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The Gits

While the Gits were a band who made a strong impression with their music during their all too brief run, it was how the group suddenly ended that would come to dominate their story. Playing a unique and passionate fusion of first-era punk, hard rock, and streetwise blues, the Gits had a sound that set them apart from their peers in Seattle in the late '80s and early '90s, when the city was hip deep in the grunge explosion. The Gits also had a fearless and charismatic frontwoman in lead singer Mia Zapata, but just as the group seemed poised to move up to the next level of popular acceptance, the potential of both the Gits and Zapata were snuffed out when she was raped and murdered in the summer of 1993.

The Gits were formed in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1986, when Zapata, guitarist Joe Spleen (aka Andy Kessler), bassist Matt Dresdner, and drummer Steve Moriarty were all students at Antioch College. The band was initially known as "The Snivelling Little Rat Faced Gits," taken from a line from a Monty Python sketch, but before long, convenience won out and they shortened the name. In 1988, the Gits recorded a set of demos with the help of Ben London of Alcohol Funnycar; they would eventually see official release under the title Kings & Queens. In 1989, the Gits pulled up stakes and made their way to Seattle, Washington, where they squatted in an abandoned house where they lived and rehearsed. While the Gits' music was significantly different from that which defined the Pacific Northwest rock scene of the day, their forceful performances and Zapata's gifts as a vocalist and communicator won them a following among punk rockers, political activists, and renegade artists as well as discerning rock fans. In 1990, the Gits released their debut single, "Precious Blood" b/w "Seaweed" and "Kings & Queens," and after a pair of 45s in 1991, the band began work on their debut album, Frenching the Bully, which was released by C/Z Records in 1992.

Frenching the Bully received enthusiastic reviews and the band toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, booking their own shows without the help of a manager and performing overseas without official visas, relying on the help of independent musicians and squatters to make their way. The Gits' power as a live act, coupled with Frenching the Bully's success on college and independent radio, made them one of Seattle's most talked-about bands at a time when the success of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden brought a remarkable amount of media attention to the city's music community. The Gits began work on their second album while their profile was on the rise and major labels were courting the group. The album was nearly complete when on July 7, 1993, Zapata was walking home from a night out with friends when she was raped and murdered; the singer was dead at the age of 27.

Zapata's murder initially polarized the Seattle music community, largely because police detectives initially focused on her friends and peers, believing she must have been killed by someone she knew. However, Zapata's surviving bandmates rallied, hiring a private detective to investigate the case, and the city's rock musicians showed solidarity with a series of benefit shows and albums that raised both money and awareness about the Zapata case, as well as inspiring new dialogue about issues of violence against women. Joan Jett, a fan of the Gits, played a handful of shows with Spleen, Dresdner, and Moriarty, and they would release an album titled Evil Stig -- "Gits Live" backwards. The band 7 Year B**ch paid homage to Zapata with their 1994 album Viva Zapata!, which included a song about her murder, "M.I.A." And several of Zapata's friends gathered to form Home Alive, a non-profit group offering self-defense instruction and support systems for women.

In 1994, the surviving members of the Gits completed the album they were working on in the summer of 1993, which was released by C/Z as Enter: The Conquering Chicken. The Gits would later release two albums of rare and unreleased material from their archives, and Spleen, Dresdner, and Moriarty would join forces for a new band, the Dancing French Liberals of '48. And in 2003, Seattle police initiated a "cold case" examination of the case that led to processing DNA evidence gathered at the time of the crime. A search for matching DNA led to Florida, where Jesus Mezquia had been arrested for burglary; research revealed that Mezquia was living in Seattle in July 1993, and in 2004, he was found guilty of Zapata's murder and sentenced to 36 years behind bars. In 2005, Zapata's life and the long search for justice became the subject of a documentary film by director Kerri O'Kane, simply titled The Gits. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Seafish Louisville

