Babes in Toyland fans screaming with delight at the chance to scream along to the old songs in concert again probably should not hold their breath yet.
The weirdly vague reports going around music blogs today "announcing" the influential Minneapolis thrash-punk trio’s reunion conspiculously left out mentions of drummer Lori Barbero, the band’s co-founder (and the band name's co-owner). She said it’s way too preliminary and tentative to be calling this a comeback, but the members do plan to talk in a conference call Tuesday to possibly start hashing out details.
“There’s nothing I can comment on yet,” said Barbero, who claimed she has only had sporadic contact via texts and e-mails in recent months with her former bandmates, singer/guitarist Kat Bjelland and bassist Maureen Herman. She would be all for putting the old band back together, she said, “But something else has to happen first.”
Some of the reports seemed to suggest Herman and Bjelland could perform as Babes in Toyland without Barbero, who now lives in Austin, Texas. “I should hope not!” Barbero said, adding that she doesn't believe Bjelland would want that either.
The reunion talk was sparked by a radio interview Bjelland and Herman did over the weekend at Pasadena City College in Pasadena, Calif. (posted below). They pointed to a not-yet-announced benefit gig in Minneapolis for Lady Parts Justice as the would-be target for their first show, and Bjelland also hinted at making new music together.
“We’ll make it a reunion and do songs we’ve done before,” Bjelland said in the interview. “I think we were kind of talking to see how it goes, and make it Babes in Toyland but a new formation, write new songs and stuff.”
Attempts to reach Bjelland and Herman for further comment today were not reciprocated. Herman has been working as a writer in recent years, including stints with the Upright Citizens Brigade and comedian Lizz Winstead.
As was the case with the Replacements’ reunion and their frontman Paul Westerberg, just getting Bjelland back on stage might be exciting enough of a prospect for old Babes fans. She has been living a mostly reclusive life in Minneapolis since the mid-‘00s. She talked in a 2007 interview of wanting to step back from the music business after fighting physical and mental illness, falling out with a manager and stirring up controversy by touring England as Babes in Toyland with fill-in members (and without Barbero’s permission).
“One of the reasons I got sick, I think, is because I stopped playing music,” she said in 2007. “I need it as therapy.”