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kristin hersh
online Q&A session number two

questions posted to the Throwing Music message board
and answered by Kristin in late
September, 2001

click here for the first Kristin TM board Q&A from September, 2000
mail bsearles [at] gmail [dot] com with any feedback

Jim asks...

I guess my only question right now is the same thing I'm asking everyone else I talk to:  How are you doing?
Also, have you created any new songs lately, like in the last month (before/after sept. 11)?

So that's two questions. Thanks again for Sunny Border Blue, such a healing piece of music and a great recording.


K. responds...

I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

I hope you didn't lose anyone in the messiness. The degrees of separation seem increasingly small.

I have written a few songs. One is called "Portia".


Anthony asks...

If we all lived in a fantasy world where money grew on trees and you could indulge
any artistic/musical fancy of yours....what would you do?


K. replies...

I would build Dave and Bernie a couple of castles, put them inside and keep them there.
Then we could play all day and par-tay all night.

I would also have many, many babies.


winders asks...

I was watching fight club t'other day so this is where this one comes from ....

do you have a "power animal" or a creature that you imagine yourself to be?

I sometimes dream that I am a seagull getting buffetted around in the wind, it's my favourite dream


K replies...

I've always had a snake thing...and a wolf thing. I used to see those guys everywhere I went.
They're in a bunch of songs, too.

Squirrels and dogs are great people, but I never imagined that I would be one of 'em.



greenbelly asks...

how do you feel about us crazy fans who have seen you multiple times...does it strike you as odd?
i know many people have seen you way more times than i have...is it kind of freaky for you?


K replies...

People like you are my friends. You are somewhat enigmatic, but you make my day(s).

Thanks again,


Nick in Korea asks...

Hi Kristin - my question is, when are you going to play a gig in Korea ? No, just joking. Actually,
I'd like to ask which Throwing Muses album you're most proud of, if it is possible to say. I worship
them all of course, but would choose The Real Ramona as the biggest diamond in the tiara.
Hope you're well and happy and thanks so much for taking time to indulge us all.   Nick


K replies...

I'll be in Korea next week, but nowhere near your neighborhood (sorry!).

I love Limbo. I think it's a sparkly zircon in our tin foil tiara.


Sarah asks...

Hello Kristin.

I was dx as Bipolar 2 yrs ago. It has been difficult. On and off meds (lithium and zoloft mainly) Im bp type II rapid cycler. I was just wondering how you are doing and what you are doing to stay sane in this INSANE world?? It is really hard.(We are a moody bunch) But you do what you can. It is great that you were open about being BP. I think you are a lovely person and you totally inspire me!  Sarah


K replies...

I wasn't particularly open about it at first. Some okay writers found out about it and I let them do their piece
Then others picked up that story and I didn't like what they were saying, so I started talking.

Everyone has a story. We all do our best.

Good luck!


cheapoe asks...

do you like any videogames? (maybe dance dance revolution? ;)


K replies...

I'm somebody's mom...video games confuse me!


FrancisD writes...

You mentioned a possible collaboration with Vic Chesnutt....just wondered if that was still on the cards. I am *so* in accord with you on that score.. I just haven't found anyone that can touch him for pure songwriting. (Present company excluded!) Was thinking of you recently in connection with your childhood home- I just finished reading a book about the folk artist Howard Finster- he grew up on Lookout Mountain. What a lovely guy! Don't spose you've ever met him? I know Michael Stipe's done stuff with him.  Like most people round here, I suspect, I've been thinking of you & yours in the context of this latest crisis. Hope yr ok.  Writing this one-handed with a 3-yr-old on my lap. How KH is that?!
Love to all, f.    Daren't even ask if you'll ever make it to Oz.. *sob*.. *sniff*.


K replies...

Vic and I want to finish each other's unfinished songs. Unfortunately, neither of us ever finishes anything.

Howard Finster was from Lookout Mountain? That's where my whole family was born.
Cool. We have three of his "heads" in our son, Dylan's, room.

If there's a draft, we're running down under (Dyl's 15).


Suzyf asks...

Hello Kristin,

I can't think of anything I need to know so just hope you and yours are ok after what
the Queen would call "one bum year".

And, are you ever going to have a break from touring and sit by a pool for a month?



K replies...

I'm sitting by my pool right now, under the banana leaves...


fwo asks...

Firstly would just like to say thanks for the music
( Damn sounds like an abba song but please take it in the spirit it was intended)

q: where is a good place to start to get the basics of guitar playing correct?


K replies...

Unless you play beer commercials, you can do no wrong.



Doug H. asks...

Hi, Kristin! I love "Sunny Border Blue." I think it's your best solo album--or my favorite, in any event.

My question: I remember one reviewer saying that your music "avoids cliches like the plague."
Is this an accurate statement at all, or is your creative process not that premeditated?



K replies...

I think I dive into cliche and swim around. I think this stuff is so easy and smooth.
I don't know...some people just don't hear it that way.

I actually get more attention when they don't.


Gin Boy Hayward asks...