1. Whirlwind

2. Seaweed

3. Absynthe (live)

4. Another Shot Of Whiskey

5. Insecurities (live)

6. Slaughter Of Bruce

7. Precious Blood

8. While You're Twisting, I'm Still Breathing

9. A

10. Social Love

11. It Doesn't Matter

12. Kings And Queens

13. Wingo Lamo

14. Here's To Your F**k

15. Second Skin

16. Daily Bread

x

Track List: Kings And Queens

1. Eleven

2. Cut My Skin It Makes Me Human

3. A

4. Running

5. Look Right Through Me

6. It All Dies Anyway

7. Monsters

8. It Doesn't Matter

9. Snivelling Little Rat Faced Git

10. Still You Don't Know What Its Like

11. Tempt Me

12. Gitstrumental (Breaks)

13. Kings And Queens

14. Ain't Got No Right

15. Loose

16. Graveyard Blues (live)

x

Track List: Enter: The Conquering Chicken

1. Bob (Cousin O.)

2. Guilt Within Your Head

3. Seaweed

4. A Change Is Gonna Come

5. Precious Blood

6. Beauty Of The Rose

7. Drunks

8. Italian Song

9. Social Love I

10. Social Love II

11. Daily Bread

12. Sign Of The Crab

13. Drinking Song

14. I'm Lou

15. New Fast One

16. Crab (Recorded Live In PDX)

17. Seaweed (Recorded Live In PDX)

18. Rose (Recorded Live In PDX)

19. Whirlwind (Recorded Live In PDX)

20. New Fast One (Recorded Live In PDX)

21. Bob (Recorded Live In PDX)

22. A Change Is Gonna Come (Recorded Live In PDX)

x

Track List: Frenching The Bully

1. Absynthe

2. Another Shot Of Whiskey

3. Insecurities

4. Slaughter Of Bruce

5. Kings And Queens

6. It All Dies Anyway

7. While You're Twisting, I'm Still Breathing

8. A

9. Wingo Lamo

10. Spear And Magic Helmet

11. Cut My Skin It Makes Me Human

12. Here's To Your F**k

13. Second Skin

14. Twisting, Breathing

15. Insecurities

16. Slaughter

17. Absynthe

18. Whiskey

19. Wingo

20. F**k

21. Second Skin

22. Twisting

x

Track List: Best Of The Gits (Music From And Inspired By The Film "The Gits")

1. A Change Is Gonna Come

2. Guilt Within Your Head

3. Seaweed

4. Cut My Skin It Makes Me Human

5. It All Dies Anyway

6. Spear And Magic Helmet

7. Absynthe

8. Another Shot Of Whiskey

11. Whirlwind

12. Daily Bread

13. Eleven

14. Tempt Me

15. Social Love

Comments

Report as inappropriate
sarah.a.good 1 n
This band bio is f**king s**tty and sexist. Get it off.
Report as inappropriate
progpond3
Nice band bio 1/2 about the band 1/2 about how Mia Zapata went out to the bar and got herself raped and murdered. Really?
Report as inappropriate
Pandora, for f**k's sake please have someone rewrite this bio. Like maybe a female. It just really misses the mark on the issues that were CORE to this movement and top of mind for The Gits fanbase.
Report as inappropriate
Glad other people think the write up is s**t
Report as inappropriate
Kick F**king A**!!!
COF!
Report as inappropriate
I remember hearing Mias voice for the first time and I was mind blown. Such an amazing voice, great song writer and beautiful soul that was stolen. But music and memories never die.
Report as inappropriate
These guys and woman are so awsome! Mia has such a great voice!!!! Punk Rock at it's best!!!
Report as inappropriate
steve.olson3 7
Loving me some Gits!!! Viva Zapata!!, Viva The Gits!!!
Report as inappropriate
@Black&Green ,
I did not lump all men together when I made my comment. Where exactly did I even suggest that? My comment was directed solely at Vincent Jeffries, the author of this bio.
Report as inappropriate

courtney

love?

no!

