After a wildly successful kickoff last May, Girl Germs is beyond excited to announce the next installment in our ongoing concert series. On January 10th at the Turf Club, join us once again in honoring women in music the best way we know how: a live tribute featuring some knockout local artists. The venue, musicians and overall theme of the artists being interpreted is different this time around, but the sentiment is the same and there’s a LOT to look forward to amongst this talented group. We seriously can’t wait to share another special evening of music with Minneapolis/St. Paul and we have a sneaky feeling that you’ll all feel the same way.
Holy crap, you guys. After months of speculation and hints, (Fontanelle-era) Babes in Toyland announced a reunion show!
Lori Barbero, the drummer for Babes, was the host of our first tribute night back in May so you KNOW we are huge fans. We’re hoping this reunion show in LA is just the beginning of a tour, or at least a few more shows. In the meantime we put together some essential videos to tide you over until February!
“Memory” (on 120 Minutes)
“Catatonic” (live in ’91)
“He’s My Thing”
“Handsome and Gretel” (live in ’95)
“Mother” (live at CBGB’s, ’92—audio only)
Annnnnnnd…..Beavis & Butt-head’s commentary on “Ripe”
Left to right: John Pelant, Micky Alfano and Mark Ritsema of Night Moves. Photo by Nick Walker.
If you have any shred of investment in the local music scene and/or bands that are good then you’re familiar with Night Moves. After they released the initial cut of their debut “Colored Emotions” they caught the attention of Domino Records, securing a contract and eventually touring with touted acts like Father John Misty. Though they are described ad-nauseum as “cosmic country” (which, to be fair, is an accurate assessment) their singular form of faded vocals and twangy arrangements draw from a bounty of sources, namely their own incredible music taste. Knowing their knack and knowledge of music, Girl Germs was ecstatic when they decided to perform The Cranberries at the kickoff show.
So to offer a peek into their musical minds and influence, frontman John Pelant has justified five records by female artists that he finds especially important.
1. The Ronettes: Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica.
I love, love this stuff and can’t get enough theres’s so much charm. Phil Spector tried locking up Ronnie, but no one can hold her down. Too powerful.
2. Carole King: Tapestry
I heard this record and then realized all the changes I had been missing in music.
3. Buckingham Nicks: Buckingham Nicks
Lindsey Buckingham is a major driving force in this band and and Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks has said that when Lindsey wanted to he could really make Stevie songs great, when he wanted to… Who are we kidding though? Without that voice this wouldn’t be as amazing. No Stevie, no deal.
4. Joni Mitchell: Blue and Clouds
Sometimes I think that this stuff can be a little too flowery and then I remember it doesn’t matter:it’s great. There’s so much feeling and truth.
5. Carla Thomas: Comfort Me
That VOICE, though. Who doesn’t love it? It’s perfect for summer.
Our local culture may fixate on The Replacements and Prince but put simply: Babes in Toyland were one of the most important and influential bands to ever come out of Minneapolis. Originally comprised of vocalist/guitarist Kat Bjelland, drummer Lori Barbero and bassist Michelle Leon, the punk band took the ’90s by force with their raw energy and snarling guitars. They were an all-female group singular to their environment, touring with the likes of Sonic Youth and becoming a known influence to riot grrrls such as Kathleen Hanna. Though they ended things in 2001, their music still resounds as loud as ever. So naturally, we are thrilled to have Lori Barbero as the veritable host of the Girl Germs Tribute Kickoff. These days Lori lives in Austin, Texas where she bartends at a honky-tonk, works as an assistant production manager for SXSW and helps run a small record label called Good Horse. Ahead of her return to the center of a rock-club stage, we talked with Lori about life in Austin and the women who shaped her.
Why did you leave Minneapolis to move to Austin?
I wanted to go somewhere new that had music and warmth. It was either Memphis, Nashville or Austin and Austin just kind of fell into place because a friend of mine had a house. Minneapolis is still my home. I have a house here and friends here. I just got seriously depressed for a while and doctors told me to go somewhere warm.
Are you happy there now?
It definitely took me a while but this year is the most I’ve loved it. At first It was really hard to be away from my friends and family and house . I was probably holding back from loving it, but now I’m happy. I have a boxer named Memphis and sometimes I like to take day trips. I work at the best bar in Austin, too. It’s called the White Horse and there is music all of the time.
Do you get nostalgic for the Babes in Toyland days?
It is in the past but I am very proud of my past. It was my life for a very long time. It’s the playing the drums, but also the world travel and the people you meet when you go to the shows. I think I just I like people more than other people do. It really was living the dream. I was playing music with my best friends and traveling and getting paid for it. But it’s not what I do now. I love where I work now and even in Austin I don’t really tell people I was in the band unless we’re sharing stories about travel.
