Early 1990’s Riot Grrrl Writings


Below are some articles written in the early 1990’s by Kathleen Hanna and other riot grrrls.

Bikini Kill Folder

Post From Kathleen Hanna From The Bikini Kill Folder
Subj: the real janelle
Date: 95-12-08 20:13:17 EST
From: Kllrckstrs

hi. this is kathleen writing from the smoky killrockstars office. just wanted to say thanks to everyone whose bothered writing in here and who just in general has been supporting/criticizing/challenging what we do. that probably sounds pretty cheesy but hey i’ve been having a bad week. i also wanted to answer some of the questions i know the answers to. like bratmobile did break up but I hear allison, erin, and laura, sleater-kinney…who by the way put out one of the most important records i’ve ever heard and is about to release another on chainsaw anyways those three are in a band and kathi just saw em last nite in dc and said they were completely amazing, so… what else…oh yeah, we just recorded a new full length and hopefully it’ll be out in the next six months. what else? oh yeah, the papers reported that we played lollapalooza but we didn’t and also i don’t even know courtney love and never said anything positive or negative about her child who i also don’t know. please don’t believe everything that
you read, but most of you know that already anyways the whole getting hit/court thing is really ridiculous even to me and while it is important to defend myself and stuff i just wish the whole thing never happened as it is just completely depressing to men even though i do appreciate all the supportive letters people have written me and stuff. also why can’t people like hole and bikini kill or neither/it doesn’t really matter, i happen to love this one hole demo/split with babes in toyland that i have. anyways. oh yeah, and trying to stay well, take care of myself etc…but i do read my email and hopefully will get some kind of newsletter thing going on soon since i just can’t answer it all personally right now. so anyways, you can write to kill rock stars at: 120 ne state 418 Olympia WA 98501. AND ASK FOR A NEW ONE. STAY ON THEIR MAILING LIST AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL BE DOING IT BY NEXT CATALOG PRESSING. OH YEAH-DEAR GUNDING, NO HARD FEELINGS I HOPE. ALSO FRUMPIES STUFF IS AVAILABLE THROUGH CHAINSAW AND KRS
PLEASE GET THESE broken, etc..) oh yeah someone wrote in here something about the guys in some band making a joke about the girls have control over this and we do make a specific point of supporting women’s projects when we can, if they think about it……however none of this gives anyone the license to call us names, etc..it just sounds stupid, some guys are just really paranoid i guess. oh well keep on trucking y’all. heart kathleen

Bikini Kill + Riot Grrrl

This was written in the Bikini Kill Fanzine in the early 1990’s and it was written by Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill.

one huge misconception for instance that has been repeated over and over again in magazines we have never spoken to and also by those who believe these sources without checking things out themselves is that bikini kill is the definitive ‘riot girl band’ …
We are not in any way “leaders of” or authorities on the ‘Riot Girl’ movement. In fact, as individuals, we have each had different experiences with, feelings on, opinions of and varying degrees of involvement with ‘Riot Girl’ and tho we totally respect those who still feel that the label is important and meaningful to them, we have never used that term to describe ourselves AS A BAND.
As individuals we respect and utilize and subscribe to a variety of different aesthetics, strategies and beliefs, both political and punk-wise, some of which are probably considered ‘riot girl’ …
You can get back issues of Bikini Kill fanzines (issues #1 and #2) from riot girl press for $2 each. They are a girl run girl fanzine distribution network, write to them and send them $1 for their catalog which contains brief descriptions of stuff available thru them as well as info on how to get involved in what they’re doing. Please note that these fanzines are way outdated–both were made in 1991 and also that although both have contributions by other band members most of the stuff in them was written by our singer, kathleen, this is not to say they aren’t informative but rather to make an effort to posit them more exactly with regards to the factors of history and subjectivity… r.g.p. pob 73308/washington, d.c., 20009

Boy…

This was written by Kathleen Hanna in the early 1990’s for one of her zines.

