Babes in Toyland came to prominence in the late ‘80s with a raw live show that captured a musical and cultural moment; angry, talented and unfettered by societal norms, there were no costumes, no matching outfits and no harmonies. Babes in Toyland were as punk as their contemporaries, male or female, and made history along the way. Releasing three full-length albums and a number of singles and EPs, the trio of Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman influenced a legion of musicians including Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and Jack-off Jill.
Dangerous Minds said, “Kat’s delivery was intense and atonal, with her lyrics referencing fairytales (“Handsome and Gretel”), pain, rage, beauty, betrayal, and abusive parents, not sung with sweet, breathy, unsure vocals, but with a gut-wrenching maenad’s growl.” The Minneapolis-born band was the first of their female contemporaries to sign to a major label (Fontanelle, the band’s sophomore release, arrived in 1992 via Reprise Records) and as a byproduct of their individualism, Kat kick-started the return of baby doll dresses and plastic barrettes.
Babes in Toyland graced the covers of Alternative Press, NME and the aforementioned Entertainment Weekly. They played the Reading Festival three times (1991,1993 and 1995), Lollapalooza once (1993) and have been featured in numerous documentaries including 1991: The Year Punk Broke and Not Bad for a Girl. Herman left the band in 1997; Barbero and Bjelland played the "final" Babes in Toyland show in 2001.