Kathleen Hanna

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Kathleen Hanna
Le Tigre - Indianapolis - A - Stierch.jpg
Performing with Le Tigre in the early 2000s at the Volcano Room in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Background information
Also known asJulie Ruin
Born(1968-11-12) November 12, 1968 (age 44)
Portland, Oregon, USA
OriginCalverton, Maryland
GenresPunk rock, riot grrrl, indie rock, electroclash
OccupationsMusician, activist, writer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass guitar, sampler, drums, drum machine
Years active1990–present
Associated actsBikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin The Julie Ruin
 
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Kathleen Hanna
Le Tigre - Indianapolis - A - Stierch.jpg
Performing with Le Tigre in the early 2000s at the Volcano Room in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Background information
Also known asJulie Ruin
Born(1968-11-12) November 12, 1968 (age 44)
Portland, Oregon, USA
OriginCalverton, Maryland
GenresPunk rock, riot grrrl, indie rock, electroclash
OccupationsMusician, activist, writer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass guitar, sampler, drums, drum machine
Years active1990–present
Associated actsBikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin The Julie Ruin

Kathleen Hanna (born November 12, 1968)[1] is an American musician, feminist activist, and punk zine writer. In the early- to mid-1990s she was the lead singer of Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 1998, Hanna released a solo album under the name Julie Ruin and since 2010 has been working on a project called The Julie Ruin.

Contents

Biography

Childhood

Born in Portland, Oregon, Hanna moved with her family to Calverton, Maryland in 1971. As Hanna's father changed occupations, the family moved several more times. Hanna's parents were divorced while she was in high school.

Hanna first became interested in feminism around the age of nine, after her mother took her to a rally in Washington D.C. where feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke.

Though several years would pass before she became an outspoken feminist, the event left an impression on her. In a 2000 interview with BUST magazine, Hanna recalled:

My mom was a housewife, and wasn't somebody that people would think of as a feminist, and when Ms. magazine came out we were incredibly inspired by it. I used to cut pictures out of it and make posters that said "Girls can do anything", and stuff like that, and my mom was inspired to work at a basement of a church doing anti-domestic violence work. Then she took me to the Solidarity Day thing, and it was the first time I had ever been in a big crowd of women yelling, and it really made me want to do it forever.[2]

In the 2006 documentary, Don't Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl, Hanna elaborates on the effect feminism had on her in childhood, recalling that her interest grew when her mother checked out a copy of Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" from the library. Yet Hanna and her mother's involvement in the women's rights movement had to be done quietly in the years before her parents' divorce, due to her father's disapproval.[3] Hanna has also appeared in the documentary Who's Afraid of Kathy Acker? Don't Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl is titled after a Bikini Kill song.[4]

College

Hanna attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in the late 1980s. During this time she began working as a stripper to support herself while studying photography. Working with fellow Evergreen student and photographer Aaron Baush-Greene, she set up a photo exhibit featuring the pair's photography, which dealt, respectively, with sexism and AIDS. However, the school administrators took the photos down before they got the chance to be viewed, an act of censorship that prompted what Hanna refers to as her "first foray into activism"—the creation of an independent feminist art gallery called Reko Muse with friends Heidi Arbogast and Tammy Rae Carland. The three women then formed a band called Amy Carter, which put on shows before the art exhibitions.[5]

Hanna also began doing spoken word performances that addressed sexism and violence against women, issues with which she became concerned after volunteering for a domestic violence organization over the next two years. Eventually she abandoned spoken word in favor of music, being inspired by one of her favorite writers, countercultural icon Kathy Acker. Hanna recalled, "Acker asked me why writing was important to me, and I said, 'Because I felt like I'd never been listened to and I had a lot to say,' and she said, 'Then why are you doing spoken word—no one goes to spoken word shows! You should get in a band.'"[6]

Hanna later started another band called Viva Knievel that toured the United States for two months before disbanding. Upon returning to Olympia, Hanna began collaborating with fellow Evergreen student and punk zinester Tobi Vail after seeing a performance of The Go Team, (a band made up of Vail, Billy Karren, and Calvin Johnson) and recognizing Vail as the mastermind behind the fanzine Jigsaw, which Hanna greatly admired and loved.

Marriage

Hanna dated Beastie Boys Ad-Rock for nine years, and they married in 2006.[7]

Bikini Kill

Bikini Kill soon became part of the seminal Olympia, Washington music scene of the early 1990s, which was characterized by political awareness, a strong artistic do-it-yourself ethic, and an emphasis on local collaboration and support.

The band's first release for the Kill Rock Stars label was a self-titled EP produced by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. Bikini Kill then toured the UK, recording a split LP with UK band Huggy Bear. This tour was filmed and the band was interviewed by Lucy Thane for her documentary, It Changed My Life: Bikini Kill In The UK. Upon returning to the U.S., the band began working with Joan Jett, who produced their single, "New Radio/Rebel Girl". After the release of this record, Hanna began co-writing some songs with Jett for her new album.

At the same time Hanna produced several solo pieces for the Kill Rock Stars "Wordcore" series of recordings, including the 7" single "Rockstar" and the song "I Wish I Was Him" (a song written by Ben Lee and originally recorded by his band Noise Addict about alternative rock heartthrob Evan Dando[8]) on the KRS compilation Rock Stars Kill.

In 1994, Hanna appeared in the Sonic Youth video for "Bull in the Heather".

The first two Bikini Kill EPs were released on CD as the appropriately and very literally-titled The C.D. Version of the First Two Records in 1993.[9] The band released two more full-length albums, Pussy Whipped in 1994 and Reject All American in 1996, and in 1998, Kill Rock Stars released Bikini Kill: The Singles, a collection of the group's seven inch and compilation tracks. Bikini Kill broke up on friendly terms around April 1998.