i will never be a rockstar.
i will never be rich.
i can’t take back my tenth birthday or the love i felt for you. there are no words for the hands that’re running all up with a liars veins, voice, words moist, so moist I believed. I believed that my best friends wouldn’t lie to me.
i will never be what the world wants me to be or have sex right.
i will never open my doors cuz in the eyes of the law it means i just spread open my legs and closed my eyes and said “c’mon in” and i will never explain this to anyone i like cuz it’ll get used against me. the fact that i am not dead makes me an open target for murder. i swallowed your pride, i swallowed your heart, i swallowed your cum, guess that’s all part of it. there’s no justice and i’m really mad that people keep acting like there is. i don’t want to be a girl eaten up by your world, how can i watch girls eaten up by your world. how come i get hit and no one sees it? how come, bloodied, i am explaining to the man who hit me what he has done? why am i taking care of him, why oh why do i still love him…?
if you took away this lipstick would i still have a mouth underneath? is it true i’m only crying because i’m afraid to go to sleep? i will never be rich, not cuz rich doesn’t matter, but because i am crazy because i am full of hate… crazy means you don’t give a damn what anyone thinks.
when i was little my parents sent me to charm school and ballet. i don’t remember what recital it was fat-stomached and eight years old i was getting photographed in a bikini and a crown. now i’m crazy, fulfilling the american dream and being hated for it, they are just jealous. i don’t care.
i am in protest against the whole world. my body says it, slung into my clothes. i won’t stop talking, i’m a girl you have no control over, there is not a gag big enough to handle this mouth. i’m gonna tell everyone what you did to me. and sometimes i’ll tell it dramatic and sometimes i’ll blurt it out. and the hand you laid on my bare ass will be invisible as it spills right out of me. i will still bear the brunt of it, your smell. they will tell me i am inappropriate with their eyes. i’m not writing to please you, i’m not giving you a clean little hole to stick your dick in, a nice smooth arrangement.
pick me up, open me, put me down.
so sorry, i’m no hemingway.i’m writing for survival, my kind is being killed off, in fact i’m not even sure i exist. these words on this page mean something, if only that i was here and my fingers made this mess. i don’t know luxury, what it is to be carefree. that was your fantasy, remember?

Burn Down The Walls That Say You Can’t

The article below was written by Kathleen Hanna for one of her riot grrrl zines in the early 1990’s.

Be a dork, tell your friends you love them
Resist the temptation to view those around you as objects & use them.
Recognize empathy and vulnerability as positive forms of strength.
Resist the internalization of capitalism, the reducing of people & oneself to commodities, meant to be consumed.
Resist psychic death.
Don’t allow the world to make you into a bitter abusive asshole
Cry in public.
Don’t judge other people. Learn to be yourself
Acknowledge emotional violence as real.
Figure out how the idea of competition fits into your intimate relationships
Decide that you’d rather learn stuff than prove you’re right all the time.
Believe people when they tell you they are hurting or are in pain.
Recognize you are not the center of the universe.
Recognize your connection to other people and species.
Make additions to this list and/or think about why you don’t agree w/some of what i’ve written.
Don’t assume people invent pain in order to mainpulate you or make you feel bad.
Close your mind to the propaganda of the status quo by examining its effects on you, cell by artificial cell.
Trust

Color Activity Book Intro

This was written by Kathleen Hanna in the early 1990’s.

Bikini Kill is a band and this is our little thing to give out at shows, etc… AND THEN THERE’S THE REVOLUTION.
Bikini Kill is more than just a band or a zine or an idea, it’s a part of the revolution. The revolution is about going to the playground with your best girlfriends. You are hanging upside down on the bars and all the blood is rushing to your head. it’s a euphoric feeling. the boys can see our underwear and we don’t care.
I’m so sure that lots of girls are also in revolution and we want to find them. Sure our revolution has a lot to do with making ourselves important enough to start a revolution, but we also don’t care about this… Because what makes us feel good without hurting others IS good. This society isn’t my society cuz this society hates women and I don’t. This society doesn’t want us girls to feel happy or powerful in any way.
My girlfriends help me stop crying and start looking towards whats important (revolution) my girlfriends know the revolution (sex) my girlfriends aren’t owned by me BUT have cringing and choking on boy cum in common (revolution) MY GIRLFRIENDS WANT REVOLUTION GIRL STYLE NOW.
Being sexy and powerful female is one of the most subversive projects of all. (We are the priestesses of a new kind of power oh yeah.)
We know we are not like this due to any weird genre formation or luck or trick. We are how we are from working together with our eyes open and having experience and getting help from our Moms and friends. We vow to struggle against the “j” word (jealousy) the killer of GIRL LOVE. We are not special, anyone can do it. ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE FACE OF INSECURITY is a slogan of the revolution.

Dork=Cool

This was written by Kathleen Hanna in the early 1990’s.

Being cool in our culture means being cold, stand-offish, uncaring (your too cool to notice a lot of things) and self absorbed. You are attractive in a normal white way but have a little dirt on your chin. You are mysterious and lacking in real friends cuz being cool means being vulnerable with no one. (this increases the value that others place on the rare memories of you sharing anything with them…cool)
For the most part, cool attributes have been claimed by our society as “male”. This means that the only way a person is brought up GIRL (and thus the opposite of what is cool) can be “truly” cool is to assimilate into male culture via toughness.
By claiming “dork” as cool we can confuse and disrupt this whole process. The idea is that not only have we decided that being a dork (not repressing our supposedly feminine qualities like niceness and telling people how we feel) is cool and thus, valuable to us BUT also that we are not willing to accept claims that how we are is wrong, undeveloped, bad, or ….. uncool.
Sure, i can still be sort of removed and aloof sometimes but i’m not gonna get mad at anyone if they ask me whats up…. or use my aloofness as a way to avoid confrontations. Being a dork means that the air is clear to talk, even if that means just saying, “I can’t talk right now cuz I’m too freaked out.” Being a dork is about demystifying yourself, not fitting yourself into james dean tv pictureland (cuz it is alienating) and learning about sincerity via true corniness and soul love friendships.
Dorks die when bullets hit them and dorks cry real tears.

