NOVEMBER 2010 COVER STORY – Corin Tucker: Former Sleater Kinney Member Standing On Her Own

The+Corin+Tucker+Band2Corin Tucker has been an integral force in the world of independent music for years now. She is best known as co-founder the legendary Sleater-Kinney, and before that, she was in the influentiual band Heavens to Betsy. Always creative, Tucker branched out with a side project entitled Cadallaca which released an EP in 2000.

The singer/songwriter/guitarist was also at the forefront of the “riot grrl” movement that swept the underground feminist punk scene based out of Olympia, Wash.

When Sleater-Kinney broke up – or at least took a hiatus – in 2006, Tucker took some time away from the limelight of music to focus on herself and start a family. However, Tucker didn’t fully disappear from music. During that time, she sang a duet with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on the Grammy nominated “Into the Wild” soundtrack.

Now fully back with a new band – the Corin Tucker Band, which includes Unwound’s Sara Lund and Golden Bears’ Seth Lorinczi – Tucker has released her solo debut 1,000 Years recently on Kill Rock Stars Records. The album is filled with classic Tucker rock songs, mixed seamlessly with thoughtful and reflective lyrics.

As a long-time fan, I was both thrilled and a little nervous to sit down and talk with Corin Tucker about her new band, her solo debut and her post-Sleater-Kinney life.

Innocent Words: Corin, welcome back! We have missed you. How long has this solo album been in the works?

Corin Tucker: Thank you so much. I started working on songs in early 2009 for a benefit show in Portland. Kill Rock Stars expressed interest in putting out an album, and I started writing from then on. Seth and I started working on the songs together in October 2009, I think. We didn’t actually track the record until March 2010.

IW: I love the album title. Is this a specific reference? And will this be an on-going project?

Tucker: “1,000 Years” was one of the songs I had written for the “Twilight” soundtrack, but it seemed to have more than one meaning for me. It did feel like a long time away from music for me. I am hoping this will be an on-going project, as our schedules as busy parents will allow.

IW: You mentioned the “Twilight: New Moon” soundtrack. Are you a big fan of the books? Team Edward or Team Jacob? Was “Miles Away” one of those songs?

Tucker: Yes, I am a big fan of the “Twilight books.” I loved Bella’s voice in the books, and I felt like I could express it musically. Yes, “Miles Away” was the other song I had written for this. Team Edward!

IW: As I’m sure you’re aware, the album is going to inevitably draw a lot of comparisons to Sleater-Kinney. How different was the song-writing process, working alone vs. working with a band?CorinTBand

Tucker: It took me longer to finish the complete songs for a solo album. I wanted each song to be a complete story in and of itself. It was a good challenge.

IW: The record obviously feels different from Sleater-Kinney (more skeletal at points, not as maximalist, more piano ballads); did you use a different writing or recording method?

Tucker: For this record, I worked with Seth on the production of each song, and we worked on the instrumentation of every song to fully develop them.

IW: The songs are very personal, and I realize many things have changed since your last outing with Sleater-Kinney. Do you feel like putting out the album was a necessary step in your life journey?

Tucker: I’m not sure it was necessary, but it has definitely felt like a huge accomplishment. It’s so rewarding to have a creative outlet and to have people appreciate my work.

IW: Adding to that, did having children have a direct effect on the desire to write these specific songs? What do your kids think of your music? Have they expressed any desire in becoming musicians themselves?

Tucker: I think motherhood is reflected in some of the songs, I think the record really reflects where I’m at right now. To my kids, my music is just “mom’s thing,” I think, which is fine. My son is playing the trumpet this year in band, which is great.

IW: I love the fact that despite being so personal, many listeners can relate to a song like “Thrift Store Coats.” Does this factor in when you are writing the songs, this thought of connecting with the listeners?

Tucker: I do think about connecting with people sometimes, but not too consciously. I usually just start playing guitar and come up with some melodies, and things start rolling out.

IW: Any comments on bringing this record on the road? Do you anticipate a specific reaction to the record?

Tucker: I’m really looking forward to playing these songs live. I think they will rock!