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Reunited Babes in Toyland parts ways with bassist Maureen Herman

Maureen Herman at Rock the Garden (Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR)

Only six months have passed since Babes in Toyland reunited to perform their first shows in years, and their reunion has brought them around the world to play gigs in Barcelona, Los Angeles, and a homecoming show at Rock the Garden in Minneapolis. With still more reunion gigs on the books—including a date this Thursday in St. Louis at the Firebird—bassist Maureen Herman has announced that founding members Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero will be continuing on without her. She chalks up her exit to “personal differences.”

Update: Babes in Toyland have confirmed that their new bassist will be Minneapolis musician Clara Salyer—who is a local music veteran despite her young age of 22. She hit the scene while only in high school as part of Total Babe, later going on to play in Prissy Clerks and, most recently, Whatever Forever. Read our 2012 interview with Salyer. In a statement to the Star Tribune, Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero said, “Maureen is one of our sisters and will always remain a friend of ours. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the road.”

Herman and Bjelland rekindled their friendship and musical partnership in 2013 when Bjelland was temporarily living in the L.A. area. They soon brought Barbero back into the fold and started rehearsing for a potential reunion show, and by the beginning of this year they had recaptured the fiery spirit and grimy, gutteral agony that made them such a riveting live act in the 1990s.

The first Babes in Toyland reunion show took place at a tiny bar up in the mountains outside of Palm Springs, and was swiftly followed by a star-studded gig at the Roxy in Los Angeles. They played the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona in May (along with the now-defunct Replacements) and came home to Rock the Garden on June 21.

Herman first joined Babes in Toyland in 1992, and replaced the group’s original bassist, Michelle Leon. She toured with the band during the height of their Warner Bros.-fueled fame, which included a performance at Lollapalooza and an international tour, and remained in the band until 1996.

Coincidentally, both Herman and former Babes bassist Leon have memoirs in the works. Herman’s It’s a Memoir, Motherf***er, is due out on MacMillan’s Flatiron Books imprint in 2016. Leon just revealed that her long-in-the-works book, I Live Inside, will be issued by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in March 2016.

Here’s the full statement from Herman on her exit from the band:

First, I’d like to thank everyone for their incredibly kind thoughts and support. I may write like a motherf***er, but I don’t know if I could ever find the right words to express how much Babes in Toyland’s fans mean to me. It’s true that I am no longer the bassist of Babes in Toyland.

Due to personal differences, Kat and Lori have made the decision to tour with someone else. I wish them nothing but the best and hope the tour is a huge success. When Kat and I first discussed playing again, one of the things we were most excited about was the opportunity to play in front of our kids. I can’t help but be grateful that our too brief reunion gave me the chance to play in front of my daughter, Anna at our show at the Roxy.

Again, thank you all for being incredible fans and friends, and let’s have a kickass rest of the year, shall we? I look forward to interacting with you all on my current and future creative projects.

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