I’m Sorry…No I’m Not

This was written by Kathleen Hanna in the early 1990’s.

I’m sorry I don’t believe it.
I’m sorry that I care.
no i’m not.
I’m not sorry that I still believe we are capable of creating something. that i don’t think punk is just a big joke and that we should be little and make fun of ourselves for still believing that everything we do makes a difference
i don’t care that it’s no longer punk to have fun anymore. that it’s no longer punk to criticize the society we live in.
so what if i keep talking about abolishing wage-slavery while i keep working. it fucking beats the hell out of writing songs er zines about how we are all hypocrites and all our actions are worthless.
we are all hypocritical superwimps (?). we are never (?)
SO IF YOU’RE BEING ALL PUNK AS FUCK AND TALKING SHIT ABOUT PEOPLE AT LEAST TRY TO DO SOMETHING THAN I’M (NOT) SORRY BUT I GUESS THAT MEANS I’M NOT PUNK ANYMORE AND IF THAT’S WHAT PUNK IS I’M FUCKIN GLAD I’M NOT AS PUNK AS YOU
[Kathleen]
I am a fucking idiot. I still think we can change the world.

Moshing Olympics

Although moshing is not encouraged my promoters, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, who’s classic words of wisdom to her audience deserve to be awarded with at least recognition, if not some sort of little trophy.
“Hello….. like all you guys floating around on the top with your big boots on, you’re like kicking people in the head and like hurting people so I would like you to stop. Your like trying to be cool but it looks really stupid like your trying to imitate MTV or something.”

Jigsaw Youth

This was written by Kathleen Hanna and was written in the Jigsaw Fanzine #4 Spring 1991 Olympia, Washington.

We live in a world that tells us we must choose an identity, a career, a relationship, and commit… to these situations… as if we don’t live in a world of constant flux… which we do. Don’t freak out just cuz the jigsaw is laying on the floor and it’s not all the way done and has been laying there for 4 whole hours now, resist the freak out. You will get to it… it’s all part of the process.
To force some forever identity on other people is stupid. Point out inconsistincies in their behavior, explain how they are not ‘truly what they say’ because you saw them ‘do this’ one time… why? Because it is easier to deal with cardboard cut outs than real people cuz a lot of us pretend like we’re the center of the universe sometimes and everyone is just background extras in the movie we imagine we star in.
WELL WHILE WE ARE ALL ARGUING ABOUT WHOSE GONNA GET TO OPEN FOR THE MELVINS, WHOSE GONNA WEAR WHAT TO THE PARTY, WHO IS LAME/TAME BECAUSE THEY PERPETUATE THIS THING WE HATE, WHO IS NOT REALLY A PUNK ROCKER CUZ “I remember when he/she used to listen to Duran Duran”, THE REVOLUTION IS GOING DOWN… no it’s not happening without us, it is just plain not happening at all… it is going down under the gurgling sounds of our voices, reproducing the voices of our parents in a slightly altered way, the TV people… trying to dictate to each other what is and what isn’t cool or evolutionary or true resistance, what is or isn’t true in other peoples lives we sit around making all these boxes and labels, nothing to put in them, we are wasting valuable time. FUCK THAT SHIT, LET’S START TALKING FOR REAL.
To be a stripper who is also a feminist, to be an abused child holding a microphone screaming all those things that were promised, in one way or another, “I won’t tell”. These are contradictions I have lived. They exist, these contradictions cuz I exist. Every fucking ‘feminist’ is not the same, every fucking girl is not the same, okay??? Because I live in a world that hates women and I am one… who is struggling desperately not to hate myself and my best girlfriends, my whole life is constantly felt by me as a contradiction. In order for me to exist I must believe that two contradictory things can exist in the same space. This is not a choice I make, it just is.
JIGSAW, a puzzle made up of all different weird shaped pieces. It seems like it will never come together, it makes no sense, but it can and it does and it will. Jigsaw, pieces like where you grew up and in what kind of fucked up culture and do you have a penis or not and did your parents have money and did you get teased for wearing the same coat four winters in a row and are you Thai-american or Black or Mulatto? And what do all these things mean when you are trying to resist, do something, have a good time??? I see the Jigsaw, fuzzy in my head as everything else, sometimes clear. The fact that he grew up in a working class family has everything to do with how he is gonna express sexism, what kind of music he is gonna like, how I am gonna treat him. Jigsaw girl, she got fucked by her father, 8 years, people say she’s flakey and inconsistent, lays in bed eating donuts, resisting going outside where the silence will engulf her, rather sit there waiting than always being eaten up… her experiences has
everything to do with how the pieces are fitting together (or not) for her, judge her from your place without wondering what’s going on in that there Jigsaw mind of hers, and you have pushed her further away from clicking, her hand wants so bad to feel, one edge against another, together, one piece next to another, locking into place… you have to be able to see the puzzle before you start putting it together.
Resistance is everywhere, it always has been and always will be. Just because someone is not resisting in the same way you are (being a vegan, an ‘out’ lesbian, a political organizer) does not mean they are not resisting. Being told you are a worthless piece of shit and not believing it is a form of resistance. One girl calling another girl to warn her about a guy who date raped her is another. And while she may look like a big haired makeup girl who goes out with jocks, she is a soldier along with every other girl, and even though she may not be fighting in the same loud way that some of us can (and do) it is the fact that she is resisting that connects us, puts a piece together.
Jigsaw Youth, I don’t know what this means anymore than anyone… only what it means to me. Standing proud and saying, “I don’t know who I am, I wanna know more, I am not afraid to say things matter to me”.
Assuming that people are either “part of the problem or part of the solution” disincludes a lot of people, who, at this moment, do not feel (and therefore ARE NOT) safe enough emotionally, physically, and/or financially to resist in the same ways you might be. By judging people according to your standards of resistance or whatever… it makes it harder for people to recognize what they’re doing as being important and political, etc… it makes it harder for them to get into safe enough situations where they can resist in more outward, community oriented ways if they want to.
Jigsaw Youth, the island of lost and broken toys, feminists who wear lipstick, people who envision ‘the land of do as you please’, whose lives are not simple and they are sick of trying to make themselves cohesive enough to fit into a box. Jigsaw Youth, listening, strategizing, tolerating, screaming, confronting, fearless, girl soldiers, boy lovers, boofy haired teen girls scraping out the eyes on a photo of Rick Astley, Jigsaw Youth, the misunderstood seeking to understand other people’s reality. Making mistakes… making mistakes… making mistakes… making mistakes… feeling something. Knowing you will never see the puzzle put all together but trying anyways cuz each fucking piece really matters and being with friends matters. Jigsaw Youth… inventing and reinventing what these words mean.

