Kathleen Hanna Returns! Riot Out w/her Most Punk Moments
Bikini Kill is back… kinda. After starting Bikini Kill Records in 2012 the famous riot grrrl group has been slowly reissuing their old music. And, luckily for us, their upcoming reissue of Revolution Girl Style Now includes three previously unheard tracks from the same era as the record. The first song released via Rolling Stone is “Playground,” and it’s an almost uncharacteristic song for the original riot grrrls. Dark and fuzzy, it’s more reminiscent of Nirvana melancholy than the anthemic songs that made Bikini Kill famous. While off brand, the song still has the charm and charisma that Bikini Kill is known for with Kathleen Hanna’s unique vocals shining through the gloom. In celebration of the release of their new/old song we rounded up five of the most punk facts about Bikini Kill’s engaging front woman.
She Inspired “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
The legendary Nirvana song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was actually inspired by some Kathleen Hanna graffiti on Kurt Cobain’s wall. Back in the nineties, after a day of drinking beer and harassing right-wing pregnancies centers, Hanna drunkenly scribbled “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit,” a reference to a deodorant for teen girls. The phrase stuck with Cobain as he went on to write, arguably, the most famous Nirvana song in existence.
Despite Being Diagnosed With Lyme Disease She Continues To Perform
Okay, so being sick isn’t the most punk thing we can think of. But seriously, what’s more punk than coming back from a crippling illness stronger than ever. After she bounded off the stage at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound triumphantly returning in a cartwheel into a split, there was no way to ignore the message: I’ve won.
She’s Married To Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock)
While, Hanna is definitely not a woman defined by her husband, it’s pretty punk to be married to be a Beastie Boy. It might even be more punk once you see how head-over-heels in love they seem. "We have been together 17 years,” said Hanna. “Seventeen years, isn’t that crazy? I feel so lucky that I met the love of my life. You know somebody’s in it to win it when they’re changing your IV bag or you’re having a seizure and they’re holding you. And helping you to the bathroom. You know that they love you."
She Has A Day Dedicated To Her
Back in April, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a proclamation declaring April 9th as Riot Grrrl Day in honor of the Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin and Bikini Kill frontwoman. The Mayor wrote that Riot Grrrl Day will "commemorate, celebrate and actively promote the cultural significance of riot grrrl culture, and to inspire grrrls everywhere to shake up the status quo and create."
She Coined “Girls To The Front”
The legendary phrase “girls to the front” was first uttered by Kathleen Hanna. It was, and still is, a revolutionary sentiment. In a punk scene which was often either apathetic or violent to women in the crowd and on stage, “girls to the front” created a safe space for women to engage in punk music. This rallying cry changed the accessibility of the punk scene, opening it up to a completely new audience and making it safer for the women who were already participating.