Kathleen Hanna interview for Dazed

Originally published: Dazed & Confused August 2013

Posted online here

Kathleen Hanna

1042109Pussy Whipped, the debut LP from Bikini Kill, was an edifying statement-of-intent and incendiary call-to-arms which declared teenage girls be seen and most definitely heard. Over 12 lung-blasting, bile-fuelled hits of feminist punk noise, vocalist and songwriter Kathleen Hanna spat out such hard-boiled lyrics as “when she talks, I hear the revolution / In her hips, there’s revolutions” (“Rebel Girl”) with red-faced screams over frantic, heavyset guitars in thrall to hardcore punk, backed by bassist Kathi Wilcox, drummer Tobi Vail and guitarist Billy Karren.

“I don’t want to brag about myself, but I have heard the same phrase so many times, and it’s always, ‘When I was 15 years old, Pussy Whipped saved my life.’ To feel like you were part of a 15-year-old’s survival through high school, which is rough for everyone, makes me feel more successful than any record sales or magazine cover ever could. Because it was pretty harsh being a girl in America in 1993. We were told that feminism didn’t exist any more; that there was no reason for it to exist because women had equality. I lived in a small town and had worked in the domestic-violence shelter, where I saw first-hand that equality for sure did not exist. There were 14 women killed by a guy gunning for feminists in Canada in 1989 and that was a big impetus for me to play music. Those women were my inspiration.

Initial reactions to Pussy Whipped from the underground magazines were that it sucked! By the time we got to the UK in 1993 we were talking a lot about the way the media was portraying us, which was amplified by music weeklies like Melody Maker and the NME, which both had riot grrrl editions. When we met Huggy Bear things really changed, because people really cared about it in the UK. Huggy Bear managed to have fun and still have these really smart gender politics, whereas it had felt like such a fight every day for us to be a band. I think seeing that what we were doing and what we were a part of had gone international gave us a big boost of confidence.”

Read the full article here; http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/16724/1/dazed93-bikini-kill

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