Kathleen Hanna’s Phone Message to Mike Watt From The Song “Transcription of a Heartbeat”

Hello. Mr. Watt. This is Kathleen Hanna returning your phone call. Bout 3:45 on Monday and it’s about that fuckin record that you asked me to do something for. And I guess I’m responding to that now cuz I have a few minutes. And I just wanted to tell you…uh, I have a friend who was raped by, fucked by, whatever you wanna fuckin call it by this guy on your record, gonna be on your record. He’s a big rockstar. Yeah when he was 27 and she was 13 he was a big rockstar too. And uh, I don’t know if they phrase “power imbalance” means anything to you. But uh, I’m just not so sure I wanna be included in your little white rock boy fuckin hall of shame here, you know? I’m just like, “Do I wanna be sandwiched in between some of these guys that are just doing the whole, like, big-white-baby-with-an-ego-problem thing?” I mean, [sighs] get over it! It’s so boring. It’s like, a lot of these guys should just fuckin quit music and become lifeguards at like Wild Waves or some shit. So they can just get their fucking, you know, anger management thing going. They can just get their power trips out on the kids, they can just do the whole thing. Maybe they’d be actually saving someone’s life. “Hey, don’t run by the pool. No cutoffs.” You know? That’s what I hear when I hear some of this you know music by a lot of these fuckin guys, you know? And I mean, I guess what I’m saying is, “I’m just too cool… to be on your fuckin record.” You know? It’s like I really don’t wanna perpetuate or be included in a thing where it’s just a bunch of like, I don’t know, just like this new. The music coming out by guys right now in the sort of like rock world or alternative rock world or used-to-be-punk world or whatever. It’s like the whole, “I’m a straight, white, middle class, male, rockstar guy, but I’m so fuckin oppressed.” “I’m a loser baby why don’t you kill me.” [Sigh] Yawn. Like super fuckin yawn. So yeah, I guess what I’m saying is No. No. No. No. I’m not interested. No. I don’t wanna be on your fuckin record. No. But ummm. Mr. Watt.
Dude. Babe. Sir. Uh, you need to get me my fuckin Annie soundtrack back like soon cuz you’ve had it forever and I know you haven’t even fuckin listened to it yet. Just like, gimme a call and tell me when that’s going to happen. And ummm. I’ll talk to you then. Bye.

