The Unfortunate End Of The Gits’ Mia Zapata

Music history is filled with tragedies; some people love to take them, find a connection between them and turn them into cultural phenomenons. After all, the 27 Club is quite well-known, and the inductions to the club started with the death of Robert Johnson in 1938, but it also features contemporary names like Amy Winehouse.

However, there is one member of this infamous club who people often tend to forget or not know anything about. You see, it might not be on the web’s most searched topics lists, and only when a rock history enthusiast decides to dive deep into the rabbit hole is the tragic story of Mia Zapata recovered.

You are probably already curious about what happened to her and assume that the club has given you a clue. But, no, as much as it’s common for rockers to overdose at an early age, Mia’s death was not due to a substance overdose after some night filled with drugs like Janis Joplin, and it wasn’t a suicide as well. Every story in the 27 Club is tragic, but maybe, Zapata’s story was one of the most unfortunate.

The Gits was becoming one of the most prominent bands of the Seattle scene in the late ’80s, and bearing in mind Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, you might imagine how competitive the scene was getting. However, the Gits still managed to earn the respect of its peers, and their debut album, ‘Frenching the Bully,’ was a success.

They had been recording their second record when the frontwoman, Mia Zapata, decided to go for a night walk to visit a friend only a block away from her house on July 7, 1993. After this brief visit, Mia had to return to her home. However, she was found dead about half an hour after her visit, and she had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled.

The police couldn’t identify her at first, but after the medical examiner, a fan of the Gits, recognized her, it soon made it to the news. Mia had never made it home, and after being sexually assaulted, the killer, who was only caught in 2003, strangled Zapata with the Gits scarf she had with her.

The Seattle scene was shocked and upset, and many tried to help out her bandmates and friends, who were considered as suspects by the police. Soon enough, however, it was proven that her bandmates and friends were innocent. As law enforcement had problems concluding who might have murdered the frontwoman, some bands, including Nirvana and Soundgarden, helped gather $70,000 to hire a private investigator.

Still, Zapata’s killer wouldn’t be found until a decade later, and the suspect was disclosed to be Jesus Mezquita, a fisherman who had emigrated in the early ’80s from Cuba. Since he had no apparent connection with Mia, his role in the murder was proven with DNA testing as his DNA was found on the frontwoman’s body and clothes. He was sentenced to thirty-six years in prison.

However, this article is not about the killer of Mia or the brutal details of her tragedy. This article is about honoring the frontwoman, celebrating the Gits’ works, and not forgetting her memory. Many artists also wished for Zapata’s memory to be remembered as names, from Joan Jett to Rage Against the Machine wrote and dedicated songs in her memory.

So, if Mia’s unfortunate end upset you, the best you can do is to go and listen to the Gits’ short but impressive discography, hear the passion in her voice, enjoy the songs and honor her memory by remembering her whenever someone mentions the infamous 27 club.