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Bikini Kill Call It Quits

April 15, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Punk architects of the early '90s riot grrrl movement, Bikini Kill has disbanded after more than seven years and various EPs, singles and albums.

Since the band's formation in 1990, its aggressive political punk inspired a new generation of women rockers like Sleater-Kinney, the Northwest's new answer to feminist punk and likely successor to Bikini Kill. Although they stayed loyal to the independent label Kill Rock Stars, the Olympia, Wash., natives attracted major media hype with no-holds-barred lyrics and live shows.

Founding members Kathleen Hanna (vocals), Kathi Wilcox (bass), Tobi Vail (drums) and Billy Boredom (guitar) began drifting into other projects and reportedly called it quits one month ago, Kill Rock Stars spokeswoman Maggie Vail told JAMTV on Tuesday.

"It's been seven years, and I think they just decided it was time to move on," Vail said. "Bikini Kill wasn't that active, but their presence was really influential in the music world."

Forging east, Hanna and Wilcox left their West Coast cohorts behind in favor of new musical projects and identities. Hanna -- a former stripper -- plans to release an album of solo material under the pseudonym Julie Ruin this September for Kill Rock Stars, which will also release a nine-song compilation of Bikini Kill EP tracks called The Singles in June.

Although Wilcox has shipped out for Washington, D.C., she still plans to record and perform with Vail and Boredom in their side project band, The Frumpees, Vail said.

The call for "Revolution Girl Style Now" first rang out in 1990, when Evergreen College students Hanna, Wilcox and Vail united to publish a feminist magazine, coincidentally titled Bikini Kill. The medium failed, but the message did not. After enlisting Boredom -- born William Karren -- the incendiary quartet began attracting a loyal female crowd who could mosh freely and often take the microphone during live shows to discuss sexism and abuse.

In 1992, Fugazi's Ian Mackaye produced the band's debut self-titled EP, which included the punk-rock anthem "Suck My Left One." That collection was followed by a 12-inch titled Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, an EP produced by female rock pioneer Joan Jett and two full-length albums, which catapulted the band into international media with its infectious riot grrrl philosophy.

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