- by Denise Sheppard

"With dark hair amok and those sharp & subtle hip thrusts, my friends & I lived a Teen Beat moment" - Annabelle, Vancouver, BC.

Picture it: a crowded concert hall, all eyes are glued towards the stage. Girls swoon, sigh & scream left & right out of sheer, unadulterated frenzy. It is a scene that echoes Elvis in the '50s, The Beatles in the '60s and Robert Plant in the '70s. It is a rare & beautiful phenomenon & it is happening today all over North America. It is the "crush out over your favorite rock star" phenomenon! And its newest member is Sleater-Kinney guitarist, Carrie Brownstein. Come on down!

Those of you who have experienced Sleater Kinney's live show know what I'm talking about. The band walks onstage, the music kicks in & your eyes, all ready to watch Corin sing her magic are suddenly and dramatically diverted over to the guitar player, Carrie Brownstein. Knees become weak, composure damn near impossible. Those of you who have not yet seen SK live, allow me to provide a first-person visual to help bring light to your Carrie-free darkness.

At a recent show, there were four of us. We were seasoned SK live vets, all aware of our impending affliction. There were a lawyer, two music industry 'professionals' (whatever that is) and a talented spoken word performer, with thousands of concert experiences between us. Faster than a speeding power chord, we turned into screaming, weak-kneed, giggly monosyllabics as we took our place directly in front of Carrie Brownstein's microphone. Lights down, heart rates up, Brownstein took her place onstage (in her standard fabulous fashion sense). Each and every one of the wonderful, talented, articulate women around me lost their composure for the next hour, solid! Well, ok, truthfully, I was quite outta control, too.

It is an experience unlike anything I've ever seen elsewhere: spontaneous screaming & full-on loss of composure being the most memorable images that come to mind. Although she is a most admirable guitarist & vocalist, pathetically, our reactions have little to do with Brownstein's talent. If that were the case, then Corin Tucker would truly captivate us equally. As wrought with objectification as that is, this is far more guttural than that. Honestly, the mystery lies in Carrie's tradmark move, her patented, playful below-the-belt swagger/hip thrust. For the very same reason that Elvis Presley could only be shot from the waist up on the Ed Sullivan Show, Carrie Brownstein's stage presence regularly causes young (and not-so-young)girls' collective jaws to drop in lustful abandon.

One of these prefectly normal women, using the nickname 'Annabelle' (for fear of cruel taunts from unsympathetic friends) explains it this way. "I'm nearly 30 & seeing them live I turn into a teenager. I don't know what she touches upon, but you're just swooning. There's just something about her, the incredibly sexy way she moves with her guitar & kicks the air. She's definitely performing. The moves have to have been rehearsed at some point, but they seem almost spontaneous. it seems so natural." When Annabelle ran home after the show, libido insatiable but intact, she took to her computer in hopes of finding pictures of her new objet d'amour. What she stumbled on instead, to her amazement, was a whole society of women with the very same fixation!

The 'Crush on Carrie ' web page ( is filled with dozens of accounts of fans (mostly females) all similarly swooned-out. Here are but a few of the many tales:

"When I saw SK play at CMJ, I stared at Carrie almost the whole time. While Corin has such an amazing shattering voice, Carrie's stage presence is sooooo powerful. God, the way her mouth hangs open when she plays, her gnarled screams. Oy, shw was (IS) really sexy." - Solvej, NYC

"Sleater-Kinney comes out & I swear I almost fainted. That girl up there (Carrie) was a babe & a half. I stood there through the whole show completely hypnotized by her beauty and grace." - Caitlin, Seattle

One posting in particular gets right to the point.

"It's so cool that Sleater crushes let queer teen girls be open about their sexuality, but I've gotta say, I know so many straight girls with crushes on Carrie too." - Liz, NYC

That really is the hear of it all; Sleater-Kinney, whose individual members are all loved, lusted after & respected from afar, celebrate that classic element of rock 'n' roll - the crush - not just by their actions (Carrie's smooth stage moves) but also by their words. After all, vocalist Corin Tucker herself extolled that long-standing tradition when she sang the now immortal words "I wanna be your Joey Ramone/Pictures of me on your bedroom door" back in '96. **********

taken from ROCKRGRL magazine