The Linda Lindas recently made headlines after joining forces with the Los Angeles Public Library in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Alongside their original songs, they also covered songs from Bikini Kill and the Muffs, two of their punk rock influences.
One song that caught the internet’s attention was “Racist, Sexist Boy.” In line with the feminist ideals of the riot grrrl movement, the track is a raging commentary on the bigoted way some people think.
“A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy in my class came up to me and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people,” drummer Mila de la Garza says during their performance in the library. “After I told him I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise [Wong] and I wrote this song based on that experience.”
“So this is about him and all the other racist, sexist boys in this world,” guitarist Eloise Wong adds.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live! the group were able to further explain what inspired them to make the song. Citing their frustrations over various injustices around the world, Wong says, “There’s also a lot of sexism around boys our age and unfortunately a lot of people, every age. So we were really angry and we decided to write a song about it.”
They kick off their performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with “Racist, Sexist Boy.” The screens that normally show the city skyline appear to shatter, exposing colorful graffiti art underneath. Combined with their angst-filled vocals, the visuals showcase the fury imbued in the meaning of the track.
Quickly switching between songs, they then began playing their 2020 track “Claudia Kishi.” The song was written about the character of the same name from the popular book series the Baby-Sitters Club. Kishi, a Japanese-American girl, was someone many young Asian girls could look up to in literature. The Linda Lindas acknowledge that sentiment in the song, with lyrics such as “Her style’s funky, cool and fun. And to me she’s number one.”
The visuals during their performance switch from the graffi to a collage of various stickers on the screens. One of the stickers reads “#AAPI,” with another reading “BLM.” Many rock and rock hands and lightning bolts also appear.
Where “Racist, Sexist Boy” emphasizes the gritty screams of cousins Mila and Eloise, “Claudia Kishi” allows the smooth vocals of Mila’s sister Lucia de la Garza to shine.
The half-Asian, half-Latinx group consists of sisters Mila and Lucia, their cousin Eloise and friend Bela Salazar. While they range in age from 10 to 16, they are already carving a place for themselves in the industry.
In 2019, Bikini Kill handpicked the Linda Lindas to open for them at their reunion show in Los Angeles. Alice Bag, Bleached, the Dils, the Gears, Alley Cats and Phranc are just some of the other rockers with who they have shared the stage.
The Linda Lindas were also a featured musical act in the movie Moxie, a story about a group of girls combatting sexism in their high school. The film had many references to the riot grrrl movement and paid tribute to bands such as Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney and more.
After their public library set captured the public’s attention, the group announced they are newly signed to Epitaph Records. They join a lineup of artists that includes Bring Me the Horizon, Sleeping With Sirens, Architects and more.
In a post on Instagram, the group clarified that the success of their performance wasn’t the main motivator in their signing. The post’s caption reads, “We did sign with @epitaphrecords but this has been months in the making and didn’t happen just because of what happened last week.”
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During their interview with Kimmel, the Linda Lindas also explained how they came up with the band name.
“There’s a Japanese indie film called Linda Linda Linda and in it there are high school girls who cover the song “Linda Linda” by the Blue Hearts,” Wong explains. “So we’re kinda named after both of those.”
“However, none of us are named Linda,” Lucia chimes in comedically.
You can watch the Linda Linda’s entire appearance and interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! below.