Corin Tucker goes solo and finds some new voices on 1,000 Years
CT I wanted to use different voices on the record. Not necessarily different characters, but different sides of my voice that I didn't think people had heard before — or if they had, in Heavens to Betsy, that was so long ago. Part of the challenge and opportunity of making a solo record is figuring out how to give it enough variety so that you can take people through a journey.
SFBG One song I want to ask about is "Handed Love." I like that it's elliptical, and I get a dark feeling from it.
CT I think that might be one of my favorite songs. It has an interesting evolution. I started writing it on guitar and vocals, and it was pretty flat and straightforward. It was a mid-tempo rocker.
The song is sort of looking at relationships from the point of being a little bit older and being a female. I have a couple of friends who are newly divorced and I just kinda put myself in their shoes. It seemed like a difficult thing to navigate, when you have your heart broken and have to keep it together.
Seth had this idea [laughs], 'What if we do this song with only 'ooo' vocals in the background?' There's this really beautiful choir part that comes in at the end, and that's where we began recording it. He stripped away all the guitar and we had this vocal chorus and a drum machine. Then it kept evolving. Finally, he tried a Wurlitzer organ and I loved it.
SFBG That song and the follow-up track, "Doubt," both have great moments where the sound is sort of stripped away. I get the sense that you had fun working with Seth.
CT It was a really enjoyable process. We just set it up as this project we were working on, and there was a lot of tinkering. The door was wide open in terms of what we could do and how we would look at things. He's talented as a musician and as a producer and arranger.
SFBG Because it was a solo project and because you were working with him, was there a sense that songs could change as you worked on them?
CT Definitely. When I wrote "Half a World Away," it was a ballad on guitar — very quiet and super slow. Seth had this idea that we should rock out. We started working on it, and he had this idea of taking the guitar parts and making them sparse and prickly and fast. Then when we started playing with Sara Lund, she brought a whole new dynamic to the song with the percussion. She brought in these African bells, because the song is about Lance [Bangs, Tucker's husband] going away to Africa, and she had all these ideas about illustrating angst with percussion. That song became something I really love that is completely different from the original demo.
SFBG One other song I wanted to ask about is "Riley" because it has such a classic rock riff. Do you know a Riley?
CT No. He's more of a fictional character.
SFBG I know a Riley.
CT You do? Is he down and out?
SFBG No, he's a funny Filipino queen.
CT [Laughs] In 2007 and 2008, it just felt like such a dark time — so many friends had lost their jobs, or were getting divorced. Seth and I talked about Patti Smith literally every day while we were recording. Just Kids (Ecco, 320 pages, $16) came out while we were making the record, and she's such a great inspiration. She's one of those people who can write songs that are about friendship and helping your friends through something difficult. That song is really inspired by her and Lenny Kaye.
SFBG "Thrift Store Coats" starts out a lot like most people's idea of what a solo recording would sound like — a voice and a pretty piano arrangement. But then suddenly it turns loud and powerful.