About Strange Boutique
Original riot grrl Monica Richards had made a name for herself in various D.C. hardcore punk bands, most notably Madhouse. By the mid-'80s, Richards and her bandmates looked to switch things up. In 1987, she, drummer Danny Ingram, ex-Eubie Hayve bassist Steve Willett, and Beefeater guitarist Fred Smith defined the ethereal, lush sounds of Strange Boutique.
Their first EP, Easter Island, appeared in 1989, showcasing a vocally angelic Richards as Kate Bush's kindred vocal twin. Tours around the East Coast pushed Strange Boutique to the front, and a national fan base would soon follow. Killing Joke took the band on the road in 1990 for added exposure, allowing the members of Strange Boutique to perform in England for the very first time. Later that summer, the group ventured across America, leaving their coveted D.C. area for shows in the South. An appearance at South by Southwest also proved pivotal, for the college market took notice and began supporting the band. It was during this time that they established their own label, Bedazzled Records.
Strange Boutique appeared to have the world at their feet, but preparing for their studio full-length was a bit trying. Upon the release of The Loved One in fall 1991, Ingram left the band. He went on to join Swervedriver for their 1992 world tour and newcomer Rand Blackwell stepped in to replace him.
In November 1992, the group was back in the studio to record a follow-up. Space rock and dream pop threads captured the beauty of 1993's The Charm, but tours with goth glam dolls Switchblade Symphony and This Ascension didn't fare as well.
Although Strange Boutique had a national fan base and critical acclaim, differences in creativity were culprit for the tensions in the band which were brewing. Constant touring and recording was also taking a its toll. The band soldiered on, churning out what would become their final album, The Kindest Worlds, in 1993.
It was a bittersweet end, but Strange Boutique's last show that November in their home town of Washington D.C. was magical. Richards moved to Los Angeles and formed the goth outfit Faith & the Muse with William Faith. Smith also moved to L.A. for additional music projects while Blackwell joined Siddal. Willett stuck around town to run Bedazzled Records until it closed its doors in December 2000. Four years later, Strange Boutique issued The Collection: 1988-1994. One reunion show in their home town in July, ten years after their break up, coincided with its release. ~ MacKenzie Wilson