Tag Archives: Portlandia

Ep. #162: Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney

Janet Weiss is a tremendously powerful drummer based in Portland, Oregon. Weiss is originally from California and, over the past 20 years, has played in notable bands like Quasi, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Wild Flag, and Drumgasm among others and she has an administrative, behind-the-scenes position on the IFC show, Portlandia. She is most celebrated, however, for her essential role as the drummer in one of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands, Sleater-Kinney. After going on an indefinite hiatus in 2006, Sleater-Kinney shocked fans by slyly and sneakily announcing a new album via a new box set towards the end of 2014. That album is the critically-acclaimed No Cities to Love, it’s out now on Sub Pop, and the band is touring behind it now, including a Toronto stop on March 2. Here, Janet and I discuss my 15 minute intro, Tony Kiewel and the secret message in the box, how No Cities to Love is all new songs, Quasi playing Touch and Go’s 25th anniversary show in Chicago and possibly covering AC/DC, how touring so much impacted the band, Sleater-Kinney’s chemistry, making magic in a tiny, airless basement, hanging out with Carrie a lot even after the band ended, playing together again for the very first time, touring again, surprises involving clowns, the song “Surface Envy,” and then it’s enough.

Related links: sleater-kinney.com subpop.com vishkhanna.com

Sleater-Kinney Band Photo

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Ep. #138: Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces

Palaceer Lazaro is the founder and frontman of the excellent and inventive Seattle hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces. Once known as Butterfly, one of three MCs in the pioneering group Digable Planets, Lazaro was born Ishmael Butler and his actions suggest that he was brought here to make a difference. The critically acclaimed new Shabazz Palaces album is called Lese Majeste, a wonderfully constructed seven-piece suite of 18 songs, which is out now via Sub Pop Records. Its creators have described Lese Majeste’s dizzying array of beats and rhymes as an attack and it’s true; there is revolution in the air whenever Shabazz Palaces touch down. They’re on tour throughout Europe now and have several upcoming North American dates, including stops at the Kool Haus in Toronto on November 21 and the Corona Theatre in Montreal on November 22. Here, Ish and I discuss what’s up in Seattle, attacking suckerism and materialism, aging out of hip-hop culture, acting young versus being youthful, actually contributing to the culture, necessary self-involvement and elevating your community and social media, when hip-hop became the powers that be, the song “Dawn in Luxor” and Egypt, a throughline between “lese majeste,” overtaking majesty, and Watch the Throne, calling people on shit but also not trusting everything we think we know about them, kids in Chicago and down south are the leaders of hip-hop, basketball and jazz, hearing “Rapper’s Delight” and Rakim’s “Eric B. is President/My Melody,” De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, Guelph and Portlandia and Seattle hippie mysticism and betterment, what’s next with the Black Constellation, the songs “Soundview,” “Ishmael,” “…down 155th in MCM Snorkel,” and then we out.

Related links: subpop.com/artists/shabazz_palaces vishkhanna.com

Shabazz Palaces

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Ep. #109: Jello Biafra

Jello Biafra was the lead singer of the influential punk band Dead Kennedys and has since gone on to do significant work as an actor, spoken word artist, and vocalist, as well as being the head honcho at the still busy and prolific record label, Alternative Tentacles. His first band since he left Dead Kennedys is called Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine and their new album is called White People and the Damage Done, which they’re touring behind now, including stops at Call the Office in London, Ontario on June 16 and the Opera House in Toronto on June 17. Here Biafra and I discuss things like why Nardwuar the Human Serviette and I can’t pronounce Biafra, why Jello’s name came up in discussions about the Web Fast-Lane Vote spearheaded by the FCC, Guantanamo Bay and Chelsea Manning, the concept of the new album and how it delves into kleptocracy and retroactive feudalism, greed addicts, maximum wage, why “Shock-U-Py!” shows up at the end of the new album, how Jello engages with Canadian politics and our celebrity crackhead goofs, why people should stop talking about Hillary Clinton two years ahead of the election, thinking locally, why we should stop distracting ourselves, communication, reactivating our bullshit detectors, Jello has never felt alone in his thoughts and pursuits, what first turned him onto music as a kid, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Azuma Kabuki music, garage bands, the Music Machine, the Animals and Eric Burdon, Jello used to be able to sing like Robert Plant, East Bay Ray has the Dead Kennedys master tapes, Jello has nothing to do with Dead Kennedys reissues and they seem to be muting his involvement in the band, Jello is proud of Dead Kennedys and doesn’t think the rest of the band cares about the music, Jello’s theatre background in middle school, Jello can play a mean Scrooge, acting in The Hipster Games and being typecast on Portlandia, how Dead Kennedys came together in San Francisco and the emergence of hardcore, how method acting influenced Jello’s vivid lyricism, his roles in Highway 61 and Terminal City Ricochet, Jello’s very first songs were written for Dead Kennedys, why he never played in some early cover band or something, the early D.O.A. cover band Stone Crazy, how and why the GSM is his first proper band since DKs, the Melvins wanted to avenge Jello, why he quoted the DKs song “Soup is Good Food” in the GSM song “Burgers of Wrath,” where he’s at now with the other Dead Kennedys and what it would take for him to agree to play with them again, playing DKs songs with the GSM, Jello’s getting back into spoken word performance, honouring Ralph Nader, the crippling losses he’s suffered lately, how much the Stooges meant to him, the plight of independent musicians and labels like Alternative Tentacles in the age of file-sharing, AT is doing cool stuff with reissues of records by the Dicks, Voivod, and new releases by young bands like Death Hymn Number 9 and Itchy-O, making stuff is important, why the GSM is not playing Amnesia Rockfest in Quebec this month, scams, the song “Burgers of Wrath,” and then it’s bedtime for bonzo.

Related links: alternativetentacles.com vishkhanna.com

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