What was the music environment in Minneapolis like when you were playing music?
There were a few all-girl bands playing like Pseudonymphs and Smut but there might have even been fewer than there are now. One thing is for sure and that’s that the music was more raw. There were more women who played instruments and didn’t just sing. I love women who play instruments.
Why do you think that’s changed?
I don’t know. I just think the music has changed a lot. A lot of it is done on computers now and that is part of it. I think rock music is dying. It’s really sad. But I think the majority of the music people like today is really boring. There’s not any soul in it anymore. Theres not many real rock ‘n’ roll bands anymore either. Queens of the Stone Age are one of the only ones. Most music seems like toe-tapping for grannies.
Do you think the experience as a women in the music industry has changed since you were in a touring band?
I really would like to know. It’s funny because i’m surrounded by it during SXSW but when you are managing production for multiple stages there just isn’t time to chat or reflect on how people interact. I would love to comb some of the artists’ ears one day. Where I work there are a lot of female artists who are really great and powerful, though. It seems more powerful because they’re playing.instruments.
Name some women who influenced you in your formative years.
Both of my grandmothers I admired a lot. I have a grandma who is 99 and still living in Wisconsin and up until last year she lived in an apartment and cooked meals for herself and her neighbor. She’s just strong. My other grandma had her voice box taken out. She was one of the first people to actually have that operation. But she was a strong woman in her own right, too. Back in the day when civil rights were in a very different state she said “the white man is the devil man” and then would invite all of the black people come over to her house. She treated them with human decency in the midst of segregation. I listened to Billy Holiday and Louis Armstrong because of her: music I love today. Musically speaking there are so many women who were important to me over the years. Patti Smith sticks out. I saw her play CBGB when I was in high school. Then there’s also Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker and Beth Ditto from The Gossip. Even locally there are people like Dessa and Lizzo. For me it’s always been the women who just do it. No fear. Just go for it.
GIRL GERMS: THE DONUT
There are few things sweeter than the satisfaction of Kathleen Hanna’s commanding shrieks as the rebel queen of Bikini Kill, but if we really have to go there then a Glam Doll donut inspired by Girl Germs might just take the proverbial cake. In fact, it very much does. Meet our rebel girl of a donut: a radical blueberry cake donut-made-rock-star with playful and decadent lavender/marshmallow topping. Much like the sentiment of Riot Grrrl, this donut DEMANDS your consumption, so stop by Glam Doll and eat one (or five)! They’ll also be available at the Girl Germs Tribute Show. We’re super thankful to our sponsors at Glam Doll for creating this beautiful masterpiece!
Additionally, some of you may be aware the Kathleen Hanna just had to cancel her entire tour with her new band The Julie Ruin due to a tragic relapse in Lyme Disease, something she has struggled with very seriously for a long time. We thought it’d be in the spirit of Girl Germs (and Bikini Kill-loving Rebel Girls/Boys everywhere) if we set up a tip jar at the donut table that’s proceeds will go straight to Lyme Disease Research (via the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance). SO DONATE! It’s the least we can do to support someone who has contributed so much to women in music both culturally and physically.
photo courtesy Zoe Prinds-Flash
Lydia Hoglund (Lydia Liza) first garnered attention in the Minneapolis music scene as the spirited and confessional vocalist of folk/rock outfit Bomba de Luz. And now–with a solo career in hot pursuit as well as collaborations with Rhymesayers artists like P.O.S. and Toki Wright–the girl simply can’t be stopped. Her beautiful, textured voice seemed a natural fit to perform the songs of Dusty Springfield at the Girl Germs Kickoff and, to our extreme pleasure, Lydia agreed to take it on without possessing much prior knowledge of Dusty beforehand. As it turns out, the process of discovery was both empowering and cathartic. We spoke with Lydia about it:
When did you first hear Dusty Springfield’s music?
It’s funny, I actually had almost forgotten who Dusty was, which is pretty much sacrilege. When you guys sent me the list of vocalists you thought I would do justice, I remembered her name and looked her up again. All of these songs that I had forgotten the names of came flooding back to me. They were always songs I had just heard in passing like,“You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” I never really listened to her much as a child and honestly, I didn’t really appreciate her type of music until much more recently. I was more of a Fall Out Boy-bordering-on-Warped-Tour-kid for a long time. So my interaction was pretty much while I was preparing for this show. But Dusty came around at the perfect time for me, after one of those notoriously awful breakups. It’s always incredible to find that music that makes you realize: “Oh shit. There are other people in the world that completely relate to these feelings.” So it’s been extremely therapeutic.
