordion,
    Ashleagle on synth/keys, Lindseagle on drums and percussion and
    Shannoneagle on bass.

    Our song titles made up for our lack of poetic lyricism; see: “The
    beautiful snowy owl is death on mice, rarely ducks” “The day the bird
    lost its down,” “L’em de Lemiere,” “a.k.a. The Locust,” “When you love
    animals your hearts fill with wonder (and sparkles come from your
    eyes)” and “Animals National Anthem (as performed on Noah’s Arc).”
    After our first gig with The Stolen Minks and The Maynards at the
    North End Pub a sheepish dude with slumped shoulders and a striped
    sweater came up to the stage.

    “You guys are really good,” he said, offering his hand in congratulations.
    “Thanks,” I replied with a gracious smile.

    “I have a quick question to ask, though,” he asked.

    “Sure, shoot.” I said.

    “Do your boyfriends write your songs?”

    Two of us were queer, the others somewhat in question. No our
    boyfriends didn’t write our songs. Jesus fucking Christ.

    “What do you mean by that?” I asked, annoyed while continuing to wrap
    up my patch chord. “You think girls can’t write music?”

    “No, no,” he said. “Girls can write music, sure, just not music like
    that. It’s actually good.”


    Shannon Webb-Campbell is a freelance arts journalist, photographer and
    writer. She writes for The Coast, Chart, Penguin Eggs and Xtra.ca.
    Find her narrative non-fiction stories in Room Magazine, She’s
    Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back
    (Tightrope) and GULCH: An assemblage of poetry and prose (Tightrope).

  159. My first awareness of Bikini Kill came from an article I read about them in Raygun magazine in 1991 or 1992 when I was a senior in high school. At the time, I was really into bands like Throwing Muses, the Breeders, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Smiths. BK sounded really cool to me, but living in the suburbs of southern New Hampshire I had no idea how to obtain any of their music.

    The next fall I started college right outside of NYC and became fast friends with a really fantastic woman named Anna who I am still friends with to this day. She was into lots of punk, hardcore and stuff that was then categorized as grunge. She slowly began to expand my musical horizons via mixtapes and sharing her vast music collection with me as we hung out in her room. At some point that year she bought the first Bikini Kill EP (w/Double Dare Ya, Suck My Left One, etc.) and played it for me. And it totally turned my world upside down. I had never heard anyone make music like this before. Or sing about the things Kathleen and Tobi sang about. At the time I had been out as gay for about 3 years and the only other time I’d heard the word “queer” used in a song that was non-derogatory was in Throwing Muses’ “Vicky’s Box”. When Kathleen Hanna shouted out “we’ve got to show them we’re worse than queer” it struck a chord in me despite the song being sung from one woman to any number of other women. There was anger and passion and defiance and politics all rolled together in that lyric and it blew my mind. From there I ran out and bought my own copy of the EP and continued to get any and all BK music as it was released. I also got into lots of other music that was categorized as “Riot Grrrl music” or queercore/queerpunk and all of it rocked my world and even got me into playing the drums, which I still do 16 years later. But Bikini Kill was the gateway to all of that for me.

    I had the chance to see BK play live 1 and a 1/2 times when I was in college. The first time was the 1/2 time and it was at a warehouse space in Brooklyn. My main memories of that night were of Ian Svenonious and a band of his clone-like friends barreling out of the warehouse at one point and knocking me off of a hastily assembled stairway made of tires, seeing firsthand how men behaved in a really fucked up, violent way toward the band and the women (some of whom were my friends) standing in the front and this crusty punk couple that was FINALLY tossed out of the show due to violent behavior who then went and retrieved a baby carriage with AN ACTUAL BABY IN IT from a dark, remote corner of the space. BK refused to finish their set because the violence wasn’t stopping and the ABC No Rio folks who put on the show did not “want to behave like bouncers at a club” and eject anymore people from the warehouse. It was disappointing to say the least, but I was mostly amazed out how the band stood their ground and did not succumb to the violence being aimed at them.

    The time I got to see Bikini Kill play a full set was a couple of years later at one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. They played with Team Dresch and Cold Cold Hearts at The Bank in NYC and the entire show was pretty much perfection. There was one point during CCH’s set (I think, my old brain is not 100% clear on this) where they stopped playing to deal with some overly aggressive slam dancers in the front row. But that issue was resolved and the show went on. Every band played an amazing set but it was Bikini Kill who truly blew me away. It was so exciting to see how much energy they all had and how they were all actually great musicians, despite all of the criticisms hurled at them for not being so. They played pretty much every song of theirs that had ever been recorded and I remember dancing away joyously in the balcony with my college friends. Minus the moshing moment, it was a night full of so much positivity and amazing energy and unbridled fun. There was so much love for BK in the room and it was really refreshing to experience after the really negative experience in Brooklyn. Not long afterward, Bikini Kill split up, leaving many of us more than bummed out at not getting to see what they’d bring to the table next. But I will always have my records and CDs and my memories of that truly fantastic show. And I will always be forever grateful to my friend Anna for expanding my musical and political universe so many years ago.

  160. It was 1996, I was 18. I was visiting a friend in Japan and in an Osaka record store, I found “The CD Version of the First Two Albums”. I bought it, went home and listened to it for hours and hours. My Japanese friend, an ardent Celine Dion fan, was puzzled by my enthusiasm for what seemed to her like a lot of girls yelling over some guitars.
    At the time, I was feeling a bit lost in life. Growing up in the 90s, the only role models available to women were the “supermodels” of the time : Claudia Schiffer, Cindy CRawford and their little clique… All my friends wanted to be models and spent their time sending pictures of themselves to modelling agencies in hope to start a career. I knew I was no model material and found nothing interesting in being just a pretty face. When I heard Kathleen growl ” SUCK MY LEFT ONE” for the first time I knew I was saved. I was angry, and BK ‘s music resonated with me and helped me find a new confidence. Listening to BK also made me realise that I could be doing music too. I bought a guitar and painstakingly learnt my first 3 chords. I eventually hooked up with some boys at uni who agreed to play a cover of “White Boy” with me (they loved it !). I started working at writing lyrics, and writing became my therapeutic safety valve. Today the year’s 2010, I’m 32 and still singing, this time in my own old school riot grrrl band, Husbands N Knives… I have found an amazing girl guitarist who shares my love for grrrl punk and feminism… And I have no intention to stop rocking any time soon 🙂

  161. I first heard Bikini Kill through a friend that hasd been taking women studies classes in college. I began listening to more and my views on everything changed. Later, i shared with my current boyfriend and i shared with him everything Bikini Kill’s lyrics and ides meant to me, today we celebrate our 2 years together and he loves Bikini kill, still, as much as i do. Thanks for the amazing words you brought to everyone!

  162. Sara Sorenson Says:

    Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to quite a few influential bands. I really loved a lot of what was going on musically in the late 80s and early 90s. What primarily set Bikini Kill apart was the unabashed message of their music. I’ve always sided with humor and strayed from politics, but I will say that Bikini Kill was a vehicle for guilt-free assertiveness. Many of the bands I was listening to at the time taught me to think outside-of-the-box, musically. Bikini Kill did this on a social and philosophical level. The fact that they served their message in a very unapologetic, stripped-down, and raw way was an added bonus and it paralleled their music beautifully. There were a few bands delivering a similar message, but none did it with the musical ferocity of Bikini Kill.

    • If I ruled the world, i’d give every pubescent girl a Bikini Kill CD and a pack of condoms before they were allowed to date.

      I doubt I would have gotten through my teenage years without them. Bikini Kill saved lives. Interestingly when I was 27 and going through my return of saturn hell, the first thing I instinctively turned to was Bikini Kill. They have the same effect no matter what age. Listening to them is like taking an empowerment pill. It makes you want to break stuff but at the same time is the glue that holds you together.

      I can’t remember exactly where/when I first heard them but I’m pretty sure it was on some mixtape from some penpal somewhere in the USA. I was stuck in a small town in Ireland and that was the only way to access a lot of music at that time. I couldn’t afford to buy much but I’d save all my pocket money to buy 7″ Singles. I relied so much on penpals and zines and mixtapes, it was such different times, not just being able to switch on a computer and download music.

      I want Bikini Kill to reform and tour one more time as I never had the opportunity to see them! Please!

  163. My pal and I drove from Santa Cruz two nights in a row to see Bikini Kill in Pacific Grove and Seaside (?), CA. One of the shows was in a high school auditorium and Kathleen traded me one of my zines for one of hers. The other show was in a tiny, sweaty room. The band had been at Raging Waters all day and Kathleen talked about being the pale frumpy people at Raging Waters. She was still wearing her swimsuit. Then they rocked everyone the fuck out, I remember dancing so hard and being so thrilled.

  164. Im from argentina, i live in Bolivia, this place is full of mother fuckers and the society is disgusting i was 14 and i was in to punk and feminism when i found bk argh my life changed thanks to bk i am who i am today i have 8 tattoos 4 of them has to be with BK i have on my chest

    “you have no reason not to fight” thats my fav one, i think bk is the best punk grrrl band just amazing its genius

  165. BK kicked back against the self indulgent male orientated music press and the self congratulating ‘boycore’ hardcore punk scene. Very few of my gender appreciated Bikini Kill and saw riot grrrl as irrelevant within the wider context of the hardcore and punk scene. I saw these other boys as so wrong and a huge failure on their part to accept grrrls as anything else than something to be avoided. No surprise that this related more to their hang ups than anything else. In the end BK were way more punk than most of those guys anyway.

    BK alienated those boys – that was a good thing! Gave these ‘hardcore’ boys some of their own medicine.

    I managed to catch them live several times here in the UK, most notably at the 1in12 Club in Bradford on their first tour. Great gig!!! And Kathleen has the best vocals ever… well along with Poly Styrene.

    Thanks for giving us something more than music!!!

  166. mildmanners Says:

    i got goose bumps just thinking of what i would write.

  167. Im 23, so regretfully I never got to see Bikini Kill live. In the sheltered and conservative suburban town I grew up in, I wish I would have had them. When I was 17 and I moved to San Francisco, I met a girl who would eventually become my first girlfriend after I came out as a lesbian. She is a total music geek, and before we were together she used to make me these mix CDs and teach me about music. She taught me a lot about women in music, which is something she celebrated. I learned a lot of different female bands and became obsessed with Riot Grrrl, Bikini Kill became my favorite.

    I remember once I stole a Bikini Kill mix CD from her car and I never gave it back. I listened to it over and over again, as loud as possible, until I had it memorized and I could scream along to every word. The music inspired me. It was the first time I became aware of the world around me, and how fucked up it was. The people I grew up with were so brainwashed into believing this post-feminist bullshit that they couldn’t see it, I didn’t see it. But now my eyes are wide open, and I want to change the world.

    Double Dare Ya is still my favorite song. It makes me want to start my own revolution. Its part of the reason I decided I wanted to major in women’s studies so I could become a college professor. I want to inspire future generations.