Punk Rock Grrls

When Kathleen Hanna screamed, “Don’t need your dick to fuck!” on Bikini Kill’s first album, she defined the burgeoning riot-grrl movement in one blunt lyric. It was 1990, and a network of punk rock grrls in Olympia, Washington, had formed bands to rail against male domination in the punk scene and society as a whole, confronting in underground fanzines and punk shows issues like childhood sexual abuse, rape, and abortion rights.
By 1992, riot-grrl punk had snagged the attention of the mainstream media. CNN broadcast images of grrls with “Slut” and “Rape” painted across their stomachs, USA Today sneaked into the Riot Grrl Convention in Washington, D.C., and ABC News Producers, frustrated by vain attempts to crack open the insular scene, attempted to pay off riot grrl-ies to report a news special on the movement.
Most of the stories portrayed riot grrls as naive, baby-doll radicals who lacked talent to match their strident ideology. The grrls responded with a media blackout and slipped back to the underground. The media refused to relinquish their new favorite buzz phrase and slapped it on everyone from Courtney Love (who dissed the movement as immature) to Gwen Stefani. Last year, New Times music editor David Holthouse, who knows better, even put chick rockers L7 in the riot-grrl category.
Out of the spotlight, the grrls were left to grow up and refine both their politics and songwriting talents. Last year, Bikini Kill released its most accomplished album (Reject All American). Other formative riot grrls left their original bands for new ones-Bratmobile’s Allison Wolfe now fronts Cold Cold Hearts. Molly Neuman from Bratmobile drums for the Peechees, and Heavens To Betsy’s Corin Tucker is now the lead vocalist and guitarist for Sleater-Kinney.
Last year, Sleater-Kinney, compromising guitarists Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (of Northwest punksters Excuse 17) and drummer Lora MacFarlane (of Australia’s Sea Hags) released a benchmark album for riot grrls newfound maturity: Call The Doctor. That album, released on Donna Dresch’s (of queercore mainstay Team Dresch) Chainsaw label, drew critical acclaim for both the mainstream and underground media for its raw vulnerability and evolutionary punk sound. Sleater-Kinney members resigned themselves to interviews and became the media darlings of post-riot-grrl femi-rock, making the top 10 of 1996 lists in several major magazines.
Last December, Carrie and Corin went into the studio again, this time with Janet Weiss of Quasi on the drum set, to record Dig Me Out, their first recording for Kill Rock Stars. Dig Me Out is the definitive document of three young women rocking out — the songs are about rock ‘n’ roll (“Words and Guitar”), love (“Heart Factory”), breakups (“One More Hour”) and all the confusion in between. The songwriting chemistry between Carrie and Corin, as well as the interplay between Carrie’s background screaming and Corin’s quavering voice, is the critical element that should make Sleater-Kinney the buzz band of the late 1990’s.
Although the band has no plans to go major on us, it has one hell of a publicity grrl, and you can bet on seeing S-K everywhere soon. Revolver tried to get a jump on the rest of the vultures in a recent interview with Carrie Brownstein, but the frenzy was already under way. By print time, Rolling Stone had scooped us by an issue.

Revolver: So how is it, being the next big thing?
Carrie Brownstein: It’s getting pretty old. This is my sixth interview today, actually. I hope we have more staying power than the “next big thing” ’cause the “next has-been” comes right after that.
Revolver: Was turning media-friendly a calculated move?
Carrie Brownstein: Well, we wanted to reach a wider audience because I think the music we write is transendent of any specific genre or age group or gender or whatever. So we had to make compromises, and open ourselves up to doing interviews with the big magazines. It’s a little strange seeing myself in Rolling Stone, though.
Revolver: Let’s talk about Dig Me Out. What’s your perspective on the first album versus the second?
Carrie Brownstein: I think Call The Doctor was very desperate and out of control. It’s energetic and powerful, but the intensity came from a darker place. Dig Me Out is a much more celebatory album. The energy is a lot lighter, but I also think it’s equally political and powerful in terms of what we’re writing about–desire and about wanting. I think it’s important for women to write about that, ’cause traditionally we’re taught to suppress those things, not to have those desires. Musically, I think we’ve gotten much better and our songwriting is better. Corin and I speak a very similar musical language, so we find it easy to co-write, but I think we put a lot more thought into how we wanted to shape the songs on this album. We’re tried to make our songs more metaphoric and channel them through different filters, so hopefully anyone of any gender can hear a song and apply it to her life or be affected by it. It’s important for us to be empowering to other women especially, but we don’t really have one
specific agenda.
Revolver: How important was the community in which you grew up [Olympia] to Sleater-Kinney’s success?
Carrie Brownstein: I’m really glad you asked that, cause everyone tries to take us out of context from where we’re from. The reason Corin and I even started playing music has so much to do with artists and musicians and friends we have here that inspired us. You can’t separate us from the fact that we come from an amazing community of people. We wouldn’t exist without it.

