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WATCH: Riot Grrrl Retrospectives - The Birth of Bratmobile & Girl Germs
In a 1999 oral history interview with the Museum of Pop Culture, Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman, members of Bratmobile, discuss the band's origins and explain the genesis for the Girl Germs fanzine.
Interviewer: Tell us exactly when things like Riot Grrrl started happening.
Allison Wolfe: I know that originally Molly (Neuman) and I were in Eugene, Oregon going to school. We had been reading other people's fanzines and we knew that Bikini Kill had just started and there was Calamity Jane and some other girl bands. We kind of felt inspired by what they were doing and started networking with people in Olympia and would travel to Olympia on weekends. We really just wanted to kind of start creating our own scene. We weren't really satisfied with what we were being handed as far as bands, the scene, whatever. Sometimes it's just about entertainment, and we were bored. So we decided to turn Girl Germs into a fanzine. We started just interviewing other bands such as Calamity Jane, Jawbox, the Fastbacks, eventually 7 Year Bitch.
Molly Nueman: It was as simple as like someone going, "You should do a fanzine or you should start a band." At that point it was like, "OK, that's what we should do." And that was what we did.
Allison Wolfe: At one point, Calvin Johnson I know heard us talk a lot about how we were in this band, Bratmobile, so he asked us to play a show. We kind of freaked out. We were like, "What? We can't play a show! What are you talking about?" He's like, "Well, you're a band, aren't you?" And so it was kind of a challenge and all of a sudden we were like, "Oh yeah, I guess we are a band. OK." So at that point we're like, "OK, we need to get instruments or we need to figure out a way to get to Olympia." He offered us our first show was to be on Valentine's Day of 1991 in Olympia, Washington. I was terrified. I got on stage and was like, "Wait, what are we doing? Can I really do this?"
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