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Jillian Eugenios gets up close and personal with
Gossip's Hannah Blilie.
In the church where I grew up, there was a poster of two girls, their hands
dripping with tar and a boy next to them, whose hands were clean. Un-
derneath the clean kid it said, "Gossip -- don't pass it on." If gossip is
the sin of disobedient behaviour, it makes sense that Gossip, the grungy
American punk band, have been making waves around the world with their
subversive, in-your-face queer music.
I sat down with Gossip's tattooed, androgynous, and totally sexy drum-
mer Hannah Blilie, who calls herself "the shy one." Hannah and her band
mates Beth Ditto and Brace Paine are heading to Australia in February to
play the Good Vibrations festival. "I'm stoked. I love Australia," Hannah
said, "it's not a stuffy culture at all. People like to party down under." Her
favourite city is Melbourne, which she likes for its underground music
scene and close-knit community.
Hannah herself is from a small town, and I had to ask what it's like to go
from playing in dirty, illegal clubs to hanging out with Kate Moss during
Paris Fashion Week. She said, "It's this weird world that we're entering
into that we're not entirely comfortable with yet. We feel really lucky that
people have responded in the way they have. But at the same time, coming
from this punk, queer, small community background, we wonder if people
really understand us. Are they singing 'Standing in the Way of Control'
and knowing what the song is about?"
Whether or not people know that when they sing along to Gossip they're
singing about queer empowerment and hard-core feminism, Music for
Men has skyrocketed in sales and garnered a worldwide following. Still,
Hannah told me she prefers to stay in the shadows, though she did lend
her face to the album cover. The image of Hannah was a random promo
shot that "Beth saw and really liked. With the title of the record it means
something to have an androgynous woman on the cover of Music for Men.
We thought it gave it a more radical, serious thing. We were thinking of it
as a statement because it is our ﬁrst mainstream major label release and to
put this very gay image on there was an intentional political thing."
Politics aside, Hannah said she couldn't be happier rocking out for a
living, and that playing gigs and selling records makes her "feel really
proud and crazy and I want to cry, I can't believe this is happening. Just
from where we came from, and not really ever wanting success or really
looking for it, just being happy making music, working really hard but
not really caring about how many records we sold and s----. Having the
opportunity to play for so many people ﬁlls your heart up. It’s just kind of
Believe it -- Hannah is our hero and Gossip is your new favourite band.
Pass it on.
The Good Vibrations festival is heading to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and
the Gold Coast. Info at goodvibrations.com. Need more Gossip? For a re-
view of Music for Men, or for more of Jillian's interview notes on Hannah
(including what the tattoo is of on her upper thigh), go to lotl.com.
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