I can’t believe that almost twenty years have past
I saw Bikini Kill for the first time on October 5, 1992. I was singing for the band He’s Dead Jim. We were booked to play with Bikini Kill at the Jumping Turtle in Pomona, but the show got moved to Scripps at Claremont University. We were surprised because there was an all boy band that was playing shows with them, Kathleen insisted that we play right before Bikini Kill because we had two females in our band (myself and our bass player). I was only 21 and so excited to see another band with females in it. We were in awe of them and their beat up touring van. We were also happy that they actually watched us. We played our set.
Then Bikini Kill played. We were completely blown away by their energy, everything about them. Then in the middle of them their set Kathleen thanked us for playing and said that I was the best singer she had seen the whole tour. I am not sharing this compliment now to brag about myself but to show how amazingly generous she was. Our band had only been together for four months. I hardly had any confidence as a front person. So, for Kathleen (this great singer in this touring band) to compliment me, it gave me a big boost. I think that compliment helped solidify my place as the front person. I remember we bought seven inch splits and gave them what money we had in our pockets for gas. A few months later they sent us their full length album, a letter of appreciation, and encouraged us to tour to Olympia. In the next year I would start my first zine (on the rag zine) with my best gal-friend Alicia Lopez. Three years after that I started my own record label, on the rag records. I would not have done these things without the inspiration of Bikini Kill and what they represented (d.i.y. spirit).
I can’t believe that almost twenty years have past. It’s insane. I kept a journal in those early days and wrote that story down. Even if I wouldn’t have journaled it, I would have always remembered it. Kathleen and Bikini Kill were the first female musicians that I had encountered (at the time) in the punk scene who were really “female friendly.” I didn’t have to know that they were feminists to know that they wanted to support other women in punk. They showed it with their words and actions. It was also the first time I ever saw a band hand out flyers with their lyrics and an interview. It was also the first time I received information from a band on women’s reproductive health. Those are things I integrated into all the bands I’ve been in, being influenced by them.
The next time I saw Bikini Kill was when they played the Rock for Choice at the Paladium in Los Angeles. The big surprise was Joan Jett coming out to play Rebel Grrrl with Bikini Kill. Now that is also a memory I will not soon forget. I meet so many girls that never got a chance to see Bikini Kill, let alone play with them. I know for a fact many of the young bands we play with now are influenced by Bikini Kill. They showed females everywhere that they could rock, but more important than that they empowered them with feminism. I love them for that. They really made feminism a part of punk.
Thanks for letting me share my story.
Ex-He’s Dead Jim
Current-All or Nothing HC
Owner on the rag records & ezine