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after grrrl
AFTER GRRRLJessicka Addams

The zine sharing feminist stories to keep riot goth alive

Creative grrrls like Molly Soda and Allison Wolfe come together to tell their life stories in this project led by Jack Off Jill frontwoman Jessicka Addams

In the early 90s, while riot grrrl was kicking off in Olympia, Washington, something a little darker was happening over in Florida. With an aesthetic similar to riot grrrl – babydoll dresses and feminist messages – Jack Off Jill were defining something they called riot goth. Frontwoman Jessicka Addams led them, belting out delicious anthems with names like “Cumdumpster”, “Angels Fuck Devils Kiss” and “Nazi Halo” and quickly their queer, female, outsider fans became cult obsessives.

After years off the grid, multimedia artist Addams and the band announced a stint of reunion farewell shows. It appeared that riot goth was back. Alongside this, Addams began work on a zine with editor friend Carrie Jo Tucker. Together the pair put together AFTER GRRRL: a collection of personal life tales from an astonishing range of feminists engaged with various artistic endeavours. Webcam-artist Molly Soda talks astrology and how it’s helped her make sense of the world, Bratmobile frontwoman Allison Wolfe shares an experience of domestic abuse and Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero remembers forming the band with Kat Bjelland. We talk to Addams about the project, her queer influence and what the future looks like.

Where did the inspiration for AFTER GRRRL come from? And was it way before the idea of the reunion shows was floated around?

Jessicka Addams: My long time friend and author Carrie Tucker and I had been throwing around the idea of doing a zine for years, but the opportunity didn't really present itself until the Jack Off Jill Asheville reunion show was in the works. We intended to have it ready for the July 18 show, but both the zine and the show took on lives of their own. I’m glad we waited, it came out exactly they way it was supposed to.

Did the name come from the idea of us being post-riot grrrl now?

Jessicka Addams: Yes, it’s the idea of what happens after riot grrrl & riot goth – do we become riot ladies? It seemed like perfect timing, and not only because of the Jack Off Jill reunion shows. Over the past five or six years, I’ve noticed a renewed interest in the term “riot grrrl”, the women involved, and what the movement stands for. I personally wanted to hear stories from these women, like Allison Wolfe, who was instrumental in starting the riot grrrl movement with a lot of other inspirational women.

We didn’t actually have a theme; that happened organically. The only instruction was to share a personal story – any story, as long as it would be empowering to like-minded souls. Whether it was confessional, humorous, outlandish, or all of the above, all we asked was that women were open and honest! We didn't want the stories to all be related to music in any way, although I know that for some that was the case.

“What happens after riot grrrl & riot goth – do we become riot ladies?”

What is it about hearing the small stories from women that is important to you?

Jessicka Addams: I have always felt that if we share any information, it allows whoever is reading to relate to the writer on some level. With every story shared in AFTER GRRRL our goal was to have the reader see this author in a different light. Empathy and sincere relatability are strong tools, and considering the current state of the world, we could all try to be more compassionate and empathetic to others no matter what their story is.

Have there been stories you've heard over your life that have had a big impact on you? 

Jessicka Addams: I read a story from one of the survivors of the Paris attacks. Isobel Bowdery was one of the people who attended the Eagles Of Death Metal shows who made it out alive. This story was one of many stories that will forever change me and also made me create something in order to donate as much money as I can to the survivors, to merch man Nick Alexander's funeral expenses and memorial fund, and the French Red Cross. Stories like Isobel’s made me act rather than just be frozen in fear and sadness.

There’s a space for your own story at the back of the zine and you can upload that to the zine’s Tumblr

Jessicka Addams: This was editor-in-chief Carrie Tucker’s idea to involve the reader in the process. AFTER GRRRL is for everyone. Everyone has their own story, and sometimes sharing them can be cathartic, not only for the author, but for the reader, too. Jack Off Jill has always been about our community, and we see AFTER GRRRL as another extension of that. 

Why do you think zines still have their place in feminism today?

Jessicka Addams: A lot of people questioned why were we doing this. We missed the art form of the zine, and once we started working on ours I got sucked back into zine culture and realised it had blossomed into so many different genres. We missed the (what felt like) secret confessions and dangerous information. We missed the idea that another feminist we’d never met could be reading and experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time as we were. It helped us feel less isolated and a bit more human in our fucked-up little world – and we wanted to bring that feeling back if we could.

“I got sucked back into zine culture. I missed what felt like secret confessions and dangerous information”

The cover art work is striking. You’re a big fan and friend of Mark Ryden, the iconic pop surrealist, and you have worked with him before. Does he inspire you here? 

Jessicka Addams: Thank you. I actually found the original concept sketch of the AFTER GRRRL artwork while going through some old sketch books during a recent move. I believe it was one of the early concept ideas for scarling.’s first single. I can remember Mark and I were just sitting on a bench and he sketched that idea and drew over it with pen. I’m so glad I found it when I did. I asked his permission to redraw it for the zine and that's how it came to be.

Where else do you inspiration from when you're sitting down to work?

Jessicka Addams: I get a lot of ideas from lyrics or lines from songs and films. Some of my favorite artists like Elliott Smith, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Babes In Toyland, LUSH, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Sparklehorse, Sonic Youth and Siouxsie have given me the titles and through those titles the seeds for some of the ideas for my work. I also spend a lot of time at thrift stores and swap meets, so much of my art inspiration comes from trinkets and odd thoughts and ideas I have when I’m taking a hot shower. That sounds so clichéd, but it’s true.

The Jack Off Jill community has always been a gang of women, queers and outsiders in a way that is unparalleled. How do you see that living on now the band is finished? 

Jessicka Addams: I truly think our fans are an incredible supportive gang. They are so tight knit, and have kept our music alive by continuing to pass it around. They are truly an inspiration to all of us, and it was remarkable to meet some of them. The idea that a lot of them were not born when JOJ’s final album Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers was released is quite surreal. JOJ has gone through so many iterations. It was really difficult to keep the band together. It seemed like every few years we’d have to go through this phase where we were like, should we do this? We finally did, and the original members Michelle & Tenni got their place in herstory. That was important to me. 

“If you surround yourself with strong, independent, successful, supportive women, you are bound to become one yourself”

But now, we have to be smart about enjoying our individual lives, knowing what we have and not keep going on tour because we feel we have to. As far my own lady gang, I am very lucky to have a network of amazing, successful women in my life, many whose stories appear in AFTER GRRRL. I am of the strong opinion that if you surround yourself with strong, independent, successful, supportive women, you are bound to become one yourself. 

What is your plan artistically or musically for the future? 

Jessicka Addams: Right now I’m working on a two-woman show with my friend, artist and bassist Lindsey Way. Her show is called “Shitty Teen” and mine is titled “Please Stop Loving Me”. It opens Februrary 5th in Los Angeles at La Luz De Jesus gallery. I hope to put together a live release of the Ashville Jack Off Jill reunion show, though it seems that will take some time to sort through all of the footage. I’m constantly designing for my store I hope to return to the studio next year and continue working on scarling. with my husband Christian. And Carrie and I are already in discussions to start working on another zine.