This week I had the honor of being interviewed by Samantha Hollins of The Culture Rock Griot to talk about Bam Bam and the incomparable Tina Bell. Feb 5 is her birthday: Happy Birthday Tina Bell!! Thank you and much love to Samantha Hollins.
Queen of grunge punk
Greatest female rock singer since Janis Joplin. Brilliant song writer, lyricist, performer.
One of the first African American women with a significant presence in the punk, grunge and hard rock scenes.
The Queen of grunge punk, she fronted Seattle grunge pioneers Bam Bam 1983-1990.
In 1984 Tina Bell and her band Bam Bam recorded & released one of the first pieces of vinyl on Seattle's early grunge scene; THE first with producer Chris Hanzsek and Reciprocal Recording Studios in Seattle. (the ep "Villains also wear white").
"Tina’s voice is crazy, powerful and unexpected: switching from chaotic to a dreamy-noir warmth, sometimes thrown all over these noisy, dark and heavy instrumentals. The crossover between metal and punk, rhythm changes and unusual scales mark the beginnings of grunge.
Bam Bam is the band that should have open the Deep Six Compilation, the intro to what had become the grunge movement".
"We have already spoken here at Sopa about the history of Tina Bell and her band Bam Bam and how important it is to honor her name and her history within grunge.
Along with Bam Bam, Tina Bell recorded one of the first albums of what would come to be considered grunge".
Tina Bell; one of six artists honored in a series featuring Over looked, under appreciated Black Pioneers of rock music. by HECreative.
Tina Bell Haunts My Thoughts:
"I can’t help but let my thoughts drift about this beautiful cinnamon brown skinned woman, her voice, presence and the band she fronted, Bam Bam, starting a musical genre that would later forget she existed. The woman who might very well be the unwritten voice of grunge in the Seattle scene."
Despite years of dedication, innovative music and packed shows, acceptance for Tina was elusive. People simply weren't ready for her yet.
The lack of recognition eventually took its toll on Bell. She retired from music in 1990.
In 2012, her (& Bam Bam guitarist Tommy Martin's) son TJ Martin won the Academy Award for Best Director of a Feature Length Documentary for his film Undefeated. ABC aired a portion of Tina Bell's final interview during the Academy Awards broadcast.
Tina Bell died Oct 2012 while plans were underway for a Bam Bam reunion.
Tina Marie Bell, 1957-2012.