UPDATE: The band's publicist confirmed Monday morning that Maureen Herman's replacement will be Minneapolis musician Clara Salyer, who, at only 22, is already something of a vet in the local scene known for fronting the Prissy Clerks and her current band, Whatever Forever. Salyer got her start while still in high school with Total Babe, which also featured future Howler bandleader Jordan Gatesmith. With the Prissy Clerks, Salyer and partner Howard Hamilton won the Vita.mn Are You Local? contest in 2012 and earned many more accolades before they changed lineups and names to Whatever Forever last year. Her first gig with Babes will be in St. Louis on Thursday.
Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero also issued a brief statement that read, "Maureen is one of our sisters and will always remain a friend of ours. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the road."
Always a bit of a trouble spot back in the day, the bassist position in Babes in Toyland is turning over once again. Maureen Herman announced via Facebook on Sunday night she has been fired from the Minneapolis-reared thrash-punk trio just six months and a dozen shows into a reunion outing that Herman played an integral role in making a reality.
“Due to personal differences, Kat and Lori have made the decision to tour with someone else,” Herman said in her posting, which admirably wished her ex-bandmates Kat Bjelland (singer/guitarist) and Lori Barbero (drummer) well in their upcoming dates.
Exactly who that someone else is has not been made public yet, but it should be clear by Thursday, when the group’s tour is due to continue in St. Louis as the band works its way to Riot Fest in Denver. Babes have 24 more dates scheduled through November, including such festivals as Austin's Fun Fun Fun and New Orleans' Voodoo Experience.
The Twin Cities-based guitarist/bassist who replaced Herman in 1997 when the group started winding down, Jessie Farmer, just announced her departure from Sick of Sarah a few weeks ago, a band she helped form almost a decade ago. As for the bassist who came before Herman and played on the first few Babes recordings, Michelle Leon recently wrote a book on her time in the band for Minnesota Historical Society Press, titled "I Live Inside" and due to publish early next year. Of course, there are plenty of other talented musicians in town who could fill the role, too.
A longtime Los Angeles resident, Herman brought the Babes reunion to life by connecting the band with the L.A.-based tech company Powersniff, made up of some former Google employees (and friends of hers) who funded rehearsals and other costs behind the tour. Herman is also working on a book. With writing credits for Musician and Rolling Stone magazines to her name, she said in a candid L.A. Weekly interview her book will be less about her time in Babes and more about her calamitous story after the band, in which time she battled addiction and became a mother. The book’s working title: “It’s a Memoir, Motherf----r.”
Here’s the full note Herman posted on Facebook:
First, I’d like to thank everyone for their incredibly kind thoughts and support. I may write like a motherf----r, 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.