We’d be remiss not to include Bikini Kill in our kickoff Live Tribute to Women in Rock. No other artist is as synonymous with riot grrrl culture and female empowerment than this Olympia, Wash.-based band, which started as a small fanzine and grew into a vehicle for an entire wave of feminism.
Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna (who later formed Le Tigre and the Julie Ruin, and who was the subject of the 2013 documentary “The Punk Singer”) has been a huge influence on Team Girl Germs, so we were extra happy when locals Pink Mink chose to cover Bikini Kill for our show on May 30. We can’t think of anyone better to do such an iconic artist justice.
Arzu from Pink Mink filled us in on meeting Kathleen Hanna, why she chose to cover Bikini Kill and what the band’s music means to her:
How Bikini Kill has inspired Pink Mink: “Bikini Kill has always been a huge inspiration for me. I saw them play at the 7th Street Entry when I was 15 with Nation of Ulysses and Jonestown, which is still one of my favorite all-time shows. Kathleen Hanna was so nice; my friend Nicole and I said we wanted to start a band, and she talked to us for a few minutes about it and encouraged us and gave us a bunch of free stickers. We were so excited! When the Girl Germs show was brought up to us, Bikini Kill was my first thought, because I knew it would be fun and loud and a good fit for Pink Mink.”
Her favorite thing about Bikini Kill: “How powerful and raw they are. They also had a great live show, which was empowering for the audience, especially the girls and women there. They always made sure the audience was safe as well; if they noticed people being aggressive in the crowd they would stop the show. I always knew I wanted to play music, but seeing them and Babes in Toyland when I was young had a huge impact on how strong and exciting performing could be. They also
had lyrics about personal and difficult issues that might make people uncomfortable, but they were important.”
Why they’re important and why you should know about them: “They inspired countless girls and women to start bands or write zines. They were really about empowering young girls to do whatever they wanted. There’s so much more to say, but I honestly think if you have heard or seen them it’s pretty apparent why they are important.”
The best Bikini Kill era: “All of it! But of course their first tape has a special place in my heart. It’s a tape, after all!”