Lance Hahn RIP

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Here's some information from the passing away of Lance. I've known him for years and years, probably met him at Epicenter around 1993, but I can't remember... but a world without Lance will be lonlier.

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Born in Hawaii, Hahn was of the generation for whom punk rock was neither a just a genre nor a passing fashion, but a way of looking at the world. “He claimed to be the first person in Hawaii with a Mohawk,” said his partner Liberty Lidz.

His band Cringer was one of the first thoroughly documented punk bands in Hawaii and - as Hahn put it on the Honey Bear webpage - the first band of his “that anyone really cares about.”

After Hahn, by then a California resident, formed J Church in 1992, the band became a staple of the San Francisco punk rock community. The band’s catchy music, do-it-yourself work ethic and Situationist leanings were both a sharp contrast and perfect fit with hundreds of faster or poppier acts.

Hahn and Lidz moved to Austin in 2000 so she could attend grad school. The Austin version of J Church included Austin punk stalwarts Chris Pfeffer on drums and Ben White on bass. (David DiDonato served as J Church’s second guitarist from 2002 to 2005.) These two line-ups produced three albums, a split LP and additional material.

Hahn was also profoundly well-liked by the American and international punk community. There were benefits held for Hahn around the world after his and Lidz’s apartment burned down in 2002, as chronicled here.

This summer, five independent labels (No Idea, Cat Food Money, Vinehell, Jerk Off and Tic Tac Totally) released “Let’s Do It For Lance!,” a J Church/Cringer tribute CD to help defray Hahn’s mounting medical bills. (He did not have health insurance at the time of his death.)

October 22, 2007

Lance Hahn Is Gone

Austin writer, journalist and musician Lance Hahn died Sunday afternoon. He had been in a coma since collapsing during dialysis treatment on Friday, October 12th. Lance was 40.

His contributions to the punk scene both in Austin and internationally are too many to list. He was the creative force behind Cringer and the prolific, self-described "anarcho-situationist pop-punk" band, J-Church. His chops on the guitar eventually landed him the job as Beck's guitarist in 1994. He toured the world with Beck and appeared on countless radio and television shows.

But just performing was not enough for Lance. He ran Honey Bear Records too, and wrote endlessly for Maximumrocknroll, Giant Robot, and his own zine, Some Hope And Some Despair, among other publications. Before his untimely death he was nearing completion on a book about the early anarcho-punk scene in the UK.

According to Liberty Lidz, Lance's longtime girlfriend, his collapse was due to a sudden, drastic drop in blood pressure, probably caused by a recurrence of an infection he had in September combined with the stress of dialysis. He received immediate CPR from medical professionals at the dialysis center, but it took more than fifteen minutes to resuscitate him. Lance suffered neurological damage from lack of oxygen to the brain, leaving him in a coma from which he never returned.

The specter of failing health followed Lance in his last months. Like so many musicians and artists in Austin, he did not have health insurance. But with the help of the world-wide punk scene, he always managed to get by. On July 7, 2007, a benefit compilation entitled "Let's Do It For Lance!" was released to help defray the cost of his medical bills. Vulcan Video, where Lance worked as a manager, had also set up a pay-pal account to collect donations towards his medical expenses.

Lance's final blog entry, on Oct.7th was short, to the point and as close to a good-bye as we will get. "Even with the drugs I feel like I've got needles in my stomach. I'm about to run out of Vicodin and I'm pretty nervous about it. I know I've said it before but I don't mind dying or getting hurt. It's the pain I can't handle."

 

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