In the late 1980s, while growing up in Washington, D.C., bassist/vocalist Azita Youssefi (aka AZ) and Heather Melowic (aka Heather M) discussed assembling a band. The idea was put on hold for a short time when Youssefi moved to Illinois in 1989 to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. It was during her first year at the school that she met guitarist SueAnne Zollinger (aka SA), who was another D.C. native. Youssefi convinced Melowic to move to Chicago, and the two of them persuaded Zollinger into playing guitar for the band they had talked about forming back in D.C. The result was the birth of the Scissor Girls in the summer of 1991. The group was known for dressing up in odd attire on stage such as safety goggles and tutus and would sometimes smear on heavy amounts of makeup that made them look like raccoons. At one of the band's earliest shows in 1993 at CBGB's in New York, the group opened up for Liz Phair. According to Zollinger, the Scissor Girls made Phair's fans weep in pain from the fractured music they created. This original lineup recorded two full-length albums together before Zollinger left in 1994 and was replaced by Kelly Kuvo, who was a mutual friend of the group. The band continued for two more years before breaking up.