Bikini Kill is a feminist punk band that was based in Olympia, Wash., and Washington, DC, forming in 1990 and breaking up in 1997. Kathleen Hanna sang, Tobi Vail played drums, Billy Karren (a.k.a. Billy Boredom) played guitar and Kathi Wilcox played bass. Sometimes they switched instruments. Bikini Kill is credited with instigating the Riot Grrrl movement in the early '90s via their political lyrics, zines and confrontational live show.
The band started touring in June 1991. In addition to touring the US several times, they also toured Europe, Australia and Japan. Bikini Kill recorded and released a demo tape, two EPs, two LPs and three singles. Their demo tape was self-released, while their first two records came out as a full-length CD/tape and their singles were posthumously collected on CD.
Bikini Kill believed that if all girls started bands the world would change. They actively encouraged women and girls to start bands as a means of cultural resistance. Bikini Kill was inspired by seeing Babes in Toyland play live and attempted to incite female participation and build feminist community via the punk scene. They used touring as a way to create an underground network between girls who played music, put on shows and made fanzines. This independent media making and informal network created a forum for multiple female voices to be heard.
Bikini Kill reunited in the spring of 2019 with original members Kathleen, Kathi and Tobi who are joined live by Erica Dawn Lyle. So far, they have sold out multiple shows in Los Angeles, New York City and London as well as headlining Riot Fest in Chicago.