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Bek David Campbell, 8 July 1970, Los Angeles, California, USA. Hansen rose swiftly to prominence in 1994 with his exhilarating marriage of folk (Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie) and guitar noise. As a child he loitered around his bluegrass street musician father, living with his office-worker mother Bibbe Hansen and half-brother in some of Los Angeles worst addresses, picking up on the citys nascent hip-hop scene as a breakdancer. He also spent time in Kansas with his grandmother and Presbyterian preacher grandfather, and with his other grandfather, the Fluxus artist Al Hansen, in Europe. His guitar playing, however, was primarily inspired by the blues of Mississippi John Hurt, which he would deliver with improvised lyrics while busking.
After dropping out of school at 16, Hansen (he had by now adopted his mothers surname) moved to New York, though he was unable to join in with the local punk scene. On his return to Los Angeles he...