I received and email from BUST magazine that mentioned you are looking for people’s Bikini Kill stories and I could not resist writing you! I tried not to write so much but could not stop myself. So many great memories!
Bikini Kill was a huge part of my teenage years. My first live experience was at the old Vets Hall in Santa Cruz back in, I think, early 1994 at the age of 15. My boyfriend at that time, Ben (now my husband) drove me and some other friends in his beat up ’81 Capri with red vinyl interior the hour or so journey to the show. We listened to cassette tapes of Bikini Kill the whole time there and the excitement escalated with each flip of the tape.
Before the show we went down the street to the liquor store and ran into Kathleen Hanna on the way in the parking lot. I was so damn excited! We took a picture with her as she was eating an astro pop from the liquor store and that photo was proudly displayed in my pink Hello Kitty wallet for years afterward.
When the band started that night, I was in awe. Never had I been to a show like this before. I remember part way through the show Kathleen saying it was time for all of the girls to be up front so I made my way though the sweaty men who had been taking up the front area and continued to have a blast! I was in heaven. I bought my first Bikini Kill shirt after the show and wore it with pride to school the next day.
After that we went and saw them at 924 Gilman in Berkeley. I can not recall how many times or when the shows were, just that we had an amazing time at each one. Ben would take photos at most of the Gilman shows we would go to. I once mailed a color photo from one of those shows we printed in class in high school to Bikini Kill. Not sure if they ever received it or not. It was probably in ’94 or ’95. We have quite a few photos from back in the day that we could probably dig out.
I even remember also once entering a contest through Sonic Death, the Sonic Youth zine I used to get, to win a bag of Bikini Kill van trash! It probably was not real but I gave it a go anyway!
This band meant so much to me and influenced so much of what I was in the ‘90s and I thank them for that. They gave me confidence as a young woman. When we would be at shows back then I would notice that the guys seemed to think twice before giving us girls trouble since they knew we had a voice and were a force to be reckoned with!