Published on April 20th, 2022

Bikini Kill by Debi Del Grande

Twenty-five years ago, Bikini Kill called it a day. In many ways their tenure as THE Riot Grrrl pioneers helped to achieve several of their goals. But remedying one problem sometimes means two more spring up in its place; basically, the work is never done. Since their self-imposed sabbatical, the legend of Bikini Kill has only grown, their legacy alighting on anyone in need of their version of LGBTQ-friendly, feminist punk rock.

Band members carried on either with music or social initiatives, and over time as the world grew around them Bikini Kill became shorthand for Riot Grrrls and feminist ideals in rock and roll. Essentially, they became America’s answer to the Clash — ideological, fierce, focused. The embodiment of punk as a way to color outside the box to make the world a better place. That’s a heavy load to bear for anyone; no wonder they took a break.

The America of Reagan-Bush gave way to the Clinton era and ever since the country has ping-ponged between conservative and liberal stewardship, but usually with politics arranged to service the needs of corporate campaign donors first. Bands like Bikini Kill teach us that we don’t have to listen to the talking heads (small “t,” small “h,” meaning pundits and no disrespect to the awesome capital “T,” capital “H” band). We own our destinies. We can take our futures into our own hands, and live out radical dissent in ways no influencer or public relations consultant can manufacture.

Giving people a cause to rally to happens organically. Inspiring others to join comes from commitment: leading by example and taking the hits that come from planting your feet and saying, “No, you move.” The reunited Bikini Kill continue the tradition of standing for something through their work, on this tour by supporting Interfaith Works Nightly Shelter, a homeless services program in the Pacific Northwest aiding women and LGBT single adults.

Bikini Kill play the Ground in Miami, 7pm Friday May 27 with Glass Body, and 11pm Saturday May 28 with Las Nubes. ~ Tim Moffatt