  168. i remember seeing bikini kill open for sonic youth at the paramount in seattle when i was 17 or something. me and my two friends were the only people who stood up and danced (that i remember). i remember looking behind me at all the seated people and thinking ‘how can you not be losing your mind right now?’. opposite experience at the sailors union hall with team dresch. everyone was losing their minds, i think us boys had to stand in the back (can’t remember if it was at that show) and didn’t mind at all. every other time i was privileged enough to see them, it was too much… they were so incredible live! and that doesn’t even get into how they changed EVERYTHING… really really EVERYTHING… and if it’s not too dorky to say so, singing ‘rebel girl’ with gossip in front of 2000+ people on tuesday was easily one of the highlights of my life – RESIST PSYCHIC DEATH – love you forever bikini kill, xoxo CP

  169. For many people my age, and in this country (30, the Netherlands, hi!) there are a number of bands that count as a main influence (insert grunge band here). Mine was, and always will be, Bikini Kill, even though I never got a chance to see them live. It was 1996 when I learned of their existence. It must have been no more than two months after they played my hometown with Team Dresch. Me and my best friend at the time had found a flyer in a bar somewhere, hung it up in my friend’s room and often stared it, wondering how in god’s name we could have missed that show. The horror! But that didn’t stop me from being a riot grrrl lover full force, and doing everything in my power to bring across the sense of togetherness, love, activism and power that this music brought me. I don’t think many people got it, but I found like-minded souls all the same. It felt like a scret club that welcomed everyone with an open mind and loving heart.
    The band inspired me to form my own bands, write my own zines, create my own community. Bikini Kill has given me friends for life.
    In 2008 three girlfriends and myself took up the idea of forming a Bikini Kill cover band. We played several gigs and had the time of our life. I will never forget playing Ladyfest Amterdam that summer, and having a room full of people screaming along to the lyrics with shining faces and fists in the air.

  170. it was approximately 1994. it was in honolulu, hi. i was 14 and an army brat. hung out with all the sk8er boys on base. we were smoking pot in the back of the club waiting for nofx to come on. i hear kathleen hannah scream, “i’ve got a bigger dick than all you assholes out there!” whoa. the smoke cleared. the next day i was a krs mail order freak and pussy whipped was a permanent fixture in my walkman. bikini kill really opened my mind and heart. as a queer youth living on military bases this wasn’t the type of message that young grrls hear. not to mention the countless times i’ve lost my voice screaming along in the car just letting it all go. i ❤ bikini kill. i actually have a bikini kill tattoo, hot pink record player as on the singles cd cover.

  171. Hello! Do you have some news you want to share and that you think our readers might also find interesting? We are planning to open our blog in a few weeks and I have already bookmarked some of your posts. Best wishes, Peter

  172. I think the first song I heard was New Radio, & it was in the early 2000s. I had just come out of a bad relationship & my partner announced he had cheated on me with a mutual friend. The friend loved Bikini Kill. After deciding to download a couple of singles I decided my ex-partner was lying to me right then! Turns out he was.

  173. My best girlfriend of almost 15 years (Lizy) just sent me the link to this site the other day. We discovered Bikini Kill together at the Redmond Firehouse in Redmond, WA and though we’re almost 30, we have never outgrown the music. That show was the first time I had ever seen women on stage, singing, dancing, yelling, fighting for what they believed in–it was the first time I had truly been inspired by female artists. In our combat boots and cut-off shorts we pushed and shoved and moshed our 15-year-old hearts out. After that show, I bought the CD Version of the First Two Records (and every other Bikini Kill album) and I still listen to it on a weekly basis. I was so taken with Kathleen and her abilities as a performer and specifically her talents as a writer, that I took pen to paper and wrote her a letter when I was 16 or 17. It took her a year to write back, but she did. With bright red marker on pink stationary she wrote me the most sincere letter a teenage girl could ever hope for. That letter is alive and well and rests eternally on my inspiration board above my desk. Whenever I have writer’s block, I look up at her letter, read her words, breathe in the pink, and write. So thank you Kathleen, for inspiring young girls everywhere and for continuing to inspire the “old” ones too.–Love, Jennifer http://www.onprofessionalparenting.blogspot.com/

  174. kelly loom Says:

    . I think that female DJs can be just as good and even better than men at djing. What do you think?

  175. bikini kill has inspired countless
    sing-a-longs in cars with
    fellow girl friends.
    bikini kill gave me a view
    into an alternative reality
    where women weren’t just
    showcases for beauty.

    my friend told me about them in hischool
    and laughed as she remembered memories
    of how she hid the cd under the mattress
    of her bed because she was afraid her mother
    would find it. this is the spirit of bikini kill i love, haha.

  176. I think i was 14 when i first discovered bikini kill.Spring of 2006. ! I was barely getting into riot grrl and one of my old friends gave me a link to a riot grrl message board and it was like love at first site. I also discovered other amazing grrl bands,and other grrls that could relate to me. Thank you for the orgasmical music you guys made.!

  177. Patrick Emery Says:

    Bikini Kill changed my life. Seriously, it/they/you did. I first
    heard Bikini Kill in late 1992 on public radio in Adelaide, Australia.
    I had finished university exams the day before and I was basking in
    the freedom of a study-less existence. The on-air announcer played
    Rebel Girl, and it hit the spot. That Christmas I received a copy of
    Pussy Whipped and I played it extensively, both for my own edification
    and my friends’. Surprisingly, a number of my friends – who weren’t
    as interested in punk rock as I was – also liked the record. Blood
    One still ranks as one of my favourite album-opening tracks. Hearing
    Bikini Kill led me to other Kill Rock Stars releases, and K Records –
    an interest that remains almost 20 years later (both of my hoodies are
    KRS, plus a couple of well-worn t-shirts).

    In 1994 I travelled through the United States, making a point of
    heading to the Pacific North-West to indulge my interest in the
    Olympia punk rock scene (I’d long wised up to where the so-called
    Seattle sound took its artistic and ideological cues). I read a
    listing in a free weekly saying that Bikini Kill was playing in
    Olympia – excited to the point of mania, I hitched a ride with a
    fellow backpacker to Olympia, only to discover that there was no
    Bikini Kill show. After ringing the KRS offices (“there’s some guy on
    the phone, with like a wierd accent, who wants to know about a Bikini
    Kill show”), I hung around to see a few other bands (including Kicking
    Giant) and made it my quest to see Bikini Kill somewhere on the US
    tour the band had just undertaken.

    Discovering that Bikini Kill was playing in Washington DC around the
    time I was expecting to be in that part of the country, I made a point
    of orchestrating my travel plans to get there in time. By this stage
    I’d hooked up with a university frend of mine (whose interests ran
    more to the high end of visual arts, but who was willing to head along
    to a punk show – and good on him for being so broad-minded) and we
    walked from the hostel to the Black Cat to see the show. That show –
    which sold out an hour after we got there – still ranks as my
    favourite live show, ever. The line-up – Slant 6, Team Dresch and
    Bikini Kill – was brilliant. The sense of community in the audience
    was palpable (and the jukebox wasn’t too band either!). I still have
    the diary entry I composed the next day, and it still resonates all
    these years later.

    Later on I saw Bikini Kill play a festival show in Adelaide (the first
    ever live review I wrote – it was published on a fan site run out of a
    college in New York, probably no long defunct), and a show in Canberra
    during my brief tenure there. I actually stood next to Kathleen while
    getting a beer before the show and had one of those ‘fuck, I don’t
    know what to say’ moments and stood there awkwardly – and have
    regretted not conveying my appreciation ever since.

    A few years ago I saw a band in Melbourne (where I now live) play a
    cover of Rebel Girl, and it was a quality moment. A few weeks ago I
    had the opportunity of programming an hour’s music at 3am on Melbourne
    public radio – the first song I played was Blood One. Bikini Kill
    changed my life – and I wouldn’t be anywhere without it.

    • patrick:
      You were my pen pal! Didn’t i used to call you PEM? Were we prehistoric email friends?


      • Patrick Emery Says:

        Ha! Yes, indeed – way back in 1996. And I’ve still got that tape you sent me AND I never got you a tape in return!

  178. My anarcho-hardcorepunkband PKP covered Rebel Girl couple a years ago. The studioversion was never released but we played the song numerous times live. Our female drummer and the male co-singer (me) switched places, making it 2 girls sharing the vocals. Usually an intense live-experience.
    The pix on our site where there’s 2 girls singing are from the parts in our sets when we played that song. I never gave you guys a listen untill the other members in the band wanted to cover that song but last year I played Rebel Girl on my radioshow. Thanx for the inspiration gals! (-:

  179. Hi, I was wondering if you want some articles like press articles cuz I bought some on ebay because I’m starting to be like a “bk collector” so I could photocopy them for you if you want

    write back please

  180. 1993 ~ i was 16 and my parents always knew the ultimate punishment for me when i had done something “wrong” would be to take my stereo away from me for a month at a time to learn a lesson. it was way more effective than a grounding! during one of these stereo-less time frames, a friend at school had told me of the band, but she did not have the music. i had seen an ad in a zine (mrr possibly?) on where to order the bikini kill 12″, so i saved my lunch money for a week, mailed it to kill rock stars and had the record sent to my friend’s address. when the record arrived ( the postman left it balancing on the mailbox) , my friend called me to let me know it came in and i had her play it for me over the phone in it’s entirity. i was instantly in love with bikini kill! she had copied it to cassette for me so i could listen to it on the walkman i had hidden under my pillow for when the parents were not around. when i finally got my stereo back i wore the record out!

    the next year, 1994, bikini kill played st louis at wash u with babes in toyland and that was my first punk show i had ever attended!

  181. Bikini Kill sounds the way I feel

  182. Every now and again, I put in “Reject All American” and scream along as loud as I can. Mostly when I have to stay awake driving, or i’m feeling nostalgic, or to imagine myself rocking out like a total bad-ass and influencing generations of females (and males) to come!

  183. I’ve never seen Bikini Kill live. By the time I found out about them it was 2005, I was 17 and Kathleen’s new band Le Tigre were around.

    When I first heard Bikini Kill it sounded like nothing i’d ever heard before. I immediately needed to hear more and more.

    This will probably sound like every other comment; shy girl, needed to be empowered, found strength in music etc. But this is the Bikini Kill legacy.

    If I never found Bikini Kill or Riot Grrl I probably would have found my way towards feminism but it would have taken a long time and an even longer time to feel comfortable enough to share my views not knowing that others felt the same.

    Now I am still a shy girl but I’m 21, a proud feminist who is always learning from every new situation. I have amazing friends and i’m one of a group of volunteers at Ladyfest Ten (UK). You may disagree but I put a lot of this down to Bikini Kill.

    Steph x.x.x.

