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Music / Heavens To Betsy

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"My hate for you is a passion
That will run for a million years
My fury is a force that is equal to
A billion of your tears
It's calculated"

Heavens To Betsy was an Indie Punk Rock band from Olympia, Washington.
Heavens To Betsy

The band was formed in 1991 by vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker and drummer/bassist Tracy Sawyer. Long-time friends Tucker and Sawyer were both students of Evergreen State College in Olympia and were inspired by the rapidly growing Riot Grrrl movement. The band's name originated from the old American term meaning of exclamation, fear and shock. Heavens To Betsy's songs often tackled issues of domestic violence, sexism and sexual abuse.

One of the band's earliest performances was on the first day of the 1991 International Pop Underground Convention, a six day music festival which boasted the likes of Bratmobile, 7 Year Bitch and Bikini Kill amongst others. The band's performance took place on the day entitled Love Rock Revolution Girl Style Now, a concert which is considered to be a crucial moment in the commencement of the Riot Grrrl movement.


The band recorded a demo tape in February 1992, contributed to various compilation albums on independent record labels and released three singles over three years. Their first and only full-length album, Calculated, was released on Kill Rock Stars in 1994.

At a 1993 show, Corin met Carrie Brownstein for the first time and Heavens To Betsy began playing shows with Brownstein's then band Excuse 17.

In 1994, Tucker formed Sleater-Kinney with Brownstein. Originally beginning as a side project, the band would eventually evolve into their main focuses as both Tucker's and Brownstein's respective groups came to an end. Heavens To Betsy's debut and subsequently only album Calculated was reissued in 2014 by Kill Rock Stars, while a number of the band's songs can be heard in the 2013 video game Gone Home.



  • Heavens To Betsy Demo Tape (1992)
  • Calculated (1994)


  • My Secret (1992)
  • These Monsters Are Real (1993)
  • Direction... (1994)


  • "My Red Self" on Kill Rock Stars (1992)
  • "Baby's Gone" on The Yo Yo Studio Compilation (1992)
  • "She's The One" on Another Yo Yo Studio Compilation (1993)
  • "Get Out Of My Head" on Free To Fight! Self Defense For Women And Girls (1995)
  • "Axemen" on Yoyo A Go Go (1996)

Heavens To Betsy provide examples of:

  • Album Title Drop: In "Monsters" for These Monsters Are Real
    These monsters are real
    These monsters I can feel
  • Careful with That Axe: Vocals on “Monsters”, “Stay Away” and “Terrorist”.
  • Dedication: Often when playing in front of friends, Corin would dedicate certain numbers to them. An example of this can be heard on the radio broadcast of Heavens To Betsy playing at the X-Ray Cafe in Portland in July 1993 which features Corin dedicating "My Red Self" to "the Bratmobile" and "She's The One" to Erin Smith (of Bratmobile).
  • Exposition Diagram: The artwork for Calculated features a textbook diagram of a heart.
  • Feedback Rule: The opening of "Nothing Can Stop Me".
  • Harsh Vocals: Corin admitted to basing her early vocal style on Kathleen Hanna. This is present in most Heavens To Betsy songs. Some notable mentions from their debut album are “Stay Away”, “Calculated”, “Terrorist” and “Paralyzed".
  • Instrumentals: "Intermission 247".
  • List Song: “Stay Away”:
    I know the things you want from me
    I know the things you take from me
    My love
    My life
    My words
    My heart
  • Miniscule Rocking: Many songs count under two minutes. “Factory” and “I Ain't Ever Going Back” from Heavens To Betsy's Demo Tape, “Monsters” from These Monsters Are Real, “She's The One” from Another Yo Yo Studio Compilation and "Calculated", “Terrorist” and “White Girl” from Calculated.
  • Musical Chores: In "Factory".
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. "My Red Self" deals with the shame a girl is made to feel when menstruating:
    What is the color
    The color of shame
    Is it red
    Is it blood blood red
    Does it creep out
    From my two legs
  • Performance Anxiety: Averted. Corin has admitted to suffering from self-esteem issues in the early 90s, citing the support of the Olympia community as one of the reasons why she was able to overcome her anxiety and perform in her own band.
  • Queer Romance: “Me & Her” from These Monsters Are Real and “She's The One” from Another Yo Yo Studio Compilation. Corin was openly queer and wrote about her relationships with both girls and guys.
  • Record Producer: Produced their debut (and only) album, Calculated.
  • Riot Grrrl: One of the defining bands of the scene. They often played shows with Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Excuse 17.
  • The Something Song: "Driving Song".
  • Title by Number: "Intermission 247".
  • Title Track: "Calculated".
  • Verbed Title: 1994's Calculated.


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