Corin Tucker The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Sep 26, 2010When riot grrrl royalty Sleater-Kinney went on an indefinite hiatus in the summer of 2006, it seemed inevitable if not a bit untimely ― though riding high on a wave of love for their blistering, career-capping album The Woods, the band were at a crossroads of shifting personal priorities. Since having her son in 2001, singer/guitarist Corin Tucker managed life on the road by bringing him along, but when school age rolled around, Tucker retreated to focus on her family. The few years of domestic life, a new daughter, and a few solo gigs led Tucker to create 1,000 Years with new bandmates Sara Lund (Unwound) and Seth Lorinczi. "I had written a few songs to do for a benefit show that I played in 2009 in Portland, and then I decided, 'Okay, I should really make a record,'" Tucker says. 1,000 Years is a welcome sound for fans of Tucker's distinctive emotional caterwaul and tense rhythms, even as her tone takes a slight shift that Tucker attributes to her parental perspective. "When you have different experiences and your life changes, you have different things that you might draw on. I just love playing music, and like to do different things and play with different people. It's been really fun."
What are you up to?
Oh my gosh, nothing besides the record. So busy right now!
What are your current fixations?
I just got the new Versus album, which I'm really excited about, and I also bought the new Joanna Newsom record. That was my big trip to Music Millennium, the local record store. People were asking me and I was like, I haven't been in a music store in so long! And it's right by my house, too. It was a nice trip. I brought my son along and we went to the record store. I bought him an Operation Ivy record. He likes it.
Why do you live where you do?
Portland is a terrific big little town. It's got a very progressive green layout for a city, and people ride bikes and get out in the park systems, so it's a really great place to raise a kid. I've lived in Oregon for so long; I grew up in Eugene, and I really like it here. I just like the people, they're really genuine and honest. Though it rains too much, it gets really depressing about January/February, but there's a lot to do here. There are a lot of arts and culture and music and film and just a lot of cool stuff that happens.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
Recently, I started watching Eraserhead by David Lynch. My son is almost ten and he's really getting into horror. He really wants to watch scary movies and read scary books, but I don't want to let him watch anything with adult content, so I've been going through and trying to find things that might interest him but that wouldn't be too violent or have too much sexual content. We watched the first part of Eraserhead and it's so avant-garde and a really different film, and it is scary! It's a really uncomfortable film! With the chicken? I'm watching it 20 years later and still going, 'What the hell is going on?' I love that feeling.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Sleater Kinney did an amazing benefit show for Food Not Bombs in San Francisco with Fugazi; it was probably late '90s. It was a long time ago. But it was so amazing, there were like 14,000 people in Dolores Park in San Francisco. And we played with one of my favourite bands of all time, so it was really amazing.
What have been your career highs and lows?
I think career highs, well, that benefit show was amazing. I think doing some of the big shows that we did in New York, like playing our own show to this amazing audience at the Roseland ― the big ones. Those to me are huge accomplishments. And the lows are doing something that just feels really false, like, some promotional radio bullshit I guess, to put it frankly, doing that kind of stuff that feels like there's no kind of artistic reward. I have a hard time with that.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
[Pre-Sleater-Kinney band] Heavens to Betsy started a long time ago, and I definitely got heckled. Like, "Take your shirt off! Show me your tits!" That kind of stuff. But I saw Patti Smith play at the Crystal Ballroom here and a guy heckled her and she was just awesome, like, "Not if you were the last man on earth!" It was inspiring to see how tough she was. But I don't think people otherwise would say mean things to my face. They probably say it behind my back.
What should everyone shut up about?
I'm going to say Wall Street.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
I think I like my loyalty as a person. And I think I dislike my temper.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
I was thinking about going to this place near us that's called Pine State Biscuits. They have the best biscuits. Probably getting some of those and going to the park with the kids.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
You should play on John Peel's show even though you're 19 years old and uninterested in doing press. You should really do his radio show. I didn't know who he was at the time. Yeah. That was something I should have done.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
How about this―not getting the job done, and yes!
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
I love Canada. I was thinking about Quebec City today. We did that whole tour of Canada with Pearl Jam, which I loved. And we had a day off there, and I thought it was so amazing. There are so many things I love about Canada. The maple syrup, the hockey [laughs]. The nice people.
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
I bought the Joan Jett album, I Love Rock n Roll. It was a cassette.
What was your most memorable day job?
I had a night job at the newspaper in Eugene, The Register Guard, where I had to stuff the newspaper with inserts from like one a.m. to six a.m. And it sucked. It was my "I'm home from college" job.
How do you spoil yourself?
Chocolate! The quick and dirty mom's way!
If I wasn't playing music I would be…
Driving everyone to soccer. And I will be doing that tomorrow. I think for Sleater-Kinney, we really went for it, and I loved it and thought it was great, but it's a hard job to do when you have a family. I'm happy doing music part time now.
What do you fear most?
Death and illness of my loved ones.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
A great song on the dance floor.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
The strangest probably is being the representative of the other celebrity. We toured with Pearl Jam so much, people were like "Wait a minute! I saw you with Eddie Vedder! You need to tell him that I want to have his babies and live on his island!" I literally cannot tell you how many times I had to take down notes. Being sort of the secretary of Pearl Jam was a funny job.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I think I would love to have Gloria Steinem, and I'd try to do something healthy, Portland style. I'm not a very good cook though, so I might screw it up. I actually made roast chicken last night, and it was delicious. I got that from Jamie Oliver, who I'd also love to have for dinner, and he could do both!
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Anything else, maybe [laughs]. No, she's supportive. I think she wishes I was a lawyer, though there was never a plan to be one.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
That Bill Callahan song, "Dress Sexy At My Funeral."