Sleater-Kinney was an American indie rock band that existed from 1995 to 2006. Formed in Olympia, Washington, the group's name is derived from Sleater-Kinney Road, Interstate 5 off ramp #108 in Lacey, Washington, the location of one of their early practice spaces. They formed in and were a vital part of the punk and riot grrrl scenes in Olympia, although they later relocated to Portland, Oregon.
Sleater-Kinney was founded by Corin Tucker
and Carrie Brownstein
. Tucker was formerly in the influential riot grrrl
band Heavens to Betsy
, while Brownstein was formerly in the queercore
band Excuse 17
. They often played at gigs together and formed Sleater-Kinney as a side-project from their respective bands. When Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17 disbanded, Sleater-Kinney became their primary focus. Janet Weiss
) was the band's primary drummer, though Sleater-Kinney has had other drummers throughout its existence, including Lora Macfarlane
, Misty Farrell and Toni Gogin.
Upon Tucker's graduation from Evergreen State College (where Brownstein would remain a student for three more years), she and then-girlfriend Brownstein took a trip to Australia in early 1994. Their last day there, they stayed up all night recording what would become their self-titled debut album. It was released the following spring. They followed this with Call the Doctor (1996) and Dig Me Out (1997), and became critical darlings as a result.
Their next few albums pushed the band towards mainstream listeners, culminating in 2002's One Beat. The group opened for Pearl Jam at many North American shows beginning in 2003, and the band cited the experience of playing to large arenas as part of the inspiration and motivation for the music found on their last album, The Woods. The Woods was released in 2005, and was a departure from the sound of their previous albums. In its place, The Woods featured a denser, heavily distorted sound that drew on classic rock as its inspiration. In 2006 they helped to curate an edition of the British All Tomorrow's Parties festival.
Renowned critics Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau have each praised Sleater-Kinney as one of the essential rock groups of the late 90s/early 00s. Marcus named Sleater-Kinney America's best rock band in a 2001 issue of Time magazine.
Both Brownstein and Tucker played guitar
. Although Sleater-Kinney had no bass
player, both Tucker and Brownstein tuned their guitars one and a half steps down ("C# tuning"), and Tucker's tone and style enabled her to fill the same role as a bass guitar.
On June 27
, the band announced an indefinite hiatus, stating there were "no plans for future tours or recordings". Sleater-Kinney's last major public show was at the 2006 Lollapalooza music festival. They did not play an encore. The band's last appearance was at the Crystal Ballroom
in Portland, Oregon
, on August 12
. No explanation for the hiatus was given, but it is widely believed to be because Tucker wanted to concentrate on raising her child. In a May 2005 interview, Janet Weiss stated, "Corin's hurdles were my biggest hurdles. Her pulling away from the band was the hardest thing for me as far as writing music. She said in a recent interview that she thinks about quitting every week - and that's heavy for me, 'cause this is all I want to do.
Tucker had previously hinted in interviews that Sleater-Kinney might become inactive soon. In a 2005 interview with Bust magazine, she was asked how she would handle touring when her young son started school, and she replied that she didn't even know if they would make another record after The Woods.
In 1998, the band recorded "Big Big Lights", the first split single (with Cypher in the Snow
) in the series of recordings dealing with women's self-defense entitled Free to Fight
, and released on Candy Ass Records
In 2000, all three members of Sleater-Kinney assisted Robert Forster and Grant McLennan of the now-defunct Brisbane indie band The Go-Betweens to record the album The Friends of Rachel Worth.
In 2003, the band recorded the song "Angry Inch" with Fred Schneider of The B-52's for the charity tribute album Wig in a Box. Proceeds for the album went to the Harvey Milk School, a school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
Along with performing in Sleater-Kinney, Tucker also was a member of the band Cadallaca with Sarah Dougher and sts (both formerly of The Lookers). In a recent interview, however, she told the public "not to hold [their] breath for a new Cadallaca album." Tucker also featured on Eddie Vedder's (Pearl Jam) solo album Into the Wild, where she performed vocals on the track "Hard Sun" along with Vedder.
- "You Ain't It/Surf Song" (1994) – Villa Villakula Records
- "One More Hour" (1997) – Matador Records
- "Little Babies" (1997) – Matador Records
- "A Quarter To Three" (1997) – Matador Records
- "Big Big Lights" (1998) - Candy Ass Records
- "Get Up" (1999) – Kill Rock Stars
- "You're No Rock 'n' Roll Fun" (2000) – Kill Rock Stars
- "Entertain" (2005) – Sub Pop
- "Jumpers" (2005) – Sub Pop
Compilation album tracks
- "Big Big Lights" on Free To Fight 7" split 45 (1996) - Candyass/Chainsaw (USA, CDR028)
- "Dance Song '97" (live) on Yoyo A Gogo 1997 (1997) - Yoyo (USA, YOYO10)
- "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" on All Over Me (soundtrack, 1997) - n/a (USA, TVT8110-2)
- "Banned From the End of the World" on Everything Is Nice (1999) - Matador (USA, OLE400)
- "Banned From the End of the World" (live) on Yoyo A Gogo 1999 (1999) - Yoyo (USA, YOYO18)
- "The Ballad of a Ladyman" on Turbo's Tunes (2000) - Kill Rock Stars (USA, KRS319)
- "The End of You" on After the Fair: 21st Century Women (2000) - K-Tel (USA)
- "Maraca" on Group (soundtrack, 2000) - Yoyo (USA, YOYO21)
- "What If I Was Right?" on Jackson's Jukebox (2000) - Kill Rock Stars (USA, KRS354).
- "Off With Your Head" on Future Soundtrack for America (2002) - Barsuk (USA, BARK37)
- "Combat Rock" on Peace Not War (Vol. 1) (2003) - Platinum (UK, PNW1CDX).
- "Angry Inch" on Wig in a Box: Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2003) - Off (USA, OFF994)
- "Oh!" on Mollie's Mix (2003) - Kill Rock Stars (USA, KRS382)
- "Off with Your Head" on Rock Against Bush Vol. 2 (2004) - Fat Wreck (USA, FAT677).
- ""Entertain" on Songbook of Songs (2005) - Sub Pop (USA, SP0676)
- "Turn It On" on Whatever - The '90s Pop & Culture Set (2005) - Rhino (USA)
- "Jumpers" (live) on Live at KEXP, Vol. II (2006) - KEXP Seattle (USA)
- "Ballad of a Ladyman" (live) on Calling All Kings & Queens (2006) - Mr. Lady Records (USA, MRLR15). (Also on this CD is a cover version of Sleater-Kinney's "I'm Not Waiting", by Kiki & Herb.)
- "Step Aside" on Safe Haven (2006) - Cherchez la Femme (USA)
- "Jumpers" (live) on The L Word: Season Three (soundtrack, 2006) - Tommy Boy (USA)
- "Modern Girl" on Counter Culture (2006) - Rough Trade Shops (USA)
- "Fortunate Son" (live) and "Step Aside" on Wed-Rock (2006) - Centaurmusic (USA)
- "Get Up" (1999) Directed by Miranda July
- "You're No Rock 'n' Roll Fun" (2000) Directed by Brett Vapnek
- "Entertain" (2005) Directed by Molly & Mariah
- "Jumpers" (2005) Directed by Matt McCormick