Raised in Kentucky on Bessie Smith, Jimmy Reed, Hank Williams, Billie Holliday, and hardcore punk Mia founded the Gits at Antioch College in 1986. A few years later, the band and a group of friends moved to Seattle in search of a new audience. Seattle’s alternative music scene, what was later labeled grunge, was about to blow up, and the Gits’ post-punk music, attitude, and poetic lyrics garnered the band a devoted following. They took the show on abroad by nickel and dimeing an independent tour of northern Europe.
The following year saw the band’s first release, Frenching the Bully. In 1993, the band was busy working on an anticipated follow-up when Mia Zapata was raped and murdered late one night on her way home, ending the band’s career. Kurt Cobain, who was a friend of Mia’s, was profoundly affected by her murder and Nirvana played a benefit concert for the singer August 6, 1993. After nine years on the run, Florida fisherman Jesus Mezquia was sentenced to 36 years in prison in 2004 for her murder.