Hey Kristin, Hope you don't mind these three questions...
What is your favourite dessert? Which is your favourite desert? What dessert would you eat in this desert (bear in mind the sand factor and the heat - it's a hot desert, in the sunshine)? I ask these questions of all my favourite recording artists. Britney Spears said "Low fact yogurt. Err, like the Sahara? and Bananas (a wise choice - they are well wrapped)"   Cheers,   Gin Boy Hayward


K replies...

M&M's in the Mojave.

They do melt in your hand, though.


sac writes...

probly more a statement than a question.....

i'm not sure if i can be classed as you "normal" music listener....simply because i don't listen to the words....i listen to how the voice is used as an instrument along with the others to make the songs.....to be honest i have no idea what you are talking about in about 95% of your songs....and i only know the other 5% because i have read somewhere what you mean.....

i was wondering if this strikes you as odd....?.... just that since obvioulsy your music is soo lyric based, and that the songs get written around the words, do you find it odd that the actual lyrics you write go right over my head....?....

that why i love the emotion in your voice....i can feel what you are singing, rather than hearing it....my god, makes me sound like a lunatic...

ok...normal question time....i prefer your entirely acoustic records to the "produced" ones, and this is why i like the works in progress versions better then the album versions......so do you have any plans to make an entirely acoustic record again...?.. cause it would truly make my day.

keep up the amazing work,


K replies...

I don't have any idea what I'm talking about...ever!

The most beautiful sounding words are the most necessary, so I go on percussive and melodic beauty.
I am definitely NOT a lyrics oriented songwriter or listener.

I think this approach fools me into saying things I don't want to say, don't know yet, etc.
Rhythm and rhyme are tricky things, your brain can't quite catch up.


pushpull asks...

Do you have any favorites among your own live performances, solo or TM?
Do you ever listen to recordings of the shows shortly afterwards?

Mike S.


K replies...

Um, no...live recordings make me bored and tense at the same time.

One of my favorite Muses shows was an outdoor festival we played with Bush and a bunch of other bands.
People were parachuting out of the sky and I had had beer for breakfast.


salami says...

Hi Kristin,I`ve been a fan of yours for several years now,my fav albums is the first TM album and Hips And Makers.
Sunny Border Blue is one of my favs from this year.Keep up the good music and best wishes for you and your family.
Greetings from Canada


K replies...

Thank you, salami.


Lucky asks...  (who else?):

so you wanna be a rock superstar?
and live large?
big house
fine cars
you're in charge?



and K replies...

Yes, please.


the one and only jo asks...

here goes...

okay, so Sky Motel had a band sound, Sunny Border Blue has a band sound, how is the next album going to sound? (obviously its early days, but are there ideas, thoughts what might happen?)

So if it sounds like a band, my other question is, that if you could do a one-off gig where you could assemble all the
people you wanted to play on the album, who would you choose? (and if it doesn't then apply that question to SBB)



K replies...

I like my original band: "Throwing Muses". They were a groovy combo back in the day.


ChrisD asks...

I posted this as a theoretical question awhile back. Suppose I came over to your house after school one
spring day in 1984...what records would I find in your collection that would divert me from my growing
obsession at the time with Metallica, Venom and Mercyful Fate???



K replies...

In 1984, I probably had some Raincoats, Talking Heads, Violent Femmes, Meat Puppets, Dead Kennedys,
Husker Du, Velvets, REM, X, X and more X. Would any of that have turned your ear?


Leah, mistress of questions, asks...

Each album of yours has its own personality; as do the track listings on them. Are the track listings in any way reflecting on the songs themselves or are they purely random?

You have accomplished what most people would dream of doing with your music (I'm thinking of the inspiration show in Place pages here and the massive warmth most of us around here share). Have you ever thought of writing a novel or maybe a children's book?

Are we likely to see a "Best of TM & KH" album soon? What tracks are you most proud of?

How open would you be to someone doing a biography about you? (apologies in advance if there is one - and no, I am not in any way angling to write it)


K replies...

I feel like I'm interrupting something...something warm and fluffy.

By track listing, do you mean sequence? I usually sequence a record the way I write a set list.
Mood shifts and songs as sentences in a paragraph, etc.

Someone is asking me to write a novel right now. It's my understanding that that means a work of fiction,
though, and I'm not good at making stuff up.

There is a best of in the works, but no one can decide what should be on it.
I guess we're all so obnoxious that we like just about everything we did.

Biograph away, but it's not a pretty picture.


sukanku asks...

Hi Kristin,

Have you ever seen the "House of Yes", the movie based on Wendy MacLeod's play and starring Parker Posey?

If you haven't you should, it's the funniest movie ever.




K replies...

I'll check it out. We watched "Dick" and the Thin Man series this week.

We love movies.


hystericalbender asks...

hey kristin! i know tanya will be releasing another solo album soon. is there any chance you two would
tour together as a double bill, each doing your own solo stuff?

~hoping you'll be near indiana soon~


K replies...


We've been trying to pull that together for awhile.


rob asks...

i always seem to ask you about your opinions on other bands, so here's something a little different.....



K replies...

That's a tough one. Billy thinks the George Bush one, I like the one where Lisa falls in love with her teacher,
Dustin Hoffman, but I'll have to think about this. There's just nothing wrong with the Simpsons.

Do you guys read The Onion?


Rex asks...

Hi, Kristin!

