Interview with: Janet Weiss (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks)
Location: Via Email
Introduce yourself please..
Hello, I'm Janet... drummer, human being.
How and when did you first meet Stephen Malkmus?
I can't remember meeting Steve, actually. He's just always been around. I do recall going onto the Pavement tour bus in 1998 to give him a promotional copy of "The Hot Rock." It was in London and they were working on that record with Nigel. So, I must have been pretty good friends with him then to be pushing my band on him like that.
After the break up of Sleater-Kinney what were your plans career-wise? Was joining the Jicks already an option or did that happen afterwards?
After the break up, my only plans were to continue making music, playing drums, as much as possible. The opportunity to be a Jick came along pretty quick though, after SK decided to go on hiatus, but before the last show in Portland. I'm not too keen on sitting around.
I'm hoping you will still find the time to record with Quasi, is this likely to happen?
There is another Quasi record slowly taking shape. We've got about half the songs written, and more in the works. Quasi will hopefully go on and on forever.
Do you miss being in Sleater-Kinney? What were the highlights for you when looking back at your time with the band?
Of course I miss being in Sleater-Kinney... all the time. It would be impossible not to miss something so fulfilling. We were three people hurtling through space and time together, not always agreeing, but with a common vision for our band. Most of the highlights occurred on dingy stages around the world. Recording "The Woods" with Dave Fridmann was a highlight as well.
When did you officially join the Jicks? Did you have to take part in any sort of initiation ceremony?
I joined the Jicks in the fall of 2006. There was an initiation involving ping pong paddles and a goldfish, but I'll never tell.
Real Emotional Trash has quite a "70's rock" sound similar to that of the Pig Lib album, was that intentional or would you say that is just the sound of the Jicks/ part of the Jicks dynamics?
Pig Lib is the most similar to Real Emotional Trash, of the three previous records, in how it was recorded. It's more improvisational and heavy because the band was in a room, together, tracking the songs. I'm not sure what makes up 70's rock, or the Jicks sound for that matter, but both are feisty and feature ace guitar gods. Basically, when we worked on the songs for RET, we set up in the tiny practice space and played. We didn't intentionally push things in any direction. Songs and jams developed from what Steve brought in or put on demos. We were just being us.
At The Green Man festival last year you previewed most of Real Emotional Trash, were you nervous about how the songs would be received, particularly as it was predominantly a "folk festival" and you were headliners?
Nervous isn't the right word. I was excited to play the new material, especially there, in those fairy-tale surroundings. We traveled a long way for that one show, and our jet lag and fatigue probably helped us to not think about the fact we were about to play ten minute acid rock songs at a folk festival.
Do you think in hindsight that it was a brave decision to play a set of nearly all brand new songs?
Brave is when someone crawls on their stomach into a burning house to save a woman in a wheelchair. Unveiling new, yet to be released songs is fun. Sleater-Kinney did it many times... once at Reading in front of thousands of people. Again, when we opened for Belle and Sebastian at the Constitution Hall in Washington DC. We played One Beat start to finish before anyone had heard a note of the record.
Who would you fire a verbal rocket at?
Does it have to be verbal? George Bush, of course. What a turd.