Being Wrong Never Felt So Right
By Tamara Vallejos
Brett Anderson never thought her side-project, The Stripminers, would play live; it was tough enough getting a steady group of musicians into a studio to lay down tracks. But after a couple years of under-the-radar writing with fellow founding Stripminer Paul Stinson, the punk-meets-country outfit is ready for the spotlight in 2012—beginning with a gig at Pappy and Harriet’s on Jan. 7.
You may recognize Anderson as the frontwoman for rockers The Donnas, which had its biggest mainstream hit in 2003 with the single “Take it Off.” But the band’s diehard fans would remind you the quartet is more prolific, having been together for nearly two decades, and with an album and shows planned for the new year.
But even with The Donnas’ steady output, Anderson found herself needing another musical outlet.
“I had ideas I wanted to realize—a certain way to arrange a song, or something I always wanted to write about but felt nobody would want to hear,” says Anderson. When a mutual friend, a fellow by the name of Scrote, introduced Anderson to Stinson, an instant musical connection was formed. (Scrote now produces the Stripminers and plays for them live, along with DJ Bonebrake of X fame, Holland Greco and Brett Simons.)
“We just started talking about music and were like, ‘Wow, we have a lot in common!’” says Anderson. Stinson penned the first song, a country tune, as something of a joke, but the duo decided to record it. And then they recorded another, and another, letting their twangy-but-edgy sound flourish.
“You know when you have a piñata and you put the blindfold on and you spin around? That’s our direction,” Anderson explains. “We’re allowed to do anything. When you compare this to making a record for your primary band on a major label, it’s totally different. This is when all the great creative stuff comes out, when you’re just screwing around. There’s no stress, and you can trick your brain into not editing itself by being like, ‘Oh, this is no big deal.’”
The chill process has led to an album’s worth of music just waiting to be released in the coming year. The only question is how.
“People don’t listen to whole records anymore. It’s cool in a way, because we’re returning to a singles market like in the ’60s and I love the idea of that,” says Anderson. “Some say songs are like your kids, and I want each of my kids to get special attention. I don’t want one to get lost because it’s the ninth song on a record people only listen to half of.”
To solve this dilemma, Anderson says to expect the forthcoming album split into a song per month, via the band’s website. Until then, prospective fans can find a handful of tracks on iTunes, alternating between sweet boy-girl harmonies atop soft banjo (like on “Better than a Song”) and rapid-fire growls and guitar riffs (on “No Luck”). All of them foster high hopes for the debut record. But will there be a proper tour to go along with it?
“I’m not sure how we would work that out,” says Anderson. “You can count the shows we’ve played so far on your fingers. Everyone has adult commitments! But anything is possible. You can be wrong over and over again with this job, and I just love being wrong with shit like this.”
The Stripminers at Pappy and Harriet’s, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Sat., Jan. 7. 8PM. $10.