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School
Between the Riverdales, the Queers, Boris the Sprinkler, and the Mr. T Experience, there are enough Ramones tribute bands out there to last til the Hale-Bopp Comet comes by again. No that said bands aren’t talented, but if the most they accomplish is sounding just like the Ramones, what’s the point? How do you put a new spin on something as replicated as the forerunners of American punk rock? Enter the Donna’s, four 17-year-old girls from South City, California; and yeah, they’re all named Donna.
The Donna’s self-titled debut LP is in a class of its own. The songs are still about high school, love, partying, and rock n roll, but these girls are actually teenagers (how old are Joe Queer and Ben Weasel now? 32?) Besides that, the Donna’s are damn good musicians for 17-year-olds–they steal simple three-chord melodies as well as anybody. These girls are the true heirs of sneering, black-leather-bubblegum punk. I just hope they don’t sign on with Lollapalooza when they’re 40. (Super*Teem Records, P.O. Box 63, South City, CA 94083)
Mad At Who?
Tempe’s Mad At Em, winners of the ’97 New Times Music Awards punk category, just released its first seven-inch on Aviator Records. This three-girl, one-boy (he drums) pop-punk outfit throws down two songs, Stalker and Zovirax. Stalker is a hyperactive thriller narrated by wailing vocals, I think I really love you/I’m gonna have to/Have to, have to cut you; Zovirax, a plea for pain relief, carries the same blistering energy. The record suffers from the same low production values as most local vinyl, but it’s a worthy documentation of the Valley’s best grrl band. (Aviator Records, P.O. Box 40865, Mesa, AZ 85274-0865)

True Love

This is a story about a girl. Now this girl was like a lotta girls. She had a dad who not only didn’t understand her at all, he didn’t even try. It’s like he was the only human being in the house and everyone was owned by him and the girl was not supposed to think the things she thought or feel the way she felt.
I am not supposed to tell you these things.
And then the girl grew up and had a string of bad relationships where she would get her trust really betrayed and started feelin owned again. See, having been hurt by her dad, she didn’t wanna hurt anyone else and she tried really hard to remember that she wasn’t the center of the universe, but, see, then she’d find out that the other person didn’t feel the same, didn’t recognize her, she had no best friends, only users.
You are thinking this is about me.
The girl came down the hill. “I don’t love you anymore, I am getting trained not to be able to love anyone”, she said. She started talking about what real love was and how there was no one on the whole planet who would ever be able to love her. She was determined to really think about things and change how her life was going. “Dog god damned dead”, she said and stomped her feet.
I am trying so hard to be cool.
And then she met this boy (the anti-hero) who had these beautiful sad eyes and looked like a lost and abused little child and he said, “I am wild like you, I am fun-loving like you, and understand what has happened to you, I will love you.”
What is his name?
But, see, this boy had no way of understanding her cuz he couldn’t even hear her on account of he had tons of cheesy yellow wax built up in his ears. He only picked up certain phrases. He repeated these phrases back at her to make her think that, yes, he was listening.
Please pretend I am king.
The girl started talking, “I can’t love you because you are sick like my father. Your love is perverted and filled with spikes meant to fit under a girl’s fingernails, meant to burrow themselves like cloves that get stuck in your teeth, into my insides, to a place where you always have an unfair advantage over me.
Consume her.
See, the boy had this terrible disease that started as just a small thing. The disease made him have to control everything. He said he understood, but he didn’t. He had to know. To feel safe, he had to know everything in advance. Know things before they happened.
There is something the matter with me.
The girl started fantasizing: Someday the boy is gonna come into my room and lay his head on my lap and say, “I’m scared.” Then I will stroke his head and repeat over and over, “I promise you are not gonna die tonight.”
I am no good by myself.
Inside the boy wanted to own the girl and scald her with his cum. It was because it was all he thought he knew how to do and no one had taught him any different. He felt sure that everything would be okay if he could just make it so that the girl would be his, really his. If he could just make it so nothing was left to change…he would be safe.
Please help me and make me wide.
I am going to love you and not repeat any bad pimp patterns of your dad. (he said) I am going to be the opposite. I am going to love you, really love you, how only a rape victim who forgives can know love. I am going to turn out all the insides that are my guts and rub my pinky finger all (?) them. Soft, I will tear up little pieces of soft and pinky (?), I will smell them with my nose til the stench burns my eyes, I will cum into a navy brown hole of insects while you watch me scream out my name in terrifying love, girl.
I’m so very scared but I’m not gonna say it.
Wounds were eating the boy up. Scabs on skin and scabs on scabs. If he could only scrub everything away he could see the original wound, if he could only control her and make it so he knew what was gonna happen. If he could only turn her into something clean and simple that he could understand.
Please be mine. xoxoxoxoxoxo
Girl, having been shoved full shards of glass and limp pricks and had to fuck and scream, fuck and scream, fuck and scream in the same way over and over again… having been the product of rape, the child of beastality bent pimp who was so all consumed by the small size of penis and brain that all he wanted to do was make her feel little and small. Having been burnt with cigarette butts and turned out of houses. Hungry hungry, she said, “Yes”.
You look so good I could eat you up.
The boy was dying because he didn’t know how to love anyone. He only knew about winning an losing. He had to keep himself alive. He had to fuck a dead body in order to feel himself, in comparison, alive.
Love is a many splendored thing.
The girl looks at you, the reader, and says: The lie of love is Red like a ring around a kid’s Koolaid stained lips. Red, like what they tell you your insides look like, only you never really know cuz you never get to see them. What happens if you find out your own insides don’t exist. (She looks at you the reader you straight in the eyes) You believe in them anyways.
Your love keeps me alive.
He wished the girl was dead.
You’re my love thing.
“I believe, I believe, I believe you really love me,” she said.
All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.
The girl didn’t matter at all anymore. “I love you so much,” he said as he unzipped his pants.
Our love will never die.
I am going to kill you now (he said) I love you I love you I love you I love you. I am going to kill you, I love you, only I’m not gonna leave any marks or bruises (he slid his levi’s down) I am gonna blue black blister mark your heart so bad that you are stammering and begging me to be your best friend again…I am gonna make you into a dead fuckdoll whose pussy hole is handcuffed to my brain (he rolled her over onto her stomach) Oh please oh please be mine forever girl.
Til death do us part.
But, see, I did not die. I lived.

