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Kristin Hersh

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Biography

Kristin Hersh (born August 7, 1966) is an American singer/songwriter. She is the lead singer and guitarist for alternative rock group Throwing Muses and the hardcore punk-influenced power trio 50 Foot Wave. She has written a memoir, titled Rat Girl, which was published in the USA by Penguin Books on August 31, 2010 and is co-founder of the non-profit, open-source software project for recording artists, CASH Music.

Early life

Born in Atlanta as Martha Kristin Hersh, she was raised in Newport, Rhode Island. She learned guitar at age nine from her father, and started writing songs soon after. As a teenager, she formed Throwing Muses in the early 1980s with stepsister Tanya Donelly and other high school friends.

Hersh has listed among her early musical influences The Raincoats, Talking Heads, Violent Femmes, Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys, Hüsker Dü, Velvet Underground, R.E.M., and X. She has said her parents’ albums by Patti Smith, the Carter Family, Stevie Wonder, Robert Johnson, Talking Heads, The Clash, Steve Miller, The Beatles, Philip Glass, and traditional music influenced her when she was growing up.

Throwing Muses and early solo work

Hersh began singing and writing most of Throwing Muses’ songs in changing tempos, with Donelly also singing and writing some of the songs. Early in the band’s career, Hersh became friends with Betty Hutton while both were students at Salve Regina University. Hutton attended several Throwing Muses concerts.

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