Janet Weiss Says She Left Sleater-Kinney Because She Was No Longer an ‘Equal’

When Janet Weiss announced her exit from groundbreaking rock band Sleater-Kinney ahead of the group’s new St. Vincent–produced album, The Center Won’t Hold, fans began to speculate about behind-the-scenes drama. In her first interview since the news, the celebrated drummer confirmed many of the rumors. She told drummer Joe Wong on his podcast The Trap Set With Joe Wong that former bandmates Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker said “the rules changed” ahead of the new album. “I said, ‘Am I just the drummer now?’ They said yes,” she explained. “And I said, ‘Can you tell me if I am still a creative equal in the band?’ And they said no. So I left.” But as anyone who’s listened to Dig Me Out knows, Janet Weiss isn’t “just a drummer”! She added, “The new record was made sort of without me and it would have been challenging to get up there onstage and deliver those songs like they were mine, when they weren’t mine at all.”

However, Weiss insists that she’s on good terms with Brownstein and Tucker: “They’re not evil people,” she said, adding, “I mean, I will never play with two people like that again. They are totally unique, incredible, intuitive players. It’s a lot to walk away from. It’s my sisters, my family.” She criticizes the situation, though. “I couldn’t be in that band and have it not be equal, especially with what it represents to me. It represents equality,” she said. “How can we be fighting for equality and not have it in our band?” And at the end of the day, Weiss says, “I love them and they seem happy.”

As Sleater-Kinney toured sans Weiss for the first time in over 20 years (Aye Nako’s Angie Boylan stepped in), Weiss prepped for a tour of her own, which she had to cancel to recover from an August car accident. In the meantime, this writer has “Modern Girl” on repeat.