  184. grrrl, esq. Says:

    I saw BK twice, once at the Black Cat in DC with Norman Mayer Group (who else? my memory is so bad…) and once somewhere in Hollywood (Las Palmas?). They were awesome – I was well aware of their music already which totally spoke to me, since I was a punk rock loving feminist law student out to change the world… but their energy live was mindblowing – changing instruments, and Kathleen’s persona that was somehow so confrontational and yet inclusively accepting at the same time. I was a rad California girl in DC and I felt very stifled by how conservative DC was so although I went to a lot of shows there, BK was by far the coolest. My favorite memory was photocopying the lyrics from the CD Version of the First Two Records and putting them in the student mailboxes of particularly obnoxious boys. Suck my left one!

    Sometimes I think about how I really felt like a superhero who could do anything when I first started working as a public interest lawyer. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t usually feel that way anymore, but reading people’s posts on here made me realize that one reason I could feel that way then was that bands like Bikini Kill were reminding me of my own power to change the system. Not that I don’t listen to the music anymore, it’s just such a different time now. But fuck that – we just have to keep creating, supporting, changing, confronting and loving however we can.

    Also, somewhat OT, but I remember how surprised and proud I was when my Constitutional Law prof started talking about riot grrrl feminism in class one day. And I’m pretty sure that a big part of why I fell in love with my husband was that he was into and went with me to see stuff like BK, Team Dresch (hey Jody!), and a Riot Grrrl convention (where he and another male friend had to wait outside for part of the day) without the slightest hint of being threatened or alienated by our grrrl power.

    Thank you, Bikini Kill!!

  185. My university minor was sociology, and my main focus was on gender studies. An assignment in one class had me write about gender depictions in media, and since music is my main hobby, I chose to write about different artists who speak of issues with gender. Sigur Ros, to speak of bisexuality/homosexuality; Antony and the Johnsons, to speak of transgenders; El-P to speak of masculinity; Officer Down, to speak of biblical treatment of women; At the Drive-In to speak of rape; and finally, Bikini Kill to speak about feminism. The following is an excerpt which touches on Bikini Kill’s message, from that paper:

    Feminism influenced many female singer songwriters, such as Joan Baez and Joan Jett, who in turn influenced a group of women from Olympia, Washington. This group of women formed the punk rock band Bikini Kill. Fronted by ex-stripper Kathleen Hanna, were notorious for often only acknowledging females attending their concerts, playing particular shows topless, and for their blunt and derogatory lyrics. They were among the first of what would become known as the riot grrrl punk movement which continued in a line of feminist female artists that went on to include popular artists like PJ Harvey, Courtney Love, and Sleater-Kinney. Initially, their music was said to be quite poor, but their strong message quickly became well known. Eventually experience and a good producer fixed the former, so that they became legends in female power punk music. One song that could easily be looked at as a manifesto for the band is their single “I Like Fucking.” The lyrics of this song give a message of revolution to feminists, saying “We’re not gonna prove nothing, sitting around watching each other starve. What we need is action, strategy.” Bikini Kill spurned angry women and men who were willing to become part of this revolution within the punk music scene, empowering them with aggressive music and messages.

  186. Kate Sneer Says:

    Was a teenager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and picked up the two EPs CD. i will never forget the second i turned it on. i was at a small gathering of gross punk kids and i just sat close to the stereo ignoring everything else, it was like a religious conversion. i became the ultimate Bikini Kill fan, immediately started pumping out zines, and with my best friend started the official Wilkes-Barre Riot Grrrl Chapter (95-99, we were a little behind). It felt so awesome to feel part of a revolutionary niche in the backwoods. Ended up at Bryn Mawr (I never would have gone to a women’s college if it weren’t for Bikini Kill), and i went to an ’01 Philly Le Tigre show to ask Kathleen to announce an upcoming Softies show that was being held at school. She went above and beyond and brought me up onstage and did a little skit involving a telephone and me announcing the show with her. i could have died right there, a happy woman. Thanks for changing my life, Bikini Kill!

    • I was, unfortunately, too young to ever see a Bikini Kill show. I began listening to Bikini Kill in 2008, at the end of my freshman year of high school. I was amazed at their anger, cause i was feeling it too. That was the summer i chopped all my hair off, learned to skateboard, and stopped caring what people thought. i related “Rebel Girl” to my coming out experience, and realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I had been slightly feminist before, but Bikini Kill (and Le Tigre) helped me to become a strong young riot grrrl.

  187. Discovering Bikini Kill was probably one of the most formative experiences of my life. I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (basically the middle of nowhere). I knew from a young age that there was something that divided me from my peers and often times this was a cause for ridicule. In retrospect I can see it was my outspoken and hard headed ways made me “stand out” in this regressive community. The few friends who I could find commonalities with were completely incapable of understanding my up-and-coming feminist ideals. I remember going to shows at a young age trying to connect with my local music scene and being so disappointed by the portrayal of woman within the scene. There were absolutely no women involved with music and the few women who were somewhat involved were just well known “groupies”. It was so disgusting. Around the same time I was date raped and I was so naive I couldn’t even identify what had happened. This tore me apart inside for years and completely changed the outcome of my adolescence. I felt completely powerless. Luckily I happened upon Bikini Kill. New Radio was the first song I ever heard and in that moment I was completely changed. I felt like Kathleen was talking for me. I came to the realization that there were other people who felt the same way I did! Bikini Kill really helped me realize myself. I was able to use the music as a platform for my ideals and eventually this helped me find my own voice. It opened a whole new world of music, literature, art and theory I never would have been privy to otherwise. OH shit, how redundant is that. When I turned 18 and hit the road for bigger and better things I got a tattoo of the cover art from The Single Album to commemorate the closing of my past and the beginning of a righteous future. Thank you Kathleen. I will always be indebted to you.

    • Some make punk rock to scream their anger or frustration because of society inegalities. If music could change things it’s cool but it’s not its first aim for me.

      • Sfirah Madrone Says:

        I grew up with a single mother who started being told that her body is an object to be thrown around and assaulted in every way possible since the time she was an infant. She had me when she was fifteen as the result of being raped by the star quarterback’s little burner brother in front of her family’s trailer in the rural Midwest. She tried her best with what she had to work with, but as a model of womanhood she lacked. She showed me that drunk, aggressive, pathetic excuses for men were welcome to come waltzing through my life and take whatever they wanted. That I was to act as a needy co-dependent victim groveling gratefully at the feet of the men who showed up just long enough to destroy any semblance of a stable home, help themselves to mine, my mother’s and my sister’s bodies, and give us just enough of the fatherly love that we had been craving so badly for so long that we would forgive him. We were starved for attention and the way that my mother was showing me how to get it was to be a sexual object and a victim.

        There are many ways that a young woman might internalize such a childhood. That “crazy bitch” or “slut” that you know are probably acting out something that they had no opportunity to process earlier in their life. But I turned it inward, and started protecting myself in ways that were ultimately just as damaging. As a teenager, I developed a relationship with painkillers and food that allowed me to wall myself in to a fortress of my own body, one that I felt no one might be tempted by. I ate compulsively to a point that was physically painful, because if anyone was going to hurt me, it was going to be me. I became addicted to painkillers and couldnt remember what it felt like to not hear the fuzzy hum of my own consciousness reverbing itself. I had frequently had dreams of trying to run and finding myself immobile and screaming silently.

        Until one day, I heard someone scream. I had spent the day wandering and skateboarding around the city on what I now know to be a ridiculous dosage of Vicadin, and I ended up in a record store. I had a duct-taped together Discman that only worked when I held pressure in just the right spot, and a hooded sweatshirt with a rather concealing front pocket. I was browsing around idly when “Suck My Left One” came on. Between the drugs and the general dissociation with which I tended to live my life I didn’t pick up on it until the very last few riffs, but after that I knew that I had just experienced something that would change my life forever. I asked the guy what that band was and he gave me the standard snotty record store guy attitude with his response of, “uh, Bikini Kill…. “ and wrote me off. It was 1998, so I guess I was a little bit behind schedule. I asked him if he would play it again, and he snubbed me so I went to the Alternative section and stole a copy of “The C.D. Version of the First Two Records.” I didnt stop listening to it until my shitty Discman kicked the bucket for good. I wish I could say that I then picked up a guitar and started a band of my own, but suffice it to say that I eventually found my own ways to scream that did the trick.

        Now, as the mother of twin girls I am concerned with presenting a model of womanhood that provides opportunities to scream and ways to get attention that have nothing to do with being a sexual object. I feel pretty good about what has come out of what started as a pretty shitty run, and if you think Im a success, you can thank riot grrl.

  188. It was actually about 10 years ago in high school when I first heard Rebel Girl or anything remotely close to a riot grrl song. At the time, I had already broken up with my first lover who cheated on me and wow, was I was full of angst, but not the existential kind. Well sorta, but this angst was coming from witnessing and experiencing the outright sexism that high school students were engaged in. Anyways, back in the 90s (ha, nothing has really changed much!), there was nothing on the radio then that could express the emotional chaos that I was going through at that time of sexist awareness. I stuck to this pseudo-edgy radiostation that filled my time up with old nineties stuff like the Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, but I think one day they played Rebel Girl and I was seriously blown away. At the time, I was thinking, what girl would have the audacity to sing and speak like that, only dudes sung like that. But then I was like God Damn, I totally want a piece of that!
    So after that song, I looked them up and got exposed to a whole bunch of female musicians and subsequently got really into punk.
    If it wasnt for Rebel Girl, I wouldve sold my soul over to the Spice Girls.

  189. I have a million stories of Bikini Kill changing my life in ways that made me stronger and kept me alive. I’ll tell them here. I tell them all the time actually, but this is a story about a drum beat.

    First time I saw Bikini Kill was in 1996 with Team Dresch and Cold Cold Hearts at a shitty college bear bar near Columbia University. The place was not a music venue by any stretch and the sound system blew out 2 songs into Cold Cold Hearts set. I remember freaking out while the bartender (and someone this 14 year old memory(holyshit!) is telling me was Carlos from the Peechees) tried to get music going. I was so afraid they weren’t going to be able to play the show. After about an hour someone rolled in a pa. The rumor in the crowd was that they stole it from the theater at Columbia but in retrospect I doubt that was true.

    By the time BK came on after the delay the people who lived upstairs from the bar were super pissed! They threw eggs and all kinds of other shit out their windows at the people coming in and out of the bar. The bartender was standing up on the bar trying to get the band’s attention to tell them to cut their set short. BK was absolutely not having any of that! They were playing hard and loud and giving their fans everything they waited to see for an hour in that over capacity sweltering horrible bar. During a break between songs the bartender stood on the bar and yelled “Ladies! Ladies! You have to stop!!” Kathleen looked over her shoulder, Tobi fucking banged out that boom boom boom baboomboom drum beat that starts out “Rebel Girl”, and the audience went nuts. I can’t clearly express the joy and intensity in that room at that moment. Yeah it was cool and defiant and punk rock whatever, but it was so much more than that. At that moment it transcended rock show for me. It broke through my numbness and shame and drew me into something bigger. Screaming and singing and sweating and dancing my ass off with a room full of girls who had been through everything I had and more just to make it to that show alive. Bikini Kill knew what they meant to the kids in that crowd and they weren’t going to stop playing.

