Addicted To Noise: It seems to me like "#1 Must-Have" is the centerpiece
of the album. Some of the lyrics that made me think that were: "Bearer of
the flag from the beginning/ Now who would have believed this riot grrrl's a
cynic .../ But now my inspiration rests in between my beauty magazines and
my credit card bills." You started doing this five years ago. You have fans
and success. That line seems to me to be about how you've changed over time
and about realizing that it's possible to get far from where you want to be
in terms of inspiration.
Tucker: Yeah, I think it's a really honest song about feeling so apathetic and numb. And I think that it's easy to do, as you get older, to sort of internalize the stuff that society puts out there. Especially with the commercialization and consumerism that's put out there. It so targets the 30-year-old white woman. To me, the commercialization of riot grrrl and all the dot.coms ... the kind of marketing that happened with that image and that look was so depressing. It's really easy to just get depressed and just feel like, 'Oh well, we tried something that failed and now they're marketing it and there's nothing we can do.'
I think that it's much more difficult to say, 'This really makes me angry. I can do something about that.' There are more important things than just spending all your time on outward appearance.
And a lot of other stuff happened this year. EMP [the Experience Music Project, a music museum in Seattle scheduled to open in the summer of 2000] did this riot grrrl interview. They flew a bunch of people up to Olympia and interviewed us all at a roundtable. And it was the first time any of us really had had a conversation about riot grrrl and everything that had happened. It was a really intense experience for me to look back at what I went through as an 18-year-old. And everything that has happened since then and how ripped off I think we were by the mainstream media and ridiculed ruthlessly.
Addicted To Noise: Who else participated in that discussion?
Tucker: Candace Peterson, who works at EMP and was facilitating the discussion. She used to run K Records with Calvin Johnson. Maggie Vail, Molly Neuman, Allison Wolfe, Erin Smith from Bratmobile, Sharon Cheslow, who is a musician and an artist from D.C. and now lives in San Francisco. Am I forgetting someone? That was the roundtable. And then there were many, many other women that were interviewed separately for the riot grrrl thing. It was really intense and I think it reignited a lot of our feelings of wanting to be political and be activists. For me, it definitely did.
Addicted To Noise: So, that happened before you wrote some of the songs?
Tucker: No, actually that happened after we had recorded. They asked us months before, and the whole idea of talking about it made me go back and look at what we had done. I was finding old fanzines and videos for them, and thinking about it on my own. I think that was really what sparked some of those thoughts and definitely "#1 Must-Have" was written while I was thinking about that.
Addicted To Noise: How hard is it to stay true to your vision given that there's always potential distractions? The music business, the way it works is the more success you have, the more that it's possible to get distracted.
Weiss: You get more offers to do these things. If you don't have any offers to do anything, you can have a really pure vision. But then not that many people are going to hear your music. For us, we're in a really weird state where we have to maneuver through these decisions of how much we want to enter into commercial, corporate America. How much do we sacrifice in order to have a kid in the middle of nowhere be able to have access to our music? It can be really difficult. We're three very different people with different ideas and different opinions. It can be hard ...
Tucker: It's a really constant dialogue between the three of us about what we want and where we want to go and ...
Brownstein: ... What things mean to us and our band.
Weiss And to our fans and people who buy our records and have been fans for years. It's a lot to protect.
Addicted To Noise: What's an example of a specific thing that you really had to wrestle with during the last year?
Brownstein: You mean the last week? [Laughing]
Addicted To Noise: Last week is fine. [Laughing]
Tucker: We were just talking today about this whole idea of a radio remix of one of our songs. Kill Rock Stars wants to try to do a remix of the single of our song. With Kill Rock Stars, we have a real partnership, but at the same time, all of us are experimenting. We don't necessarily ... none of us come from the background of being commercial. We know nothing about commercial radio hopefully, thankfully, because it's so awful.
I think that [Kill Rock Stars owner] Slim [Moon] is really trying to be a good label person and be creative and try all these different ideas, while still working with an independent format. And I'm willing to try out these ideas, like, 'O.K., you can remix the song.' John [Goodmanson], our producer, remixed it. But that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to say yes to it. It's very difficult to decide, 'Well, are we giving up on our music by changing it for someone else's format?' It's very difficult and we don't all agree.
Tucker: Yeah, we don't all agree. You have to compromise sometimes. Even within your band, you have to decide what is important.
Weiss: You also have to realize that you'll make mistakes. We've made mistakes. Kill Rock Stars has made mistakes. You have to let that happen and let yourself think about what you want to live with, what kind of mistakes you can live with and what kind you can't.
Addicted To Noise: Has there ever been a case where the band came apart because you were so torn about something that came up?
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