For the fictional character, see Janet Weiss (Rocky Horror).

Janet Lee Weiss[1] (born September 24, 1965) is a rock drummer, best known as a member of Sleater-Kinney and currently also a member of Quasi. She was the drummer for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, leaving after the album Mirror Traffic, and contributed to The Shins' fourth studio album, Port of Morrow (2012). She was also the drummer for Wild Flag. Weiss is highly regarded as a drummer; for example, Stylus Magazine listed her as one of rock's fifty greatest drummers, while LA Weekly places her in the top twenty.[2][3]

Early life

Weiss was born in Hollywood, California to a Jewish family,[4] and began playing guitar at the age of 16. She attended San Francisco State University and graduated with a degree in photography.[citation needed]

Career

Weiss (right) with Sleater-Kinney bandmates Carrie Brownstein (left) and Corin Tucker, backstage at SXSW 2006.

The Furies

While in college in San Francisco, Weiss became involved in the local club scene, following local bands such as Camper Van Beethoven and The Donner Party, and absorbing their punky/DIY ethos.[5] When she was 22, she launched her own music career: with one drum lesson and about two weeks practice under her belt, she joined an all-girl trio called The Furies as the drummer, and went on tour.[5] Self-taught as a drummer, Weiss learned her technique by watching the drummers at innumerable live shows, and by studying rock and punk greats like John Bonham and Topper Headon.[5] She moved to Portland, Oregon in 1989 and soon after began playing with former Donner Party leader, Sam Coomes, in a band called Motorgoat. (Motorgoat disbanded and reformed as Quasi in 1993; Coomes is Weiss's ex-husband.)

Sleater-Kinney

Weiss started playing with Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein in Sleater-Kinney in 1996, after seeing them play a show. Tucker and Brownstein then played her a new song they were working on at the time, "Dig Me Out." Her bandmates later said that she made up a beat so solid "you could practically bang your head against it." Weiss eventually became the band's drummer; she was the fourth in the band's history.[6]

Quasi

Weiss and Sam Coomes formed Quasi in 1993, and the band has remained active both as a duo and a trio, featuring Joanna Bolme from 2007-2011, for the past 20 years.

The Jicks

Upon the dissolution of Sleater-Kinney in 2006, Weiss joined Quasi bandmate Joanna Bolme in Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. She performed on two albums, Real Emotional Trash (2008) and Mirror Traffic (2011). She left the band prior to its tour in support of the latter album.

Wild Flag

Beginning in September 2010, she drummed in Wild Flag, with Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium), and Rebecca Cole (The Minders). By December 2013, Wild Flag had disbanded.[7]

Other work

She has also played for Bright Eyes, Junior High, The Shadow Mortons, The Go Betweens, Sarah Dougher, Elliott Smith, and one Goldcard song. She occasionally performs in the duo Slang, with Drew Grow of Modern Kin.

Janet Weiss of Wild Flag

On June 4, 2007, she performed with Bright Eyes on the Late Show with David Letterman before joining the band for their summer European tour.


Portlandia

Weiss is part of the production team on Carrie Brownstein's TV show, Portlandia, working as the permit manager.[8]

Equipment

Weiss performing with Bright Eyes in 2007.

Weiss plays a vintage Ludwig kit (ca. 1973) in natural maple finish. Specs. as follows:[9]

  • 5½x14 Craviotto Snare
  • 9x13 rack tom
  • 16x16 floor tom
  • 14x22 bass drum

She played a similar kit at Coachella in April 2008, except the Ludwigs were the Blue Oyster 'Bowling Ball' finish. The Craviotto snare was still natural maple.[10]

Cymbals: Zildjian

  • 14" Quick Beat hi-hats
  • 18" A Custom Projection crash
  • 21" A medium ride
  • 20" A Custom medium crash

Hardware: DW

Heads:

  • Remo coated Ambassadors on snare and toms, Evans EQ4 on bass drum batter.

Sticks:

  • Silverfox MR

Album appearances

Weiss (right) with Quasi bandmate Joanna Bolme at The Green Man Festival 2006

References

  1. ^ "American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers". ASCAP. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  2. ^ "Stylus Magazine's 50 Greatest Rock Drummers". Stylus Magazine. 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  3. ^ "The 20 Best Drummers of All Time". LA Weekly. 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  4. ^ "Meet Carrie Brownstein: A Triple Threat". Jewish Women's Archive. March 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Cravioto Drum Co.: Artists – Janet Weiss". The Cravioto Drum Co. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  6. ^ "The Official Website of Sleater-Kinney". Sleater-kinney.com. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  7. ^ "Indie Rock Supergroup Wild Flag Are No More". Retrieved 2014-10-13. 
  8. ^ Rob Owen (2015-01-05). "‘Portlandia’ tries a new approach for Season 5". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  9. ^ "The online presence of Modern Drummer Magazine". Modern Drummer. 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  10. ^ "Janet Weiss of the Jicks | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. Retrieved 2011-10-30.