  190. I was born in 86, so when Bikini Kill was touring and making music, I was around 8-10ish. I had heard the name over the years but never thought to look them up, I didn’t know what they were all about and I had other things to do. I remember in 8th grade learning about the Suffragists, and plastering a quote from Elizabeth Cady Stanton on my wall that I had found in my Social Studies book. This was all I knew about Feminism; which is a great start, but I didn’t know how it would be applicable to my daily life, and I certainly didn’t know any other feminists. I had no role model, but continued to call myself a feminist. Over the years that young naive voice died, and I ignored my feminist impulses because whenever I said something about it, people called me a femnazi or asked if I hated men. After leaving the high school strangle-hold, I started to study feminism as a hobby. It was so great for me to jump into real feminist literature, and re-discover my past so to speak. I read a book called “Re-claiming feminism for the 21st century” and they said something about the riot ggrrrl movement and Bikini Kill in the 90’s. Since I grew up in the 90’s, but never knew anything about this, I was intrigued and I immediately looked it up on iTunes. The first song I downloaded was “Rebel Girl” and I felt like my soul was on fire! It was so raw and so real and so badass. It immediately revived my feminist spirit. I so desperately wish that I would have known about Bikini Kill growing up, I think it would have changed who I was. I have always been blond, and I listened to all these blond jokes and people telling me that I was a stupid ditz because of my hair color… and the worst part… was that I believed it. I wish I would have had badass role models like Bikini Kill when I was younger (they were there, I just didnt know!) so I would have put an end to the noise of my classmates. But this band means soooo much to me now. It is a reminder of my past and how I missed out, but it also reminds me that I was head strong enough to find them in my adulthood. This music means so much to me. I even titled my feminist blog “Soul Sister Rebel Girl.” THANK YOU BIKINI KILL FOR WHO YOU ARE.

  191. bikini kill saved my life. I felt like the song “starfish” was written for me. I was a teen fashion model and lived a double life as a punk rock riot grrrl. As an extremely insecure sexual abuse survivor, entering the world of modeling probably wasn’t the most healthy thing for me. The words “They want to buy the look of my abuse…They want to use my blood to color their perfume” rang eerily true. But because of the lyrics
    “Just like a starfish
    My legs will soon grow back
    I’ll just be ten times stronger
    Each time that you attack me”
    I got a life-size starfish tattoo (in 1995 maybe). I wanted to always be reminded of that.
    but that’s not how they saved my life. The punk scene back then was the place for angry youth like myself…but no place for a revolution. I wanted all my pain to mean something and in my town, “riot grrrls” got beat up by the other “drunk punx” When I felt like I was alone in the world, bikini kill empowered me and inspired me to turn my rage into creativity. I started a zine and going to bikini kill shows brought me together with lots of other amazing people I never would have imagined existed. I saw them play over a dozen times and every time changed me inside. Bikini Kill is without question, a huge part of how I became the 31 year old woman I am today.

    • theadventureclub Says:

      hi Spirit!!! I still have a letter you sent me and an old pic of you from a magazine!
      I always loved that story you told me about how you wore the Slut tee shirt to school and got in trouble for it….I can’t remember it exactly, do you know what I’m talking about???

      • omg! of course! i got written up in my high school and eventually suspended for refusing to cover it up. I also wore a bomber jacket that i silk screened “resist psychic death” on the back of. i love you. your photo is on the inspiration wall in my office. can you believe we made it?!

        thank you for making me think about my gender, my appearance, my race and my individuality in a revolutionary way. I don’t know who I would have been without Bikini Kill.

  192. I was a high school kid in the sticks of rural Iowa, and I first heard of Bikini Kill in the late great Sassy magazine. It came to me in our rural-route mailbox covered in limestone road dust.

    To see those incredible women opened up my brain and made me feel so much less alone, and so excited to grow up and see as much of the big cool world as I could. It was my first exposure to the idea that underground culture could be going on RIGHT NOW, by people my age, not just in stories of old Kerouac beats, etc., but maybe even as near as Iowa City, and maybe even among some of the weirdo kids in my high school … and maybe us weirdos could band together and not just be outcasts but DO something, do something a lot better and more real than what we were supposed to be doing …

    So Bikini Kill — before I even heard their music, which I finally did hear once I got to college — made me excited to be alive, to be young, to be a girl-then-woman, to not conform and to be creative …

    It’s informed my aesthetic, my way of negotiating womanhood in this troubling culture, to this very day …

    thank you.

  193. The first song I heard from the Bikini Kill was “rebel girl”, i liked it immediatly. Simple compositions but lots of rage and energy. “Reject all American” and “pussy whipped” are really 2 great albums. One of my favorite bands !

  194. My cousin Ryan introduced me to Bikini Kill in the early 90s. I was learning how to play guitar, and we had a garage band called Trapped and Shadow. I got the Bikini Kill message right away. It was like everything I needed to hear but never knew it. The Riot Grrrl movement helped me make sense of womanhood, sexuality, music, and the true spirit of punk rock, which in my belief is non-conformity. I had long been exposed to the boys of punk rock, but these girls came in and blew my bedroom door down. I was never the same after that.

    My best Bikini Kill memory is when Ryan and I went to see them in Richmond, VA. I kept running into Kathleen in the girls bathroom, and I made the joke that she was following me. She was all, “no, you’re following me!” It was very cute, and she was incredibly sweet. The band kicked absolute ass. Danceable, raw, punk rock, that was Bikini Kill to me.

  195. Saw Bikini Kill in 95 at The Antenna Club in Memphis. Memphis Riot Grrls got together and went to the show. Insanely fun. At the end of the set, I traded something illegal (not drugs) for a t-shirt. Still have the t-shirt now, all thin and tattered at the collar. There’s a hole in the back that my dog likes to stick her nose through when I’m not paying attention. Bikini Kill means as much to me now as it did then. Maybe even more… feminism seems like such a lost cause these days, and it’s mutated into something that makes me sad for women and girls who aren’t expected to get angry anymore.

  196. Bikini Kill played at Hong Kong Cafe in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in 1994. I was 18 and went to the show with a group of people. When we got there, we were told by the doorman that it was sold out so we walked to the alley behind the building to look for a way to sneak in. While we were in the alley, a girl walked up with a giant bottle of water (which I remember thinking was really weird) and asked what we were doing. A friend told her we were trying to get into the show. When she left he said, “I think that was Kathleen”, and I felt rather stupid. It became imperative that I get in to see this band that had saved me from certain peril! My friend scaled the drainpipe outside of Hong Kong Cafe, and a bunch of punks pulled him in through the window. I went up to the doorman and said “my brother” was inside and I had to get the car keys from him and I’d come right back. He relented, and I went inside. I think a band called Fleabag also played, and the place was packed and sweaty and teeming and it was the most memorable show ever.
    I later saw them again in LA and once at Gilman, and by then they were refusing to play ‘White Boy’ anymore.

  197. Bikini Kill has meant so much to me. Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure to see them live, but their music has always inspired me. When I listen to Bikini Kill, I feel strong and fearless. They were really the first band to get me excited about feminism. Sure, I was a feminist beforehand, but their music brought that identity to the forefront for me.

    I can listen to every Bikini Kill song and feel something powerful–within the music/words, but also within myself. It’s hard to find that in a band today.

    I am forever grateful.

    **I did a recent interview with Kathleen and it’s up on my blog here: http://lachristagreco.webs.com/apps/blog/show/2832672-q-and-a-with-kathleen-hanna

  198. I am so happy I came across this site. I have always wanted to personally thank Bikini Kill for just existing. If I did not hear Bikini Kill in High School, I would have killed myself. I come from a really small hick town, and was picked on for being openly gay every day of my life, and I didn’t know like minded people existed in the outside world. Just listening to Bikini Kill, knowing that there was people out there in the world that I could relate to, did more for me than anyone could imagine. But, what I want to thank Bikini Kill for the most, is giving my best friends confidence. Hearing my best friends cry because she thinks she is overweight, and to hear boys call my best friends “bitch” as if it’s a term of endearment. It breaks my heart, and I cry for them. But, once they heard Bikini Kill, they seemed to grow confidence, and esteem, and discovered political identities and their voices. It’s the most amazing thing to see that kind of metamorphosis. In high school, sometimes when I got sad, I would lay in bed and listen “R.I.P” over and over. “But, no one said life was easy. Yeah, but no one said that nothing’s suppose to happen, right? No, no one told me anything to prepare me for fucking this.”


  199. long story short, bikini kill changed my life. they opened up my mind/eyes in a way that nothing or noone had ever done before or has done since. they introduced me to feminism and taught me how important it is to be a female. never got a chance to see them live which is unfortunate but i’ve been lucky enough to meet kathleen (the biggest inspiration in my life) once at a le tigre concert. best night of my life. nothing will ever top that night. nothing.

  200. bikini kill was my best friend and ultimately, got me through puberty.

  201. bikini kill was my best friend and got me through puberty.

  202. I first saw Bikini Kill in 1993 Portland, Ore at a now defunct club called La Luna. I was just turning 14 years old. I was standing outside, thrilled beyond belief to be there and see my hero Kathleen. As we were waiting to get in I started talking to this girl outside the club named Sky. She had a fanzine and informed me that she hoped to get an interview with Kathleen when we got inside. She asked me if I wanted to hang out with her and of course said “sure!” When we got inside she managed to score an interview with Kathleen and we sat on the leopard couch and Sky interviewed her. I sat there elated and a little starstruck as Kathleen talked about the impact that Bikini Kill was having in media and how uncomfortable it made her feel that people were taking what she was saying so seriously; that teenage girls were being so impacted by what she was saying. I told her that I was 14 and she seemed a little shocked, me being so young and so into her music. The time spent with her was so amazing. I remembered I looked up to her so much (which is probably what she felt uneasy about! haha…). Anyway, we had our picture taken with her and then went to watch the show. She put on an AMAZING show and it was to this day one of the best shows I’ve seen.

  203. The first place that I heard about Bikini Kill from would either be the television show ‘Roseanne’ or the horribly cheap humored movie, ‘Not Another Teen Movie’. I remember that I felt scared by them and confused, which makes me really sad to think that now. Esp. with what knowing them has done for me. You’re all such truly beautiful human beings. Thank you for all the wonderful music, and the revolution.

    Love, J.

  204. Emily Heart Says:

    I think I first read about bikini kill in sassy magazine in an article about riot grrls. I was shy, living in Iowa, and very sheltered. Then, in 9th grade, a girl walked into class in a Bikini Kill tee shirt. I thought she was the hottest, coolest girl I’d ever seen. Well it turned out she was somewhat of a poser, because she had never actually listened to the music, just stolen it from her sister’s closet.
    So I ended up just buying “reject all american” on a whim with my brother, who was a total musichead and inspiration to me. I was in love. The lyrics, melodies, mood–everything was exactly what I needed….I made a mix tape right away and drove my friends around all summer of ’97 blasting that tape! It was angry, raucous…it was just right. Then I bought “pussy whipped” and fell even deeper into love.
    I wish I had seen them live, but I still listen to and appreciate their music more than I can really even say.

