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Volume 68, Issue 126, Friday, April 4, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Sleater will read riot act to Houston

By Bridget Brown
The Daily Cougar

The Riot Grrl movement of the early 1990s wasnit about hating all men. It wasnit a fashion statement, about being punk rock or about a certain style.

It was about a group of females spitting on the status quo and reclaiming their freedom. They were tired of being told a manis opinion mattered more than theirs.

Sleater-Kinney, drummer Janet Weiss (left), singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein and singer/guitarist Corin Tucker will play with Pearl Jam for The Riot Act Tour on Sunday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Photo courtesy of Kill Rock Stars

One band at the forefront of the political and social movement was an all-girl punk rock band from Olympia, Wash. called Sleater-Kinney.

"The Riot Grrls movement started in Olympia, and was a result of marrying feminism and punk rock," vocalist and guitarist Carrie Brownstone said. "It took feminism out of its academic context and put it into music. The Grrls took their language, words and fanzines and built a community."

In a rock scene traditionally dominated by men, that rising community spawned a growing audience of angst-filled socially conscious young women who were starting to realize they could play guitar or write a song just as well as any man. 

"The initial audiences were fairly small, and mostly consisted of other fellow local musicians that came out to here us because they were curious," Brownstein said.

Brownstein formed Sleater-Kinney in 1994 with the help of her friend, vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker. The band had a revolving door on drummers before settling down with Janet Weiss.

"Corin and I met in college and Janet joined the band in 1996. The band was an extension of our friendship. We named the band after the road were we used to practice," Brownstein said.

Its self-titled debut was released in 1995 on Donna Dreschis Chainsaw label, and was well received by fans in Olympia and surrounding areas. Its sophomore album, Call the Doctor, also saw some underground success, but the band then made the switch to Olympia-based indie label Kill Rock Stars.

Since then, the band has produced four more albums, including Dig Me Out, The Hot Rock, All Hands on the Bad One and its newest effort, One Beat. The garage rock days of its older album are almost gone as Sleater-Kinneyis musical techniques and sound have matured tremendously. 

"The theme for the new album is finding faith and meaning in a time that is so dark and faithless, both politically and personally," Brownstein said. 

Sleater-Kinney strove to make every song on the album different, and "provide a sonic landscape to take the listener through wide and broad terrain."

"We are always looking to challenge ourselves, as we mature, but it is very important to have fun, and continue to enjoy and love each other," Brownstein said. "Lives are not static, and neither is art." 

One of the biggest challenges Sleater-Kinney has faced in its career is touring with rock gods Pearl Jam. Jamis mainstream status and popularity will no doubt overshadow Sleater-Kinney as an opening act.

"I'm excited. I think this is going to be a good challenge for us. It will be a new and interesting perspective to see how the people react that have never seen or heard us," Brownstein said. "Iim glad they asked us to join the tour." 

Sleater-Kinney will play the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Sunday night as part of the Riot Act Tour.

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