PRETTY IN PUNK
DIY franchise ani difranco sets off her own folk
it's a chilly autumn night in ney york city's lower-way,way lower-
east side, home to "one-woman acoustic punk band" ani difranco, and
i'm here to return a chain-link dog collar she left behind at the
photo shoot. difranco greets me at the door of her third-floor walk-up
with a beguiling smile and a stern Stoli-and-cranberry. "thanks," she
gushes, taking the collar and looping it around her provocatively bare
midriff, instantly transforming it into a really cool belt. "i wear it
just to set off the security alarms in airports. the strip search, the
anal probe-i live for it," she deadpans.
difranco likes to make a scene; she's been at it since the age of
nine, when she'd stun crowds of barflies with her Beatles covers.
after spending much of her adolescence pounding out tunes in local
buffalo dive, difranco put out her first album on her own label at the
tender age of 19. since the, RBR has sold over 175,000 cds-no thanks
to mtv,radio airplay,or major distribution.
difranco's now all of 25, and her seventh and latest release, NAPG,
has solidified her heroine status among female fans and critics alike.
it offers her typically frank, soul-bearing approach to topics like
abortion, bisexual impulses, and-as the title suggests-body-image
baggage. "i always get asked questions about, well, not being a pretty
girl," says difranco, who, in person, is actually sexy as hell. "i've
become the spokeswoman for ugliness everywhere-and it's been so
in a perfect world, difranco would be a spokeswoman for DIY chutzpah.
it's her kick-ass live hoedown, complete with stage dives, that has
propelled the constantly touring difranco's record sales. punk meets
folk, you're thinking, now there's an interesting concept. but hey, it
works. "people expect my kind of in-your-face approach from a punk,"
difranco says,"not from some chick with an acoustic guitar. i prefer
the power that comes from walking on stage with a little piece of wood
and really trying to communicate with people. for me, that's more punk
rock than just making a lot of noise."
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