  205. I wondered earlier whether the fax that Sub Pop sent out slagging off Bikini Kill was simply their publicist Nils Bernstein’s skewed idea of a joke: probably not, but Sub Pop were in the business of totally winding folk up back then. It sounds sadly correct, from what I recall – odd, then, that Sub Pop boss Bruce Pavitt was simultaneously trying to sign BK tour-mates Huggy Bear without even having heard them.

    For what it’s worth, my two favourite Bikini Kill songs are ‘Rebel Girl’ and ‘R.I.P.’, and I would like to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise for asking that piece-of-shit careerist US journalist to interview Kathleen for their one mainstream UK press feature. Of course I should have done it: but I didn’t want them tainted by association.

    My main BK memory is a lengthy chat I had with Kathleen Hanna in about ’94 at the Capitol Theatre, Olympia – where neither of us recognised the other.

    I still like the cassette tape best of all, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I? I obtained it via Calvin Johnson’s K Records’ distribution service, not from Courtney Love, as been claimed elsewhere. But really, it was the very early Riot Grrrl fanzines that kicked my ass, even more than the music. There was such passion and information and a new way of seeing within them.

    I’m not saying that you should praise a band for being female. Just that you should be very wary indeed if they’re male.

    P.S. To the best of my knowledge, Nils was also president of the Nirvana fan club during this period. I wonder how that fits in?

  206. About 1993, in high school. I think I read about Bikini Kill in Sassy. I have many memories of listening to them alone, in my room, volume turned up loud. Singing along, screaming along. Crying happy tears, knowing that there were other girls out there like me, even if they didn’t live in my town. Suck My Left One, Rebel Girl. Even though I rarely listen to them now, I can still hear and feel them pounding in my heart.

  207. I started listening to Bikini Kill when I was in high school. I don’t remember exactly how I heard about them (probably a zine), or where I first heard their music, but I do remember listening to them A LOT. I had Reject All American on vinyl and my brother hated when I would play “Sylvia Plath Story” really loud in my bedroom. I remember writing the lyrics to “Rebel Girl” on the cover of one of my composition books in school and wishing that I knew a girl to share this with, like the one described in the song. Bikini Kill helped me realize that you don’t have to be weak just because you are a woman.

  208. I begged my parents to let me take the train into DC on a school night to see Bikini Kill when I was 15 in 1995. The line up was amazing – Estrojet, Cold Cold Hearts, Team Dresch and Bikini Kill. I stood next to the speakers and couldn’t hear a thing in class the next day. Aside from the great music – I met Mark Anderson that night who got me into working with positive force a bit then has been a friend since. One of the greatest nights.

  209. The first time I heard Bikini Kill was in the summer of ’91. My friend that was playing me their first cassette told me they were from Olympia WA. I looked at a map and the Bikini Kill zine as we listened to it. The music, images and ideas mixed in my head and I pictured a cartoon that BK starred in. I told my friend and he started to illustrate it. I remember thinking about the mountain mists and ocean fog isolating and fermenting the punk hormones of the characters in the cartoons creating the individual superpowers each member had. I said that their collective super powers created ideas that moved around like the music of the Melvins. We were both straightedge and starting to freak each other out…

  210. I saw Bikini Kill at the Last Call Saloon years ago, for one of Ty Jesso’s totally wired nights. They played with (i think) Vitapup, Hydrogen Terrors (first show) and Shotgun Flu (before I joined). I recall Kathleen Hanna not letting males near the stage at all. That bummed me out a bit, but they were good nonetheless.

    My faves are “Carnival,” “Suck my Left One,” and “Tony Randall,” from Reject All American.

  211. I first heard of Bikini Kill when I was a sophomore at SUNY Purchase in 1992. There was a feature on them in an issue of SPIN magazine with Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten on the cover that I nicked from the campus library where I worked. I described Kathleen Hanna as a “sexy, scary girl who pogos while singing about sexual abuse.” I cut out the article and pasted in it my journal writing “Kali lily” above it and drawing Oscar Wilde style lilies.

    Because this was 1992, before the internet it wasn’t easy for an Upstate NY hillbilly such as myself to find Bikini Kill’s music, but somehow I managed by writing to Blacklist records in San Fransisco after I saw an ad they placed in a copy of the zine Maximum Rock and Roll I bought 2nd hand in the campus’ common area between the bookstore and the post office where more sophisticated students than I raised money by selling their goods.

    During my Junior year, I invested money from my library paycheck in a money order and send away for Bikini Kill’s split album with Huggy Bear. “Thurston Hearts the Who”, “Suck My Left One”, “wearing plastic, not real leather” I was hooked ever after.

  212. When i was 13, a girl with green hair came over to my house and lent me a stack of CD’s. I had just heard of Hole and was really into Pretty On the Inside (does anyone remember when they were hardcore?) But- this girl claimed to know of better music I would surely love. The one at the top of the pile: Bikini Kill’s Pussy Whipped.
    I don’t know what it was at first- an emotional validation? a sermon? a shamelessness? No other kind of music, before of after that moment, has been able to change my internal chemistry the way Bikini Kill did that day. I remember Kathleen’s voice shivered through me the first time. The second time it picked me off the floor. The third time it sang with me.

    A few weeks later, my highly religious mother institutionalized me. One day, after my mental evaluation, I wrote the lyrics to Sugar all over my arms in black marker. To my surprise, the lanky boy with black hair in his face recognized it. We sang it at the top of our lungs until the guards came and locked us both in our separate rooms..
    Without Bikini Kill, I wouldn’t have been able to survive being a 13 year old girl.

  213. I first started listening to Bikini Kill in 1992. or maybe it was 93. I grew up in an super-strict, conservative Vietnamese household. My mother told me I was not allowed to play the Bikini Kill LP in the house because they said the word “fuck” a lot, and she didn’t want my younger sister and brother to be exposed to that kind of language. So naturally, i took my 12 year old sister to see Bikini Kill play at La Luna in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t have anyone else to go with at the time, much less know any punk rockers, and didn’t want to go by myself. We told our parents we were going to see a movie. My sister wore a t-shirt with cat pictures all over it, but in a non-ironic kind of way. It took us an hour to drive to Portland. Neither of us had been to a punk rock show before and didn’t know what to expect.

    when we got there, i was really surprised to see other people of color in the audience. That was super-important, as skinheads were a problem back then. My hometown was rural-ish, we had a racist skinhead contingent in town, and not a lot people of color lived there; I’d get harassed a lot, and that kinda kept me away from shows and stuff. Before then, I wasn’t aware of other people of color in the punk scene. This was before internet access became ubiquitous and before I started networking or reading zines. It definitely felt like being the last and only unicorn left on earth, but then stumbling upon a secret field full of frolicking unicorns. Maybe i was just small town at the time, but I think riot grrrl kinda sent the message or beacon to other marginalized groups that it was safe to go to punk shows or be part of the punk scene and refuse to be made to feel like you aren’t “supposed” to be there.

    The opening band was awesome; but i can’t remember their name. Some guy in the audience started to scream sexist shit at them, and the singer-lady responded, “is there a problem?” and then she demanded that he come forward on stage, or they would end the set. When the guy refused, they immediately ended their set, and walked off the stage. People got super pissed and they cussed him out, and then the guy left. it was so cool, I made a mental note to use that tactic at some point in the future. Bikini Kill was awesome. my sister loved it. Kathleen wore a shirt that said, “marry me, fly free.” At that moment, I remember feeling like I was part of something big, urgent, and powerful, and that if you wanted, you could claim that power for yourself and share it with others, and maybe try to change the world with it. On the way back from Portland, i was so amped up I almost crashed the car on the offramp to I-5. When we got home, our parents were watching Chinese soap operas and didn’t notice that we were gone for 6 hours

  214. if i’d never heard bikini kill, i’d have never been able to cope with being female.

  215. I was a teenager when I first heard Bikini Kill. I was in Junior High. My friend Damon made me a mix tape with Bikini kill on it and a bunch of other bands. Double Dare Ya was the first song that I heard. It changed my life. I wish I could relive the exact moment when I first heard Bikini Kill and how my heart almost jumped out of my body. Really, it was that powerful. I am thankful for a band like Bikini Kill because it felt good being able to relate to their words. I still do. I recently got a Bikini Kill tattoo done in December. It’s the logo from the Singles cd. This band means so much to me. If any of the Bikini Kill members are reading this, please tour. Really, I really feel that my life would be complete if I saw you play live because I never got the chance to. Thank you for your music.

  216. David Jett Says:

    My first, actually, only time to see Bikini Kill live was at one of many reboots of the legendary Antenna Club in Memphis, TN.

    I got there early. Not many people yet. (It’s Memphis, so even when the crowd showed up, there was still not many people… ) I noticed a cute girl playing an outdated video game in the corner of the bar. Asteroids, Centipede, something like that. She looked kinda cool. When she finished the game and turned around, I knew that she was Kathleen Hanna.

    Did I recognize her face right off? No. This was back in the day when not everyone you knew had the internet, or the internet on their phone. This was back in the day when Bust Magazine wasn’t available on your local book/music store. This was back in the day when just about the only photos you saw of an indie artist was whatever they included with the cd/album. But I knew it was her. How?

    When she turned around, I saw the front of the band t-shirt she was wearing. The band? The Jam.

    Even though Memphis has produced some great music, and even though there might be some cool chicks here, none, and I mean NONE of them would be wearing a Jam t-shirt. I still live in Memphis and I still have not seen anyone else here wearing a Jam t-shirt. Boy or girl.

    And that’s what I remember about my first Bikini Kill show. Well, that and the fact that they f’n rocked!

    • theadventureclub Says:

      Thanks for the story. I reposted it in the “posts” section cuz I found
      a photo to go with it! xoxoKathleen

  217. ties to ftw, tx. mutual friends. a chik named erika who dated my frend justin. writing bitch or other profanities on body parts. my ex-boyfriend, carl, who is a tattoo artist. a kind of inspiration and introduction to freedom of expression. support your local revolution! now, i am a revolution!


  219. I became a fan long after the band stopped touring. I think I was like 13 at the time… anyways I am a huge fan now with a finite amount of material. I am envious of those who got to see the live show… can’t wait to see some of the vids that get posted.

  220. when bikini kill was touring the uk wth huggy bear in 1993, nels bernstein, who was the publicist for sub pop back then, sent a fax on sub pop stationary to most of the rock journalists and editors in the UK, strenuously and obnoxiously arguing that nobody would care about Bikini Kill if they were all men, and that they were getting their publicity “for free” which was confusing, because it gave the impression that sub pop must only get publicity by paying for it. It was also really confusing why he felt so strongly about this that he’d try to talk editors and writers into ignoring BK and stop writing about them, which was what he was asking them to to do. Like some kind of bizarro-world anti-publicist, he had taken it upon himself to use his skills and contacts as a successful press agent to try to reduce the press attention that BK received. Does anybody who is reading this have a copy of his fax, i’d love to see it word for word again after all these years.