Influence on Riot Grrrl

In 1991, the band spent a summer in Washington, D.C., where Hanna began collaborating with Allison Wolfe, Molly Neuman and Jen Smith from the band Bratmobile on the zine Riot grrrl, which became a call to action for increased feminist activity and female involvement in the punk rock scene. Read more: [1]

In a 2000 interview with Index Magazine, Hanna related:

We wanted to start a magazine, and Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman from the band Bratmobile had started a little fanzine called riot grrrl and we were writing little things for it. I'd always wanted to start a big magazine with really cool, smart writing in it, and I wanted to see if the other punk girls in D.C. that I was meeting were interested in that. So I called a meeting and found a space for it, and it just turned into this sort of consciousness-raising thing. I realized really quickly that a magazine wasn't the way to go. People wanted to be having shows, and teaching each other how to play music, and writing fanzines, so that started happening. It got some press attention, and girls in other places would be like "I wanna do that. I wanna start one of those."

Hanna also earlier stated:

Because we don't wanna assimilate to someone else's (boy) standards of what is or isn't.

[10]

Le Tigre

In Portland, Oregon, Hanna began working with friend and zine editor Johanna Fateman on a live show for Julie Ruin. The collaboration resulted in the two briefly forming a band called The Troublemakers, named after a G. B. Jones film,[11] which ended when Fateman relocated to New York City to attend art school.

Hanna joined Fateman on the East Coast, and with the addition of filmmaker Sadie Benning, they started another band called Le Tigre (French for The Tiger). This band continued to pursue a more electronic style of music similar to the sampler-driven sound Hanna had begun to explore with Julie Ruin. The band recorded for the Mr. Lady Records label, its first recording being the self-titled Le Tigre, which included the singles "Hot Topic" and "Deceptacon." After the first record, Sadie Benning left the band to be replaced by JD Samson for the follow-up CD Feminist Sweepstakes. When Mr. Lady Records closed down, the group switched labels to Universal Records for the 2004 release of This Island.

Le Tigre is currently on hiatus. According to the Le Tigre website, during her time off from the band Hanna has been volunteering as a band coach for "The Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls". She also taught an art class at NYU's grad school in the Fall 2007 semester.[12] She is married to Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys. The two have been involved since 1997, and were married in 2006.

The Julie Ruin

In 2010, Hanna announced she was reprising her 1997 act Julie Ruin into "The Julie Ruin" with Kenny Mellman and Kathi Wilcox, and that they would be creating a new record. On December 11 at the Knitting Factory in New York City, the new The Julie Ruin played its first show, mostly consisting of covers.[13][14]

Abortion

In interviews, Hanna has been frank and willing to openly discuss her decision to have an abortion when she was younger, saying in one particular interview: "It was one of the first things I did on my own; I worked at McDonald's, raised the money and did it. I'm really, really passionate about pro-choice, because I wouldn't be here talking to you right now if I'd had a kid at 15." Hanna has expressed her belief that talking about her abortion will encourage other women to openly discuss the topic as well, helping to decrease the social stigma that often accompanies such discussion and also helping to sustain political momentum and further progress with regard to the pro-choice movement.[15]

In popular culture

Discography

Bikini Kill

Albums

Singles

Compilations

Julie Ruin

Le Tigre

Full-Length albums

Singles and EPs

Miscellaneous

Bibliography

Fanzines

References

  1. ^ "Kathleen Hanna talks at the 2011 Planned Parenthood Stand Up For Women's Health Rally "19 in 1989"". Youtube.com. March 1, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  2. ^ Hex, Celina (interviewer) (Winter 2000). "Fierce, Funny, Feminists: Gloria Steinem and Kathleen Hanna talk shop, and prove that grrrls – and womyn - rule.". Bust. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Don't Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl", 2006, Kerri Koch
  4. ^ "www.ackerfilm.com". www.ackerfilm.com. Retrieved 2012-06-27. [dead link]
  5. ^ "MY HERSTORY by Kathleen Hanna". Letigreworld.com. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  6. ^ Frey, Hillary (December 23, 2002). "Kathleen Hanna's Fire". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  7. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/couples-that-rock-20110830/adam-horovitz-and-kathleen-hanna-0865790
  8. ^ Robbins, Ira; Wolk, Douglas (1997), The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock, New York: Fireside, ISBN 0-684-81437-4, http://www.trouserpress.com/entry.php?a=noise_addict
  9. ^ Buckley, Peter (November 20, 2003). The Rough Guide to Rock (3rd revised ed.). Rough Guides. pp. 93–94. ISBN 1-84353-105-4. 
  10. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 113. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  11. ^ Weeks, Laurie (2000). "Kathleen Hanna, 2000". Index Magazine. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  12. ^ "Le Tigre news website". Letigreworld.com. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  13. ^ Marcus, Sara (December 15, 2010). "Hanna and Her Sisters". Artforum.com. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  14. ^ "hey girlfriiieeennnddd…". Skirts and Tights. December 12, 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  15. ^ Barcella, Laura (September 20, 2004). "The A-word". Salon. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  16. ^ The L Word clip[dead link]
  17. ^ Azerrad, Michael. Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday, 1994. ISBN 0-385-47199-8, pp. 211–212
  18. ^ "A performance at Joes Pub in NYC, where she tells the story of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"". Youtube.com. December 15, 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  19. ^ "“Rockstar”". Salon. October 5, 2000. 

External links