Four Rounds With... Sleater-Kinney. EW Chats with the Band over Drinks

By Nancy Miller
Updated March 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Alice in Chains on the jukebox, tattooed dudes sporting wallet chains, Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap: This Portland, Ore., watering hole could moonlight as a Museum of Grunge. So it makes sense that My Father’s Place is Sleater-Kinney’s hometown haunt. After all, the indie trio once toured with Pearl Jam, and their seventh album, The Woods, is about to be released on Sub Pop (May 24). Smells like a ’90s revival, no? Thankfully, singer-guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (along with drummer Janet Weiss) are as inventive as ever. Their new CD rips open a Rush-inspired, Led-bellied, instrument-pounding sound. But, L2T wonders, can they pound their drinks?



Carrie Brownstein (whiskey on the rocks): Mine’s a double. Does that count as two rounds?

Corin Tucker (Pabst Blue Ribbon): Janet’s going to be late. We’ll make her do two shots when she gets here.

CB: Look around this place. God, we’re all in blazers. Every girl here is in a blazer. We should start a band called the Blazers.

L2T (pale ale): Your bio for this album was written by Black Veil author Rick Moody. How’d you swing that endorsement?

CB: It’s funny because Rick’s really a humble guy, so I sent him an e-mail asking him, and he said, ”Lots of people think I’m kind of a jerk, so it may be a double-edged sword.” And I was like, if anything, that’s great. We always feel a bit like outsiders.

L2T: Yeah, but you toured with Pearl Jam! How outside is that?

CB: That’s because we were the band playing in daylight, watching some couple eating super-nachos. I actually made this my goal: If they set their nachos down and stood up while we were playing, we had a good show. When we play to our own fans, there’s no eating, but when we play to the Pearl Jam fans, we’re the hors d’oeuvres.



L2T (pale ale): Why did you leave your previous label, Kill Rock Stars, for Sub Pop?

CB (whiskey on the rocks): It’s hard to be in a band for 10 years. You feel like everybody already thinks they know who you are. Even you as the band feel like you have yourself summed up. We have nothing but love for Kill Rock Stars, but we’re not 22. We don’t sound like some ’80s band, so we don’t fit in, even with indie and alternative music being huge again. We’re one of those bands that are always on the periphery.

L2T: What, no O.C.?

CT (Pabst): I wanna play a funeral on Six Feet Under.

CB: We were mentioned on that show once. It was season 2, Nate and Claire. Claire’s looking at a Seattle Weekly and says, ”Sleater-Kinney’s playing at…,” and Nate’s like, ”I love Sleater-Kinney!”

CT: That was an out-of-body experience.

CB: Maybe they’ll have a punk-rock girl die and have us on.

L2T: What would you play?

CB: Maybe ”Sympathy.”

CT: Or ”One More Hour.”