I used to dislike Kathleen Hanna. I didn’t have a good reason, it’s just that when I was a teenager Hole were my favourite band, and Courtney Love and Hanna used to hate each other. So in my stupid teenage way I thought that meant I couldn’t like her either (I had the same issue with Nirvana and Pearl Jam).
Even though I knew it was completely illogical, this vague anti-Hanna feeling persisted until I heard a song called ‘Hot Topic’ on the radio. A cross between riot grrl and doo-wop, paying tribute to dozens of feminist icons from Sleater-Kinney to Yayoi Kusama, it was fantastic and unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Le Tigre also happened to be the new band of Kathleen Hanna, so my dislike of her seemed even sillier than it had before.
Better yet, Le Tigre then came out with Deceptacon, even better than Hot Topic, both joyous and angry, intelligent and danceable. One of my favourite songs of all time, and one of the best songs to start off your week that I can imagine.
Only years later did I find out that this was a diss track, aimed at Fat Mike from NOFX, who had criticised Hanna on the track ‘Kill Rock Stars’ for hating men (an accusation often thrown at feminists of course). It at least made me understand the line “your lyrics are as dumb as a linoleum floor”, Linoleum being a NOFX song. It’s interesting because I’m sure there are fans of Le Tigre and NOFX out there who assume they don’t like the other band because of this rivalry.
If there’s one thing that Le Tigre have taught me it’s that I shouldn’t close my mind to any band, artist or genre for spurious reasons, as you never know what you might miss.