I have to confess that I didn’t know that Spitboy was an all-female band when I bought True Self Revealed. It looked cool, the price was right, so I just bought it. It wasn’t until I looked through the nice enclosed booklet that I figured it out, and a quick Google search confirmed that the 1990s band out of San Francisco was in fact comprised entirely of women. I suppose with their style and very female message driven lyrics that they would fall into the Riot Grrrl category… though I’m not sure if the women associated with Riot Grrrl hate that label as much as most of the grunge rockers hate the word “grunge.” Somehow I doubt it, since Riot Grrrl was a movement, and music was just one piece of the female empowering message. The only things grunge had associated with it other than drop D tuning and a geographical ground zero of the Pacific Northwest was flannel and heroin.
True Self Revealed was Spitboy’s first full length album, released in 1993 by Ebullition Records. The emphasis on the message of their music is evident by the booklet included with the record, which includes the lyrics to all the songs. “Um, so what,” you’re thinking. “Lots of bands do that.” True. But Spitboy give them to you in five different languages to maximize their reach. I can’t think of another record I’ve ever seen that uses more than two.
As young children,
We suffer through an inquisition
At the hands of adults
And endure the bitter sufferings of our elders,
Our innocence is violated
As we are stripped of all self-control,
Force fed rules, Force fed morals
Force fed lessons, Force fed lies.
— “Moral Casualty”
This isn’t “feel good” music; this is catharsis. This is expressing the pain and frustration and rage that is pent up inside you, when you think maybe you’re the only one in the world who feels this way, and you don’t know how to express it, and then it bursts out of you. It’s not meant to be pretty; it’s not meant to be technically proficient; it’s certainly not meant to be mainstream. It’s about the message, the thoughts, and emotions. It’s about realizing you’re not alone and that you can live the kind of life you want, regardless of what you may have been through. You can make it, and do it your way. I’m not a woman, nor have I played one on TV. But the underlying message here, while directed at women, is universal. It’s punk and metal. It’s universal.
The music is raw, and the angst is real. I could tell you I like the sound of this song better than that one, and all that other kind of stuff, but that’s not the point of True Self Revealed. The point is that it’s real. How the songs sound compared to one another is pretty much irrelevant.