Ex-Babes in Toyland bassist says her rape essay in Boing Boing was "catalyst" for getting kicked out of the band

Image: Ana Viotti/Flickr

Today, the City Pages newspaper of Minneapolis published an article by Jay Boller looking into why Maureen Herman had been fired from Babes in Toyland, the iconic punk band she'd been a member of since 1992. Maureen, a close friend of mine, told me a couple of months ago she'd been kicked out because of an essay she wrote in July for Boing Boing, titled "The Jackie Fox rape disclosure shows we still have a lot to learn."

In the essay, Maureen wrote about Runaways bassist Jackie Fox's revelation that she'd been drugged and raped by the band's manager, Kim Fowley in 1975. Maureen wrote that Fox's "rape happened in front a roomful of people, including two of her bandmates, Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. In the course of the article’s investigation and Fox’s disclosure, many bystanders have come forward, affirming what they saw and who was present that night in 1975." (Disclosure: I'm also friendly with Jackie. She's been to my house, we play in the same trivia league, and we communicate via email frequently.)

Update: Jason Cherkis of Huffington Post interviewed Fox about the rape:

“I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,” Jackie says. She looked out from the bed and noticed Currie and Jett staring at her. She says this was her last memory of the night. Jett, through a representative, denied witnessing the event as it has been described here. Her representative referred all further questions to Jackie “as it’s a matter involving her and she can speak for herself.”

Maureen wrote in her essay, "With one nudge of denial from an iconic Joan Jett, we witness the beginnings of the public collapse of Fox’s credibility." A short while after her essay ran on Boing Boing, Maureen was fired by Babe's in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero and lead singer Kat Bjelland. Read the rest

Babes in Toyland will play first show in 18 years at Roxy in LA

Babes In Toyland, the Minneapolis-born trio Entertainment Weekly dubbed “rock’s first major-label feminists,” have reunited their Fontanelle-era line-up and will play their first live show in 18 years on February 12 at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.

Babes in Toyland reform: "Time to rock some more"

Babes in Toyland, the great Minnesota punk trio that formed in 1987 has reformed after disbanding in 2001. Above, a Pasadena City College radio video from last week in which lead vocalist and guitar player Kat Bjelland and bass player Maureen Herman made the announcement.

I emailed drummer Lori Barbero to get her take on the news. She wrote:

Plan one is to get together in the same room for the first time in 15 years. We've all seen each other, but the three of us have not been together at once. I know we all had a great time during our first bout together. We're older now, and we have done a lot, individually, over the past decade. Time to rock some more. Looking forward to it. I was in an accident, and haven't played for over a year. We'll see how it pans out. I will have to relearn how to play differently, that's for sure.

I interviewed Eric Fredricksen, who (along with Chris Skarakis and Jon Motley) co-founded an LLC called Powersniff for the purpose of pooling funds and logistics for getting the Babes together again. Eric and his partners are former band mates and music fans, and worked together with Maureen on Project Noise, a nonprofit video production foundation. (Note: I'm on the board of Project Noise.)

What is it about Babes that appealed to you?

Well, we're all fans of the band for starters, and speaking for myself, at least, I remember the unique place they had in the music scene back in the late 80s and early 90s. Read the rest