Bikini Kill

From Academic Kids

Bikini Kill is a riot grrrl punk rock band, formed in Olympia, Washington in October of 1990 (see 1990 in music). Often considered the godmothers of riot grrrl, Bikini Kill's incendiary lyrics, calling for "Revolution Girl Style Now" helped inspire countless female punk bands of the 1990s and later.

The band was formed at Evergreen College by Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail. They began working together on a fanzine (see also zine) called Bikini Kill, and with the addition of Billy Karren, formerly of The Go Team on guitar, formed a band of the same name. Hanna, a former stripper, wrote most of the band's songs and encouraged a female-centered environment at their shows, urging girls to come to the front of the stage and handing out lyric sheets to them.

After an independent demo cassette, Revolution Girl Style Now, Bikini Kill released The Bikini Kill EP on the indie label Kill Rock Stars. Produced by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, the album began to establish the band's audience. In 1992 (see 1992 in music), Bikini Kill went to England and began working with Huggy Bear, releasing a joint recording together and touring the UK. The tour was the subject of a documentary film by Lucy Thane entitled It Changed My Life: Bikini Kill In The U.K.. By the following year, riot grrl was receiving constant attention in the media and Bikini Kill were seen as leaders of the movement. At this time the group called for a "media blackout" to be executed by all riot grrrls, since they felt the band and the movement were being misrepresented and commodified. On their return to the United States, they began working with Joan Jett, formerly of The Runaways, a rock musician whom Hanna described as an early example of riot grrl's aesthetics. Jett produced the single "New Radio/Rebel Girl" for the band. Vail and Wilcox began songwriting in 1994 (see 1994 in music), with the release of Pussy Whipped. Their last album was Reject All American (1996, 1996 in music), and the band broke up in 1998 (see 1998 in music). Shortly before the breakup, a collection of singles released between 1996-1998, aptly titled The Singles was released.

After the band ended, Kathi Wilcox, Tobi Vail and Billy Karren began to perform and record together as The Frumpies. Hanna worked with various artists, including Rachel Carns of The Need, in a band called The Fakes, putting out one LP, and then released her solo project, Julie Ruin. Kathleen Hanna now sings for Le Tigre.




  • Revolution Girl Syle Now! self released cassette (1991)
  • Bikini Kill EP on Kill Rock Stars (1991)
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah split LP with Huggy Bear on Catcall Records in the UK, Kill Rock Stars in the US (1993)
  • "New Radio/Rebel Girl" 7" single on Kill Rock Stars (1993)
  • Pussy Whipped LP on Kill Rock Stars (1994)
  • The Anti-Pleasure Dissertation EP on Kill Rock Stars (1994)
  • "I Like Fucking/I Hate Danger" 7" single on Kill Rock Stars (1995)
  • Reject All American LP on Kill Rock Stars (1996)


  • Kill Rock Stars on Kill Rock Stars LP/CD (1991)
  • Throw: The YoYo Studio Compilation on YoYo Records (1991)
  • "Daddy's Li'l Girl" on Give Me Back LP Ebullition Records (1991)
  • "Suck My Left One" on There's A Dyke In The Pit, Outpunk Records (1992)

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