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Le Tigre

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Le Tigre
Le Tigre performing in 2004
Le Tigre performing in 2004
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
Years active
  • 1998–2007
  • 2010
  • 2016[4]
  • 2022–present[5]
Past membersSadie Benning

Le Tigre (/lə ˈtɡrə/, French pronunciation: [lə tiɡʁ]; French for "The Tiger") is an American art punk and riot grrrl band formed by Kathleen Hanna (of Bikini Kill), Johanna Fateman and Sadie Benning in 1998 in New York City. Benning left in 2000 and was replaced by JD Samson. They mixed punk's directness and politics with playful samples, eclectic pop, and lo-fi electronics. Like with many bands in and from the riot grrrl movement, many of the lyrics addressed feminist themes and ideas. The group also added multimedia and performance art elements to their live shows, which often featured support from like-minded acts such as the Need.[6]


1998–2000: Formation and Le Tigre[edit]

Following the breakup of Bikini Kill in 1998, Kathleen Hanna released a solo album under the pseudonym Julie Ruin and moved to New York, where she wanted to perform Julie Ruin songs live. Not wanting to perform the material alone, she recruited Johanna Fateman, whom Hanna had known since meeting at a Bikini Kill concert several years prior. Sadie Benning, who had helped Hanna make a music video for the Julie Ruin song "Aerobicide", also joined in order to help with visuals and translating the music into performable material. These performances never happened, and instead resulted in the formation of a new band entirely, Le Tigre.[7]

While Benning was still in Chicago, Hanna and Fateman began sharing cassettes between the three band members, with songs that would eventually become material for Le Tigre. They took their name from one of many hypothetical bands made up by Hanna c. 1994.[8]

The band signed with Mr. Lady Records, as Hanna and Fateman had met the label's owners while they were in Portland, Oregon. Hanna called the signing "a logical choice" because of the label's greater political commitment over their music releases.[9]

The band's first album, Le Tigre, was released in October 1999. The band's original live performances consisted of Hanna, Fateman and Sadie performing music, along with JD Samson, a roadie they had met in September 1999, who manually operated a slideshow as a visual component to their music, as the band could not afford a projector at the time.[8]

Le Tigre performing in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the early 2000s

2000–2004: From The Desk of Mr. Lady EP and Feminist Sweepstakes[edit]

In 2000, Benning left the band to focus on filmmaking.[10] As the band was already into a month-long tour, they asked Samson to fill in during live performances. The band had already been considering increasing the involvement of Samson as possibly a backup singer or dancer, so they asked them to become an official member. Hanna remarked that "JD added an undeniable flair and charisma to the live show and took to touring and recording like a fish to water."[8]

In October 2001, the band released their second album, Feminist Sweepstakes.

In 2003, Le Tigre collaborated with Chicks on Speed on their cover of Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood" from their album 99 Cents along with other artists such as Miss Kittin, Kevin Blechdom, ADULT.'s Nicola Kuperus, and Tina Weymouth of Tom Tom Club.[11] The cover became a moderate dance hit in Europe, peaking at number five on the Belgian Dance Chart,[12] and at number sixty-six on the UK Singles Chart.[13][14]

2004–2007: Major label deal, This Island and hiatus[edit]

In March 2004, Le Tigre signed with Strummer, a subsidiary of major label Universal Records,[15] a move described by Kathleen Hanna as a make-or-break for the band, who were considering breaking up due to exhaustion.[16] In June 2004, Mr. Lady closed down,[17] and the band began reissuing their back catalogue under their own label, Le Tigre Records, with distribution from Touch & Go Records.[18]

They released their debut major-label album, This Island, in October 2004. The album was a moderate success, selling over 90,000 copies in the US.[19]

The band entered a "long hiatus" in August 2007, due to the band being burnt out from touring This Island, and the band members wanting to "do their own thing".[19][20]

2010–present: Brief reunions[edit]

In 2010, Le Tigre briefly returned from a hiatus[21] to produce Christina Aguilera's "My Girls", from her sixth studio album Bionic. The track features Peaches.[22]

Le Tigre members JD Samson and Johanna Fateman collaborated with Russian activists Pussy Riot during a concert organised by Vice magazine in 2014, performing Le Tigre's “Deceptacon”.[23] Later, in 2015, they reunited with Pussy Riot to record a song and video for Netflix series House of Cards.[24]

In September 2016, the band announced they were reuniting just to release a "special song".[25] On October 19, 2016, Le Tigre released the song, titled "I'm With Her", and its accompanying video to voice their support of the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.[26]

In December 2021, the band announced they would be getting together to play at This Ain't No Picnic Festival in 2022.[27]

In January 2023, the band announced they would be reuniting for the first tour in eighteen years.[5]


Involvement in Michigan Womyn's Music Festival[edit]

Le Tigre, along with several acts from Mr. Lady, played at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in 2001 and 2005. This festival became controversial for its "womyn-born womyn" stance and exclusion of trans women from the festival,[28] leading critics to accuse Mr. Lady and Le Tigre of being transphobic. Several acts from the label, including Le Tigre and The Butchies, received verbal harassment and death threats as a result of playing at the 2001 festival.[29]

