Kathleen Hanna

From Academic Kids

Kathleen Hanna (Born 12 November 1969) is a American musician. She is the lead singer of Le Tigre and former lead singer of Bikini Kill (early 1990s). In between these two major bands, she had a solo project called Julie Ruin.

Kathleen first left her mark on the music world by inspiring the name of Nirvana's hit song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" when she spraypainted "Kurt smells like teen spirit" on one of Kurt Cobain's walls. Teen Spirit is a kind of deodorant that Tobi Vail, Kurt's girlfriend at that time, wore. Tobi and Kathleen both attended The Evergreen State College together and while Tobi was in her first band The Go Team with Calvin Johnson, she had begun to date Cobain, who had been a guest musician on one of The Go Team's singles.

After the breakup of The Go Team both women began collaborating on several influential fanzines which included Revolution Girl Style Now and Bikini Kill, which became the name of the punk band Vail and Hanna commenced to form, with fellow Evergreen College student Kathi Wilcox and Vail's former sometimes bandmate in The Go Team, Billy Karren. Bikini Kill and these zines defined the movement that came to be called Riot Grrl. With fellow Olympia, Washington band Bratmobile, the group popularized Riot Grrl throughout North America and Europe. Their first release for the Kill Rock Stars label was a self-titled EP produced by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. Bikini Kill then toured the U.K., recording a split LP with U.K. band Huggy Bear, and were filmed and interviewed by Lucy Thane for her documentary, It Changed My Life: Bikini Kill In The U.K.. 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, Kathleen began co-writing some songs with Joan for her new album.

At the same time Kathleen produced several solo pieces for the Kill Rock Stars "Wordcore" series of recordings. One was released as a 7" single, called "Rockstar" and others on various compilations, including "I Wish I Was Him" on Rock Stars Kill.

When the intense media scrutiny of the Riot Grrl bands led to the breakup of both Bikini Kill and Bratmobile, Hanna began working on several other projects. The first, The Fakes, was a project involving several other musicians, including Rachel Karns of The Need. The resulting CD, The Fakes was released on Chainsaw Records. Her next project, Julie Ruin was an entirely solo CD, in a more electronic vein, released on the Kill Rock Stars label.

In Portland, Oregon Hanna formed a band with a zine editor she admired, Johanna Fateman, called The Troublemakers, named after a film of the same name by G.B. Jones. This band ended when Fateman relocated to New York City; however Hanna soon joined her on the east coast and with ther addition of filmmaker Sadie Benning , they started another band, this time called Le Tigre. This band continued to pursue a more electronic style of music Hanna had begun to explore with Julie Ruin. The band began recording records for the Mr. Lady Records label, the first being the self-titled Le Tigre, which included the single "Hot Topic". At this time Sadie Benning left the band and J.D. Samson joined and the follow-up CD Feminist Sweepstakes was released. The group switched labels for the release in 2005 of This Island to Universal Records in hopes that this could aid in the propagation of their message of empowerment for women and others marginalized by mainstream culture.

She is romantically linked to Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, who have been together since the 90s. Also once involved with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana. Recently did guest vocals for Green Day's American Idiot and interviewed Amy Poehler for Interview Magazine.

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