I've heard you say that you learned to play lead guitar by playing along with your dad's Clash records, and of course we all know that you grew up with his renditions of those great Appalachian folk songs... can you talk a little more about the music you grew up with, before you started seeking out music on your own?

On the same note I wanted to thank you for "Murder, Misery"... the way you've kept those songs alive has really touched me, and inspired me to play and sing many of the folk tunes I learned from my own father for my own 6-month old daughter. Some of your songs too... although quite poorly :)!



K replies...


My parents played Patti Smith, the Carter Family, Stevie Wonder, Robert Johnson, Talking Heads, The Clash, Steve Miller, Beatles, Philip Glass and gazillions of traditionals that they grew up listening to. It's a weird mix, but it worked on me.


steve asks...

A bunch of us on here have frequently wondered whether we could collectively be the sugar daddy that you joked (?) about needing to make another album. Given that you would then have the album to sell, how much money would it take to make it worth your while (and David's and Bernard's) to record an album? Forgive my music-biz naivete; I really have no idea. If it were $10,000, I bet we could put that together here. (Remember, people who fly in to San Francisco from all over the world are not worrying about where their next meal is coming from.) If it were more like $100,000, well, we need to know that, too, so that we can stop torturing ourselves wondering.

Thanks again for all your hard work and the resulting beauty.



K replies...

About as sweet as you are for asking the question.

I would need enough money to pay the boys what they deserve and allow them to quit their jobs so that we could do press and tour to ensure the success of the record and all future records. Lifetime security is expensive. They might not get their jobs back if we failed, you know? And given our history and the state of the music business, we would almost definitely "fail".

Of course, that's not my idea of failure; you can't measure impact in units sold. So what we may be able to do someday is record ourselves playing and offer it to you guys, period. That's really the ultimate not-giving-a-shit, anyway.

Here's hoping.


Diamond Jim asks...


I just wanted to let you know how incredible your music has always been. Nothing else comes close. And i mean that. I know how humble you've always been about that kind of thing, so i just really wanted to say that, for me, the difference between your music and the music of others has always been like the difference between feasting and just eating candy. Candy tastes good, and you can keep it in your mouth for a while, but you can't live off it.

I've always followed up with some kind of food question, but since someone already asked about desserts to eat in the desert, i thought i'd ask: What was up with the pet food thing? Are you still interested in that? Where could i see the info you learned that stuff from?

thanks, for your music, and for taking the time to respond to the legions of questions.

you're the best.


K replies...

Howdy back.

Most commercial pet foods are full of really scary things like diseased animal parts, ash and the bodies of dogs and cats who have been put to sleep (with the barbituates still in their systems!). My neighbor's dog eats Dog Chow, she's five years old and she looks about a hundred and ten.

People who either cook for their pets or feed them good food (like Wysong) never have to go to the vet (and neither do their pets). Their dogs are healthy into their twenties. Am I babbling? MY ARMY OF DOGS WILL LIVE FOREVER!

Thank you for the nice words.


schmuck asks...

Kristin, would you consider yourself spiritual? If yes, do you practice any major religion or do you have more of a personal type spirtuality?

maybe that's too personal...


K replies...

Hell, nothing's too personal. I thought we'd established that!

I was raised Buddhist by two Southern Baptists ("Southern Buddhist" Billy calls it). Billy was raised Jewish by two
Catholics, so when it came time to decide how to raise the children, we understandably took the personal route.

We pretty much worship everything.


KingCrudcup asks...

Isn't it a fact that you and your family specifically moved to the Seattle area just so that you could be located
geographically closer to members of the 70's rock n' roll group Heart?

I want to add that your music is wonderful and I don't know what we would do without it and that I hope you get
to make another record with the boys. Thanks.


K exclaims...




Riot Poof asks...

Hey kristin :-)

the ladies of Sleater-Kinney often cite you as one of their biggest musical influences. What does it feel like to hear/read stuff like that? It makes me feel warm and fuzzy because i know s-k are a huge inspiration to lots, and it seems like a continuum of sorts, if that makes any sense!

have you heard Sleater-Kinney? it seems lots of TMO'ers dig them.



K replies...

I think it's awful nice of them to site us as an influence; a lot of people won't do that.

I bet if more women picked up guitars, we'd see a decline in eating disorders.


AndyinMaine asks...

Ever travel north of Portland? Maine? The Cowboy Junkies just had a very successful gig in Bar Harbor, hint, hint...

friend Andy


K replies...

I don't think we've ever been north of Portland, Maine without being in Canada. Is Bar Harbor nice?


scarebear fancies himself a comedian...

wow, I bet ya feel blessed, huh. Fans telling you lame jokes. It makes it all worthwhile :)

Q: What's big and small at the same time?
A: A big egg.

So my question is: tell us a joke!

and thanks for Sunny Border Blue. Even my lame-ass taste in music boyfriend now taps his feet to it. You created a road-to-Damascus moment for me when he suddenly, out of the blue, sang 'You *know* how it feels, when the real
world...'. It was like his first words or something :)



and K shoots back with...

Wyatt (my four year old) just told me this:

Q: Why does a turkey cross the road?

A: To prove he wasn't chicken!

I even kept with the egg theme.


Alistair asks...