    • woa I forgot about this. it would be good to get a copy. I have a bunch of faxes in a box in my parents attic, along with a bunch of other crap, I’ll look for it

      • You sure this wasn’t just Nils’ skewed idea of a joke? I’m not trying to defend him – indeed, I wasn’t even getting along with Sub Pop Records (and especially Nils) during the period you’re talking about, mainly cos they’d do crap stuff like this. I’m just wondering aloud. Probably not. It was probably serious. It does ring a bell with me: although I suspect I wouldn’t have received a copy, for whatever reasons.

  221. The first time I saw Bikini Kill was on Halloween of 1991, opening for Nirvana & Mudhoney here in Seattle. This was just after “Nevermind” had come out, so there was a TON of hype around Nirvana.

    I had heard the name Bikini Kill, but had never heard of Riot Grrrl nor had I heard their music. I knew only that they were from Olympia and had something to do with that scene. They cameon and proceeded to blow my mind!

    At that point I was really into punk, but was only starting to gravitate more towards the overtly political stuff. Bikini Kill gave me a solid kick in that direction, and their message reinforced feelings and a perspective that I had in my gut, but as a 16 year old kid didn’t yet know how to express (and still sometimes struggle to live up to). From that moment on, feminism was an inextricable part of my perspective on what a punk scene should be like.

    There are so many lessons about how to operate as a band and as a person that I learned from that time, and Bikini Kill & Riot Grrrl were crucial to that for me. I remember as they became more widely known hearing about they were man-haters or whatever, but I never got that message from them. Were they angry? Yes. Did they have a message? Yes, and goddamnit, it was a worthwhile one, and, judging from comments I heard at that Halloween show about them being “just some chick band,” one that needed to be screamed. One that still needs to be screamed.

    Thank you Bikini Kill!

    –eric ingrate

  222. It was in my friend Parise’s bedroom that I first heard Bikini Kill. We smoked a joint and she put on Suck My Left One and she did a little dance in which she grabbed her left boob. We’re both feminists today; I wonder why.

  223. I went to school in Olympia… at the Evergreen State College. I gravitated away from all the hippies at the school and towards all the riot grrrls and punks that were performing at house parties and backstage at the Capitol Theater. Riot Grrrl totally changed my life, cementing in me not only a love of music but also all my tendencies towards feminism and being supportive of other women. Kathleen Hanna was the most inspiring of the bunch because of how outspoken she was but also because she practiced what she preached. Some of the other women in the scene made me feel like I was back in the popularity contest that was high school.
    The one time I got to meet Kathleen, she was very friendly. We were at a backstage show, waiting in line for the bathroom, when she thrust out her hand and introduced herself: “I’m Kathleen”. We went on to discuss bladder shyness – the inability to pee when others are waiting in line for the toilet. I couldn’t believe she would suffer from this affliction but now it makes sense – she truly cares about those around her and how she is impacting everyone. It wasn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
    I never spoke to her again but she was friends with some of my friends and I always felt safe when she was around. I knew if I were ever to suffer from being harassed by men on the street, Kathleen, and the women she inspired, would step right in and yell at them for me. When she was not around, I summoned my “inner Kathleen Hanna” in order to have the strength to deal with the occasional sexist comment.
    Kathleen Hanna is one of the people who has made my life better and taught me what it means to be a feminist. I love all her music, but Bikini Kill will always have a special place in my heart. Bikini Kill taught me how to scream!

  224. Oh and Kathleen – I still have the Puff Puffetti and setlist you gave me after the EVIL STIG show in Seattle in 1994. 😉 Thanks for being cool talking to us and letting us take our picture with you.

  225. Back in High School, in good old (as in Good Old Boys mentality) Boise, Idaho, Bikini Kill (along with Huggy Bear, Bratmobile, Tribe 8 et al) quite literally saved my life.

    Aside from Joan Jett and Poison Ivy Rorschach, I didn’t really have any female Rock N Roll role models – I didn’t want to fuck the band, I wanted to BE the band, and I had no idea how to start. Bikini Kill showed me that it wasn’t important that I didn’t really know how to play, I just had to play. And so I did.

    It was like all of the alienation and anger that I’d experienced in my lifetime, the years of continual disappointment at the hands of men (and the undying desire to PLEASE them, that made me hate myself) were channeled into these beautiful, angry women screaming into the world of punk rock. “WE DON’T NEED YOU!!!”

    My best friend Luci bought BK’s debut album and it was like a light was turned on for us. Someone else understood. We got it. We listened to the whole side one in silence, our eyes huge, with smiles we hadn’t had in years. Everything changed.

    We still were harassed in the hallways at school, but we thought we were the Queens of the Neighborhood. And therefore we were. We made our zines (“SMACK!” and “Crankpot”) and scrawled “SLUT” and “ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY” and “COCKS” (in protest of Hooters) on Hanes 3 for $10 white t-shirts. We cut our hair crooked and wore ruffles with boots and shoved our middle fingers up at everyone that didn’t understand WHY we were angry.

    And because of this we were saved.

    Thank you, Bikini Kill.

  226. When I think about Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail and Kathi Wilcox, it makes me think about the song “She’s Amazing” by Team Dresch. Thank you Bikini Kill. You makes me wanna cry. I am so glad you exist.

  227. When I started high school, I thought punk music was really annoying. I thought, What do all these white boys have to be so angry about? Seriously?? A couple months into my freshman year (1995), a cool new girl friend with dyed red hair gave me a tape of The CD Version of the First Two Records. I listened to it in my walkman and was just like WHAAATTTTTT. I read and reread all the liner notes. I had little concerts in my bedroom when my parents weren’t home, using the broom as a microphone. Someone was saying things I felt but didn’t know I felt. They were expressing everything, not holding back. My mom, a feminist, didn’t get it. Screaming made her uncomfortable. But dammit Robert Plant can do it, so why the hell can’t we? The first women I heard that made music without being concerned with how pretty they sounded. INCREDIBLY liberating and inspiring. And ideas that were just beginning to take shape in me. “I’m so sorry if I’m alienating some of you / Your whole fucking culture alienates me.” Lines about not being able to come, and being angry about it. Who the fuck else said that?

    That year I started writing songs on my mom’s piano when no one was home. I didn’t know how to play piano, I just messed around with it until sounds started to come out that I thought were cool. Now I know that my early songs–from those first two years or so of writing–were just not very good. But I am so grateful that I kept playing. Why did I keep playing, even if my writing wasn’t that good? Because it never occurred to me that I should stop. I didn’t have a conscious moment when I thought, “Bikini Kill can do it, so can I.” But I think, because of Bikini Kill, I was in the right mind-set to just explore and express and communicate whatever I wanted, however I wanted, and not worry if it didn’t sound like most music I had heard up to that point. And to bang away on the piano and sing loud and wail.

    Pussy-Whipped hit me deeper, or in a more complex way. “Pretty girls all gather round / To hear your side of things” and “TAKE TAKE TAKE TAKE TAKE TAKE.” So simple, but it still sticks with me. “Wipe the sweat from my hair / Tell me we’re not better off.” That sense of, It’s just you and me, fuck it, we got everything we need. And I remember driving around with my best friend in the summer listening to Reject All American. I loved “Bloody Ice Cream,” especially, “We are turning cursive letters into knives.”

    The one I listen to most regularly nowadays is the Singles record. It’s just phenomenal. The same shit, just more adult and complicated and not as black and white. “Sometimes being happy baby / is what I’m most afraid of… Why don’t you show me now / how to lose control??” and “Just cuz my world, sweet sister, / Is so fucking goddamn full of rape / Does that mean my body / Must always be a source of pain?”

    Kathleen has always been one of my favorite lyricists. She’s like Hemingway. Simple straightforward statements that pack a punch, but that lack all pretensions. From a free, observant child’s point of view. Looking for joy all the time.

    I listened to Bikini Kill for nine years before I was able to actually look at and face sexual abuse I suffered as a child. Bikini Kill was probably one of many things that primed me for that moment, when I picked up a pen and wrote it down for the first time, started saying it out loud. Bikini Kill helped me ask, “Wait, why the fuck am I ashamed?” and to say, “It’s so fucked up that I’m ashamed!” Bikini Kill told me which books to read when I was ready to read them.

    So I’m really grateful for Bikini Kill. They gave me so much strength. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    • “Bikini Kill helped me ask, “Wait, why the fuck am I ashamed?” and to say, “It’s so fucked up that I’m ashamed!” This 100x

  228. I remember when Bikini Kill got name dropped on the 90’s sitcom “Roseanne”. Man that was weird…and cool!

  229. bikini kill! i remember being in morgantown, west virginia, in 90 or 91–at the “bovine house” -where my boyfriend at the time, mark, lived. I didnt know much about bikini kill as they casually set up in the living room—but was so struck by kathleen as she started to sing- she made me feel like she was singing only to me–looking me straight in the eyes and pretty much changing me forever—

  230. I first read about Bikini Kill in Sassy Magazine back when I was 13 years old-maybe 1991 or 1992. A year or so later, a girl I met on a Prodigy Message board (haha) made me a mix that included Bikini Kill, Bratmobile etc. I was hooked.
    (Remember back in the “old days” where you had to work really, really hard to find music…and the word was spread via fanzines and traded mix tapes?)

    I got my hands on Yeah Yeah Yeah when I was able to convince my mom to allow me to venture in Boston on my own. My Bikini Kill collection grew via Kill Rock Stars mail order-sending dollars and change in the mail.

    In essence, Bikini Kill were my heroes. They validated my angry teen girl feelings and made me feel empowered. 18 years later and I still<3 them!

  231. The first Bikini Kill song I had ever heard was “I Like Fucking” because some fansite or maybe Kill Rock Stars had a streaming ‘Bikini Kill Player’ on their website. It was like nothing I had ever heard before and I was immediately enthralled. I instant messaged the link to all my friends. It was 8th or 9th grade and I was listening to the Distillers and Hole and wanted to hear more bands with girls in them. I’m not sure where I first heard of Bikini Kill that prompted me to look them up online that fateful day. It might have been while looking through old Hole press and seeing a zine that said Courtney Love had punched Kathleen Hanna, a testimony by Corin Tucker I believe, and that the title from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came from her spray painting the phrase on a wall while hanging out with Kurt Cobain. Or it might have been because that pop-punk sensation Good Charlotte were really popular then and had a song called “Riot Girl” and the whole internet was in uproar, saying things like, “That song is NOT what Riot Grrrl was about!” So I wanted to know what it was about. I listened to Pussy Whipped on repeat and since it was only about 20 minutes long would hear it countless times a day, and I thought their voices sounded like guitars. My friends and I would sing “Rebel Girl” to each other and “For Tammy Rae” defines tenderness to me to this day.

