The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Musical Memoir: Kathleen Hanna's Favourite Albums
Milene Larsson , August 10th, 2016 09:12

Following the release of The Julie Ruin's new album, Hit Reset, last month, the musician, activist and founding member of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre talks Milene Larsson through 13 favourite records that changed her life


Thee Headcoatees – Ballad Of The Insolent Pup
Bikini Kill was on tour and we went to this club in Brighton under the pier and the fucking coolest looking girls in the whole universe walked in. They were the band, and they just started singing and they were the Headcoatees. They were just the coolest thing and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Then I got the record and really liked their version of the song 'When You Stop Loving Me' that's on that album. I always liked garage rock and I felt like they did it so well – it was the kind of music I could listen to all day and be happy. That record is more about personal stuff and I was getting really burnt out. I don't want to just listen to stuff that's about politics all the time. I want to have my guilty pleasures and I'm not feeling guilty about finding them pleasurable. They made me think I want my music to be enjoyable, not just hard all the time. I want there to be moments where it's like: "This is really fun."

I always say Bratmobile was a better band than Bikini Kill, partially because I had that anger to propel me forward and also protect me, whereas they have this sort of, "Hey we're at this summer party and we don't care that you don't even know what a summer party is, fuck you." It was like they were having a summer party on stage and I'm invited. They would literally get up, just Molly [Neuman] and Allison [Wolfe] before Erin [Smith] joined the band, and just sing stuff like, "Girl germs, no return", like childhood rhymes. They're doing it in a room full of predominantly men who are, like, Melvins fans and I was just like, "Man, that takes fucking guts." I heard people in the audience say, "I want to do this and this to the singer, we should fucking murder them" and meanwhile I was having my life changed: "This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen." I use that in my performance partially based on them and I definitely saw their vulnerability as a strength instead of a weakness. I wanted to be able to flash between characters that were very traditionally female and have a macho persona as well, so I try to have both and not just be like the Henry Rollins of riot grrrl.