I guess at the moment its not worth planning too far ahead, but in
principle are the Muses likely to get back together somewhere next May-ish?

Hope so, Alistair (in England; the north of).


K replies...

We like the Gut Pageant thing; it works for us, too. I just talked to Bernie not five minutes ago and he's very excited
to play again. I don't have the faintest idea where it might be, though. And I bet it won't be next May. Am I helping?


Jim asks...

Hey, Kristin, I already asked you a question down below (the first question, actually), so now I'm pressing my luck by asking another (and to answer your polite reply: I'm doing pretty well, just got a job in a library, and there's still a person in NYC who I'm trying to track down).

What's become of those two great songs that Throwing Muses played at GP2001? Are there more of these new TM songs? Were you able to do anything close to a studio recording (home studio, even) of the new ones?

I think that your band will get back together. I don't know when or how, but it just seems to be in the cards, particularly since the other two members have come together for three shows now.

Since the Echo B-sides were basically Throwing Muses performances, have you ever considered a band without the "Throwing Muses" name? Particularly, a band composed of you, Dave and Bernie. (I'm hoping for something beyond the "Sugar Daddy" answer . . .)

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these posts and communicate with everyone. There's a lot more positive energy on this board now. Have a safe and happy time on the road.



K replies...

I always have songs for Throwing Muses, I'm just not sure what to do with them. We thought about losing the TM name
before we made Red Heaven, but Ivo thought it would make it hard for fans to locate records. And, as you may suspect,
it doesn't make it easier to sell records.

Thank you for the optimism!


shewolf points out...

Kristin, How do we know you're the *real* Kristin? Hmmm?   In the movies, the imposter villian is often exposed for the fraud that he is by not being able to give his familiars some proof that he is who he says he is.  So... what would you say so that everyone here knows it's reeeeealy you?    kd    P.S. What was your reaction to the "fake" Kristin on AOL?


K replies...

I'm wearing glasses, so obviously I'm my evil twin.

I was incredibly flattered when that girl pretended to be me. Now both my brother and my teenage son are pretending to be the girl who's pretending to be me. I'm so confused.


Kenny chimes in...

You say somewhere below that Limbo is your personal fave TM album. I remember you saying sveral times in the past that HOuse Tornado is the one you were most proud of, I think on a technical level (the engineering, the quality of everyone's playing perhaps?). So I am speculating that Limbo is the one you most enjoy listening to then. Right or wrong? Or have you simply grown to prefer Limbo all round over HT?

btw I too like another questioning soul below, don't listen to lyrics much at all and I always feel bad about this cos people analyse your writing in such depth here and I always think "oh she's written all that and I don't even listen to the words", so was nice to read your "not a singer-songwriter type" reply ;-)

Best wishes


K replies...

Wow, you're right. I think House Tornado is my favorite TM Mach I and Limbo is my favorite TM Mach II.
And, yes, I find House Tornado totally unlistenable!


Jason M. asks, hungrily....

Kristin:  do you like pizza?  'cause if you do, you need to try Cristiano's in Marysville, or North Lake Tavern in the U-district. With the kids, Cristiano's is the better bet (it isn't a tavern..), but North Lake offers take-out. Now that you live in/near Seattle, I feel that I need to impart some local tips upon you. :)     Anyway... question.. hmm... do you have any tips for those new to playing the guitar?



K replies...

You know who makes great pizza? Trader Joe's!

They have a frozen organic pizza that's made in Italy and it's amazing. But thanks for the tip.

Guitars play themselves. Don't take lessons, just play stuff you (and your roommates!) like. But play alot.


ratzzz asks...

Kristin, what was your favorite film/tv show of 2000/01?


K replies...

Boy, I just love T.V. I don't even care what's on. I like the gentle buzz in the room, it's warm, glowing, warming glow.

Our new favorite show is the morning show on the Sci-fi channel...Mexican UFO sightings and pet psychics
("The first question I ask the animal is 'Are you alive?'").


victoria writes...

I got home rather late last night, ate a grilled soy cheese sandwich, and caught up on the TM Message Board before heading to bed. I dreamt that you and I were hanging out together smoking cigarettes (I don't smoke and don't think you do either), but you were giving me advice, much like George Burns did for John Denver in "Oh God".

It was too strange, not to share. That Soy cheese is powerful stuff.



K replies...

Last night I dreamt that the streets of New York were running with ocean
water and we were all surfing through the stop lights with orcas.

And I didn't even have any soy cheese.


Mooncat writes...

What I'd like to know is,
1. How often do you sit down & write songs versus have them just appear in your head?
2. Do you get songs appear that just fail your own quality control?
3. Do you ever get songs appear to you that are just too hard to play.
    (& I'm pretty sure you are the best guitar player I've ever seen, btw)

Warmth & fluffiness to you & Billy,


K replies...

In the beginning, I wrote songs on purpose. Then they wrote themselves for many years, stopping only when the band stopped, so I pitched in a little and after awhile, they came back.

The only thing I ever do wrong is try to fuck with 'em. The songs know what they're doing, but I keep insisting on getting in the way and bossing them around like an idiot.

If I have written a Beatles song, would you all please let me know? Don't spare me. See, Billy wouldn't know; he was a "Stones guy".