In 2014, amid a boycott of the festival led by Equality Michigan, a group of fans dropped a banner that read "Apologise for Michigan" at a Julie Ruin concert at the Mod Club, Toronto, calling for Hanna to apologise for their performances at the festival.[30] JD Samson released a statement in response, announcing a personal boycott of the festival until all self-identified women were included.[31] The festival shut down in 2015.[32] Hanna has not directly addressed their participation in the festival, but in 2018 has said on Twitter that she supports trans rights.[33]

Le Tigre's "Deceptacon" featuring their use of "bomp"
Barry Mann's "Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)" Le Tigre got the "bomp" from

Deceptacon copyright lawsuit[edit]

In October 2021, Hanna and Fateman countersued singer-songwriter Barry Mann, who sent the band cease-and-desist letters after claiming the song "Deceptacon" was infringing the copyright on his song "Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)". Hanna and Fateman argued that the use of "bomp" was transformative of the song and was also a critique of the messaging in Mann's song.[34] They settled the case in November 2021, with the dispute "amicably resolved by a confidential settlement agreement without any public admission of liability", according to Pitchfork.[35]

Band members[edit]



  1. ^
    • Kearney, Mary Celeste (July 13, 2017). Gender and Rock. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-029769-5. Retrieved November 24, 2017 – via Google Books.
    • "The Punk Singer: meet the original Riot Grrrl". 7 October 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
    • Inc, CMJ Network (11 October 2004). "CMJ New Music Report". CMJ Network, Inc. Retrieved 6 December 2017 – via Google Books. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Le Tigre Reunite". Pitchfork. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b Blistein, Jon (24 January 2023). "Le Tigre Roar Back for First Tour in 18 Years". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
  6. ^ 5 “Music for Everyone.” Contact - Spotify, www.spotify.com/.
  7. ^ "'Le Tigre' Turns 20". Stereogum. 2019-10-25. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  8. ^ a b c "Just the Facts, Ma'am". www.letigreworld.com. Archived from the original on 22 April 2006. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  9. ^ "SPOTLIGHT". www.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  10. ^ ""We were ahead of our time": Le Tigre talk politics and fashion faux…". The Face. 2023-04-17. Retrieved 2024-04-11.
  11. ^ Phares, Heather (2003). "99 Cents - Chicks on Speed". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be - Chicks On Speed - Wordy Rappinghood". Ultratop (in Dutch). Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  13. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Chicks On Speed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  15. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2004-03-11). "Le Tigre Inks With Strummer/Universal". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  16. ^ "Le Tigre". Pollstar. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  17. ^ "DISCORDER Farewell, Mr. Lady". 2007-09-27. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  18. ^ "Le Tigre / Interviews / Silent Uproar". silentuproar.com. Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  19. ^ a b Peters, Mitchell (2008-02-19). "Le Tigre Members Tour Behind New Project". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  20. ^ "The Latest on Le Tigre: DVD, Teaching, DJ Dates". Pitchfork. 2007-08-20. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  21. ^ "The Latest on Le Tigre: DVD, Teaching, DJ Dates". Pitchfork. 20 August 2007.
  22. ^ "Le Tigre Working With Christina Aguilera - Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  23. ^ "VICE 20th Pussy Riot Performs Le Tigre's Deceptacon - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Pussy Riot's "Don't Cry Genocide" Featuring Le Tigre Members Appears on "House of Cards" - Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Le Tigre Reunite | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  26. ^ "New Music: Le Tigre Return With Pro-Hillary "I'm With Her"". 19 October 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  27. ^ "The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and le Tigre to Perform at 2022 This Ain't No Picnic Festival". Pitchfork. 3 December 2021.
  28. ^ Vitello, Paul (August 20, 2006). "The Trouble When Jane Becomes Jack". The New York Times. Archived from the original on Jan 9, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2024.
  29. ^ http://eminism.org/michigan/20011007-carns.txt Archive at the Wayback Machine (archived February 17, 2022)
  30. ^ Trapunski, Richard (2014-04-07). "Fans demand an apology from Kathleen Hanna in Toronto Julie Ruin concert banner drop". Chart Attack. Archived from the original on 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2016-02-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  31. ^ jdsamson. "For My Community | JD SAMSON". Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  32. ^ Holden, Dominic (22 April 2015). "Michigan Music Festival That Excluded Transgender People To Shut Down". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  33. ^ "Kathleen Hanna on Twitter". Twitter. 2018-10-22. Archived from the original on 2022-12-28. Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  34. ^ Hussey, Allison (9 October 2021). "Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman Sue Over "Deceptacon" Copyright Infringement Accusation". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2022-02-17.
  35. ^ "Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman Settle Le Tigre "Deceptacon" Lawsuit". Pitchfork. 2021-11-02. Retrieved 2022-02-17.

External links[edit]