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Mike Watt + the Black Gang Share Bikini Kill Cover for Kill Rock Stars’ 30th Anniversary

Mike Watt performs in LA
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Singer Mike Watt, formerly of The Mintuemen and Firehose, performs an opening set with his band The Secondmen during X 40th anniversary tour at The Novo by Microsoft on November 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Mike Watt, erstwhile bassist for the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, The Stooges, shared a live version with the Black Gang of the Bikini Kill song “Rebel Girl” to celebrate the label Kill Rock Stars’ 30th anniversary.

The tune was recorded live on Oct. 16, 1998 at The Knitting Factory in New York with  Mike Watt + The Black Gang, who are guitarist Nels Cline, drummer Bob Lee and Steve Reed.

Kathleen Hanna and Watt go way back, with Hanna contributing to Watt’s 1995 album Ballhog or Tug-Boat? 

The tune is part of Kill Rock Stars’ covers series, with over 30 artists covering songs from the label’s catalog. The first song released was Mary Lou Lord and Mikaela Davis’ cover of Elliott Smith‘s “Some Song.”


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Check “Rebel Girl” below.

Watt explained his history with the tune in a statement:

me and k have a two bass-only band called dos and we opened up for bikini kill once and that’s where I first witnessed this tune “rebel girl” getting played. I just knew it was there their song, the same way I first saw superchunk do “slack motherfucker” and ‘pert-near just like that time, immediately I wanted to do my own version of it. lots of times I’ve dug songs from people I’ve witnessed for the first time but this went further w/me: I wanted my way trying to feel like them, doin it. I know, kind of insane but that’s what I’ve found about where music can take you… I love the phrasing so much w/words you can you really put your heart into full-on and also the big time econo main lick… ECONO! this live version here I got to do w/the black gang (nels cline and bob lee) was during an encore and I was tuckered big time but still the tune itself helped me bring it – a great tune is like that. soundman steve reed is singing along w/us at the soundboard, I love it. this is the kind of tune I wish I could’ve played for d boon even though I don’t think I got all the words right. nels cline and bob lee kicked up much dust, a great tribute to a fucking righteous tune. thank you kill rock stars for letting folks hear. – mike watt”

Bikini Kill were recently part of our countdown of the most influential artists of the past 35 years. You can read their entry here.

Other confirmed artists for the series include Eyelids, Fruit Bats, Little Mazarn, Califone, MAITA, Shutups, TEKE::TEKE, Møtrik, and Ryan Sollee (The Builders & the Butchers) with more to be announced.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary and the overall history of the label, throughout 2021 Kill Rock Stars will have a rolling schedule of events, contests, challenges, media content, sales, panels, playlists, and reissues.

You can subscribe for $20 to get all the singles for the entire year.