Before meeting the guy, I envisioned Yonatan Gat as some latter-day guitar god, a reincarnation of that tradition of males whose sole purpose in life is to descend from the heavens (or in this case, Israel) at the permanent age of 27 to spend a brief but divine moment here on Earth, shredding away. I wasn’t alone– Yonatan Gat has been dubbed a “composer,” referred to as a “world music-inspired maestro,” and compared to Jimi Hendrix. It seems that whoever’s looking at him perceives Gat as rock-idol progeny. So when I found myself walking up to an actual castle in Brooklyn Heights, my suspicions seemed all but confirmed.
Today Bikini Kill released a track from the forthcoming reissue of its demo album Revolution Girl Style Now. “Playground,” one of three songs left off the original demo, was recorded in early 1991 at the ABC House in Olympia, Washington, a day after one of the band’s first shows. The reissue, out Sept. 22, was mixed by Guy Picciotto of Fugazi. No, the band won’t be touring behind it (Bikini Kill broke up in 1997 and Kathleen Hanna went on to form Le Tigre and then The Julie Ruin) but plenty of other female-driven ’90s bands are back on the scene.
In a matter of a few years, Jon Fine, formerly of the band Bitch Magnet, went from an indie rock lifer cavorting from Williamsburg warehouse party to coke-soaked dive bar and barely making enough to make rock bottom rent on his train-side apartment to contributing on air to CNBC and writing columns for BusinessWeek. Clearly, those were different days– that same Williamsburg apartment would cost a small fortune to rent now and Fine suffers from permanent hearing loss, though he’s happily married and is the author of a new book Your Band Sucks. Fine’s memoir traces his rise to indie fame as the guitar player for Bitch Magnet to ultimately, what he calls, “the failed revolution.”