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Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss and Corin TuckerPhotographed by Janet Weiss

Beth Ditto on her love for Sleater-Kinney

The Gossip singer on why the punk trio “played such a big part in my feminist self-discovery”

Taken from the Winter 2014 issue of Dazed:

Fully charged with power chords, pop hooks and pro-queer/feminist lyrics, Sleater-Kinney smashed up rock’n’roll’s glass ceiling on seven albums between 1995 and 2005. “Culture is what we make of it / yes it is / now is the time / to invent”, rallies frontwoman Corin Tucker in the band’s turn-of-the-century rebel yell “#1 Must Have”. As the Olympia, WA three-piece return with new album No Cities to Love, lifelong fan and friend Beth Ditto reflects on their battle cry that spoke to her all those years ago.


“I think I was around 17 when I first heard Call the Doctor, and it’s definitely my favourite Sleater-Kinney album. There were a bunch of us riot grrrls in the middle of nowhere and I’m sure I probably heard it on a mixtape in someone’s car. It meant a lot to me then and it still means a lot because it was just so formative: it played such a big part in my feminist self-discovery.”


“To see the band cross over into the mainstream really is revolutionary because it’s a place that women don’t often get to occupy very often. Usually it has to do with beauty or their voice, or some kind of visual, but this is an entire band and it’s true that their status in the rock world really is iconic. They’re not just punk rock, they’re rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a man’s world and they do it so well. And they didn’t depend on anybody, they did it all themselves. Every sound that comes out of them is totally theirs.”


“I remember when we found out when we were going on tour with them. We were so excited, but I had no idea that they were that big. It’s funny because we were from such a small town and I thought every punk scene was the same – really small. It was such a big deal because we idolized them – even though they’re not that much older than us. There’s quite a big difference between your early twenties and your mid-twenties.”


“Looking back, I can’t really believe they took these crazy 19 and 20-year-olds on tour with them. They would let me go on stage and sing “Good Things” with them sometimes and it was so special to me. Once, Carrie and Corin let me do their hair and makeup – I used to have a huge bouffant so I would bouffant their hair too!”


“People thought they were riot grrrl but the band didn’t identify so much as that. Mainly they were really set apart from bands like Bikini Kill because they had a cleaner sound – it wasn’t as rough around the edges – and the legacy that they left is an ever-evolving thing. As long as Sleater-Kinney are making art and music then there’s always going to be a place in the world for women to be taken seriously, and to come up and do exactly what they do.”

Start Together x 7LP box set is out now; No Cities to Love is out on January 19 on Sub Pop