Jesse Jarnow

“feels blind” – bikini kill

“Feels Blind” – Bikini Kill (download here)
from Bikini Kill EP (1991)
compiled on The C.D. Version of the First Two Records (1994)
released by Kill Rock Stars (buy)

(file expires on May 30th.)

Sometime during junior high school, at summer camp, my friend (a girl, it should be noted) played me Bikini Kill’s “Feels Blind.” I was just learning to play guitar, and the three-note riff was irresistible. I loved how it started off clean with the nice neat martial beat, and then the band just went apeshit. The intro verse was lovely, I thought: a clever melody and cool lyrics, and then it just disappeared into the full-throttle punk-rawkness of it all — and that was awesome, too! And then Kathleen Hanna was screaming something about how “as a woman, I was taught to be hungry.” Then, the climactic chant: “I eat your hate like love.” Needless to say, we played it in our summer camp band (we were called “Umlaut” that year). She played bass. I was part of the unnecessary army of guitarists. It was fun.

And sometime after that, while visiting the aforementioned girl in DC, I bought myself Bikini Kill’s The C.D. Version of the First Two Records on a label called “Kill Rock Stars” (which seemed plenty provocative to the 15-year old me). When I showed off my purchase, I was told, basically, that I wasn’t allowed to listen to Bikini Kill. They were a riot grrl band, and — as a guy — it wasn’t for me. That bummed me out a lot. At the same time that Bikini Kill intended to create an inclusionary safe-space for girls, I was genuinely hurt by being excluded from this music that my friend herself had introduced me to. It was the first and last riot grrl CD I bought. Our friendship didn’t last much beyond that.

1 Comment

  1. Randy says: - reply

    Interesting story. My wife has had “The Singles” CD for years and she loves that I got into her brand of grrl music. Truth be told (thanks for that correction, let’s just say, that pendulum did not swing too much the other way, however!)