  232. my roommate at boarding school, Ani Kasten, had a few Bikini Kill 7in and every time she played them really loud in our 80 sq ft room i would be like, why are those girls screaming? what are the screaming? why are they so angry? then put on a john prine record when it was my turn. i was in my bongo/acoustic guitar phase… i guess i still have an acoustic guitar.. anyway. I didn’t get Bikini Kill and I wasn’t into them when i moved to Olympia, i didn’t even know they where from oly…and i didn’t know exactly what riot grrl was in 1995 (on a side note when i was in high school in elpaso tx the local paper did an article on riot grrl and the paper reported riot grrls where Chicana girl gangs that dealt drugs and did drive bys… what the fuck). So i moved to olympia with my bongo and started attending the local college there. I quickly dropped out and started a resale clothing business called Dumpster Values. Once i was spending every day in downtown olympia working/living in my little shop, i started noticing the cool kids w/black polyester stay press levis and white belts and striped shirts and I was like why are those kids so mean? or shy? or snobby? It took me about four years to find a community in olympia. Owning and running a small rad business lent it’s self to getting to hanging out and meeting most everyone that has been a part of the the music scene here since 1996… punk rock and other wise. I became buddies w/Kathleen ..she frequented the shop and was really social and out going. Slim Moon (kill rock stars’ old owner) rented an office space from the building i managed and ran my shop out of and let me pick out for free any records i wanted from their catalogue… i got every Bikini Kill record, along w/a shit load of Unwound records… and started really listening to the songs.”SUCK MY LEFT ONE!”. I acquired a taste.

    I got to meet and know more riot grrls and punk feminist in oly after working on the budget for the very first Ladyfest, then became more enlightened in the Feminist Action Brigade Bookclub that Tobi Vail and Marrissa Magic started. I’m glad i got to see Bikini Kill a few times before they broke up and thought the frumpies where rad afterwards… Watching Tobi sing and play drums was really inspiring and she is one of the reasons i now play the drums. I’m glad i became a round about oly scenster and that the music here has influenced me politically, socially, and artistically. I understand Bikini Kill’s lyrics now and get why you all where so angry and understand why it is that you were screaming. -Kanako

  233. Kelly Coffey Says:

    My sister and I met a riot grrl at a gas station who needed a ride to Glenview. She was playing a show that night with the band Unit Shredders. I didn’t really know what riot grrl was all about, so on the way there, she popped in this tape of “freedom rock” – Bikini Kill. At first I couldn’t get into music’s hard sound, but I checked out the lyrics and they really resonated with me. They were so different from the music I was used to hearing –“classics” about men using lovesick girls. Even the Beatles have a song about hurting a woman who cheats! It was a wake-up call and it made me we want to take control and be a riot grrl! My sister Jackie and I yelled out the car window at any smug, misogynist jerks we saw that night and it felt great!

    • theadventureclub Says:

      OMG I love the Unit Shredders! I used to hang out with their singer Jenna E.
      who was a total trip. It was kinda weird that she was a Riot Grrrl though, I mean most of us were like 19 and she was like 35 or something!!!!hahaha

  234. Justin Sweatt Says:

    I first got into Bikini Kill through one of my really good friends in High School in the mid 90s. I had been obsessed with Nirvana/Mudhoney/Sub Pop/Punk Rock for a while and this friend of mine made me a mix tape with Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, and Huggy Bear. That was the end of it for me. I started purchasing items through the mail order of Kill Rock Stars and K Records every time I got paid at the end of the month. Great stuff.

  235. I saw Bikini Kill at a farm in Virginia somewhere. I was going to college at JMU and some people I hardly knew were driving out to this show and asked if I wanted to go along. It was Spring, and the ground was wet. I had a weird time. Did this really happen? It seems so surreal now in my thoughts, I find myself doubting that it was Bikini Kill, but something tells me it was.

    It was the middle of nowhere, someone’s farm. There was a generator providing power that would go in and out. The show was a mindblower.

    • theadventureclub Says:

      I posted a picture of what may have been this show in the posts
      section along with yr original post. I have many of these surreal
      “did that really happen” shows in my head too. Some highlights include:
      playing with Nation of Ulysess in a copy shop basement, playing a kid’s parents garage in a totally manicured suburb in Texas, playing an abandoned grade school in Minnesota where a guy who used to be the janitor at the school now lived and made everyone delicious hot cinnamon donuts…….Kathleen

      • I was at that show at the farm near Harrisonburg, VA. I totally recognize people in the picture Kathleen posted. We called it the Farm House (naturally) and a bunch of punk kids who either went to JMU or had graduated rented it and sometimes had parties and bands out there. Harrisonburg had amazing bands come through town because some kids in the DC music scene went to college there. I’m so proud I got to see this and a few other BK shows in the DC area that were insanely, powerfully good.

  236. Bikini Kill were one of my first “grown up” loves; their music marks the time when I fully moved away from commercial pop music (namely Spice Girls and Take That) into independent and DIY, and when I first truly appreciated what it means to be an active feminist.

    The first time I heard them I was in Primary School – it must have been the late 1990’s, so Years 5 or 6, because CDs were beginning to take over my collection from cassette tapes. My best friend made me a mixtape that included “Rebel Girl”. At the time I remember naively thinking it was anti-romance and my boy hating self embraced the song with a fever. From there I went on to buy The Singles with my pocket money from a second hand record store, and I’ve never looked back!

  237. April Blackbird Says:

    I first heard Bikini Kill in my first year of university in 2002 when I was writing a paper on feminism for my Intro to Politics class. It was a giant turning point in music for me. I was also kind of pissed that I had just now heard of this amazing band that screamed about all of the things I’ve wanted to scream about since high school. I immediately went out and bought every Bikini Kill CD I could get my hands on and have enjoyed singing along (at the top of my lungs of course) since. Pussy Whipped is still #1 on the list of albums that changed my life.

  238. when i was 16 years old, bikini kill were doing a show in seattle, washington with sonic youth. i live about three hours away, in vancouver, canada. i didn’t have a driver’s license, i’d never left the country without an adult family member to escort me and i really wanted to go.

    me and my friends were trying to create some kind of a punk-feminist scene in vancouver. we made zines, distributed others and had just began to form friendships with older, cool punk girls who’d done things like been to olympia and seen heavens to betsy live.

    soon after i found out about this show, one of those older punk girls, amber dawn, put it together so that we’d all chip in for car rental and her roommate, the only one of us with a drivers license, would drive us all down. it was really exciting, and i’ve tried to give that back to many people, who can’t take themselves on roadtrips to see cool shows.

    so, there i am, 16 years old on my first punk rock road trip, to see bikini kill. the show wasn’t very punk, they were opening for sonic youth in a theater, but wow was it cool to leave the country with friends for the first time, and see two great live bands.

  239. I heard about/heard Bikini Kill when I was 15 or 16 (1993 or so). What a great caustic sound. I was growing up in Mount Vernon Wa., and with the help of some penpals in cooler towns (Bellingham, Seattle, Oly) my friends and I (weird even by small-town-punk standards) figured out when BK were playing and went to as many shows as we could. I wrote a letter to Tobi and she wrote back, I won a can of Dr. Pepper in a dance contest at a Bikini Kill show in Bellingham. These are some of the happiest memories from my teen years that I have. Thank you.

  240. friend made me a bikini kill/huggy bear tape back in ’94 and got me hooked. saw them open for sonic youth at the palladium in LA for the “washing machine” tour back in ’95 and remember what looked like 14 eye doc’s the lead singer wore and thought she kicked some serious ass!!

  241. I actually just recently fell in love with Bikini Kill. Weirdly enough, this year I had some issues where I felt less than proud to be a girl. I felt dumb and lesser than boys and realized part of the reason I had been so insecure in the past had been simply because I was a girl. Bikini Kill, as corny as it may sound, made me feel the Girl Power, hehe.
    Whether I’m blasting it in my car after a long day, or in my room playing dress-ups with friends, or dancing in the shower, Bikini Kill always snaps me back into a posi-punx frame of mind and gives me a little confidence boost.
    I’ve recently been becoming more interested in feminism, women’s studies, and believe it or not, music-making. The band has definitely impacted and influenced such interests.
    So thank you.

  242. I first discovered Bikini kill in 2006 when I was in the 8th grade. Coming from a small Canadian town where people who identify themselves as a feminist are rare to find, and all girl bands are even more rare. Bikini kill encouraged me to stand up and do something about the male dominated scene my small town consisted of. I’ve never felt more empowered in entire my life and I owe a big thank you to Bikini Kill for their music, and the whole riot grrrrrlll era of the 90’s.

  243. I first discovered Bikini Kill in 9th grade, around 99-2000. I would listen to them every morning on the school bus on my discman and those lyrics definitely got me through shitty days in high school. I had a band when I was at summer camp, the summer before 9th grade. It was all girls, and we covered Capri Pants. I sang it, and that summer was one of the best in my life. I would be a much more unhappy, quiet, shy, introverted person if not for Bikini Kill. I’ve also met a lot of great people through my love for them. If only I could have been at a show back then.

  244. I saw Bikini Kill on October 13, 1994, in Dayton, Ohio. I didn’t live there, and was in fact about six hours away in Detroit, but because of a fairly disastrous previous engagement in Detroit they seemed destined never to return, and Dayton was close as they were gonna get on that particular tour. I was 17 and constantly in trouble, teenage runaway style, no fixed address, and shame-facedly back at my parents’ house for that month, all strings attached. I was not allowed to go to punk shows when I was younger (nice reverse psychology, Mom and Dad) and had to run away every time I wanted to. This show was no exception. I hitched a ride with my friends Jef, Becky, and Carrie, in Jef’s incredibly fucked up 1980s Detroit behemoth car, and he insisted on listening to Shellac on repeat, and only dining at Denny’s.

    The show was at this dump ironically called the “Palace Club”. It was in a strip mall, next to like a dry cleaners or something, I forget. There were four bands on the bill: BK, Team Dresch, and two incredibly shitty emo hardcore extremely damaged groups that I forget, though I vividly remember wanting to throw up while they were playing. Then Team Dresch came on, presented a “Free to Fight” self-defense course (most of which is a blur, though I do recall one of the scenarios featuring an assailant that was screaming “I’ll teach you to love Jesus!”), then threw down with a ferocity that I’d never seen before. BK then played, and I’ll spare you a bunch of florid nonsense and just say that they were and are the best group I’ve ever seen in concert, and it was worth every bit of hassle I had to go through when I got home and found out the cops were looking for me and I was no longer welcome in my parents’ home. I remember that they played a lotta songs from “Pussy Whipped” they were wearing these matching red jackets before the show, ‘cept for Bill who was wearing like a trench coat maybe? I always wondered what it was like to see the Misfits or Minor Threat or the Pretty Things in 1964 but I think that actually it was probably that good, you know? I went back to Michigan, stayed in trouble, and never ever forgot what that feeling was like. The end.

  245. Susan Hildebrand Says:

    I discovered Bikini Kill as a junior in high school and I credit it, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, and Julie Ruin for helping me get my head out of the toilet and turning my rage at society and its portrayal of/attitudes towards women towards society in into activism instead of at myself.

