Carrie Brownstein kicked off her star-studded book tour for her new memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl Tuesday at Brooklyn bar St. Vitus, and she shared the stage with fellow musical memoirist Questlove. The event was organized by WORD Bookstore in conjunction with St. Vitus Bar. The conversation was just as delightful as you would expect two iconic musicians talking about books in a metal bar would be. Here are five things we learned:
1. Brownstein sees Questlove’s book as a companion piece to hers
The Roots drummer, who released his memoir Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove back in 2013, started his conversation with Brownstein by saying, “I don’t know if we would’ve been friends growing up, but I definitely know that we’re the same person.” Brownstein echoed the sentiment, and said she felt that Questlove’s book reads as a companion piece to hers.
They weren’t kidding when saying that they felt like the same person — the conversation went on to prove their similarities from impassioned sidebars about The Affair to recalling the humbling personal embarrassments that came after their biggest successes. Questlove shared that the day after he won a Grammy, he came home to his electricity being shut off, which prompted Brownstein to talk about how she was in a traffic class the same day that season 2 of Portlandia premiered.
2. Questlove embarrassed himself in front of Prince
The pair also talked about their celebrity idols, Madonna for Brownstein and Prince for Questlove, who had huge impacts on their childhoods and discovery of music. Questlove talked about how awkward he was when he met Prince. “He’s like 5’1″ so I missed him, and Q-Tip kind of ambushed me and I ran into him, and this is when you couldn’t call him anything!” Questlove said. He went on to describe how he, in a superfan moment, gave a very specific compliment about one of Prince’s obscure songs, to which nobody responded, and then he just backed away and left.
3. Brownstein might finally get to meet Madonna with Questlove’s help
Brownstein has yet to meet Madonna, but that may change soon thanks to Questlove. “I remember sitting on my bed and crying to my mom about how I’ll never be friends with Madonna,” Brownstein recalled, to which Questlove replied, “Oh, she’s kind of my manager actually,” referring to The Root’s move to Madonna’s record label Maverick.
“We’ll write a book about your dinner with Madonna,” Questlove offered. “Carrie Meets Madonna. It’s like a children’s book,” Brownstein pitched.
4. Brownstein is fine with you just knowing her for her acting
Both artists have also made career moves in recent years. Brownstein was known for her riot grrrl rock band Sleater-Kinney and then started the sketch comedy show Portlandia in 2011, while Questlove helmed neo-soul band The Roots for decades and brought them on to be the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s late night shows in 2009. Questlove admitted his own reservations to taking the Fallon gig, saying “When The Tonight Show came up, I was like ‘Uh, what if this is what I’m known for?'” He then turned that question onto Brownstein, asking “Will you be okay if you become more known for your acting than your music years in the future?”
Brownstein, who also had a supporting role in Amazon’s em>Transparent last year, responded, “I wouldn’t do something that I wasn’t okay with people associating me with… Portlandia and Sleater-Kinney are both me.”
5. Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl reveals things about Sleater-Kinney they’ve never discussed publicly before
“It seems conspicuous when people not in their twilight years write memoirs,” Brownstein admitted, “but Sleater-Kinney had been couched and this is a story about the past.”
“Were you nervous about [Sleater-Kinney bandmates] Corin and Janet liking the book?” Questlove asked.
“There were parts about Corin in there that we’ve never discussed publicly,” Brownstein revealed. “So I had her read it, and she loved it. She called me and said ‘I cried. It was better than I thought it would be.'”
Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is available everywhere now.