He's going to kill me now.


marla tiara says hello...

Um...I just wanted to say hi. And thank you for wearing my tiara - my friend in Ohio said you mentioned you rarely wear tiaras so thanks for being silly with me - have you ever peeked at my website to see the picture? You look gorgeous.

I really have no questions for you right now. Just...thank you for being you. Yeah. :)



K replies...

Thank you for letting me wear your tiara; I felt like a princess.


sidpa écrit ...

Kristin: ceci n'est pas une question, but, when i was about 12 certain songs of yours made me realise there was something wrong with other people, not with me. i'm still trying to convince everyone else though. by the way, if you want a question (sorry magritte), what *are* we supposed to see?  sarah.    (sorry, just out from general anaesthetic and hospital, making even less sense than usual.)


K replies...

I'm not making a hell of a lot of sense, either, knocked up and all...


Ben H. writes...

I sometimes notice some reoccuring words in some of your songs. Two that come to mind are "snow" and "september"
Do you dread Septembers. Or am I just getting confused with other peoples songs. -(the often confused) BenH.

Also will we hear studio versions of the 2 new gut pageant songs? Do they have names?
I love the line "Freak out on me 1 more time we'll take this outside"


K replies...

September is my favorite month.

It's actually "wig out on me"...do you not like it anymore? I probably say it, "weeg".  That one's working title
is "Flying Bernie" because I left all the noodling to him; he kind of had to carry the song.

The other one is "Pandora's Box".


becky says...

First, just want to say thanks, (and thanks does not really cover it) for the outpouring... your devotion
to what you were so clearly meant to do. I can only take guesses at the sacrafices.

Second, I second (cute, huh?) Jeff in wanting you to know how much Portland (Oregon) would love to see you again.
I'd gladly make a trip up to Seattle on the 13th but I'll be in Chicago... and well, it's just something else to feel the love
of my own city wafting toward you on stage. Would understand if not possible, though, of course.

Third, you probably don't remember, but, if you do, that little tiny print of my painting I handed to you in March at
Borders is still avail for cover art (wink wink). If you don't remember, no biggy.

Either way, will always love you tons & always turn to your sound for inspiration.


K replies...

Thank you for the sweetness. I guess I'm not in Portland this time due to limited availability.

I love that painting and I still have it. It would make a great record cover.


brokenkid asks...

hi kristen, the knitting factory shows rocked as usual...wondering if you got a chance to watch the video of minnie black's all-gourd band...i am an art critic and am also writing my phd on visionary artists (you know, howard finster, etc)...people who throw their muses like you do...your music, your creative process and your courage have always inspired me, so thanks


K replies...

That gourd band was the best gourd band I've ever seen. Thanks again.


ChrisD asks...

My wife was a bit too shy to come on and ask this (of course she's a fan!) so I will for both of us.

What have been your favorite books for the boys? Gabriel is almost 22 months old now (you met him at GP 1) and he just loves all the Dr. Suess stuff. There are numerous other miscellaneous titles that he likes, but he can already "quote" stuff out of his favorite Suess stories.

Especially since you've had three of these little critters, what have your favorite childrens books?
What about favs of the boys that maybe you weren't so crazy about???



K replies...

"Guess How Much I Love You" will make you weep, "The Salamander Room" is amazing and "Goodnight Moon"
is a classic, of course. The boys love the "critter" series, but sometimes we have to change the words.


winders asks...

do your kids like Dinosaurs?

K x


K answers...

Dinosaurs the extinct animals? Yes, very much.


melios has to know...

Do you eat at taco bell? if so, what is your favorite thing there? if not, why?
also, in relation to the post about weird dreams below, you aren't in mine, and you are glad,
you don't know it, but you are very glad, and I don't have the soy cheese either. - melissa


K replies...

I've never been inside a Taco Bell. Does that make me hoity-toity?


SA wants to know...

Hi Kristin-
Congrats on the new baby. Here's my question. I noticed you and Billy move a lot in addition to touring. Why is that?
What's that like? Do you forget where the bathroom is (in the middle of the night) Or are you always saying things like-
Honey, Where do we keep the dustpan in this house? Just so you know I've lived in the same place for ten years.
How do you like Seattle? Thanks


K replies...

We move every two years. I don't know why we do this. Maybe touring makes staying in one place feel weird.
But it also makes it feel good, so...I don't know why we do this.

Seattle is incredible.


mhall asks...

I was thinking of the TM situation and it gave me an idea. You and Dave and Bernie could record kind of a concept album under the guise of Throwing Muses. Think Sgt. Pepper or Dark Side of the Moon, but TM-style. Plan it as a studio project only. No "singles", no promotion, no touring. Without the pressure of having to perform it live, you'd have free reign to make the songs as artsy and complicated and self-indulgent and impossible-to-play as you want. Go wild. Let Dave use lots of exotic percussion, and let Bernie play a fretless bass. Even let them write some of the songs. Heck, let your kids write some of the songs. then over-produce it to kingdom come. It'd be groovy!

you've recorded things that way in spurts in the past (e.g. the 9-minute 'Soul Soldier', parts of University and Sky Motel, 'Everybody's Got Something to Hide...'), but i'd love to see you do a whole album like that.



K echos...

