“I still see music as an act of defiance as much as it is an act of celebration.”
Since I live in the Pacific Northwest and was sentient in 1990’s, the so-called Riot Grrrrl scene in Olympia, Washington was everywhere. One of my favortite bands to come out of that scene was Sleater-Kinney and that line, from Carrie Brownstein’s new memoir, really sums up that band for me. Their unusual set-up (they do not have a bass player) and energetic, bordering on manic, delivery really spoke to me.
Ms.Brownstein grew up in Redmond, Washington, the oldest of two girls. She started out as a popular, out-going kid, even running for student council. By the time she was in middle school, her mother was diagnosed with, then hospitalized for the treatment of, anorexia. When her mother left the family a year later, she was 14 and dealing with her own anxieties and the traditional alienation of adolescence. Finding a community within the music scene, she finally made her way to Olympia, to play music and attend Evergreen State College. Eventually she and Corin Tucker (Heavens to Betsey) would form Sleater-Kinney. The book then follows the bands career up to 2006, when Carrie’s health so deteriorated that she decided to leave the band.
Later, Carrie would go on to create Portlandia with Fred Armisen and we would chuckle knowingly over the gentle skewering of the Northwest slacker aesthetic. Needless to say, I really looked forward to this book and I wish I could say that I loved it but I just didn’t. She repeatedly says that she spends “too much time” in her head and that disconnect is evident throughout the book, leaving me little to connect with on an emotional level.