01/31/04 – 02/06/04

This week’s answers provided by Janet)

Q: What is your current drum set up? I think the last time I saw S-K play live it was DW kit. Also, what’s your take on wood bodied snares vs. metal bodied snares. I’ve been told time and again that wood is better. Also, cymbal opinions? Please share.

A: I’m assuming since you mention the DW kit, you live in Europe? I’ve never owned a DW set, or even played one at a live show on US soil. I’ve strictly rocked the Ludwig brand for almost a decade. There is definitely no “better” kind of anything when it comes to drums. You might find a metal snare that fits your needs, or a wood drum that sounds terrible. Don’t get caught ruling things out because they’re not “cool” or in fashion. Experiement with an open mind. Currently I am loving my 1973 maple four-piece, sizes 22″, 13″ 16″, with a newer, 80’s snare. I’ve had the drums sanded and refinished with an oil instead of lacquer finish. The snare isn’t perfect, but it matches (it’s maple), and sounds decent when it’s mic’d up. I use Remo coated ambassador heads on the toms, an Evans G4, 1-ply, clear bass drum head, and a coated Emperor on the snare. Cymbals are all Zildjian. I love my 20″ medium ride and have a 24″ old 60’s relic that I drag out for recording fast songs. Hi hats are 14″ quick beats, and my current two crashes are K’s, sizes 18″ and 19″. I was pretty hooked on the A Custom series for a while, and will probably use those again in the future. Cymbals are like shoes, or hats, meant to accessorize depending on the weather. I wouldn’t be surprised if I acquired bigger kit in the near future. The 24″ bass drum calls.

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Q: Do many fans approach you when you’re out in public (not at shows) and do you welcome that or does it get really annoying? Or does it depend on your mood?

A: Fans are not usually a problem for Sleater-Kinney. Ours are exceptionally polite, and respectful, and usually come up to us to briefly say we’ve impacted them in a positive way. Who could complain about that! There are situations when a fan interaction makes me feel a little weird, but they’re few and far between. Talking to people at the merch table or after a show is most comfortable. I, after all, am a giant fan too. Just today I watched the Portland Trailblazers beat the Seattle Supersonics. Rasheed Wallace, Zach Randolph, Derek Anderson, these guys are my rock stars. After the game I stood by the entrance that leads to their locker room and high fived them as they walked by. Kept it quick and simlpe… it’s not like we’re going to have a discussion about politics, right?

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Q: I recently saw the Diane Arbus exhibit at the MOMA in San Francisco. I was completely blown away with her talent and passion. I suppose this question is aimed mostly at Janet, so I was wondering, who are your favorite photographers and who are some of your favorite artists?

A: I recently saw the fantastic Arbus show as well. More than the amazing work, most of which I’ve seen before and loved for years, her letters and writings were what really bowled me over. The eloquence and piercing, poetic vision captured in her photos is equally evident in her words. I loved her describing how it took an entire year to adjust to her new, larger format camera. Hard work and constant refining were crucial elements of her intense genius. Other photographers I love are Andreas Gursky, William Eggleston, Wolfgang Tilmans, Cindy Sherman, Walker Evans, and Imogen Cunningham. I’ll include Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick as well.

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Q: What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin album and would you consider covering one of their songs for the next tour?

A: One of the toughest questions for sure. I guess, this week, Zeppelin III is ruling the roost. Kind of a sleeper, but so well rounded. Adoring Led Zep and covering them are two different notions though. First of all, there are few drummers who’ve got the chops and spiritual depth not to be made a fool of by Bonham’s heart-swelling playing. (Zach Hill of Hella is the only one I’ve seen.) There are probably a few songs that are doable, like “In the Light,” or “Rock’n’Roll,” but my faves, “Misty Mountain Hop,” “The Ocean,” “When the Levee Breaks,” would crush me like a helpless fly.

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Q: If there were any current or past musicians that you would like to collaborate with, who would those musicians be?

A: Bob Dylan, Bette Davis, David Bowie, Chan Marshall, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck D., Jack White, Captain Beefheart, Jeff Tweedy, Kim Deal, Keith Richards.