Bangs (often erroneously referred to as the Bangs) was a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington, formed in 1997 by guitarist Sarah Utter, after recruiting high-school friend Jesse Fox on drums and Maggie Vail (she had to learn how to play bass guitar to be in the band, being that the only instruments she played before were drums, guitar, cello, and clarinet). Bangs toured with and/or played shows with Sleater-Kinney, the Gossip, Unwound, Blonde Redhead, The Makers, Witchypoo, the Donnas, Shannon Wright, Murder City Devils, and Karp, to name a few. Maggie also played bass in Frenchie and the German Girls, and sang backups in the famous party-band Gene Defcon. Sarah played in one of the last incarnations of Witchypoo, and has since devoted herself full-time to painting with the exception of a one-off show in Los Angeles with noisemaker David Scott Stone. Jesse quit the band after a long U.S. tour, and Bangs went through a succession of drummers (Heather Dunn, Kyle Ermatinger) before gelling with Olympia's multi-instrumentalist wonderboy, Peter David Connelly. They recorded their last EP, Call and Response, in a frigidly cold farmhouse basement with engineer Justin Trosper of Unwound.
Although the band had plenty associations with the riot grrrl movement (Maggie Vail's sister is Bikini Kill's Tobi Vail), Bangs, like Bikini Kill, didn't identify as a riot grrrl band. They preferred the term "rock band", crediting The Go-Go's, The Ramones, Gary Numan, Chrissie Hynde, Elvis Costello, and Cheap Trick with inspiration. The band put out all of their releases on Kill Rock Stars except for one 7", which was released on the tiny Olympia label Ten-In-One Records. They toured the United States extensively, and also played shows in England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand, where they were featured on the island country's nightly national news. Bangs broke up in September 2004 after Sarah moved to Los Angeles. Their last show, at Olympia's Eagles Hall and part of Kill Rock Stars 'Yeah! Fest!' was festive and bittersweet. Maggie has since relocated to Portland, OR, where she plays in the bands Romancing and Leti Angel. Peter David continues to live in Olympia and play in his engaging pop band The Mona Reels. Sarah has since relocated back to the northwest and spends her time painting pictures of animals.