You would think with my interest in music, I would have this vast knowledge of a range of genres, but actually, nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up in a small redneck town in Indiana, down thar close to Kentucky. I only had top 40 radio and classic rock at my disposal until I went to college. I didn’t even have MTV, which was just starting out and actually still played…music.
So you have to excuse me when I discover bands for the first time many of y’all have known about for years.
But then, some of you may not know about The Gits, except in passing references. Last night I watched the documentary about the band, chronicling perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in rock and roll, when lead singer Mia Zapata was raped and murdered July 7, 1993.
I remember the whole “Home Alive” movement, but honestly never sat down and listened to The Gits till last night. Hell, I had it in my head it was Stephanie Sargent of 7 Year Bitch that had been killed…but she was another rock and roll overdose.
The great tragedy was the loss of Zapata’s life, no doubt, but that doesn’t minimize the loss of all the songs she would have written, and all the great performances that never were. And how the members of her band were on the verge of living their dream on their first national tour and signing to Atlantic Records. Or how her murder ripped apart more than a Seattle music “scene,” but a family built around the “Rathouse” they all shared.
The love — and pain — for those who knew her is palpable in this documentary. Even after all these years, Selene Vigil of 7 Year Bitch is visibly shaken talking about the murder, and about how she and so many others are haunted by the fact that she was beaten so brutally and the suffering she endured in her last moments.
The other thing that is palpable is the raw energy and commanding voice of Zapata. This is a film that makes your heart heavy, but will inspire you with the pureness of a group of people who really loved what they were doing, and really loved Zapata.
As her father said in the film, I only had her on loan for a short time, now she belongs to all of you.