Supported by the The Broads
Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick
29th April 2016
Photos by Mandy Hall
After founding her influential art-punk band Throwing Muses, at age 14, Kristin Hersh went on to spend the next 25 years confounding expectations and breaking rules – both her own and others’. From life as the reluctant front person for the Muses, to the solo career she swore never would happen, through the founding of an ambitious and altruistic non-profit, CASH Music and in her most recent foray into a surprisingly successful new career as an author, Kristin, like so many of us, didn’t see much of this coming.
Kristin’s solo-mostly-acoustic career spun off in 1994 and has lived in parallel to the Muses and 50FootWave. Her first solo release, Hips and Makers was widely acclaimed and since “Hips”, Kristin has released a steady stream of solid and distinctly individual solo albums. However, her latest work of passion is her beloved band, Throwing Muses’ epic work, “Purgatory / Paradise.” An entirely listener-funded recording, written and demoed in public and in full conversation with the audience meant to consume it, it was published as a book. It is an absolutely gorgeous hardcover art book with a CD mounted inside 60 lush pages of photos, lyrics and narrative prose.
In the intervening seven years since she was last in Australia, Hersh has established herself as an author as well, with the publication of the alternately harrowing and hilarious memoir, “Paradoxical Undressing” (Atlantic Books.) It is clear that Kristin possesses as unique a voice as a writer as the one for which she is known as a singer. The memoir is based on her teenage diary entries from 1985 and ’86, a period during which the young Kristin lived in her car, crashed on friend’s floors and in empty apartments, unable to sleep for hearing the strange songs for which she is now known.
Kristin Hersh always seems to have lots going on. It’s been quite an eventful career, and one the teenage girl sleeping in her car could never have seen coming; so many changes, so many variations. But at its centre, perhaps driving it all, is a happy and self-deprecating artist who has remained true to her passions, pure in her vision, and is always delivering the unexpected.