In a New Interview, Janet Weiss Addresses Her Decision to Quit Sleater-Kinney for the First Time

"It's like the message was, 'this is about connection and this is about love and this is about friendship.' But Sleater-Kinney became so painfully lonely for me."

Janet Weiss in 2015. IMAGE: Matthew Singer.

After months of silence, Janet Weiss has elaborated on her decision to leave Sleater-Kinney.

In July, Weiss announced on Instagram that she had left Sleater-Kinney, citing the band's "new direction," and would not be joining them on a tour they had announced just weeks before. It was strange timing—Weiss had been the Portland punk band's drummer for more than two decades, and the hype was revving up for their St. Vincent-produced album, The Center Won't Hold, which was released in August.

Weiss has remained tight-lipped about her decision, and remaining band members Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker have been vague when addressing their bandmate's departure. But this week, Weiss gave her first interview since leaving the band on the drum-focused podcast The Trap Set with Joe Wong.

During the hour-and-a-half long conversation, Weiss explains her reason for quitting Sleater-Kinney: "The roles changed within the band, and they told me the roles changed. I said, 'Am I just the drummer now?' And they said yes. I said, 'Am I a creative equal, can you tell me that I'm still a creative equal in the band?' And they said no. So I left."

Weiss also says she struggled with Brownstein and Tucker's decision to write most of the album remotely: "To write separately in Garageband with a Dropbox folder was really tough for me. It didn't make me feel very involved."

"It's like the message was, 'This is about connection and this is about love and this is about friendship,'" Weiss continues. "But Sleater-Kinney became so painfully lonely for me. And part it was just that this method of writing was dictated to me, like, 'This is how we're going to do it.' And I just wasn't feeling loved, I wasn't feeling the connection."

According to Weiss, the trio tried to work through their differences—they tried counseling, which they also did in 1998. But ultimately, Weiss decided that it would be "challenging to get up there on stage and deliver those songs as if they were mine when they sort of weren't mine."

Still, the decision to quit was difficult.

"I will never play with two people like that again. They are totally unique, incredible, intuitive players," she says. "It's a lot to walk away from. They're my sisters, my family. But I couldn't be in that band and have it not be equals, 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."

Sleater-Kinney play the second of two sold-outs shows at Crystal Ballroom tonight, with drummer Angie Boylan filling in for Weiss.

You can listen to the Trap Set's full interview with Weiss here.

Related: On Their New Album, Sleater-Kinney Faces Political Turmoil and Intraband Uncertainty.

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