Not since Revolution Summer had D.C. experienced anything so momentous. With Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna’s rallying cry, “Revolution Girl style now,” she put sexism on the punk map (again) and launched a movement that was grrrls only. Along with the members of Bratmobile and BK, Hanna helped start riot grrrl D.C. in 1991, where Bikini Kill lived for about a year. It was her idea to start having meetings to discuss sexism at shows and growing up with abuse. The meetings blossomed, and riot grrrl conventions and confabs and special shows sprang up all over the country.
After seven years, Bikini Kill decided to call it quits on Groundhog Day, but the band just announced the decision in a press release this week to coincide with the release of its singles collection titled, appropriately, The Singles. The band and its label, Kill Rock Stars, decline to give any specific reasons for the split. KRS owner Slim Moon says the band members simply want to pursue other projects. In the fall, Hanna will release a solo album based on loops and beats under the name Julie Ruin. Guitarist Billy Karren will be working with his group, the Corrections. And Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail will concentrate on their work with the Frumpies.
“Some of them had really kind of lost interest,” Moon explains. “I don’t want to name names. This is going to give them all new life [in] their creative endeavors. They could have still made great punk rock records. I don’t know if they were going to be making a Sandinista.”
Even if Bikini Killthe last of the major grrrl bandshas gone away, the politics have not. Since Hanna started those D.C. meetings seven years ago, Liz Phair has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, rock journalists are writing the ubiquitous “Women in Rock” features, Ani DiFranco has been featured on CNN for her business savvy, and 8-year-olds can be seen holding up “Girl Power” posters at Spice Girls shows.Jason Cherkis