When Sleater-Kinney went on a hiatus in 2006, their singer-guitarist Corin Tucker took a break from music, too. The riot grrrl and '90s alt-rock icon now realizes it was one of the best decisions she ever made. "It was just really OK for me to walk away from music and not do it for a while," says Tucker, adding, "It feels kind of painful at the time, but it was the right thing for me to do. It's not like you lose your talent or it goes away." Indeed, four years later she returned to the studio, this time to work on a solo album. And now, she's put out her second album with Corin Tucker Band, Kill My Blues. "This album experiments with musical styles more than I've done in the past," she says. "Its got elements of ska or dubstep with the rhythm section happening, and that is really fun to play with." Tucker has been an undeniable inspiration for anyone who has ever aspired to play guitar, rage against the machine, or just have a cameo on Portlandia. She is, basically, someone we've long been obsessed with. So we wanted to know: When you're a fixture in rock history, what do you become obsessed with? Here's what we found out.
ARGUING ABOUT MUSIC
This is the first time in years that I've been in a van with four other rockers just driving around, and it's been super-fun to just listen to records and talk about music--which is all we do all day long, until we get to the show. It's mostly music from [touring bassist] Dave Depper's iPod. He has a killer iPod! He also has Spotify, so if we get into a discussion and we're like, "Wait a minute, we need to pull such and such record," we can do it. We've been arguing about which is The Beatles' best album. I think there are four of us that are pretty strongly in favor of The White Album. We got into a vinyl competition in Athens, Georgia when we had a day off. It was a mad scramble but I ended up with a really good [record].
I'm reading it now, it's so good. My husband bought it for me and he got me an autographed copy. I haven't followed all of the political developments but the way she presents it, it's really easy to follow and easy to read and brings back a lot [of memories] for me of living through the Reagan presidency and following the Iran scandal.
SHOPPING ON THE ROAD
I really like to shop on tour. It's so wrong, and [I thought] maybe over the years my senses would have dulled, but no--you can roll me out into any city in the United States and I will find the boutique. It can be in the middle of Georgia and I will find this cobalt blue, beautiful blouse and be like, I can't just walk away from it! I have an innate radar. I'm sure that people use apps for it now but usually the venue is on a really cool street where there are things happening.
You're like, "This album!" It's really good. I love Black Sabbath, I do. Really great rock singing, really well-written songs, kind of underrated in terms of the songwriting.
I love Zumba. I think we should have a Zumba center in the hotel. This is embarrassing, but we have a points game on tour: If you work out, you get five points. I'm at 45 points! it's a coconut-on-the-rider type tour. There were cookies [on the rider], but those have been removed--no one could control themselves!
I sort of realized that I still want to collect vinyl. That's something I still love doing. I don't really want to take up any more space in my house, but I do think they sound so much better on vinyl. They need to be worthwhile, classic albums; I used to buy things like, Oh that's funny! But now I know there are certain things that I want on vinyl. You know when you go to the record store and it costs $20, $30 now, it's expensive. But then I'm like, everyone wants that record so I'm going to snatch it! I definitely look for Brian Eno records and I also want to get all of the Roxy Music records on vinyl.
PLAYING THE RE-CAST THIS MOVIE GAME
My other job is a casting agent [laughs]. That's a really fun game on tour, re-casting a movie. [To play me] I think Kate Winslet would be awesome. Or Christina Ricci would be great. Or Lauren Ambrose!