Tobi’s Words On Bikini Kill

BIKINI KILL IS A BAND MADE UP OF FOUR INDIVIDUALS: Kathi, Tobi, Billy, and Kathleen…
We have been written about a lot by big magazines who have never talked to us or seen our shows. They write about us authoritively, as if they understand us better than we understand our own ideas, tactics, and significance. They largely miss the point of everything about us because they have no idea what our context is/has been. Their idea of punk rock is not based on anything they have ever experienced directly or even sought an understanding of by talking to those who have, yet they continue to write about is as if their stereotypical surface level view of it is all there is. A lot of times we have been asked why we don’t do interviews very often if we are so concerned with being misrepresented. To us this seems obvious… it is mostly based on our experiences. As a rule we don’t do interviews with mainstream newspapers or magazines. In the few cases where we did do them we feel like we were totally fucked over by the way our words were framed to back up ideas that weren’t our own. Quotes were taken out
of context, we were made to look like we were dissing other women in bands when that wasn’t our intention and in the worst case scenarios our confidence was totally violated by having stuff we told the individual writers NOT to focus on exploitatively (abuse histories, where we work/have worked, etc.) turned into the main focus of the article. We have constantly told writers to leave out personal information about us (our last names, who we go out with/used to date) out of articles and they always are sure to include it if we tell them not to. We always try to include perspectives of different band members but often times the writer only puts in quotes by Kathleen, our singer. When she has done interviews by herself as an individual it is often seen as an interview with the whole band even though she continually says she is only speaking as an individual member of Bikini Kill whose opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the whole band. When we have granted these sources interviews it made us look like
everything they said about us was done with our cooperation. The times when we have asked to see articles or edit them before they come out it has never really worked out. One time in particular we were told by N.M.E. in the U.K. that we could write our own articles and they would not in anyway comment on it or edit it. When the articles came out Kathi’s was not included, but was rather taken out of context and cited to back up their ideas about us in the introduction they wrote to my article (something that to our understanding they weren’t going to do). They laid it out in a way that included catty remarks bigger than our own words and put in a bunch of dumb pictures that we didn’t send them. This was the last time we ever tried to cooperate with a big magazine but they have continued to write stuff about us. This is really frustrating but what is even more frustrating is when people who should better, other punks for instance, believe these takes on who we are as being based on reality rather than on
conjecture and in most cases on ill intentions of the writer/magazine. (when you refuse to grant interviews people get really insulted and make a point of going out of their way to use their influences to elaborately diss you–usually this is to the point of spreading deliberate lies or saying really naive sexist things in an effort to provoke a response from you) I want to make it clear that we do not give a shit what people think of us, that is not what we object to in all of this, it is not about us being pissed off because of a bad review… it is about feeling like no matter what we say or do there continues to be this media created idea of ‘Bikini Kill/Riot Girl’ that has little or nothing to do with our own ideas and efforts… we want to be an underground band, we don’t want to be featured in Newsweek magazine… maybe this sounds like a weak complaint to some of you who have worked really hard to get people to hear about your band, projects, record label, ideas, etc. and would appreciate any kind of
publicity… we recognize that different strategies are totally valid for different situations… we are not trying to set any kind of ‘correct’ standard, we are just trying to present our views on what our experiences with the media has been in order to start to comment on how it has affected us as a band… we stopped doing interviews alltogether for awhile mainly because we felt that we didn’t need any more publicity but also because these experiences led us to not feeling like talking about our ideas at all… sometimes not even to each other, but fuck that you know and right now we are making Nu fanzine(s) about this whole weird machine media speculation process we have been going through and so you should look forward to that…
IN THE MEANTIME WE ASK YOU TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT US AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT THAT INFORMATION, CUZ IN MOST CASES IT PROBABLY ISN’T TOO ACCURATE…
SEND US PICTURES, VIDEO TAPES, AUDIO TAPES OF OUR SHOWS, INTERVIEWS, RADIO SHOWS AND COPIES OF OR XEROXES OF MAGAZINE ARTICLES CUZ WE WANNA DOCUMENT THE SOUND OF THE SPECTACLE AND OFTEN TIMES DON’T GET SENT COPIES OF STUFF.
Oh yeah and please address all correspondences to Bikini Kill c/o kill rock stars (120 N.E. State Ave. #418/Olympia, WA 98501).
One huge misconception for instance that has been repeated over and over again in magazines we have never spoken to and also by those who believe these sources without checking things out themselves is that Bikini Kill is the definitive ‘riot girl band’…We are not in any way “leaders of” or authorities on the ‘Riot Girl’ movement. In fact, as individuals, we have each had different experiences with, feelings on, opinions of, and varying degrees of involvement with ‘Riot Girl’ and though we totally respect those who still feel that the label is important and meaningful to them, we have never used that term to describe ourselves AS A BAND. As, individuals we respect and utilize and subscribe to a variety of different aesthetics, strategies, and beliefs, both political and punk-wise, some of which are probably considered ‘riot girl’…
You can get back issues of Bikini Kill fanzines (issues #1 and #2) from riot girl press for $2 each. They are a girl run girl fanzine distribution network, write to them and send them $1 for their catalog which contains brief descriptions of stuff available thru them as well as info on how to get involved in what they’re doing. Please not that these fanzines are way outdated–both were made in 1991 and also that although both have contributions by other band members most of the stuff in them was written by our singer, Kathleen, this is not to say they aren’t informative but rather to make an effort to posit them more exactly with regards to the factors of history and sujectively…R.G.P. P.O. Box 73308/Washington, D.C. 20009

