Huggy Bear
Huggy Bear
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre: Rock
Online: Artist Website


Huggy Bear had their first gig supporting their friends Heavenly, in late 1991. Early 1992 saw them churning out some amazing low fi demos on their home 4 track. After a couple of inspirational gigs at North London toilets like the Bull and Gate and The Dome, a whole array of anorak kids, boys and girls, started turning up at the shows, and by the summer they were packing out venues like the Falcon, people were so excited by this new blend of noisy pop punk with plenty of nods to America’s coolest. At this time, Wiiija released a tape only compilation of the highlights from their demos. A&R men from all the majors started clamouring to talk to the band, and the Rough Trade Shop charged them all double for the cassette. The Huggies told them all to take a hike, even Nude Records, who the band told they would only consider as a label if they dropped Suede.

The first single "Rubbing the Impossible to Burst" came out in September 1992, and sold out its 2000 pressing straight away. Its follow up, "Kiss Curl for the Kids’ Lib Guerillas" came out before Christmas, to coincide with dates with Sonic Youth, Sebadoh, Pavement and Blur, all of whom became big fans of the band. In February 1993 the band released a split album with Bikini Kill on Catcall Records, and a joint tour by the two bands followed, causing a chain of events that would change the English indie music scene for ever.

To coincide with the tour Wiiija and Catcall released "Herjazz" together. The hype reached such a stage that The Word, the U.K.’s biggest and most notorious youth t.v. show invited the band to perform the song live on. They gave a legendary performance, after which a riot ensued when their fans protested against a taped interview with Playboy models the Barbie Twins, resulting in the security guards physically ejecting the band and their fans. Such an impact this had on the nation’s kids, that a still from the performance was given a Melody Maker cover, the event being compared to the Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy.

The U.K. music press had already started writing about the American Riot Grrrl movement, and each of the three singles had received single of the week from at least one of the weeklies. But, with their tour selling out most venues around the country, and with Herjazz topping the indie charts, Riot Grrrl was jumped upon by the press and became the media hype of 1993. Every magazine in the country has written about Riot Grrrl, from women’s soft porn magazines to psychology magazines. Everyone in music had an opinion. The basic precepts of the tour, that women should be encouraged to take front of stage, and that violent moshing and the groping of girls by boys was unwanted were reacted to hysterically. Straight away, the backlash begun, mainly from male journalists and audience members whose latent misogyny and fear of assertive women musicians rose to the surface. Despite reports otherwise, Huggy Bear only played two all women shows, one with Bikini Kill and one with Hole.

At the end of the summer of 1993, the band embarked on a coast to coast tour of America that would take them away from the spotlight of the U.K. press. Kill Rock Stars released a compilation of "Kiss Curl", "Herjazz" and their newest single "Don’t Die". Whilst in America they recorded a single for influential San Diego label Gravity, which opened them up to a new hardcore audience. The compilation was also released by Time Bomb in Japan, where they toured with Boredoms offshoot UFO Or Die in December.

The band spent the first six months of 1994 writing new songs, three of which are released on a CD by Australia’s Fellaheen Records, and writing a chapter for a book on women’s experience in rock for Virago. In March the band undertook a low key U.K. tour, and found themselves still selling out most nights, and they found that despite little press coverage of this tour, there was still a loyal underground following of girls and boys excited by the music they are now making. By this time guitarist Jon had left the band. These foreign tours, along with dates in Ireland, France and Sweden were played without Jon who was too terrified to fly, so, the band by necessity became a four piece. As the U.K. tour showed, Huggy Bear became a tightly knit unit, more complex and more assured. They took a lot of influences from the new American hardcore encountered on their U.S. tour.

Weaponry Listens To Love was released on November 21st 1994, the band played hot U.K. and European shows showcasing this new material. The album was domestically released in Australia, Japan and America and they toured the U.S. in late November. The press soon replaced Riot Grrrl with the next years new big thing (remember New Wave of New Wave, anyone?!) and declared that Riot Grrrl 'never happened' or 'died'. Even today the motivation behind Riot Grrrl (which was always a political rather than musical movement) and it’s positive effects on creativity can be seen, in small labels, in fanzines and in music. The riot grrrl beat still goes on...