Me, too.


Rosa in Monterey has a story to tell...

OK, now that I know that K.&B. are PG, I can understand a dream I had the other night. (September 24) I was hangin' w/K. in my living room (???) and she handed me an orange piece of paper with a black and white photo of a girl. She told me it was her daughter.

I was confused because I thought she only had three sons. I felt rude - kind of like when you haven't talked to someone in a long while and you've forgotten their name or their job or something else really important about them.

In the dream, K. was wearing the blue dress w/matching headband that I saw her in the first time I saw her perform - when she was PG w/Wyatt. Now this is all coming together - the maternity garb, the mysterious fourth child . . .

I am wondering, did anyone else have a similar dream? Lately one of my prof's at school has been talking about "collective dreaming" - a whole village or community having the same dream at the same time. I don't normally dream about celebrities or people who I know of but haven't really met. But it's much better than dreaming of ex-boyfriends or people to whom you have done bad things.

PS - I almost forgot - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

: ) Rosie in Monterey


and K says...

Wow!  That is exceptionally cool. I remember touring parties having the same
dream, but I don't know if a bus counts as a village.


Tassos says...

Hello Kristin, I'm Tassos from Greece, we had met at the Amsterdam gig back in May. Did I tell you that this was the most awesome night ever??... I hope you liked the fanzine I sent - the photograph on the cover had to be magnified and it isn't very clear!... Anyways, I don't have a question, just want to say big heartfelt thanks for everything and congratulations for the new member of the family!!!


K replies...

I thought you got mugged that night. I'm glad it was still awesome.

We got the 'zine; it was great, though my Greek is sketchy at best.


Oeta writes...

Hey Kristin,

Just want to say thanks for all your music. I've been a fan since House Tornado came out, I think I was in 8th grade or something. My fandom hit its peak when I got fired from Schoenhofs in Harvard Square for wearing the Bright Yellow Gun/University T-Shirt. Punk rock by proxy. I have to say I'm with the can't figure out the lyrics camp below -- that's actually the thing I like best about your music - my analysis gene just shuts off and I simply listen.

So the question...I've been playing guitar for about 5 years, of course, inspired by you. How do you know when something's not just a neat riff and an incipient song? I think I'm getting to the point where I can tell with my own playing. P.S. Thanks for Sparky from H&M -- one of my favorite things to play....


K replies...

My father wears that T-shirt to school sometimes (he teaches at a Cathlic university) and the nuns give him a lot of shit.
He says, "It's not a real gun, it's a PICTURE of a gun."


ghost says...

this fan business is a strange thing...i don't know if it's totally the same for other people but i went thru' my adolescence imagining i could be 'best friends' with the artists I really admired.

these days I am a little more realistic (sort of)

I just wondered if there were any of your 'idols' that you really believed you could be pals with and if you, by becoming famous yourself, actually achieved a friendship with a seemingly unattainable individual?



K replies...

I didn't actually become famous myself, but what I found out was that famous people are other people with lots of promotional dollars behind them. Period.

My idols are people who are successful at being moral, funny people, whether they do it out loud, in front of a lot of people or quietly, on an inner planet. So, yeah, there are lots of them, but you've only heard of a few.

No one's better than you.


John Dark asks...

Kristin, since no one seems to be putting much description in their subject headings, this may very well have already been asked, since I haven't waded through all of the questions & responses...

Anyway, what's good this year that you're listening to a lot? Personally, I can't get enough Ted Leo and the Pharmacists right now.



K replies...

I don't like music very much, but my FRIENDS play good stuff...Ass Ponys, Vic Chesnutt, Slim Cessna, Willard Grant, Howe Gelb, Clem Snide...they all did good stuff this year and I've heard some most excellent as-yet-unreleased material, too.


rob wonders, about PJ Harvey...

do you like her or not?
if so, what is your favorite album of hers?
i envision you being a fan of "dry" or "rid of me"
sorry, i feel like you've been asked this question before, but i can't remember your answer....



K replies...

I think she's very clever.


jed writes...

hiya. yr answers to people's questions have made me crack a big, stupid one this mornin. grin, that is. you have to qualify any sentence with the word crack in it these days.

well um gosh. writing a question to you is sorta like buying something cool just cause it's on sale.....don't have anything in my mind, but how could ya pass up the chance really. since you won't be here (SF) for another whole, um, week or something.
someone said recently, on hearing that you were coming back again, "gosh, she just cant get enough of this town!"
please, keep it that way.

well, i guess i'll just say that one thing that i've always found funny about you is how you're ALL ABOUT your doggies and seemingly anti-meow....i think i've even heard you talk smack about kitties at some show in fact! if i'm not making it up, you're the only outspoken non-cat-person who i still love anyway. :)

hey, wanna do an instore at amoeba while you're here? idle thoughts....
congrats on the baby!! (i'm hoping for a girl.)



K replies...

Cats are great, they just don't tour very well. Also, in large numbers, they seem to make people go crazy,
but maybe that's just a chicken-or-egg thing.

San Francisco is wonderful; Amoeba is, too. See you soon. I'll be the funny looking nauseated one.


michael says...


