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Bikini Kill

The point band of the early-'90s riot grrrl movement, Olympia, Washington's Bikini Kill exploded onto the male-dominated indie rock scene by fusing the visceral power of punk with the impassioned ideals of feminism. Calling for "Revolution Girl Style Now," the group's fiercely polemical and anthemic music helped give rise to a newly empowered generation of women in rock, presaging the dominance female artists would enjoy throughout the decade.

Bikini Kill formed in the late '80s at Olympia's liberal Evergreen College, where students Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, and Kathi Wilcox first teamed to publish a feminist fanzine, also dubbed Bikini Kill. Seeking to bring the publication's agenda to life, they decided to form a band, enlisting guitarist Billy Boredom (born William Karren) to round out the lineup. Led by singer/songwriter Hanna, a former stripper, the group laced its incendiary live performances with aggressive political stances that challenged the accepted hierarchy of the underground music community; slam dancers were forced to mosh at the fringes of the stage so that women could remain at the front of the crowd, for example, and female audience members were often invited to take control of the microphone to openly discuss issues of sexual abuse and misconduct.

In 1991, Bikini Kill issued their first recording, Revolution Girl Style Now, an independently distributed demo cassette. For their first official release, the quartet signed with the aggressively independent Olympia-based label Kill Rock Stars; the Bikini Kill EP, produced by Fugazi's Ian Mackaye, consisted largely of reworked versions of material from the first cassette. In 1992, the band issued Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, a split 12" released with the British group Huggy Bear's Our Troubled Youth on its flip side; a subsequent U.K. tour with Huggy Bear in early 1993 raised the visibility of the riot grrrl groundswell to unprecedented heights, and the movement became the focus of many media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. When Bikini Kill returned to the U.S., they joined forces with Joan Jett, whom the band held up as an early paragon of riot grrrl aesthetics. Jett produced the group's next single, the bracing "New Radio"/"Rebel Girl," and Hanna returned the favor by co-writing the song "Spinster" for the Jett album Pure and Simple.

In 1994, Bikini Kill released P**sy Whipped; their most potent effort to date, it featured the songwriting emergence of both Vail and Wilcox, a trend continued on 1996's Reject All American. The group quietly disbanded in early 1998, and Vail, Wilcox, and Boredom went on to form the group the Frumpies, while Hanna released a solo project, Julie Ruin, before assembling the band Le Tigre in 1999. Hanna left Le Tigre in 2005, later revealing that she'd been struggling with Lyme disease. In 2010, Hanna had recovered sufficiently to launch a new band, featuring Kathi Wilcox, which they dubbed the Julie Ruin. The Punk Singer, a documentary on Hanna and her career from Bikini Kill to the Julie Ruin, opened in 2013, and in 2014 Hanna founded a new record label, Bikini Kill Records, devoted to reissuing the band's back catalog and associated projects. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Remember seeing them on the local pa show when I was a kid. Good stuff.
catfight1980
I have a picture of Kathleen Hanna with a guitar but in le Tigre though ;)
Oh yeah, there's a very good documentary titled, The Punk Singer - A film about Kathleen Hanna
(2013) currently streaming on Netflix, another check it out
Kathleen Hanna is also The Julie Ruin, check it out
I LOVE PUUUSSY
I think I'm gonna hurl!
They s**t rock 2!!!
It's really great to be a feminist and a guy!! For anyone saying "I love this band even though I'm a guy" or whatever, can u not. Feminism is for all genders.
Incredible band. Best riot grrrl around.
Kathleen Hanna would probably think your a sexist pig f**ker!
I am sorry , but Kathleen Hanna is one hot woman!
I love bikini ..one of the best all girl punk bands
my mom seen them with my dad
um, an anti-feminis t movement? you missed it
these guys-er, girls- were prominent in the riot girrl scene. an anti-feminis t movement that plays a big part in punk today.
Deth to trolls.
djgforce11
Bikini Kill were a buncha emasculatin c**ts!
Evergreen continues to create amazing artists, free and critical thinkers, and punks with a cause. Thanks Evergreen State College for influencing me so profoundly.
From my alma mater.
Bikini Kill rocks! This band got me into riot grrrl, and I wish I culd have seen them in concert.
Kurt smells like teen spirit!... love this band, the drum intro to rebel girl reminds me so much of the germs forming
They will always be a part of me my past and my friends.
I didnt know they were from Evergreen!
ah Washington releases awesome music into the world!
i like what lisa said. i too love women, riot grrl, and this band.
I think that females do very well in the punk scene. There arent as many as in county or pop music but they suck any way. You know the music isnt good when they dont allow ugly people to make it!
thomasklinge n s m i t h
Good sh*t. Love this band even though I'm a male. It's like anti-anti music. Fighting the hierarchy of the male dominated punk scene while at the same time being totally punk.
lisatiger316
i love woman
Ah, Bikini Kill. They really kick massive ammounts of a**. They need to get again and do another album.
We eat your hate like love, we eat your hate like love,
We eat your hate like love, we eat your f**king hate up like love
How does that feel? it feels blind.
I'm kinda surprised that there is nothing listed here about the "Julie Ruin" album. It has some great songs on it.
this band deserves better comments than we're dishing out.
someone do something for gods sake.
Wow, you have some serious issues punk (Jeffrey K.). So what if she can't understand the vocals, that doesn't give you the right to trash talk her. Obviously this band isn't for her or maybe she just needs to give it another chance. But you don't have to call her a moron. Calm down and take some more of your anger management drugs. Don't blow a socket on some comment. Jeez!
Raychel.jayn e . . .

wtf do you want? maybe singers should just read you their f**king lyrics so you can go home. Turn the amps off...come to the front of the stage and Hanna can get in your ear...and slowly, word for word, just read the f**king lyrics and you're done.

IT'S F**KING MUSIC YOU MORON...if you want lyrics then go home and read the f**king back of your cd sleeve.

"GEEZE I CAN'T HEAR THE F**KING LYRICS. GEEZE LOUISE WHAT ARE THE LYRICS ALREADY?"

fuuuuuuuuuuu c k . . . i ' m so sick of th
she said she ain't got no candy for you.
rayjay92
i can barley understand the vocals... wow.
from charlie pride's comments page:
"a lota folks back home used to make fun of charlie cause he's a black boy, but i always secretly liked him."

god bless bikini kill and charlie pride.
ladyspineret t e _
kathleen hanna is nothing short of amazing
K.D. Lang sucks.
tha andrews sisters were eatin joan jetts pisscicles while kathleen was still fending off the boys from inside her momma.
definitely the most important band on the 90's punk scene. I love you, Kathleen!!!
I think what Bikini Kill did was definatly needed in punk rock, i love what they write about. other bands that are cool are 7 year b**ch, bratmobile, and babes in toyland
YAY!
don't need yooooooooooo o o o o o o o u
looking for newer girl groups? might wanna check out "Cake Like" on you tube,,,I kinda like'm.
You write about the stupid distillers but not Bikini kill? For shame
Cool! I so support these people cause there are way not enough girl punk artists so this way rocks!

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