Babes in Toyland
Biographical Information

Babes in Toyland

Genres grunge, punk, riot grrrl
  • Kat Bjelland
  • Lori Barbero
  • Clara Salyer
Former Members
  • Kris Holtez
  • Cindy Russell
  • Michelle Leon
  • Dana Cochrane
  • Maureen Herman
  • Jessie Farmer
Date of Formation 1987
Formation Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Years Active 1987-2001, 2014-present
Associated Acts Katastrophe Wife, Sugar Babydoll

Babes in Toyland are an American grunge/punk band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Formed in 1987, Babes in Toyland was a key influence in the riot grrrl industry, although they never considered themselves part of the movement.

History Edit

Bjelland, a former San Francisco resident, and Barbero met at a friend's barbecue. Bjelland moved to Minnesota to form a band, and she formed Babes in Toyland with Barbero in 1987. The first two to join the band were Kris Holetz on bass and Cindy Russell as vocalist. After their departure, Michelle Leon was called in as bassist, allowing Bjelland to focus on vocals and guitars. After signing onto Seattle based record label Sub Pop, the band released their first single, "Dust Cake Boy," in 1989. In the same year, their debut album, Spanking Machine, was released vthrough Twin/Tone Records. Notable grunge figure Jack Endino from Skin Yard was called in to rpoduce the album. Reception for the album was mostly positive. Noise rock band Sonic Youth were fans of the album, and member Thruston Moore invited the band to play with them on their European Tour promoting their sixth album, Goo. They also played with Sonic Youth at the Reading Festival in 1991.

In 1991, the band recorded their first EP, To Mother, and they began recording their second studio album. Leon left the band shortly after the death of her boyfriend, Joe Cole, the song of actor Dennis Cole and a roadie for Hole, Rollins Band, and Black Flag. As a replacement, the band called upon Maureen Herman. Their second album, Fontanelle, was released in 1992. It sold more than 200,000 copies in the United States. In 19893, the band p[layed in the Lollapalooza tour along with Alice in Chains, and they released their second EP, Painkillers. In 1994, Neal Karlen wrote a book entitled Babes in Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band, which covered the band's signing to Warner Bros., and their release of Fontanelle.

In 1994, Babes in Toyland performed with riot grrrl bands 7 Year Bitch and Jack Off Jill in a benefit show for Rock Against Domestic Violence., The show took place on April 8th, the very same day Nirvana vocalist and lyricist Kurt Cobain was found dead. In 1995, the band released their third and final album, Nemesisters.

Herman acquired hip problems in 996, and left the band As a result., Babes in Toyland lost their contract with their record label. Dana Cochrane of Mickey Finn played live gigs with them from 1996 to '97. Bjelland formed a new band called Katastrophe Wife, which became her main project. As a result, the band broke up. In 2014, the band reunited. Their first show was in Pioneertown, California at Pappy And Harriet's Pioneertown Palace on February 10, 2015. But in 2015, Maureen was fired due to an open letter to Joan Jett regarding the sexual assault of Jackie Fox. Herman was kicked out of the band for what Barbero believed to be hurting possible future business between Barbero and Jett.

Discography Edit

Studio Albums Edit

EP's Edit

Live Albums Edit

Compilations Edit

Trivia Edit

  • It is speculated that Courtney Love (originally from Pagan Babies) was called in to be a part of the band after the departure of Holetz and Russell. However, she has lied about her involvement with Babes in Toyland many times. It has been confirmed by Babes in Toyland that Love often "hung around" the band during sessions. This was confirmed again in March 2015 during an interview on the St. Paul radio station KCMP: The Current.
  • Many songs from Spanking Machine share lyrics with some of Hole's earliest singles, including "Retard Girl" and "Dicknail." This is because Bjelland wrote songs for both bands.

Sources Edit

  • Rateyourmusic: [1]
  • Wikipedia: [2]
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