Lance Hahn
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Austin-based musician, journalist and punk rock icon Lance Hahn died Sunday after a long illness brought on by complications from kidney disease.

He was 40.

Hahn was best known for the prolific rock band J Church, which since its inception in 1992 produced dozens of singles, EPs, and albums of sharp, melodic songs mixed with punk attitude. As Hahn was quoted in 1995, “A lot of people write trying to keep track of all the records we put out. I can’t even remember.” (The band was only three years old at the time.)

Hahn also played in the punk band Cringer from 1984 to 1991, played guitar for the rock musician Beck in 1994, owned and operated the Honey Bear record label, was a long-time contributor to the international punk rock magazine “Maximum Rock n Roll,” and published the zine “Some Hope and Some Despair.” Many unfamiliar with Hahn’s music knew him as a manager at the Vulcan Video store on South Congress.

At the time of his death, Hahn was near completion on a book about the history of anarchist punk bands, portions of which have been excerpted in "Maximum Rock n Roll."

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, the band became a staple of the San Francisco punk rock community. The group’s catchy music, do-it-yourself work ethic and Situationist leanings were both a sharp contrast and perfect fit with hundreds of heavier 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.)

More information about Hahn and J Church can be found at their webpage and MySpace page.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

He will be missed.

(Photo by Dave Deluxe, COURTESY OF J-CHURCH.COM)
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Oct. 22, 2007.
Memories & Condolences
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34 entries
March 16, 2020
Johnny Baker
July 7, 2017
Valenda Newell
February 27, 2008
Lance was an inspiring person who will be sadly missed. Never met but we communicatd by email and I always got a good feeling from him
steve zounds
November 19, 2007
thank you Lance
November 16, 2007
i didn't have the honor to actually know lance, but i still grew up with j church; lance changed my life. being from los angeles it really sucked not being able to go to cringer or j church shows like others have.

i used to sit and think of what i was going to say to lance if i ever got the chance to meet him.

i did finally get that chance back in 2001 during the fat wreck chords tour. i got there early so i could say hi to him. not once did he make me feel like an over bearing, rediculous fan wasting his time, he was so nice to me and talked for a few minutes. i'll never forget our small encounter.

j church has always been so special to me, the music helped me descover myself and has helped through tough times. almost everything in my life has something to do with j church... hell, even my AIM name is j church rules.... they are a unicorn in a sea of bands out there just trying to be #1.

lance actually cares about the people listening to his songs. his music is perfectly written and gets to the point dealing with everyday situations like riding the bus or talking with a friend.

i just can't believe we have to live in a world without lance and j church.

my heart is shattered to pieces; i can't imagine how some of you feel that actually know him and love him. my thoughts are with you.

just know that lance inspired this kid from LA and i love him for that. if there is such a thing as a hero, lance hahn is mine.

love you lance.
andy reimann
November 12, 2007
I was fortunate enough to see Lance Perform in Minneapolis in the early 1990's with the then newly formed J Church. As a big fan of Cringer, it was amazing to see Lance in person and play with so much passion. I imagine I'll be listening to his music for the rest of my days- Lance's life work will always exist and touch so many lives.
Tom Haugen
November 11, 2007
As a lontime admirer of Lance & his bands,I'm glad that I was able to say "hi" to him as we passed each other on the street the last time I was in Austin. The simple,yet warm "Hey,what's up?" that he returned on that Saturday night will stay with me for an immeasurable time. Thanks for everything,Lance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lindell Miami
November 9, 2007
I was first introduced to J.Church in '96 when I was 17, by Don who's now my husband. We were in his bedroom w/a couple of friends sitting on the floor listening to records,& Don put on The Drama of Alienation. I loved it,& J.Church immediatly became one of my favorite bands & still is to this day. Lance will continue to live through in his music & writings. He was/is a great inspiration & will be missed.
Kristen Dailey
November 5, 2007
I was at the doctors office this morning talking about Lance Hahn. Punks die too young. Cringer was my first look at Lance Hahn in '92, and is and always will be one of my favorite bands. I was so happy to see his name in MRR when he would write about the anarcho punk bands. His dedication to his work in the punk sub-world is one that will always be an influence, and I hope will influence people in the future.
Don Dailey
November 5, 2007
Lance was an inspiring force in the DIY scene.
Bill Taylor
November 3, 2007
I first heard J Church back in 1999 when a friend put Nostalgic For Nothing and Arbor Vitae on a cassette for me. I played that tape constantly until it snapped and tangled in my walkman. Rarely has a week gone by since then that I haven't listened to a J Church record. There is no hyperbole in saying that Lance was one of the finest songwriters in recent times, in punk or any other genre. I've had the pleasure of meeting him and watching his shows here in England a few times, and I found him both accomodating and humble. I've watched so many bands play but easily forget about them a few days later. I still remember every detail of the J Church gigs I've been to. That alone is testament to Lance; he will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace.
Kelvin Tame
November 1, 2007
October 31, 2007
This has been a really sad,sad day for me...I just found out about about lance..Cringer-J-church got me through some tough times in my life..I live in a small town in southeast GA..And for the few of us smart enough to understand that there is more to life than country music,hunting,and CB radios..Lance will forever be remembered as a savior,and genious..Thank you for the great music,shows,and more than you'll ever know..RIP..Justin Ahnen
Justin Ahnen
October 28, 2007
lance was a great guy, and a continuing inspiration in the musical ups and downs of life. he lent me his guitar when camper van beethoven played in hawaii in 1987. it was a shock to see him in SF in the early 90s, but then the rise of J Church really made the scene amazing. too many people need musicians like lance alive, it's more than a shame when we lose them.
Jonathan segel
October 26, 2007
I do not know much about punk music, but his age and great accomplishments caught my attention..May GOD be with you and comfort you in the days ahead. My sincere sympathy.
Barbara Mills
October 25, 2007
I dug it all Lance,
Brian issokat
October 25, 2007
Lance, your music means the world to me, and through those many songs, you've been part of my life for almost two decades. I'm heartbroken to hear of your death, but I'm grateful that I still have your songs. I've always thought of you every time I smell cilantro, and that will continue.
Kate Crane
October 25, 2007
Lance, miss the days we used to hang out with Ryan D, Renee A, the two Joey L's, and Francis Y on Kamehameha's Bus Way.

