June 26, 2019 · 5:03 pm
Matt Giles interviewed me for a Topic magazine story on women in the music industry circa 2000. I’m in great company: Allison Wolfe, Melissa Auf der Mar, Louise Goffin, JD Samson, Amy Finnerty, etc. There are intriguing and often divergent POVs in here, as one would expect/hope. A few comments particularly strike me. One is when Auf der Mar talks about her decision to join Hole being a statement of feminist solidarity:
“I felt a higher calling about women in rock, and quickly understood that this was much bigger than me. It was about women in general.”
And when Samson reflects on touring with Le Tigre, she perfectly expresses what grrrl power is all about:
“We wouldn’t have been who we were without the audience. Those people in that room, thinking about those things, sweating, feeling safe in our bodies, taking up that space, breathing the same air—that’s what we needed.”
On a more personal note, I love the moment when New York Times deputy culture editor Sia Michel talks about starting her career as my intern at SF Weekly, and how San Francisco criticism was led by women including Ann Powers and Gina Arnold:
“In my mind, music journalism was something that women did.”
Elsewhere, Ultragrrrl Sarah Lewitinn reflects on how Michel supported her career (as she did NYT music editor Caryn Ganz). I see us as a feminist music-critic bucket brigade, passing each other these support lines. These are all examples of the importance of women helping other women, creating safe spaces for each other to exist — musical matriarchies and matrilineals.
Filed under Press, Women Who Rock
Tagged as allison wolfe, Ann Powers, feminism, Gina Arnold, Hole, JD Samson, Le Tigre, Louise Goffin, Melissa Auf der Mar, music, Sia Michel, Topic magazine, Ultragrrrl
August 24, 2015 · 8:19 am
I’ve always thought of Kathleen Hanna as a philosopher, not just a rad punk artist. She proves it once again in this interview for NPR, where she talks about the perils of outsider elitism and her admiration for Beyonce: “Whenever you’re trying to be the opposite of something, you’re just reinforcing it. We’ve got to be something totally different.”
The occasion for the interview is the release of the Bikini Kill demo tape on Sept. 22 for the first time in multiple formats. I remember getting that tape when I was music editor at the SF Weekly. I can admit now that I didn’t appreciate it that much at the time; I thought they were retreading Mecca Normal and X-Ray Spex, admittedly two of my favorite bands. (That year I named Mecca Normal singer Jean Smith my Person of the Year.) It took seeing them live at Gilman Street Project to realize the true force of Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Boredom. My intern, Sia Michel, was much smarter – I think she might have nabbed that tape. She’s now the editor of the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times — told you she’s smarter than me.
I’m so glad this music is coming back out and a new generation can appreciate it. I’ll be starting my First Year Seminar (Revolution Girl Style: Punk Feminism, Then and Now) next week as I always do: Playing Bikini Kill’s call to action: “We’re Bikini Kill, and we want Revolution Girl Style Now!” Then I’ll go see Kathleen and her new band, The Julie Ruin, at Burger a Go Go.
Filed under Queens of Noise
Tagged as beyonce, Bikini Kill, Billy Bordeom, Burger a Go Go, feminism, Kathi Wilcox, Kathleen hanna, Mecca Normal, punk, riot grrrl, Sia Michel, The Julie Ruin, Tobi Vail, XRay Spex