Janet Lee Weiss (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.
Weiss was born in Hollywood, California to a Jewish family, and began playing guitar at the age of 16. She attended San Francisco State University and graduated with a degree in photography.
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. 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. 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. 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.)
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.
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.
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 in 2008 and the 2011 release Mirror Traffic. She left the band prior to the tour of the latter album.
She has also played for Bright Eyes, Junior High, The Shadow Mortons, The Go Betweens, Sarah Dougher, Elliott Smith, and one Goldcard song.
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.
As of September 2010, she was performing with the band Wild Flag, with Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium), and Rebecca Cole (The Minders). By December 2013, Wild Flag had disbanded.
Weiss is part of the production team on Carrie Brownstein's TV show, Portlandia, working as the permit manager.
Sleater-Kinney Janet Weiss Limited Edition Signature Stick
Release Date: February 27, 2015
With the purchase of these Janet Weiss Limited Edition drumsticks (only available online and from the band on tour!) not only will you be supporting the Oregon Food Bank, you’ll also get a free download of a drumless version of the single “Bury Our Friends” (found in your SubPop.com account) so you can play along at home! We happen to think this is a win-win situation for all involved.
ProMark Janet Weiss Limited Edition Signature drumsticks. Limited edition of 1,500. All proceeds benefit Oregon Food Bank. (Two Pair in Collection: 672 and 1138/1500)
Janet Weiss Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 4.