Bikini Kill is a feminist punk band that started in Olympia, WA, and later moved to Washington, DC. The band was active from 1990 to 1998. Although they sometimes switched instruments, the primary lineup was Kathleen Hanna on vocals, Tobi Vail on drums, and Kathi Wilcox on bass. Billy Karren joined on guitar after the band had played several shows as a three-piece. Bikini Kill is credited with instigating the Riot Grrrl movement in the early ’90s via their political lyrics, zines and confrontational live shows.
Bikini Kill started touring in June 1991. In addition to touring the US several times, they also toured Europe, Australia and Japan. In The band recorded and released a demo tape, two EPs, two LPs and three singles. With the exception of their demo tape, which was self-released, all their records were released by the Olympia-based record label, Kill Rock Stars. In 2011, the band cut ties with Kill Rock Stars and began rereleasing their albums through their own label, Bikini Kill Records.
Bikini Kill believed that if all girls started bands the world would change. They actively encouraged women and girls to start bands as a means of cultural resistance. Bikini Kill was inspired by seeing Babes in Toyland play live, and attempted to incite female participation and build feminist community via the punk scene. They used touring as a way to create an underground network between girls who played music, put on shows and made fanzines. This informal network created a forum for multiple female voices to be heard.
Kathleen, Kathi, and Tobi (along with guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle) are thrilled to announce they will be regrouping to play shows in NY and LA in spring 2019.