Below are the lyrics to a song called “Thurston Hearts The Who” sang by Bikini Kill. These are the spoken and singing lyrics.

Thurston Hearts The Who Lyrics By: Bikini Kill

Singing Part
If sonic youth thinks that you’re cool
Does that mean everything to you
If you think that sonic youth is cool and you think that they think that you’re not that cool
Does that mean everything to you
Thurston hearts the who how about you
Thurston hearts the who do you heart the who too
Thurston hearts the who how about you
Thurston hearts the who do you heart the who too
It’s 5 am and we stayed out all night
We’ve got nothing to do except talk about you
thurston hearts the who do you heart the who too

Spoken Word Part
So we’re going to play a new song for you and we don’t know how it goes but it might work
Do you remember how it goes Kathi?
Ok Bikini Kill you really had to be there
I got the opportunity to meet them
This DC based punk foursome before the show
I was shocked at how contradictory their words and actions were
Their supposed message of Bikini Kill’s music and literature is girls only feminism yeah
What comes across stage is man-hate
A biontic rebellion against the world
An absurd…played loosely, loudly and out of sync
Most of it stunk
I did enjoy…two songs that had got some air play before their arrival in Hawaii
These two songs have catchy hooks and a power punked edge…out of control interesting exclusively men feedbacks is the bands favorite
Noise punk rock is not coming up out of it
Feeling not as such an extreme at one…the performer expect to be Bikini Kill are activists not musicians
What exactly is Bikini Kill trying to say their…explore the entire world of women’s consciousness
Exploring sensitive issues such as rape, incest, women subordination, and eating disorders
We’ve got women…open bra, black miniskirt, slut in black marker
Tattoos across your back, grabbing your crotch and reinacting deep throat over the microphone bend ov- (microphone goes out) –
Wiggle your hips-hands between your legs and saying “Leave me alone”
It was sad to see a woman so desperately confused she said, “I am…I might make you hate me, I might make you rape me, I am gushing words of Leonard Hails”
First she smoked on feminist ideas then elaborated on it by acting out the…It was too real to carry in your side pocket
I found it tragic
Bikini Kill…sexuality…(lots of screaming)
Bikini Kill can definitely invoke reactions in people their probably better reviewed stuck to feminist theory.

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Comments
  1. […] “Race & Riot Grrrl: A Retrospective” that offers some more history. another online resource collects some of their actual writings from the early […]

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