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About Babes In Toyland
Babes In Toyland lyrics

Babes in Toyland were an American punk rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1987. Between 1989 and 1995 the band recorded three studio albums, and were associated with grunge music. Though never a part of the riot grrrl scene, media quickly mislabeled their music (and that of other aggressive female-fronted bands) as such. Members included Kat Bjelland (lead vocals and guitar), Lori Barbero (drums) and Michelle Leon (bass), who was replaced by Maureen Herman in 1992.


Biography


The band achieved notoriety through Bjelland's "baby doll" image--sometimes referred to as the kinderwhore look--which contrasted dramatically with the raw power of her singing voice and her aggressive lyrics. They have had many members including Courtney Love as a bassist. Babes in Toyland released their first album, Spanking Machine in 1990 and toured Europe with Sonic Youth that fall.


The band's first major label album, Fontanelle, sold around 200,000 copies. The lead song on the album, "Bruise Violet," is said to be an attack on Courtney Love of Hole: "You see the stars through eyes lit up with lies/You got your stories all twisted up in mine." (Love is a former bandmate of Bjelland's.) However, in a recent interview Bjelland has denied this, saying instead that "Violet" was the name of a muse to both her and Courtney. The song's video was shown on Beavis and Butt-Head, where the band was described as "chicks" who are "cool."


The band was picked to take part in the 1993 Lollapalooza tour.


While the band was inspirational to many performers in the riot grrrl movement, they never participated directly.


The band was the subject of the 1994 book Babes in Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band by Neal Karlen, which dealt with the band's signing to Warner and the recording of Fontanelle. (Bjelland described the book as being "like cartoon caricatures of us," while Herman said that Karlen "would make a great fiction writer"--Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18, 1994.) The band also appears in the 1992 documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke and was featured in the 1995 documentary Not Bad for a Girl.


On , 1994, Babes in Toyland played a benefit show for Rock Against Domestic Violence with 7 Year Bitch, and Jack Off Jill in Miami at the Cameo Theater, the same day lead-singer of American grunge rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, had been found dead in his Seattle home.


Babes were featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, and were referenced in an episode of the sitcom Roseanne as well as an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.


The band split and reformed throughout the 1990s, losing their record label when Herman left the band in 1996. Dana Cochrane, formerly of the band Mickey Finn, played bass with the band on live gigs in 1996. Leon briefly rejoined for a short period in 1997. In 1998, the band was credited with the song Overtura: Astroantiquity/Attacatastrophy on the CD Songs of the Witchblade: A Soundtrack to the Comic Book, which Bjelland co-produced. Bjelland and Barbero played with a new bassist, Jesse Farmer, in 2000 (St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 24, 2000). But a year earlier, Bjelland had formed a new band, Katastrophy Wife, which seemed to replace Babes as her main vehicle. Babes in Toyland (with Farmer on bass) played a reunion show billed as "The Last Tour" on November 21, 2001--released as a live album called Minneapolism--and this seems to be the last official Babes activity; Bjelland played some shows in Europe in 2002 as Babes in Toyland with a new drummer and bassist, but stopped using the name after Barbero and Herman raised legal issues.


Members


Kat Bjelland ? lead vocals, guitar
Lori Barbero ? drums, backing vocals
Maureen Herman ? bass
Previous Members
Michelle Leon - bass
Courtney Love - bass
Kris Holetz - bass
Jessie Farmer ? bass
Dana Cochrane ? bass
Maggie Dunne ? bass
Jose Camarillo - drums

 

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