“feels blind” – bikini kill
(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.