First, I want to say thanks for being a part of the vast majority of my adult life. I first saw Throwing Muses waaaaay back in 1986 or'87, when you used to play the campus pub at Brown. You guys were actually our senior concert back in '89. I've been a huge fan ever since.

Anyway, my question - just wondering if you were at all a fan of Stephin Merritt aka Magnetic Fields aka Gothic Archies aka The 6ths, and, if so, if you would ever be interested in lending your voice to a 6ths album. Personally, I think it would be a great combo, but I always want everyone I love to collaborate.

Anyway, thanks again - and congratulations on the new addition!



K replies...

Three problems with that:

1. I am very shy.

2. I can't sing for shit.

3. I'm not kidding about this.

Thanks for the congrats.


witchiepoo writes...

I saw you "recently" at Little Brothers in Columbus OH and had a such a great time I want you to come back. I promise to pack the venue with adoring fans. I talked with you about a book I am doing but can not tell if Krista is passing along the messages. Conrats to you on the new baby. ps I may be doing this all kinds of wrong since I have never posted here before. Am I replying to something? Hmmm.


K replies...

I remember you. Krista's not telling me anything right now because I'm on vacation, but she will; she's the best.

How's the book going?


Eric pleads...

Eric--19 years old--dying (yes, literally) to see Kristin live! PLEASE PLEASE come to Tennessee sometime soon!
No I refuse to beg...fine, I'll do it! PLEASE! :-)


K replies...

I've spent a lot of time in Tennessee over the years, mostly visiting relatives, though. The band played Nashville a couple times...I know this doesn't help you. Do you really think anybody would come?


Eric, once again...

Since my last post was not a question, merely a request...here's mine. First off, thank you SOOO Much for making music, it's helped me more than I can express (or care to). So can you give us any sneak peeks/hints about what to expect from "Works in Progress III"? :-) yep that's all...


K replies...

I guess I've used up my Throwing Muses archival material, so probably in future, WIP will be mostly demos and bedroom demos. You'll get to hear me play songs I don't yet know, singing wildly out of tune.



witchiepoo wants to know...

Kristin - I would love to interview you for my book about the ways in which our lives are transformed through pregnancy and birth. I spoke with you about this after your Columbus OH show, but have been unable to get any further info. I saw your comment on the back of Ariel Gore's THE MOTHER TRIP and actually jumped for joy right there in the library. My book is similar to hers in that it is not about the average media picture of what a mama is. I have included all the women I know who never see any accurate representation. I would be honored to include you.

and K simply says...



musteline writes...

Hello, I haven't posted on here in awhile but I read every day almost... I have a couple of Qs for you... the first requires a bit of lead-in though... I met you at yr Borders show in New Orleans/Metairie & gave you a videotape & you signed all those liner notes for me & I drooled like a loser & made an ass of myself ;D but I was wondering if you ever did watch that video? Didja like it? I hope so... I just wanted to inform you of what your musical legacy has wrought. ;D  As for my "official" question... so we've all discussed your extensive studio experience etc for ages... & you're self-producing now... would you ever consider producing for other folks? Of course I say you'd be great at it but you know us listeners. ;D & if you did want to produce, what sort of an artist would you see yourself working with? Specific names etc perhaps but also your philosophies on how records should sound... are there records you feel were produced just ALL WRONG or anything of the sort? Okay, I'm leaving you alone now. One love - John Drummond


K replies...

I really enjoy the craft of production; it's fascinating to me that different sound pictures of a song will show that song in such totally different lights. You can't help but listen to a record and imagine how else it could have been recorded.

If I have the time and the inclination someday, I'll think about producing others, but so far I've always said no to the people who ask me. I'm obsessed with my own stuff and my children, and a producer really has to care about the band with whom he or she is working. Plus, I'm busy, busy, busy...


sarah asks...

What do you think about the "Touched with Fire" hypothesis (Kay Redfield Jamison)? Being artistic and creative, would you rather be thought of as having worked hard and drawn on intelligence and acquired skill to achieve this? i.e. do you think it's a big pile of pants like i do? (I remember reading you said "madness is not a gift" and I thought that was excellently put, and I agree, which is why I ask this question.)
If you don't want to answer this question, I understand and won't be offended. Congratulations by the way.    sarah.


K needs  more info, though...

I don't know that I'm familiar with her. Can you elaborate?


so sarah follows up with...

ok, sorry, she's a psychiatrist who wrote about links between madness and the artistic temperament (i'm not suggetsing you're mad)- virginia woolf and van gogh and all that who allegedly produced their best work while manic. most people i've met agree that there's a link; that people with mood disorders are creative and curing the disorder takes away their creativity. i think it's more of a hinderance than a help. just wondered. but it's a bit personal really so you may ignore me. also, i mistyped (but corrected) "mod disorders" which i've just realised is a more interesting topic anyway: would anticonvulsant therapy have helped paul weller's career...  s.


and Jim adds...

I do agree that mania, in the long run, is more artistic hinderance than catalyst. It allows for great, prolonged bursts of energy, but I think that the art produced during these times was actually perculating long before the actual manic episodes, so the process may be moved along, but the impetus is much more rooted in other energies which mania tends to dillute or just plain burn through, forcing this long recharge period where the art builds itself back up. While this may be effective, it is also very destructive. There are plenty of artists who don't need to do this.


and K replies...

