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Janet Weiss talks leaving Sleater-Kinney: “the new record was made sort of without me”

Sleater-Kinney at Riot Fest Chicago 2016 - Sunday
Janet Weiss with Sleater-Kinney at Riot Fest 2016 (more by James Richards IV)

Janet Weiss previously gave only a brief statement about her departure from Sleater-Kinney, which happened shortly before the release of their newest album, The Center Won’t Hold. She’s now opened up more about her decision in a new interview with the Trap Set with Joe Wong podcast, as Rolling Stone points out.

“The rules changed within the band, and they told me the rules changed,” Janet said, on Trap Set. “I said, ‘am I just the drummer now?’ They said yes. And I said, ‘can you tell me if I am still a creative equal in the band?’ And they said no. So, I left.”

Janet continued that the band had tried counseling to resolve their issues, but that she decided, in the end, that the the change in her role meant it was “time for me to move on.” “I thought about it a lot,” she said. “I mean, I will never play with two people like that again. They are totally unique, incredible, intuitive players. It’s a lot to walk away from. It’s my sisters, my family. But I couldn’t be in that band and have it not be equal, especially with what it represents to me. It represents equality… How can we be fighting for equality and not have it in our band; it just became a disconnect.”

“I don’t think [Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker] saw it like that,” Janet continued. “They’re not evil people, I just think the two of them are so connected and they really agree on almost everything, they just thought, ‘we’re gonna take this band somewhere and we want to be in charge of that, the two of us.’ I think I was a threat to where they wanted the band to go, and who I am, and that felt bad to me.”

Furthermore, Janet said she didn’t feel comfortable performing the songs from The Center Won’t Hold live, given that she had less input in their creation. “The new record was made sort of without me and it would have been challenging to get up there on stage and deliver those songs like they were mine,” she said, “when they weren’t mine at all. It just got real lonely for me.”

“As band mates and partners and people I’ve had a relationship with all this time, I wanted to be not a threat and not someone to hold at arm’s length, but someone to embrace and to go together where we wanted to go,” Janet said. “But they had very specific ideas of what they wanted, and I just didn’t fit anymore. We couldn’t get on the same page. It was really hard, it was not something I took lightly at all… But I love them and they seem happy; they’re doing the thing the way they want to do it. It doesn’t have to be the three of us; it could be this pure thing with the two of them.”

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