This is the second in a series of posts about Riot Grrrl, the feminist punk rock movement. The previous part is a BBC documentary that you can listen to here: Part 1: Riot Grrrls.
To continue with our rediscovery of Riot Grrrl, here’s an interview from CBC Radio of one of its pioneers: Kathleen Hanna. Lead singer and songwriter of the seminal Riot Grrrl band Bikini Kill, she looks back on her beginnings with the band and the movement in Olympia, Washington: her anger, the deliberate amateurism, her unvarnished performances that were often met with negative reactions and even violence. She reflects on the evolutions of feminism and Bikini Kill’s influence on today’s bands such as Pussy Riot.
As you might have guessed, this new documentary is about Nirvana. Well, not so much about them than about what lead to them. The Road to Nirvana explores the succession of events that reinvented alternative american rock throughout the 80s, paving the way for a group of charismatic Seattle junkies to become the biggest band in the world and change the face of music, for better and for worse.
In the first part of The Road to Nirvana, Mark Sutherland tells the story of how, in the early 80s, British Punk’s freshness and desire to strip down music to its most basic and minimal form inspired many local bands in America. Though punk never made it to the US mainstream as it did in the UK, local scenes tousands of miles away from each other became more and more vibrant: Minneapolis had Hüsker Dü, Boston had the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr., NYC had Sonic Youth… Though being played on conventional media was unthinkable, these bands were in heavy rotation on college radios, creating the College Rock movement. But one band managed to break into the mainstream: REM.