’90s Minnesota badasses Babes In Toyland reunited at the end of last year, playing their first show in 13 years in February. Now, however, bassist Maureen Herman has revealed via Facebook post that she has been fired from the group due to “personal differences.” The rest of the band still intend to tour with a different bass player. Read Herman’s full statement below:
First, I’d like to thank everyone for their incredibly kind thoughts and support. I may write like a motherfucker, 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.
UPDATE: The band have announced that Maureen Herman’s replacement will be 22-year-old Minneapolis musician Clara Salyer, who has fronted the bands Prissy Clerks and Whatever Forever. The Star Tribune reports that her first show as their new bassist will be this Thursday in St. Louis. The remaining Babes Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero have issued a brief statement regarding the personnel shift: “Maureen is one of our sisters and will always remain a friend of ours. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the road.”
UPDATE 2: Maureen Herman has shared another statement, this time in the form of a very gracious open letter on Facebook:
An Open Letter to Babes in Toyland Fans:
After announcing my departure from Babes In Toyland yesterday, just before the U.S. tour, I was shocked and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, well wishes, love, and poignant sharing I received. It made me feel good to know I mattered to you. I was so lucky to be a part of the legacy that is Babes In Toyland, and I want to express my support and enthusiasm for my replacement, Clara Salyer.
I have been in Clara Salyer’s shoes, and I hope that Babes fans will be as patient and welcoming to the new Babes In Toyland bassist as you were to me when I replaced the fabulous Michelle Leon in 1992. Though I had planned to do these tours and play for you all, and would have liked nothing better, things just worked out differently. As someone who life has thrown more than a few curveballs at, I have found that things that seemed devastating and painful at the time, turned out to be the launchpad for unparalleled miracles in my life. I expect nothing less from this pitch.
Clara will be playing songs I love, songs I co-wrote, songs I’ve had the luck to have performed all over the world. I want her to do well — I want her to soar. I want the band to fly higher than ever. I hope Clara gets to know that feeling of majesty while playing “Ariel,” a song where Kat’s vocals have never ceased to give me goose bumps, even in the hottest club. I hope she gets to feel that psychic connection and raw power while locking into Lori’s inimitable, precise pounding on the toms during “Bruise Violet.” Or the surge of energy when you slide down the E to begin “Handsome And Gretel” and look over at Kat and smile, as you watch the crowd come to life from the stage like an electrocuted mob.
I already got to do that. I know she can deliver those songs to you with all the skill and heart and attitude of a bona fide rock star — if she’s just given the chance. It takes a lot of guts to get up on a stage with Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero, trust me. It wasn’t easy.
In 1992, I got the call to join from Lori while sitting at my desk at Columbia College Chicago where I was the English Department Secretary and a student. Michelle had just endured a horrific tragedy with the murder of her boyfriend, Joe Cole. She was devastated. The band had just signed to Reprise Records and were about to embark on a U.S. tour opening for Lush. She just couldn’t do it and the pressure was on. They parted ways and it was a difficult choice for everyone.
Lori and Kat took a chance on me — I’d only been playing a few years and had only done a handful of shows. But I was a friend, and I could make them laugh. You need that on tour almost as much as knowing the songs. They wanted me in the band, and we were leaving for tour in two weeks, with our major label debut recording session following immediately after.
Clara has had even less time, and is facing crowds upset about the change in personnel. I want her to know she has my support and I want her to have yours. You are the best fans in the fucking universe — and that’s probably why you feel so intensely about it, as some of you have expressed anger and sadness and disdain. Please don’t. Please remember it’s rock and roll — it’s music — and I’m not the only one who can play it.
I was a Babes fan before I was the bassist. I saw their first show, before Kat was the lead singer. Kat, Lori, and original bassist Michelle Leon slugged it out the hard way and earned their place in the burgeoning indie rock scene, touring the country in a beat up van, sleeping on floors, getting paid crap. They were unknowns winning over fans one by one with hard work, undying persistence, guts, and talents. They deserve every bit of their legacy. I was lucky enough to be a part of it for a few albums and a lot of miles. And I want to thank Michelle for doing all that hard work, and writing those great bass lines, and always being wonderful to me.
On September 1st, instead of driving to Salt Lake City to play, I will be taking my daughter to her first day of school. I will be working on my book. I will be creating a new life for myself. That is not a terrible tragedy. In fact, that’s a dream to some people. It’s the way things are.
If there’s anything that recovery has taught me, it’s acceptance. I remember when I lost my iPhone in England on the last tour and I was unfazed. My bandmates and our crew could not understand why I was so calm — they said they’d be freaking out. I thought about it for a second, and answered, “AA.” I didn’t used to be like that, but I’ve changed. People change and everything changes. I’ve come through a lot, and I’ve been insanely lucky about things I’ve gotten to do, including play — twice — for this fabulous rock and roll band.
I know I’ll be OK, I know that everything is as it should be. If I can accept this change, and welcome Clara with open arms, ears, and heart, I know you can. Don’t miss these shows, don’t miss out on being a part of a new chapter for the band, while I go on happily to write my own. I will play music again, and I have a project brewing for 2017. I’m not going to walk away from Kat and Lori or from playing music like I did last time. I will be at their next LA gig, whenever that is, cheering them on. And afterwards we’ll laugh our asses off.
Thank you again for all your messages and well wishes for me and my family.
Much love and gratitude,