Derek Mau
October 24, 2007
This is such a loss to the music world, the world of thought and to those of us whose worlds he crossed into. You are sorely missed Lance and will remain so
Reneé Payne
October 24, 2007
Knew Lance as "Hahn Solo" in High School. He was also a great guy to know and a kind individual. Although I never kept in touch with him through the years, I'm glad he was able to touch so many lives through his music. Much Aloha to his wife and those that were able to be with him towards the last year of his life. Rock on Lance!
Aaron R.
October 24, 2007
So young, he left a mark on the world larger than most. Even in high school, as young as he was, the path he chose was true to his heart. He will be missed but not forgotten.
Kamehameha Schools Class of '85
Michelle "Miki"
October 23, 2007
Goodbye Lance--
We were roomates on Sycamore St. and coworkers at SANE/FREEZE in SF during the early 1990s. It's been a long time since I've seen him, but I'm still so sad to hear he's gone. He had a great sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd, belief in himself and his causes, and the open heart of a truly creative individual. I will miss you...thanks for everything Lance.
Jeanine Bischoff
October 23, 2007
Lance, my twin sister Lisa, and I all attended Kamehameha Schools together. He was cool to us. He was genuinely cool so this is devastating to me.

I am so devastated of his untimely death. I cannot believe it and wish it wasn't true. I don't know how or why but we recently reconnected via Myspace so I'm glad he added me. Now many of his classmates know too so I hope that he is not forgotten because he was different and he was GENUINELY nice.

Anyway I will really miss you, Lance!!!!

Me ke aloha,

October 23, 2007
there is now a website dedicated to lance that will have information on his memorial, a link for donations, and a place to post messages and submit photos. it's still bare bones, but we're working on it. both of these addresses will get you there:

we love and miss you more than you could ever imagine, lance.
kelly bogdan
October 23, 2007
I remember seeing you for the first time in Pensacola FL and being blown away that such a voice was coming from what appeared to be such a timid individual. Your passing hit me hard knowing your close ties with so many other punks across this nation. your positivity and warmth will be missed.
bryan ohio
October 23, 2007
Being that I didn't know him personally, I can only say that we who respected and cared for what he was, is, did, said and lived will miss his presence. I'll be tributing him on my radio show tonight, for sure.
XAkk Asphodel, Undercurrents
October 23, 2007
One of the sincerely nicest guys I've ever met.

R.I.P brother, Lance.
Marc Fort
October 23, 2007
October 23, 2007
We were all blessed by his existence, compassion, and ideals. Even those of us who simply knew him from songs and words in tattered and faded zine pages. He will be missed, he won't be forgotten...

as long as there are angry 14 year old kids who observe the world and simply want to rage... may there be a J Church album playing in the background... so that maybe they can make it through another day knowing they aren't alone.
Jim Nichols
October 22, 2007
Never knew him personally, but went to school with him at Kamehameha. My condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.
October 22, 2007
lance was a superstar of my generation hopefully he'll get the credit as one of the greats! like jimi, janis, or kurt.
John Olds
October 22, 2007
Deepest condolences to all those close to Lance. We are poorer without him.
Steve Lake Zounds
October 22, 2007
ryan in the studio
goodbye Lance, you were the biggest influence on my art through music & philosophy...and you always stood by what you believed will be missed & are a great inspiration to tons of people... -ryan-
ryan singer
October 22, 2007
Jim Mills
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