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Marissa, a lot of times when you guys are written about, most of the attention goes to you. And you're the front person, so it's natural to a certain extent. But do you think people are still maybe a little too surprised to find a small girl doing big rock solos?
MP: Yeah, because there have been plenty of girls who've done the exact same stuff. I dunno, music journalism is weird, because it's really just a big ball of adjectives. It's really hard to describe music, so people need to write about what they see. And so, given the option, what they see gets written about more than what they hear. Which is disheartening. Because it should be about what you hear. But it's tough to write about that. So I get why people have to write about how I'm small. And I have hair. But, I wish that people could push themselves a little bit harder to find a hook that's more substantial. I'm not playing there so you can look at me.
KM: We're not the most attractive.
JD: Well, and to take a more appropriate angle on it, it's not like, "Girl Plays Guitar: Freak Show!"
MP: Human being plays guitar...
JD: Well, with like the Riot Grrl stuff, their stance was that we need more women in bands because getting a diverse perspective through in an artistic form is important. Marissa is a woman who plays guitar. It's important that she's a woman, in terms of [the music] coming from a different perspective than it would from a man. It's important in that respect, to have bands coming from different histories and perspectives, but it's not a freak show.
I wanted to ask, because the records are so obviously guitar-centric, there was a time in punk or DIY circles when being really good at your instruments was suspect. Is that a totally obsolete concern that we've gotten past?
KM: Well, it's not gone, because people still bring it up all the time. People are always saying guitar solos aren't "in," in indie rock right now.
They never really left, really, but it's certainly not an aspect that's focused on...
MP: It's hard to walk a line between a tasteful guitar solo, and like, AC/DC territory. You know, the butt-rock thing. We try to avoid that, but sometimes it creeps in. I don't frown on it.
But does that somehow make the music "less punk"?
JD: Even with those punk bands, it was just part of their image. '77 punk bands were really into image, they always talked about fashion. I think that whole, "Oh, I didn't know how to play my instrument" was totally part of the fashion. Because the Clash can fucking play their instruments so well. And the Slits, they obviously had some crazy understanding of their instruments.
MP: Even the Damned. Tons of guitar solos. X had tons of solos. Television.
JD: These bands could play their asses off.
MP: Even later stuff, the Pixies...
JD: I think the big difference with the whole solo thing, is that you can put a stock solo in that has a lot of "Wheee-did-e-did-lee" stuff going on, and it doesn't make a difference to anyone, and it just makes you feel good that you can put a lot of notes in a row. But then there's the rare person who can express something with their instrument and it comes out in sudden bursts, in an improvisational way. Which is what soloing should be. And I think Marissa has a rare talent to be able to do that. People are always like, "Are you classically trained?" and she's like, "I don't even know what I'm doing." So it's a testament to the fact that it's expression, and not wankery.