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The Gossip

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Biography

Over the course of nearly two decades, the Gossip evolved from a stripped-down punk trio to a band capable of reworking disco, pop, and R&B in ways that felt fresh and genuine -- and made an icon out of lead singer Beth Ditto in the process. Originally from Searcy, Arkansas, Ditto, guitarist Nathan Howdeshell (aka Brace Paine), and drummer Kathy Mendonça moved to Olympia, Washington and formed the band in 1999. That year, they released a self-titled 7" on K Records, while their full-length debut, That's Not What I Heard, was distributed by Kill Rock Stars in late 2000. The Gossip were highly visible due to their exposure in magazines like Out and The Advocate, becoming icons in the gay and lesbian indie rock community. After touring with the White Stripes and Sleater-Kinney, they went back to the studio to record a follow-up, 2002's Arkansas Heat EP. They returned the following year with Movement, while Nathan also performed with Die Monitr Batss. Mendonça left the group in 2003 to become a midwife, and new drummer Hannah Billie joined the Gossip before they recorded 2005's Standing in the Way of Control, which incorporated elements of dance-punk into their raw, urgent sound. GSSP RMX, which further emphasized their more danceable direction, was released in 2006. The concert album Live in Liverpool arrived in the U.K. in late 2007 and was then issued in the U.S. by the band's new label, the Sony imprint Red Ink, in spring 2008. Rework-It, a remix compilation, followed that summer, with Music for Men appearing in 2009. The album made significant waves in the U.K. and expanded the band's fan base dramatically. In 2012, the group returned with A Joyful Noise, a poppier set produced by Xenomania member Brian Higgins. Three years later, the Gossip disbanded when Howdeshell returned to Arkansas. Ditto pursued a solo career, releasing her debut album, Fake Sugar, in 2017. ~ Zac Johnson
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