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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

"We've really gone on a rant in this interview — I like it! Have some coffee! Caffeine!" — Corin Tucker
Tatone: What sort of advice do you give girls just starting out in bands?

Weiss: Save your receipts. That's my advice for 2002 [laughing]. Even when it's scary, stick with it. And it has to come from within yourself.

Tucker: If it's not difficult, it's totally not worth it, you know what I mean? There are gonna be difficult points and there are gonna be criticisms or people that don't get it. If [you're] doing something meaningful for yourself, it's worthwhile to struggle at it.

Weiss: You've got nothing to lose. You may as well give it a try. It's not for everybody. Some of those girls might come and realize, "Oh, this isn't what I want," [and] that's really important too.

Tucker: I like that they have different aspects too, like starting your own record label, doing sound maybe. Some people will realize they're not performers and realize they're interested in running an independent business or doing a technical aspect of it. I like that.

Weiss: Those teenage girls love the spotlight.

Tucker: When I went to the showcase last year, I was expecting to see teenage girls in an awkward stage. And I was just, "I'm not dressed up enough to be here." These girls were decked out to the nines!

It's an intense world. I think having a lot of different women involved in the camp will give these girls other role models besides Britney Spears — there are women who aren't a size two with huge boobs...[laughing].

I really shouldn't have double mochas.

Tatone: To talk a little bit more about the album, there are a couple other songs I wanted to talk about. "Step Aside" I felt was like a fun, anthem kind of song. Were there particular circumstances or experiences that inspired it? Could you talk about the ideas behind it?

Tucker: That song was the last song we wrote for the album, and it was a really collaborative process, saying, "We need a really fun song, a dance song." Carrie and I came up with the bare bones of the songs and then we had to come up with a chorus and a bridge. We worked on it all together, and then the lyrics came about in the studio. We all actually helped with the lyrics. Janet wrote some of the lyrics.

Weiss: Two lines [laughing].

Tucker: Two lines. Carrie helped me with the lyrics.

Brownstein: Dr. Lyric [laughing].

Tucker: Dr. Lyric made a house call today.

Brownstein: I'm going in for five minutes, can you be here?

Tucker: But we got this '60s sound going, and then it got inspired by looking at the troubled times of the '60s and the pop music that reflected that in certain times and made strong influences for our song.

Brownstein: The idea wasn't totally... it came together very deliberately. It wasn't totally haphazard. We had an idea for the song lyrically. In terms of the songs that have to do with contemporary or current issues, it was the other end of the spectrum of that; it was much more of a call-to-arms or uplifting song. I've always thought those songs were funny, the ones that are about something serious but then they make it into a dance song: "C'mon people, get happy! You're sad, so shake your ass!"

Weiss: Like dancing in the streets, free your mind and your ass will follow. Funkadelic was the master of that, writing these really sociopolitical songs as like, "Shake your ass! Let's go crazy!"

Brownstein: Even like Curtis Mayfield too — super political talks, but couched in these totally funky ways. When the music came, it was very different from some of the other music, but I don't think we wanted to make something completely frivolous. So, it's good that we married the more danceable number with lyrics that are pretty uplifting but aren't to be taken too lightly — there's still a message there.

Weiss: Besides "Shake your ass, shake your tail."

Brownstein: "Shake your tail for peace and love" — we mean that.


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