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Bikini Kill
Bikini KillPat Graham

This is not a test: Bikini Kill are reuniting

The riot grrrl pioneers are back with some new shows

Bikini Kill, the Washington-born punk four-piece that pioneered the feminist sound of the 90s, are reuniting. In what is wonderful news for generations of DIY, cut-and-paste, feminist, queer, raging grrrls, the band are making an official comeback since breaking up in 1997.

Made up originally of Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox, Tobi Vail and Billy Karren, the band has announced three live dates in a mini US tour set for this coming spring. Bikini Kill released three albums across the mid nineties, including the seminal Pussy Whipped in 1993. Since their break-up in 1997, the band members have had various side projects, including Hanna’s The Julie Ruin and Le Tigre. In 2017, they briefly got back together to perform one song on author Jenn Pelly’s book tour, supporting her book focusing on the Raincoats’ self-titled album.

Alongside the original lineup of Hanna, Vail and Wilcox, Dawn Lyle will join the group as the guitarist. 

The first gig will take place in LA on April 25, with further shows in New York. Tickets go on sale January 18.

Bikini Kill first formed in 1990 in Olympia, Washington, and spearheaded a feminist punk movement known the world over as riot grrrl. It’s music that radiated with radical views on gender norms and feminism, set against raging guitars. It was a movement that completely disrupted the mainstream, male-dominated music industry. 

Back in 2013, Dazed spoke to Hanna about the band’s album Pussy Whipped, and the contemporary feeling. She highlights how people told her that album saved their lives. “To feel like you were a part of a 15-year-old’s survival, which is rough for everyone, makes me feel more successful than any record sales or magazine cover every could,” Hanna said at the time. “Because it was pretty harsh being girl in America in 1993. We were told that feminism didn’t exist any more; that there was no reason for it to exist because women had equality. I lived in a small town and had worked in the domestic-violence shelter, where I saw first-hand that equality for sure did not exist. There were 14 women killed by a guy gunning for feminists in Canada in 1989 and that was a big impetus for me to play music. Those women were my inspiration.” In the Dazed archive, Hanna talks of intense local shows where they would be verbally abused by men in the audience, as well as the rise of feminist zine culture. 

While the movement has come to have been seen as a vital step forward for equality in the creative scene, Hanna has also spoken about the ill-feelings at the time towards Bikini Kill and other women-fronted punk acts. Speaking to the Portland Mercury, she previously said: “(We were) very vilified during the nineties by so many people, and hated by so many people, and I think that that’s been kind of written out of the history. People were throwing chains at our heads – people hated us – and it was really, really hard to be in that band...  it’s sometimes hard for me when people are like, ‘Oh, I wish I was in a girl band in the nineties’, and I'm like, ‘No, no, you don’t.’” Hanna has also been vocal about the failings of the movement to be more inclusive and intersectional, and hoped future movements would learn from riot grrrl’s misgivings. 

There’s been no word yet on whether Bikini Kill are planning to write or record any new music, or do any more touring past LA and New York. 


April 25, Los Angeles, California at the Hollywood Palladium 

May 31, Brooklyn, New York at the Brooklyn Steel

June 1, New York at Terminal 5 

Find more info on how to get tickets for the shows here