Alice Bag (born Alicia Armendariz on November 7, 1958 in East Los Angeles, California) is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. She is a singer/songwriter, producer, musician, author, artist, educator and feminist. As lead singer and co-founder of The Bags, one of the first bands to form during the initial, mid-70s wave of punk in Los Angeles. The Bags released a single for the Dangerhouse Label in 1978 which included the songs Survive and Babylonian Gorgon. She was featured in the seminal documentary on punk rock, The Decline of Western Civilization.
Bag went on to write and perform in several groundbreaking musical groups, including the seminal all-female post punk band Castration Squad in the early 1980’s, the 1990’s pop-punk queercore band Cholita which she formed with performance artist Vaginal Davis, and the Chicana feminist punk folk groups Las Tres and Goddess 13, also active in the 1990’s.
She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Violence Girl – From East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, A Chicana Punk Story, and the autobiographical Pipe Bomb for the Soul, based on Bag’s 1986 trip to Nicaragua, where she volunteered to assist with the country’s post-revolutionary Sandinista literacy campaign. Both Violence Girl and Pipe Bomb for the Soul are now required reading in gender, musicology and Chicano studies courses at universities across the United States. The ongoing influence of Alice’s performance style and musical presence was also acknowledged in the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, American Sabor. She has been profiled by PBS, NPR, and AARP and featured in several documentaries about punk music.
Alice Bag’s self-titled 2016 debut album was named one of the best albums of the year by AllMusic and Pitchfork. Her second album, Blueprint, was released in Spring 2018 and was named one of the best albums of 2018 by AllMusic, NPR and the Los Angeles Times. In 2018, Alice was officially recognized by the City of Los Angeles for her “profound influence on music and the punk rock scene in Los Angeles and her activism for the LGBTQ community and speaking out against social injustice.” In 2019, Alice’s song, “Dolores Huerta Street” was credited with being one of the inspirations for the official designation of the intersection of 1st Street and Chicago Street in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles as ‘Dolores Huerta Square.’ In 2020, Alice released her third solo album, ‘Sister Dynamite’. It was named one of the records of the year by AllMusic.
Alice has also been involved in mentoring young musicians through her work with various Girls Rock Camps across the United States, in particular Chicas Rockeras South East Los Angeles. Bag has also produced records by younger artists like San Antonio’s Chicana Punk band Fea and Fatty Cake and The Puff Pastries from Fresno, California. In all of her projects, Bag strives to amplify the voices of artists who come from the same underrepresented communities to which she belongs: brown, female or gender-nonconforming and queer.
In 2021, Bag relocated from her native Los Angeles to Mexico City, where she continues to make music and support women of color and gender non-conforming musicians in their efforts to create new scenes.
Disco’s Dead (2003)
Alice Bag (2016)
Sister Dynamite (2020)