Babes in Toyland
by James Bonisteel
Babes in Toyland is a band I have seen two times now. The first
time on the big Lolapalooza show and seeing them for the first
time they were very impressive. They formed together as a band
in 1987 in Minneapolis. The people in the band are: Kat, (Kathy
Bjelland)--she does the vocals and guitar work in the band (one
of her influences is Wendy O'Williams from the Plasmatics);
Maureen Herman, Bass; and Lori Barbero, Drums. We had a chance
to meet everyone in the band, but the one we talked to the most
was Maureen. By the way their new album, "Nemesister," has been
doing well and it's a great album. Don't be stupid--BUY IT!!
- How many albums have you put out so far?
- Well, now three full length's and a couple ep's.
- Where did the name "Babes In Toyland" come from?
- Lori thought of it but it was obviously the name of a
children's book so it was probably the most familiar
to her just liked the name basicly.
- Where did everyone in the band meet?
- Well, in Minneapolis we just all kind of went to the
same rock shows and stuff and just knew eahows and stuff and just knew each other.
Kat and Lori wanted to start a band and at one point
Kat asked if I wanted to sing in the band, which is
really funny and I said, "No, I can't sing! What are
you talking about!" That was a long ago. They started
practicing, and I went and saw their first show. They
had a different singer back then and I told Kathy that
Kat should sing and then four years later Michelle
(the original bass player) quit and I joined up.
- So you have enjoyed touring with White Zombie then?
- Well, I like The Melvins.
- So are all of you originally from Minneapolis?
- No, Kat's from Portland, Oregon and I'm from Chicago.
I live in Chicago but I have an apartment in
- I noticed that you are traveling in a decent van.
- This a rental. When we had our own van we would always
get in accidents. Now that we have a rental we never
- Who usually writes all the music for this band?
- In the past, Kat wrote the majority of it. Then it
turned out to be a three-way effort that came out of
alot of problems with the band itself. So yeah, all
the songs are pretty much jammed out from everybmuch jammed out from everybody.
- Is your record label pushing you to put albums out
constantly are they?
- No, not at all. I mean, we have actually done two full
length ones. Warner is really cool--this guy, the new
president of Reprise, which is actually our label, he
used to run this indie label called "415" and he's
totally like punk rock. I was reading through this
punk rock book and I saw him in there, so he's not
into things like, "Why don't you guys write a pop
- So, do you enjoy doing this for a living?
- Well, it does get hard. I much prefer just writing
songs. I love playing on stage, I love playing with
those guys, but touring gets old. It's really fun for
a while, but then you start missing your friends at
home, but that's just normal.
- So is anybody married in this band?
- I just got married april fool's day I have only seen
my husband the total of three weeks since then.
- Does he ever go on tour with you?
- Well, no, he has played some shows with us. He's in
Mt. Shasta. Kat and Lori aren't married. Kat was
married and now she's divorced.
- Who do you think has in Who do you think has inspired you to write and perform
the type of music you do?
- I'll let Kat answer this...
- What inspired me? Being grounded my whole life...it's
good for your imagination. I just have to say that's
the most honest answer for that one.
- If you were going to say anything to the people who
listen and like your music and who have been inspired
by that to be in their own band what would you say to
- Probably just to let them know to first start out by
themselves and start from the bottom up and to take as
much as you can take on yourself. If you had your own
business, that would be the perfect way to do it.
Instead of getting a manager right away, just start
going out on little tours so you can see what goes on
so when you get someone to work for you it won't be
behind your back and you won't get fucked over. You'll
still get fucked over but it won't be as intense.
Their tour with White Zombie has been an interesting one. No one
love's touring with them...don't know why? Oh well, ask Maureen
next time you see her!
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