The Julie Ruin
THE JULIE RUIN AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Wednesday, January 15 @ The Corner with New War + Grouse DJs. Tickets on sale now from The Corner box office.
SYDNEY: Friday, January 17 @ The Factory Theatre with Early Woman + DJ Sveta. Tickets on sale now from The Factory box office.
HOBART: Saturday, January 18 @ MONA FOMA. Tickets & info here.
“In The Julie Ruin, Hanna is still the woman so many have admired, even idolised; but she’s also fully herself, quirky and vulnerable, less a role model than a three-dimensional best friend” – NPR
“Hanna is one of America’s greatest living rock performers” – THE NEW YORKER
Mistletone presents the first ever Australian tour by The Julie Ruin. Led by Riot Grrrl pioneer Katheen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) and backed by her hand-picked, dream-come-true band (including former Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox and Kenny Mellman of Kiki and Herb fame), The Julie Ruin is an energetic dance-punk whirlwind, the live band providing a tight musical backbone to Hanna’s iconic vocal style. A fresh and fierce expression of Hanna’s whip-smart wit and danceable, raw punk licks, The Julie Ruin will thrill long time fans and newcomers in the wake of the legacy-building documentary film, The Punk Singer. A celebrated, outspoken figure at the forefront of feminist punk, Kathleen Hanna is as vital and relevant as ever, and set to deliver a powerful punch of dance punk to Australian audiences. The Julie Ruin’s debut album Run Fast is out now via Fuse Music Group.
“That girl she holds her head up so high, I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah.” So go the lyrics to Bikini Kill’s punk rock “Rebel Girl.” In 1990s Olympia, Washington, feminist activist Kathleen Hanna was the very girl she sang about-headstrong, seemingly self-confident, and a natural leader. A spoken word poet turned musician, she spearheaded the so-called “Riot grrrl” movement, igniting a revolution with feminist politics and DIY ‘zines that confronted sexism in the media representation of women. But Hanna, the famously outspoken icon that many looked to as a voice of third wave feminism stopped performing in 2005. Six years later she was diagnosed with an advanced case of Lyme disease.
In the feature-length documentary The Punk Singer, director Sini Anderson documents Kathleen Hanna’s legacy using 20 years of archival footage. Interviews with Hanna, Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman and JD Samson, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Hanna’s husband (and Beastie Boy) Adam Horowitz, among others, bring an intimacy to the film and to this vital, influential artist. As Hanna tells the camera, “I lied when I said I was done. I knew I wasn’t done. Singing’s my life, and I have to do it or I’m gonna go totally bananas“. Thus proving she’s still the rebel girl who’s the queen of our hearts.
THE JULIE RUIN BIO:
In 1997, while on break from the iconic punk band, Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna wrote and produced a solo record under the pseudonym of Julie Ruin. The album is considered a classic of subversive pop and has been praised by artists ranging from Kim Gordon to Mykki Blanco. Kathleen had always planned to perform the songs live, so in 1998 she and her friend Johanna Fateman went down in a dingy East Village basement and tried to learn how to play the Julie Ruin record, but instead began writing the first Le Tigre record, a hugely influential album from a band who went on to release three full-length albums and tour extensively until 2006.
In 2010, with Le Tigre on hiatus, Kathleen tried again. She had heard that her Bikini Kill bandmate, Kathi Wilcox, was moving from Washington, D.C. to NYC and asked her if she would consider playing bass in the new project. To Kathleen’s delight, Kathi agreed.
Kathleen had seen the legendary punk cabaret act Kiki and Herb (Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman, respectively) shortly after she moved to NYC in 1998. In that act, she found solace and a sense that she wasn’t alone in her art-making. Like her take on feminism, Kiki and Herb took queer activism, mixed it with the traditions of cabaret, added in a punk sensibility, and created an enduring act that lasted the better part of 16 years, toured the world and was nominated for a Tony Award. Kenny once sent Kathleen a gushing fan letter only to be surprised when she wrote him one back. After Kiki and Herb ended, Kenny continued working in the downtown scene and was a co-creator of the cult show Our Hit Parade. As a solo artist he has opened for The Magnetic Fields and recorded with the Stephin Merritt side project, The 6ths. Kathleen emailed Kenny in 2010 and asked if he might want to try writing country songs together. They got together once, worked on a song, and even though the song never materialized Kathleen knew they would work well together. The next email Kathleen sent him was to ask if he would play keyboard in The Julie Ruin. He, of course, said yes!
Kathleen met Carmine Covelli when he joined the Le Tigre world tour in 2004 as the video and lighting tech guru. During that tour he filmed a chunk of live performance and behind-the-scenes footage that ended up in Who Took The Bomp?, the documentary about Le Tigre’s final tour. Carmine comes from a musical background of metal, hardcore and punk. He is also an actor, performer and sound artist in the experimental downtown theater scene, performing at such places at PS122, St. Marks Church, DTW, and The Kitchen. In 2007, Kathleen saw a solo show of his called “Are You There Galapagos? It’s Me, Carmine.” She found the show so smart and funny that she couldn’t stop thinking about it. She had also seen him play drums in a few acts around town, so one night during her birthday party she asked him to join the band.
Kathleen met Sara Landeau in 2006, when they taught and coached bands at The Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in Brooklyn. Sara studied at the New School and Juilliard, and graduated from Columbia University. She now runs her own music school and teaches guitar and drums to young women all over NYC. She spends her days advocating for girls of all ages to learn to play rock music, form bands, and develop self-empowerment through music. Sara had been in a host of punk bands that played shows around NYC, and had a unique killer surfy guitar style that Kathleen loved and thought would enhance The Julie Ruin sound.
The group began practicing even before Kathi moved to NYC and was able to join them. They loved the challenge of taking the solo recordings from the Julie Ruin record and recrafting them for a full band. At the end of most rehearsals they would just jam. Those jams turned into the songs that now form Run Fast, the band’s debut album. From the raw opener, “Oh Come On,” to the soulful “Just My Kind” (produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy), to the synth-heavy title track, “Run Fast,” the album captures the band’s many sides. Through it all, Kathleen’s vocals connect all the dots.
Besides the James Murphy track and a couple of songs that Kathleen mixed on her own, the album was mixed by Eli Crews, who tracked and mixed tUnE-yArDs album, whokill.
As to why Kathleen took so long to return to music, the answer is to be found in the documentary film The Punk Singer, that Sini Anderson and Tamra Davis made about her. A hit on the festival circuit, The Punk Singer follows Kathleen for a year, during which she discovers that she has Lyme Disease which had gone undiagnosed for years. After extensive treatment, Kathleen’s illness is now in remission, and she has become an advocate for Lyme Disease education.
The Julie Ruin is very excited to be touring Australia for the first time to support the release of Run Fast, out now via Fuse Music Group.