After the 2006 split of Sleater-Kinney, Corin Tucker's acclaimed punk trio with Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, Tucker was unsure if there was still room for her on the music scene. But her new album Kill My Blues, out today on Kill Rock Stars, proves that she may be needed now more than ever.
"Some of the cultural and political developments in the women's movement have been almost shocking," Tucker tells Rolling Stone. "It's just feeling like we're still arguing about reproductive rights and we're still arguing about trying to get equal pay for women and all these things that my mother's generation was working for."
Kill My Blues is the Corin Tucker Band's deft follow-up to their 2010 record, 1,000 Years, the first album the singer-guitarist released after her former band's breakup. "It was hard to make a record after Sleater-Kinney," Tucker says. "It was emotionally challenging to feel confident, like, 'OK, this is what I'm doing now.' On this record, collaborating with this band and getting our sea legs, I was just more ready to dig into what I thought about the political and social landscape I was addressing."
Tucker has never shied away from political sentiments in her songs with Sleater-Kinney or in her prior riot-grrrl band Heavens to Betsy. Lately, though, the singer feels a greater sense of urgency, particularly in an election year that concerns women's rights. She rips into the topic on opener "Groundhog Day," singing, "Instead of going forward/ Where the hell we going now?"
This indignation helps fuel Tucker, who has a son and a daughter with her husband Lance Bangs, a filmmaker. "It's a really good motivator as a human being," she says. "Sometimes I wonder how relevant is my voice still in the music culture today – are these things still relevant, are people still wondering about a woman's viewpoint on things? And if anything, I think it's more relevant today. We still have so far to go in terms of having real equality . . . That just pushes me forward as an artist."
Frustration with the system isn't Tucker's only source of inspiration: her band also made Kill My Blues a more collaborative effort than its predecessor. Instead of Tucker bringing in finished songs, she jammed out ideas in a rehearsal space with drummer Sara Lund, guitarist Seth Lorinczi and bassist Mike Clark. "It was really fun, because we had gelled as a band after being on the road together," Tucker says.
Now Tucker faces the conflict that confronts every working parent: how best to juggle her job and her home life. "It's a work in progress, I think, for every family," she explains. "The expectations are really high, and at some point, I found out I'm a human. I'm not Wonder Woman; I'm not any kind of superhero at all. I'm a regular human with regular capabilities. I try to do the best I can and just pay attention. Of course, my time with my family is my priority, but yeah, I want to have a career, too."