the one

who taught her how to sing.
Report as inappropriate
We miss you Mia!
Report as inappropriate
Vincent Jeffries, Rovi: Great job in the paragraph about Mia Zappata's death at both lamenting the tragedy of the subjugation and brutalizatio n of women worldwide... and at the same time basically saying, 'But since we haven't reached true equality yet, *in the meantime*, if you party late at night and get raped walking home, you still brought it on yourself.'
Report as inappropriate
It breaks my heart that they had so much potential and then that piece of s**t killed Mia...one of my role models.
¡Viva Zapata!
Rest in peace, Mia♥
Report as inappropriate
Gits live
Report as inappropriate
dd090469
At least the f**kers in jail R.I.P
Report as inappropriate
ladytyphoid
O.o Women being empowered gets them raped and murdered? WTF, Pandora?!
Report as inappropriate
curio227
Oh I don't know what to say. My own daughter turned me on to the Gits and Mia Zapata after she (my daughter) was also murdered. I will not regret the freedom with which my child lived her life. I will miss her forever. The Gits were her favorite band.
Report as inappropriate
good stuff. havent heard this band in a long time.
Report as inappropriate
roroco94
This band could've been so much more, but at least there's something left.
Report as inappropriate
pipecamp
a large group of young female musicians and artists became emboldened (possibly to a degree dangerous to their own safety ... really?
Report as inappropriate
I miss this woman every single day. Viva Zapata!
Report as inappropriate
best band of the 90's imho -
Report as inappropriate
Greatest female rock vocalist ever. So much feeling.
Report as inappropriate
tn62
If she hadn't been out at night or so damn empowered, maybe she would've been safer.

WHAT THE F*CK? The entire paragraph about Mia Zapata's rape and murder is victim blaming. The Gits deserve better!

This attitude, this ignorance, this apologia by placing the responsibili t y on women not to BE raped instead of asking rapists NOT TO RAPE is offensive.

An entire generation of women consider themselves feminists because these are the mores of our culture.

Oops, did I say the f word?
Report as inappropriate
such a voice....
Report as inappropriate
Thanks Melissa, and thank yor Pandora for doing your homework on The Gits.
Report as inappropriate
Thanks, Pandora, for such a great tribute to Mia and the Gits.
Report as inappropriate
It's a real bummer when a life is cut short by murder! Fragile is the road we travel... Our horizon stretches beyond our judgement of time... Long do we quest to find the peace we need... When all of a sudden we reach the end... The horizon was not a limitless expansion... I had arrived----> M a y we all meet again in a realm without hate
Report as inappropriate
seth.miller6 6 9 4
I still get the chills when I hear her but can not see her. She was a good friend and person. BTW, Joe Spleen was Andrew Kessler.
Report as inappropriate
Viva Zapata!
Report as inappropriate
zapata.
Report as inappropriate
lq350009
Thanks Pandora for leading me to this artist! RIP Zapata.
Report as inappropriate
Mia Zapata was one of the best singers of her time. She was like Janis Joplin, but better. If only she could've come home alive that night, they would've been bigger than Nirvana. Rest in peace Mia, we will always miss you.
Report as inappropriate
The Gits sound like TILT wich is another kick a** band watch the jamhole.com
Report as inappropriate
pnwsteveo
The Gits give me a total attitude adjustment, in the right rocking, feel good, get me pumped up way. Every time I listen to Precious Blood and hear Mia growl, fark, I just get goose bumps.
Rock on for Infinity Gits!!
Report as inappropriate
It was a very said day when I heard the news, Mia, was raped and murdered by a weak, parasitic, b**tard. Thankfully her music lives on. The inspiration she gave to both women and men. We will not forget you Mia Zapata !
Report as inappropriate
rjmulligan
This music still seriously rocks. RIP Mia.
Report as inappropriate
I really wanted to see the Gits live but I was only 3. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Moster that they caught the guy who killed her. There is a documentary about the Gits that I saw at SIFF this year ad I think it will get distribution , otherwise you could look for it on Amazon or Kino on video. RIP Mia.
Report as inappropriate
such a f**king shame to not have mia rocking our f**king faces off in the here and now.....

i miss the gits.

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