    I don’t listen to BK much anymore, but it really really changed my life and made me see that there was more to the world (i grew up in rural Iowa, which is great, but can be alienating) and there were woman doing creative, important work.

  246. I created a #bikinikillsmemories hashtag on twitter. Please check it out!

  247. I don’t know if this counts as a Bikini Kill story but Kathleen Hanna sat down next to me on a couch at a house party where a bunch of boy bands were playing. She turned to me and said “This party would be so much cooler if there were girl and fag bands playing too.” She was the first person to ever hand deliver me a physical and psychic space where I could wholly exist. + “The Anti-Pleasure Dissertation” lyric, “And the Go tell your fucking friends What I thought and how I felt How punk fucking rock My pussy smells Now did you tell them?” is kind of the best think ever put down on vinyl… Ever.

  248. My best friend once told a judge to “suck my left one.” My favorite song of all time is Bikini Kill’s “suck my left one.” Go figure…

  249. gustav-jakob Says:

    i once danced to a pet shop boys song wearing a white bikini kill tshirt and while doing this i spilled red wine all over it. so i had to dye it in a dark red but it turned pink pink pink pink pink.

  250. I got The Singles collection when I was 15 for Christmas about six years ago and within no time Bikini Kill became an obsession. This band got me through some of the angstiest, most frustrating times of my life at that age and helped me come to identify myself as a feminist. I would literally blast that album over and over and over again and just scream into the mirror pretending I was Kathleen Hanna. I remember wanting to be fully immersed in the Riot Grrl scene and wishing I had been born 10 years earlier. I identified with these girls, and their message made sense to me. I will always love you, Bikini Kill!

  251. This is an excerpt from an essay that was published in a local feminist paper called “Women’s Voices.” in like 2007.

    In 1993, I was in my late teens and thoroughly obsessed with music. After graduating from high school, I fell in love with “grunge” and male-fronted bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Green River, and any artist listed on the Singles soundtrack. But it was a Bikini Kill show in the backyard of a suburban Santa Rosa track home that ultimately altered my relationship to both playing and listening to music as a woman. Through Bikini Kill I discovered Bratmobile and countless other woman-fronted bands that eventually inspired me to start a fierce band of my own.

    By spring of 1993 about two months before I moved back to San Diego, I became tentative friends with a girl whose name if I remember correctly was Melissa. She was in with the scene and told me about the Bikini Kill show coming up that weekend. I decided to go, although I was deathly afraid of attending events by myself; it seemed like something I didn’t want to miss.

    That weekend, I found the innocuous blue stucco house with a white fence where the show was to take place. Melissa sat on a stool outside the gate collecting five dollars from attendees. At the time, that was the going rate for a show with three good bands in someone’s backyard. I gave her my money and made awkward small talk for a minute, then entered the backyard. About thirty kids sat on the lawn, on the porch, around the periphery of the yard, waiting for the bands to start. I didn’t know anyone. I stood in the corner of the yard and people-watched, praying the bands would begin soon, so I would be alleviated of the pain of not knowing a soul.

    It was late in the afternoon and the sun shone weakly as Raooul, an abrasive yet endearing all-girl band from the East Bay, began their set. By the time Raooul finished, the sun was setting and twilight had made the crowd into shadows. Bikini Kill began to set up and I heard the band members talking about how they wouldn’t be able to see the instruments in the dark.
    “Why don’t we pull the cars forward and shine the lights on the band,” suggested a guy with a blue mohawk and a Rancid patch.

    Soon, a flood of car headlights illuminated the area where the band would play. Kathleen Hanna, who went on to form feminist electro-pop group Le Tigre, drummer Tobi Vail, guitarist Billy Karren and bassist Kathi Wilcox tuned up quickly, and then blasted into a set of songs that began my re-envisioning what it was to be a woman in modern American society. I was in the midst of a group of traveling feminist warriors, who had been sent to transform me into a warrior myself, singing lyrics that hit me my heart’s core. These lyrics castigated rape, body image issues, gender stereotypes alongside full-blown, unfettered rants against patriarchal oppression.

    I drank it in—the shining car lights, the dancing crowd, the Santa Rosa night sky. Hanna called out, “Revolution Girl Style!” and we screamed back “Now!” Young punks, male and female, desperately wanting a new way of existing beyond what we had known before. We wanted it so bad. It was like a shot of truth to break up the muddled confusion of teenagedom, the desires to be everything in a world that might offer nothing, the map I needed to create my own way.

  252. Joey Koneko Says:

    If it were not for Bikini Kill, I would have not had the confidence to make music as a queer person. I am forever grateful. The ideas/music/art/discussions/dialogues/riots/literature etc etc of that movement/moment have had such an impact on so many. A moment/idea happens, and it spreads..through history…through the ether…into the collective soul/heart/mind.

    Our truth is the history book that never got published.

  253. Dorian Raygoza Says:

    When I was in high school, my boyfriend and I used to listen to Bikini Killl all the time. We’d get stoned and ditch school and listen to your music, discover the particulars of gay sex while listening to your music, sketch and do homework, everything! It was such a crisp and beautiful time in my life. Having intellegent and strong role models is so important in creating well-developed, emotionally stable and culturally conscious adults. Now that I’m older, the memories are still there, along with a new awareness and appreciation for your music. The lyrics are so rich and I’m always invigorated by the raw and quick pace. I’m always excited to spend time with your albums. Thanks for sharing your art with the world and allowing me the apportunity to express my gratitude.

  254. I think I heard “Suck My Left One” on the local college radio station (in the early nineties). It just sounded so badass and empowering for women during all my insecurities of high school. I am bummed I never got to see Bikini Kill live, but “The CD Version of the First Two Records” is always on my music rotation.

  255. I discovered BK when I was 15 in 1995 while in Las Vegas. I happened upon an album at a local record store and immediately fell in love with them! I felt like they had channeled all of my rage, insecurity and stifled voice into many of their songs. I wish I had been able to see them, and in fact it fueled my move to Seattle in 1998 because I wanted to be in an environment, or at least near one that thought like this. They are still one of my favorite groups, as well as Le Tigre.

  256. I saw you guys play in 1995 at the Roseland Theater in Portland Oregon. You opened for The Amps and Sonic Youth during the Washing Machine tour. After the BK set, you were working the merch counter selling cds, tshirts and stickers and some of my friends came up and chatted with you. I must say that show is still one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to!

  257. Walter Crasshole Says:

    I remember I got into Bikini Kill when an older gay (which I didn’t know at the time) punk was wearing a BK shirt or something. I guess it was just something of a self-identification through him that I wanted to listen to these bands. I was a punk but handn’t come out yet and didn’t really have any music to channel that through – Pansy Division was the only “gay” band I knew and they were definitely not what I could relate to at the time. Bikini Kill and riot grrrl was really the stuff I identified with most as a teenager. They were way over by the time I got into them, but I still know they formed the clearest image of what cool women were to me and what kind of people I wanted to find when I got out of high school. Just like allies for the future and catharsis at the time. I still put Bikini Kill on when I want to walk down the street and feel my most fearless.

  258. Karina Margot Says:

    Girl Power! I just could know Bikini Kill in 1992… Internet was science fiction in that time. (I was a rebel teenage from out of urban life on Brazil, scarce medias…

  259. sarah scott Says:

    I first heard of Bikini Kill back in 1992, when I lived in London. They often played shows with English band Huggy Bear and I remember going to a punk show where NO MEN WERE ALLOWED. What a refreshing change from the machismo of ultra-violent mosh pits. I also was working at the Feminist Library in Elephant & Castle and generally enjoying the riot grrrl scene at that time. Thanks. It was fun.

  260. I found Bikini Kill much too late. It was late in my college years, or just after college. I remember thinking, “this is what was going on in other circles while I was feeling isolated. I wish I had known.” Earlier, I had felt like an outsider of the very male punk scene in my teen years, although I wanted to belong. Finding Bikini Kill was empowering. Kathleen’s message of telling women to not be hating on each other, but recognizing how we’re all coming from different places was powerful to me. She was such a strong living symbol of defying that exclusion, denying and confronting the harmful stereotypes put upon women. I still listen to their music (and Le Tigre!) when I need a reminder that I can also summon that type of bravery, standing firm in my beliefs.

  261. Aleksandra Pelletier Says:

    I found Bikini Kill in the depths of my teen years. Feminism was already a part of my interests for about ten years prior to my discovery and actually finding music that had the guts to convey women empowerement, anti-sexism etc had me astonished.
    Bikini Kill sang of the fury and descrimination that many young feminists are put through and gave a voice to all riot grrrls.
    Bikini Kill gave music a pair of balls.

  262. I found Bikini Kill online when I was 15 (10 years ago, well after the band’s heyday). Being a budding feminist from a small, souther, rural town left me feeling alone in all the world, but Bikini Kill gave me an outlet and introduced me to many more kick-ass feminist friendly bands and online communities. It was the realization that there were other people out there like me, with the same frustrations I had that encouraged me to stop hiding my beliefs, to not care if someone called me a ‘feminazi’ or worse. If it weren’t for Bikini Kill, I don’t think I could have made it through my teenage years alive. That’s the honest truth.

    • DITTO.

      My same story exactly. Ten years ago when I was 14 for me.

      I would never have heard of BK if it wasn’t for the internet.

      The girls I was friends with posted on the teenmag boards and a few others after those were closed. Were you one of them? I kept up with some of them over the years, but eventually lost contact. I often wonder what those girls are doing now. They were all so smart and had such a promising futures.

  263. Drew Kirkpatrick Says:

    I first heard of Bikini Kill through one of my good friends while still in high school. I was trying to find new, interesting music to fill my new mp3 player and Bikini Kill was one of the many bands she suggested. After hearing the raw energy of the band, I bought all of the band’s CD releases within the year.

    Bikini Kill still remains one of my favorite bands of all time. Listening to the strong, defiant vocals made growing gay up in a small community easier to manage personally. The music’s confrontational style really gave me hope in asserting my identity, my beliefs, and my sexuality.

    Years later, I still blast “The CD Version of the First Two Records” in my car, singing along without missing a word. There is still so much wrong throughout the world and Bikini Kill’s themes and lyrics still remain strong enough to continue to expose those truths and injustices.

  264. I was living in Seattle from 89-97- I’d read reviews of BK in Feminist Baseball (super positive, and all about the music), and other places (Rocket- not so much about the music)– and was not sure what to expect…

    Anyhow I went to a show a the Sailor’s Union (or some name like that- I’m over 40now, and that time is a bit fuzzy) and Elliot Smith opened, followed by Phranc, then– I think Team Drecsh- an awesome band too!–

    I was not even prepared for how much Bikini Kill rocked me that night. Awesome, tight and furious– and so, so much energy. Kathleen was boundless, and bounding upon the stage. Truly one of the best shows of my band going of that era, and that’s saying something, as I saw ’em all that time.

    Really something to be proud of!

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