Razorcake 105: Kathleen Hanna, Chris Dodge, MariNoami, Steve Albini

Razorcake 105

Razorcake 105: Kathleen Hanna, Chris Dodge, MariNoami, and Steve Albini

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Cover design by Lauren Denitzio
Cover photo by Chynna Monforte


Kathleen Hanna: Interview by Ever Velasquez (instagram) and Todd Taylor
“Let’s look back at the late ’80s. It was largely a grim time for punk. The first two waves had crashed and much of its initial groundbreaking diversity had been washed out. Punk on a national level was definitely out of vogue; very few clambered to participate compared to earlier in the decade. Violence was prevalent, expected.

A strident, explicitly feminist punk band called Bikini Kill formed in 1990 in Olympia, Wash. Confrontational and unrepentant, it brought out the best and worst in punks. Misogyny, sexism, and patriarchy responded with ugly reactionary displays, calling into question if punk was truly an alternative to the worst aspects of mainstream culture. Was this just the same shit with a different haircut? Bikini Kill was a lighthouse and safe harbor, fore-fronting women, making space for those traditionally pushed down and aside (including, but not limited to, circle pits, workplaces, and on the street). At a time when very few bands were having conversations about gender and sexuality, Bikini Kill used a bullhorn.

I’m not one for heroes or icons, but it’s historically accurate to state Bikini Kill was at the center of the riot grrrl movement and served as an important voice in feminism’s third wave. It’s not an overstatement to say riot grrrl saved lives. A large component of Bikini Kill was its singer and literal mouthpiece, Kathleen Hanna.

Near Bikini Kill’s end in 1997, Kathleen began recording a solo record in her bedroom. Julie Ruin is personal work. It’s both interviewer Ever’s and Kathleen’s mom’s favorite—electronic, intimate, sample-heavy—and provides the sonic bridge to Le Tigre, a band whose stock trades on bouncy, feminist rump shakers. Violence at shows plummeted. LGBTQ inclusion—reminiscent of punk’s first wave in L.A.—skyrocketed. I can’t help but think Emma Goldman is smiling from her resting place. Le Tigre had picked the lock. Finally, an inclusive, glittering revolution that was truly danceable.

Le Tigre unfortunately ended due to Kathleen’s health issues. She suffered and almost died from shamefully-undiagnosed-for-too-long Lyme disease. Thankfully, she recovered. Looking to flesh out the unrecorded songs from her solo record, The Julie Ruin was formed in 2010, reuniting Kathleen with Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill. Goddamn it, this band is really good. More than that, the music’s relevant.

There are two versions of punk in my book. There’s the contracting punk universe which becomes a dark, cynical, self-parodying, collapsing shell and there’s the expanding universe that reveals subtle new spectrums of light and pervades a sense of infinite possibilities. The Julie Ruin is the latter.

This interview, at its essence, is about the courage to restart several times—through darkness and light, through sickness and health—and continue creating truly meaningful work. Kathleen Hanna is responsible for some of my favorite music. I celebrate her entire catalog and love her voice.” –Todd Taylor

Chris Dodge: Interview by Juan Espinosa (instagram) and Todd Taylor

“Chances are you’re familiar with the name Chris Dodge if you’re at all into powerviolence, hardcore, punk, or thrash. After all, he only founded Slap A Ham Records, the premier powerviolence and hardcore punk record label of the ‘90s. The label released works from movers and shakers such as Man Is The Bastard, Crossed Out, Capitalist Casualties, and Spazz, in which he played bass and sang. Chris has also been invited to play with several of his own favorite hardcore bands including Despise You, Lack Of Interest, and Infest.

The self-described “cave dweller” currently fronts the band To The Point, is co-founder of beer snobs Trappist, and collaborated with Olav and Paul Van Den Berg of Seein’ Red/Lärm fame. We lured Chris out of his cave and into our podcast station with the promise of beer (which we fully delivered) to discuss his past achievements and current obsessions.” —Juan Espinosa

MariNaomi: Interview by Todd Taylor

“Cartoonist MariNaomi creates full worlds on the page, which is no easy feat. Largely working in autobiography and memoir, Mari employs emotionally honest storytelling and clean line work to tackle both the weighty (death, family, spirituality, misogyny, racism), and the everyday (crushes, work, food, clothes, friends) with a through-line of engaging readers as part of the conversation. Reading her work, I always feel I’m in capable hands. Her power is increased because she’s very careful with what she does and doesn’t present on the page. It’s a deceptively simple presentation.

Those of us who create know that simplicity is rarely simple. I’ve zoomed through Mari’s graphic novels Dragon’s Breath and Turning Japanese, but instead of her themes and characters evaporating quickly like cleaning fluid swiped on a pane of glass, they stuck with me in almost invisible and smoky ways. Much like smells trigger deeply embedded memories, Mari’s personal work is resonant, intersectional art of what it’s like to be human. She’s not only developed an enviable crisp craft on the page, it’s masterfully imbued with large doses of heart and humor.

My memory is total shit, so I thought it’d be fun to reintroduce younger versions of Mari to her 2018 self by researching what she’d said in the past. It turned into an unintentional episode of This Is Your Life.” –Todd Taylor

Nardwuar The Human Serviette (website) vs. Steve Albini (website)
Nardwuar: Why didn’t you like MDC? I’m just curious.
Steve: They were stupid and bad.”

Tony Kinman Obituary by David Ensminger

Donna Ramone thinks borders are bullshit. (Instagram)

Jim Ruland attempts to fulfill the dreams of a ghost. (instagram, website, twitter)

Lucky Nakazawa ain’t a free bird . (instagram, website)

Ben Snakepit is Satan’s copilot with a basket full of feminine hygiene products and clean water. (instagram, website)

MariNaomi has the jitters. (instagram, website)

Rev. Nørb leers behind the green door. (website)

Designated Dale somehow connects the invention of chocolate chip cookies with the Ramones.

Art Fuentes gives kudos to Sumos. (instagram, twitter)

Puro Pinche Poetry: Gritos Del Barrio (Edited by Ever Velasquez (instagram) and Eugenia Nicole (instagram)

Tremors
“To be a survivor is to be an earthquake.
Ergo there will be aftershocks.
Ergo there will be small tremors.
Ergo you are fault lines. You are fault. You are blame. You are lines.
You are borders. You are multiple boundaries. You are cones and
roped-off areas.
Ergo there are plates, hard embedded places shifting inside at all
times, even when you’re not aware, they are slowly chipping away at
something that at any moment, for no apparent reason, will quake.”

–Meliza Banales, aka Missy Fuego

Rhythm Chicken is spotting punk shirts in the wild. (facebook)

Jennifer Whiteford is keeping it simple; less is more.

And photos from the lovely and talented:
Dan Monick (website, twitter)

Chris Boarts Larson (facebook, website)

This issue is dedicated to the memories of Steve Soto (Adolescents), Tony Kinman (Dils), Nick Knox (Cramps), and Mike Ventura (Black Jax)

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