Riot grrrls the Throwing Muses (with Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersh) pioneered alternative rock before the term existed.
Throwing Muses infobytes
- This talented stepsister duo changed the face of alternative rock before it even had one.
- They toured the UK… with the Pixies supporting.
- They formed ‘Gut Pageants’ where the audience would travel to venues to hear them play.
The Throwing Muses were a Boston band pioneering ‘alternative rock’ years before the term existed, and are often cited as being one of the top ten Riot grrl icons. The band was formed in 1983 by step-sisters Kristin Hersh (vocals/guitar) and Tanya Donelly (guitar/vocals), who were both at high school at the time. The line-up was completed by bassist Elaine Adamedes and drummer Becca Blumen, who eventually gave way to Leslie Langston and David Narcizo respectively.
Arresting and unsettling, Kristin’s work was possibly influenced by a bi-polar disorder which caused songs to ‘force’ themselves upon her. Meaning was subordinate to mood, with the likes of “Vicky’s Box“, “Hate My Way” and “America (She Can’t Say No)” alluding to identity questioning and societal disquiet via oblique imagery and textured, tempo-shifting sound.
The Throwing Muses joined the dots between elliptical post-punk, harmonious folk jangle and rockabilly thunder. This versatility complimented Kristin’s intuitive, dextrous singing, which reached its zenith on “Delicate Cutters”.
Throwing Muses won instant acclaim in the UK. Their second album March Tornado was accompanied by a memorable UK tour with the Pixies supporting.
Tanya left the band in 1992 to help Kim Deal launch The Breeders before finding further public and critical acclaim with her own group Belly.
The Throwing Muses recorded and toured extensively until 1997 and band members came and went as members focused on their own projects, with releases being consistently critically acclaimed. The Throwing Muses always had a devoted fanbase to pull them through, too. They’ve worked with Michael Stipe, members of the Patti Smith band, Husker Du… they’re legendary.