Addicted To Noise: What you're really doing is articulating something that has been there for a long time now, but you're actually laying it out there.

Tucker: Yeah, definitely. I think, with this record, we're just saying ... [Turns to Brownstein] What did you say?

Weiss: She said, 'Balls outside the pants.' [Laughing]

Tucker: Yeah, balls outside the pants. [Laughing] We're just putting it on the line. We've been doing this for long enough that we feel like we can say whatever we want. Sort of like the truths, as we see them, doing what we do. We love playing music but also there's some really nasty things about it at the same time.

Addicted To Noise: This album — not to say that the others don't feel like this — but this one really feels like a communique. Like, 'We've got a lot of things we want to say right now about what we observe in this period of time.' Did it feel like that to you when you were writing the songs?

Tucker: I think that there were some things that happened last year that really made me feel a sense of urgency about making music and writing. I felt like it was a really nasty year. Nineteen-ninety-nine was a really nasty year and a lot of really sexist things happened in rock and that's the area where we work. The most popular bands have really misogynistic lyrics and a lot of women were raped at the Woodstock concerts. So, to me, it was a reminder that you can't ... even if we're older and we're successful and we've made this niche for ourselves as musicians, we can't give up. We can't say there's not these really sexist things happening because they are affecting women, young women.

Brownstein: I think a lot of the way we've been treated is like, politics is something you grow out of. Like, 'Oh, when you get older, you grow up and away from politics and this sort of righteousness.' I think that we tried to reiterate it and make it more holistic in a way that it's integrated in our music. That's just not something that we've left behind. It's part of who we are.

So, I think that this record sort of proclaims that most eloquently. We felt like in the past we were being labeled as having arisen from the riot grrrl ghetto, or out of this political yet immature sort of hub of politics that didn't make any sense. Like the only way we could be accepted was to leave that at the door. So, I think this is just saying, 'Well, that's not really true.'

We're a great rock band. Our songs aren't just political but some of them are very political. Some of them are fun. Some of them are nonsensical and some of them are personal. But it's all these things at once and it's really important that these things are integrated into us as people. I mean, obviously those live within us and they can live within our band without us having to choose and access them or pick one in order to move on. I mean, we can move forward with all these things with us and not have to leave anything behind in order to be successful.

Addicted To Noise: Did you feel a couple years ago like you had to mute things at all?

Weiss: It didn't seem like there was ever a conscious choice to mute anything. It's just like you go through different phases in your life and, maybe at one point in your life, you're writing about more personal things than at another point. It's just knowing that. With this record, there were things that had to be said and there was never any censorship among the three of us, which I think is the important part.

Tucker: It's more the way that the people responded to the different things that we wrote about. Like the way that people responded to the more personal songs was like: 'Oh they've gotten past that immature, personal stuff and now they're writers.' It's just irritating to me.

Weiss: It's just constant pigeonholing as you go along. I think you just have to fight that always.

Brownstein: I think there was a time when, like Corin was saying, we felt really labeled. It takes a lot of energy to try to get people to a point of neutrality. So you spend so much time fighting in the interview for them to even understand that you're all these things, that you end up just talking about that. So, I think it wasn't like we were defensive. I just think there was a time we felt like we had to explain ourselves so much that we weren't able to actually talk about anything else. We had to backtrack so much just to get people to catch up and understand we weren't just this or that.

Weiss: There was also a period where we were very guarded. And I think that's the time when people were like, 'Oh, they're not talking about these important things,' or 'They're selling out.' But really it was just a reaction to being misportrayed. So we were like, 'O.K., if they're going to print everything wrong, we're not going to reveal ourselves to people who are going to misrepresent us.' It can be disheartening when you're really trying to be honest and communicate through your art or music. Being misunderstood is really tough. You think you're being really clear. The record is really the best representation we have for what we're trying to say. And, a lot of times, it's portrayed in a lot of different ways.

Addicted To Noise: Can you talk a little bit about the new album? Did you talk amongst yourselves about some of the things you wanted to do? How did it work this time?

Tucker: The songs just came out. It was so spontaneous with this record. The songs just kept popping up one after another. We didn't really talk about anything. It just kind of happened.

We did have one conversation that was before we even started writing that was like, 'We need to be able to write really freely.' We had been writing much more sophisticated melodies with The Hot Rock, doing stuff that was really intricate. And we just decided for this record that we were going to let go and whatever came out was just going to be something we would work on. So after that it was like the songs just popped up, I guess.

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  Photo: Charles Peterson  
(( Drummer Janet Weiss. ))

"We love playing music but there's some really nasty things about it at the same time." — Corin Tucker

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