Friday, July 12, 2024 
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It's 'Those Girls From Sleater-Kinney'

Making punk rock 'n' roll in a post-9/11 world.

Interview Jenny Tatone

"I think the tragedy [9/11] and the shock got channeled into this really intense nationalism and consumerism that I just did not feel akin to and I don't feel it suited the situation." — Corin Tucker
Tatone (to Brownstein): You just moved to Portland, or has it been a while now?

Brownstein: About six months.

Tatone: What brought you here, other than your bandmates?

Brownstein: I lived in Olympia for a really long time — over seven years. I've never lived outside Washington State in my whole life. It seems like, in some ways, I was beginning to stagnate a little bit in Olympia. It's a small town and I needed to challenge myself a little bit. I think inflicting change upon your life can be a good catalyst for growth and changing perspectives. And it's a lot of really logical reasons to move anyway. I was ready to get out of Olympia. Portland was really the only feasible place for me to move, 'cause it would've been hard to be even further away from the band.

Tatone: While we're on the subject of Portland, do you feel there's a community here you're connected to? If you had to describe Portland to someone who'd never been here before, what would you say? And there's also a song that's about Portland, "Light Rail Coyote."

Tucker: That is my description of it really. That's out of a more personal historical, broad view.

Tatone: I guess what I'm trying to say is, do you feel like where you live affects the kind of music you make?

Tucker: Definitely.

Tatone: Is this a good place for you to live?

Weiss: It's a relatively unobtrusive place to live. You're not bombarded with too many overwhelming things every day. It's easy to get around. It's really beautiful. I guess if you didn't like rain, it wouldn't be the best place for you to live. I have a practice space in my basement and we can practice for free — things like that make it convenient for a band. There's not a lot of external pressure here as far as having to have a really great job and having to look really fancy. It's laid-back, that's what I'm trying to say. We've traveled all around the country and it's hard to think of living anywhere else, so we're staying.

Tatone: Could you talk about the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls? How did you get involved with this project? What were your thoughts when you first heard about it?

Weiss: It's a great idea — get those girls in there when they're young. It's a good way for girls to get over the fear of picking up an instrument for the first time. To do it in a group, [where] you can see everybody else going through the same insecurities and development patterns: "Oh, she can't do that either, it's not just me." 'Cause it can be really intimidating when you first start playing. Also, to be able to write a song, get people started doing that, you don't have to be a virtuoso musician to write a song, or to say something important or to say something frivolous, unimportant. It's something that you need to sit down and do, and the camp is gonna help a lot of girls start out that.


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