In conjuction with the Museum’s Modern Women initiative, PopRally presents An Evening with the Raincoats at MoMA on Saturday, November 20. Today’s guest blogger, Kathleen Hanna—founding member of Bikini Kill, co-creator of the zine Riot Grrrl, and lead singer of the dance-punk band Le Tigre—will DJ the event.In 1990 I was given a mixtape with The Raincoats’ “Fairytale in the Supermarket” on it. It was the first time I’d ever heard them, and to this day it remains one of my favorite songs. As a 20-year-old who had just starting touring with a band, the song opened up a whole new world to me—one where I didn’t have to play guitar solos or make music the same way my male peers did.
The Raincoats didn’t hand me some cool perfection to emulate. They sounded more like a bunch of nutty explorers who had left their maps on the train. Did I rush out and learn about atonal arrangements or hang up a flier looking for a violinist after I heard them? No. But when I was told (way TOO many times!) that what I was making was “therapy not art” or “not real music,” instead of reciting a list that proved how important I really was, I just smirked and said, “And so?”
On Saturday, November 20, I am going to DJ before The Raincoats play at MoMA, and while I am hoping to get carried away by the moment and play whatever seems right at the time, you can bet I won’t be playing any perfectly constructed, impenetrable songs—unless of course they also happen to contain the sound I first heard on that cassette. The sound of women making art.
Tickets are still available for PopRally Presents: An Evening with The Raincoats, Saturday, November 20, at 8:30 p.m. To hear more from Kathleen Hanna about The Raincoats, DJing at MoMA, and music in general, check out this interview.