Indie record label Kill Rock Stars is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a new covers series called “Stars Rock Kill Rock Stars”. The first of over 30 entries arrived on New Year’s Eve with Mary Lou Lord and Mikaela Davis’ rendition of Elliott Smith’s “Some Song”. Today, KRS has shared the second installment, a live recording of Mike Watt The Black Gang (Bob Lee and Wilco’s Nels Cline) doing Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl”.
Watt and the Gang’s “Rebel Girl” was originally released as a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single backed with a version of Humble Pie’s “30 Days in the Hole” for Record Store Day in 2013. 23 years after it was performed during an encore at a 1998 gig, the track is now getting a wide release to honor Kill Rock Stars’ pearl anniversary.
Watt released a lengthy statement about his version of Bikini Kill’s iconic track, expressing his love for the 1993 song:
“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 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 with me: I wanted my way trying to feel like them, doing 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 with words you can really put your heart into full-on and also the big time econo main lick… ECONO! This live version here I got to do with 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 with 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.”
Take a listen below.
Future editions of KRS’ cover series will feature songs by Fruit Bats, Badlands, Eyelids, Califone, TEKE::TEKE, Shutups, and more. You can sign up to get digital downloads of all the tracks for $20 via KRS’ website.