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UnRated Magazine Review: House of Blues - Chicago, IL - April 18, 2006
Band Interview
Kill Hannah: Interview with Johnny Radtke

Kill Hannah: Interview with Johnny Radtke

House of Blues - Chicago, IL - April 18, 2006

Interview by Michelle Russo
Photos by Amie Mayes

Kill Hannah formed in 1995 in a dorm room at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Although the line-up morphed over the first few years, until the addition of Jon Radtke in 2000, one thing has remained consistent: From the very beginning Kill Hannah have been one of the hardest-working groups in the city. It was not uncommon to see members of the band endure rain and snow to hand out flyers to strangers after shows, as they still do to this day. Eventually the band's determination paid off as a following exploded to the point where Kill Hannah were selling out bi-monthly gigs at Chicago's world-famous Metro club, forging the same path as previous local legends, The Smashing Pumpkins. (Biography courtesy of KillHanna.com. April 2006.)


Michelle Russo: How do you feel this new upcoming album will take off?

Johnny Radtke: Our new album is not out but we feel when it comes out, that it will make its mark.

Michelle: Where did you get the name "Kill Hannah"?
Johnny: Matt's ex-girlfriend was named Hannah.

Michelle Russo: You use Chicago landmarks in your songs, what is your favorite landmark in Chicago?
Johnny: It's not my favorite but it comes to mind, the Ulysses S. Grant statue in Lincoln Park because no one is ever really there and it gives it a nice, haunted feeling.

Michelle: Do you write your songs from personal experience, streams of consciousness, visions, or dreams?
Johnny: All of the above.

Michelle: The song "Kennedy", what inspired that idea to be "earthshattering"?
Johnny: There is something romantic about the tragedy of the family. The song can relate to anybody's own personal story.

Kill Hannah

Michelle: What is your take on Chicago's music scene (industry), is there artistic freedom with the record labels?
Johnny: It's starting to blossom again.

Michelle: Has success spoiled you yet?
Johnny: No, definitely not. It has not and never will.

Michelle: Do you feel you are portraying a message to the masses? Something that the people can relate to?
Johnny: Definitely. They kind of are based around alienation, loss, and relationship. The big thing though, we can give it all back to the fans since they gave so much to us, we will sit outside for hours signing autographs, talking to fans, and shaking hands because they are the reason we are where we are.

Michelle: What are some tips to surviving bands that are just starting out?
Johnny: Stick with it. We were first told we would never make it, so we just kept trying and we finally got signed.

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