Do you think her sentiments translate to the modern era?:
Oh god absolutely! Love and life are two eternal things, with a lot of varied sentiments that run constant throughout both. I think sentiments from most music in general–in all eras–run constant through the modern one. Except maybe the death-metal band Cannibal Corpse saying they want to “smash my head in with a mallet and watch my eyes fall out and defile my corpse”. I don’t know how many people feel like that. I like Dusty’s view on life quite a bit more.
Dusty had a lot of heartbreak in her life. Not only struggles with cancer and substance abuse but also with hiding her homosexuality to maintain an image that was much more accepted in the era. Have her sad experiences revealed themselves to you in any way while learning her songs? How do you relate?:
I’ve always thought that being a singer is one of the most exposing things you can do. And man, it wasn’t just her singing voice, that emotive voice, full of that husk, urgency, experience and wisdom, it was her lyrics, too. You can completely hear her pain, while still being a pop star. Kinda like “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, which is such a stupid comparison and I regret that. People’ve always said:“C’mon Lyds, don’t you have a single happy song?” Truth be told, running through my own catalogue and I don’t think I do. I’m alright with that. I’m more than alright with that. I don’t write my songs to get people to dance, or to get people to run around in the sunshine. I write for myself. I write as expression, to tell my own story to myself, to run through thoughts and to organize myself. I don’t mind. I know it’ll change, but it started out as songs in my bedroom when I was a pre-pubescent, hormonal teenager, and not much has really changed: still a pre-pubescent, hormonal teenager. SYKE! I just do it the same as I’ve always done. But a lot is changing in my life, and my music will change with me. But I’m sure I’ll still write about heartbreaks and headaches.
How do you think she’s influenced women in music today?:
I’m not sure how she’s influenced many women, but I know how she’s influenced me. Dusty was an extremely strong woman: beautiful, fashionable (except sometimes she looked like she didn’t have eyes from all that eye makeup) and femme. I think she’s just one of those perfect role models. She should continue to be a role model. More people should know about her and her bravery. She was set apart from her contemporaries and not afraid to be different and to try all of these different genres and styles. She seemed so comfortable with herself, but from the previous question it sounded like she was also really depressed. Still, she created music with it. She wasn’t afraid to sound so urgent and soulful and heartbroken. That’s brave.
What have you learned in the process of teaching yourself this music?:
That I need to take guitar lessons, that Dusty is totally badass, that I’m not alone, that I wanna do my hair like her and that pain can turn into the most absolutely gorgeous art.
What’s your favorite Dusty song and why?:
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and I’m trying not to be too self indulgent here, is really applicable to my situations right now and questioning so much. I can confidently say that you could twist this song and just sing it to Life in general, like, how you have two awesome weeks and then some shit happens.
Is this a lasting treasure/Or just a moment’s pleasure?/Can I believe the magic of your sighs?/Will you still love me tomorrow?
That’s so valid, in every situation!!
I know you’re very interested in modern female artists like Laura Marling as well. Why do you think it’s important to listen to the old and the new?:
It’s important because you see how things have morphed. If you understand the old and look at how it influenced the new you can find patterns and trends (musically and lyrically) and then also find things that didn’t really follow through into modern-day music. Looking at it as a songwriter, it helps you discover things to try. Looking at it as a listener, you can find feelings that have been totally eternal. Looking at it as both, you can really understand the feelings of different times based on the sound of the music. It’s like how old jazz makes you want to be in an old bar in New York chain-smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey on the rocks, at least it makes me want to. And then how more modern stuff makes you want to twerk on walls sometimes. I appreciate the former much more and Laura Marling embodies it really comfortably and well, like she’s still stuck there. I hope that made sense.
Our kickoff tribute night is coming up in TWO DAYS. Want to win tickets? (Duh, of course you do.) Here’s how:
1. Take a selfie with something that represents one of your favorite female musicians: the first place you saw them play, a ticket stub, a fave record (Need inspiration? Look here.), or even dress up as them. Be creative!
2. Post it to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #girlgermsselfie by 9 p.m. Thursday, May 29. It helps if you tag us, too. We’re Girl Germs on Facebook, @girlgermsmpls on Twitter and @girlgermsmpls on Instagram. (If you’re really shy, you can email it to us at girlgermsmpls [at] gmail.com.)
3. We’ll look them over Thursday night, and the creator of the best selfie will win a pair of tickets to Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Rock at First Avenue on Friday night. We’ll contact you via social media if you’ve won, and you’ll have to email us ASAP at girlgermsmpls [at] gmail.comto claim them at that time.
To see how it’s done, check out Fury Things (who are covering Hole, and recreated the band’s logo in whiteboard-marker medium above) and L’Assassins’ Tea (posing with a Thee Headcoatees record below) and Monet (with Nikki and the Corvettes)!