TIME OUT, 2014
The subject of a recent documentary and focus of New York University’s riot grrrl archive, Kathleen Hanna isn’t going to be changing her tune any time soon.
Kathleen, there were a lot of journalists who tried to stake ownership on riot grrrl. Is it a relief to be able to team up with Kathi without any of the bullshit?
Yeah, it is – that’s an interesting comment. A lot of the baggage from the ’90s is gone and we can just be ourselves and have a good time. I mean, I never saw Kathi smile in Bikini Kill, and when we are on stage now I always glance over and she’s got a big grin on her face. It’s just so wonderful to see.
Was there the pressure of people expecting things from you, rather than being able to play for the enjoyment of it?
Oh yeah – there was so much controversy surrounding Bikini Kill: “You’re man-haters”, you’re this and you’re that… We were very young and we didn’t have management – I mean, we were lucky if we had a roadie. It was a lot for people in their twenties to handle; we just had to get through the shows. There was a riot at one of our UK shows and men threatening us at shows everywhere, so it definitely was not fun – it was downright scary.
And then there were also girls who were crying because they had been waiting for us and they knew all the lyrics to our songs… and so it was really just a schizophrenic band to be in because you just didn’t know from night to night what was gonna happen. Now I feel like our shows are just like a good time. No one’s trying to kill us!