My older brother, Michael, or "Kael" as he is known in the art scene, introduced me to the musical stylings of Riot Grrrl.
Michael bought me Sleater-Kinney's, "Hot Rock" for my birthday when I was a freshman in high school. He had heard of them, and him being my older "cooler" brother thought I would like them, or should like them. I probably played that cd on repeat for the next several months. My previous musical tastes had always involved women, but this was the first music I heard where women were playing all the instruments. The female musicians I grew up listening to (Madonna, Salt 'n' Pepa, Paula Abdul) didn't play instruments. I loved them dearly, but I craved more.
I loved the way Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein's voices overlapped, and how incredibly different they sounded. Their song, "Burn, Don't Freeze" demonstrated this the best. It was also one of my personal favorites at the time. After I listened to this record, I wanted to be in a girl band. I asked for an electric guitar for my next birthday. The following year my parents bought me a beautiful, red Fender Strat. I named her "Rockstar Ruby."
After my initial exposure to Sleater-Kinney, I wanted to hear every girl band that had ever existed. I was elated when I found: That Dog, Bratmobile, The Butchies, Huggy Bear, The Bangs, Cadallaca, Heavens to Betsy, Hole, Excuse 17, L7, The Gossip, and Mecca Normal. I remember being at my friend Sarah's house one day when I was 15, and she put on this record called, "Pussy Whipped."When "Blood One" started playing, I thought: "What IS this?!" The singing was so intense--it scared and shocked me. I also knew I loved it immediately. I went out and bought all of the Bikini Kill records. I also bought the Sleater-Kinney records that had come out prior to "The Hot Rock." I must have spent every second in my bedroom listening to those records, and wanting to be these women. In 2000, at the tender age of 15, many girls my age bedroom-danced and lip-synched to Britney Spears; I bedroom-danced and lip-synched to Bikini Kill.
If you're thinking it's odd that a dude introduced me to Riot Grrrl, you're right. It's also super awesome. My brother has always been a feminist (that's how our mom raised us), so it's only fitting that he would be the one to buy me my first girl band (and a feminist one at that) record. He was constantly trying to get me to listen to "good" music, and he most always succeeded.
Once I discovered girl bands and riot grrrl, specifically, I tossed aside my Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins records. My daydreams of dating Rivers Cuomo were replaced with being a rockstar in an all girl band. This was one of my first moments of "thinking-like-a-feminist." It felt empowering.
All this to say, my brother is rad.