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Kathleen Hanna to Tell Life Story in ‘Rebel Girl’ Memoir

Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman plans spring release for autobiography that includes passages on her bandmates, Kurt Cobain, and others

Kathleen Hanna will look back on her turbulent formative years and success as the singer for Bikini Kill and Le Tigre in a new memoir, Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk, out May 14.

The book will chronicle the tumult that surrounded Hanna’s childhood, as well as her epiphanies at Olympia, Washington’s Evergreen College where she launched a fanzine called Bikini Kill and later a like-named band with drummer Tobi Vail and bassist-singer Kathi Wilcox. She’ll also recall how hard it was to tour, especially when, as a feminist, she attracted chauvinist attacks. The book will contain her insights on the formative years of the riot grrrl movement and her misgivings about what the publisher describes as the scenes “later exclusivity.”


Leeta Harding

She’ll also write about her friendships with musicians, including Kurt Cobain (Hanna inspired the title “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), Ian MacKaye (who produced Bikini Kill’s 1992 self-titled debut), and Joan Jett (who produced Bikini Kill’s rally-cry single, “Rebel Girl”). She also writes about falling in love with and eventually marrying Adam Horovitz (aka the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock) and finding life outside of Bikini Kill in her group, the Julie Ruin, and Le Tigre. She also writes about her battle of living with Lyme disease.

Earlier this year, Hanna reunited with Le Tigre and booked a string of tour dates that run through the end of July. She reunited with Bikini Kill for a short tour in 2019 (which included a performance of “Rebel Girl” with Joan Jett) with more dates in the past two years. In 2020, she told Rolling Stone that the reunion had been positive for her. “We are getting so much more positivity and love than ever before,” she said, “and we’re not having to spend all of our energy being upset that a fanzine we like just wrote a whole article about my ass.”

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