Donna Dresch, founder of the band, had been involved in the queercore scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s as creator of her own fanzine Chainsaw and, in addition to contributing to other zines such as Outpunk and JDs , she contributed to and was featured on the cover of issue five of Homocore and appeared in the girl-gang film The Yo-Yo Gang by GB Jones.
First album line-up
The line up of the group for its first album was Donna Dresch, guitar and bass; Jody Bleyle, guitar, bass, and vocals; Kaia Wilson, guitar and vocals; and Marci Martinez on drums. All were veterans of other musical outfits; Donna Dresch had previously played and recorded with such bands as Dinosaur Jr., Dangermouse (not to be confused with Danger Mouse (TV Series)), Screaming Trees, Rastro!, Fifth Column, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Lois, Mary Lou Lord and The Go Team; Jody Bleyle was simultaneously in the bands Hazel and Lovebutt while playing in Team Dresch; Kaia Wilson had been in the band Adickdid and Marci Martinez in Calamity Jane (a band, not the singer of the same name). Scott Plouf, then of The Spinanes, now of Built to Spill was the drummer on the first 7 ". "Hand Grenade" appeared on Kill Rock Stars in 1994.
Personal Best appeared in January 1995 as a co-release on the independent labels Chainsaw Records, run by Dresch and Candy Ass Records, run by Bleyle. Candy-Ass then released the compilation Free to Fight, a double LP of all-women bands addressing issues such as harassment and rape and dedicated to self-defense. The band toured with self-defense instructor Alice Stagg, who spoke and gave demonstrations to the audience prior to the band's performance. The members were committed to a DIY ethic, running their own record labels and booking their own tours, akin to the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s.
On their second recording drummer Melissa York, previously of the hardcore punk bands Vitapup and Born Against, replaced Marci Martinez. This LP, Captain My Captain, released in 1996, also featured a guest appearance by Phranc, well known lesbian musician. The song "Uncle Phranc", written as a tribute to Phranc, appears on this album.
Original disbandment and side projects
After Captain My Captain, Kaia Wilson and Melissa York left the band to form The Butchies, while Dresch and Bleyle continued recording with the addition of new member Amanda Kelly and with Marci Martinez once again on drums. The band stopped playing in 1998, with Dresch increasingly involved in running her record label which was releasing many recordings by newer Queercore bands, including The Need, Longstocking and Sleater-Kinney. Marci Martinez went on to play in The Vegas Beat.
In 2002, Jody debuted a new band, Family Outing, which includes her brother, Allen, and in 2004, Donna returned to the stage with a new band, Davies vs. Dresch. They appeared as part of "Queercore Blitz", a group of queer bands touring the US together.
In the summer of 2004, Jody, Donna, Kaia, Marci and Melissa came together to headline the queercore festival Homo-a-Go-Go in Olympia, Washington. Since then, the band has played sporadically, embarking on brief West and East coast tours throughout 2006 and 2007. Their 2007 tour came with an announcement of a new record planned to be released in 2008; as of late 2009, there have been no updates as to its development. The band's most recent reunion shows were held in Portland and Seattle in September 2009 also in Ladyfest Brasil for two shows in May 2010.
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