Interesting.   My gut feeling is that anything that hinders your ability to see clearly also hinders your ability to create something meaningful for people who do see clearly.

The only people I've heard argue convincingly for the other side are Natalie Angier, a science writer for the NY Times and a woman whose husband is manic depressive. This woman said that her husband had seen such highs and lows in his life that he had an empathy for others she could only strive to imitate. In other words, life takes some people to desperate highs and lows, chemicals take other people there.

I don't know. I think I've been there through life AND chemicals and I'd like to hang out here in the middle for a while.


Melissa writes...

First, congratulations! Your good news put a smile on my face. I think Idiosyncratica would be a very entertaining name--imagine birthday parties where all the kids gather around and try to sing that really fast.

Second, I feel I should thank you for getting me through my very bad first year of college. I feel much better now, but I don't listen to your music any less. It constantly makes me feel good, so thank you.

And since I have rambled on, here's the only question I can think of: Of all the groups/artists you have toured with, who stands out as the most fun or inspiring?



K replies...

The Ass Ponys sure were fun and a great band, to boot. I thought they died along with the rest of us when the biz went down the toilet, but here they are still making exceptional noise. THAT'S inspiring.


Sean Murphy says...

Hi Kristin -

Congratulations on the pregnancy. Laura & I hope that everything goes well with it. btw we very much enjoyed meeting you as a couple after Tin Angel.

My question is: Did you see "O Brother, Where Art Thou"? I know appalachian music is something you enjoy as well as Cohen brother films. Would you consider doing more accoustic recordings in the vein of "Murder, Misery then Good Night"?

Thank you for the wonderful music.



K replies...

I just saw "Oh, Brother..." the other night, I really liked it.

I'm not sure that I NEED to do another MM (who knows? maybe when this baby comes I'll get all mushy again and I'll want to record some more songs about murder) but I really love that kind of production- unencumbered and goofy. Maybe I'll get a chance to do that again, at least.

I remember meeting you and Laura, you're lovely people.


Mooncat asks...

I feel as if I'm being greedy asking again but here goes.

This ones for both of you & I don't think you're probably in a position to answer yet, but I'll ask anyway;

Do you have a date & city pencilled in for next year's GP? Obviously the baby changes everything but are you still going to try & put one together, or will you just miss a year?
I really would like to go, having read all the accounts on here it sounds like a hoot.


K replies...

We'll definitely do it again, we just don't know where or when. The baby doesn't change a whole lot, since I tend to play up to and through my ninth month, but it is due in May, so it's kind of a wait and see thing...


nicky & audrey want to know...

Kristin, I had heard that during her Under the Pink days on tour, Tori Amos would listen to Hips and Makers before every show and once while dj-ing on a station she even played Teeth. We were wondering if you've ever met her or even listened to her music and basically how you feel in general about her. Just curious, considering you and her are basically the musicians that RULE OUR LIVES! :)

nicky and audrey
ps. can't wait to see you at McCabes!!! It's the first place I ever saw you! You are the best and I can't explain how much your music means, to the world....


K replies...

I'm not too famialiar with her stuff. I know she can play, that's pretty rare among popular musicians.


Owen asks...

I've been stuck in the office all weekend (brought on by a stack of redundancies and consequent increased workload for us poor unfortunates left behind), so I'll take any excuse to escape the tedium for a mo'. Anyway, here's my question...

When asked about your musical influences you always cite X and Violent Femmes, but I don't think I've ever heard you do anything by them. Do you go along with the "Don't cover something unless you're prepared to totally reinvent it" idea, and if so, do you see X / Violent Femmes material as somehow untouchable ? I certainly get precious about people fiddling with YOUR stuff (The Divine Comedy's take on 'Hate My Way' was a valiant effort, if not a patch on the original), but I'm always interested to hear other people's take on songs I know well.

By the way, I like 'Idiosyncratica' ! However, in another moment of boredom I ran the Hersh / O'Connell 'Patented Child Naming System' of ?Y??? through www.jumble.org & got a ton of suggestions, a few of which are worthy of mention. 'Lyric' sounds quite apposite, or maybe 'Cymru' (for all those Welsh TM/KH fans out there), and assuming it IS a girl this time, 'Hymen' would certainly get the wee critter noticed. Geoffrey Chaucer came up with a couple of Olde English suggestions too - 'Lyden' (variation of Leden) meaning language/speech/voice/cry, and 'Eyren' - an Egg.

Hope (a) the morning sickness holds off, and (b) you come back to the UK sometime soon !



K replies...

I can't remember your question, I'm still thinking about naming a kid "egg".

My four year old is obsessed with eggs, he carries rocks around with them and lays them out in the sun to warm. "THIS is the egg of an amphibious reptile, THIS is the egg of a turkey vulture. Do crustaceans lay eggs? Well, THIS is the egg of a crustacean."

It would be nice if I only covered songs I thought I could improve upon, but now that I've covered songs by John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, that's kind of out the window. I guess X and the Femmes sound a whole lot like themselves and I wouldn't want to hear their songs played any other way.


stevenmc turns the tables...

hey, just thought I`d give you a chance to ask ME a question.

My manager Mr Scarebear shall announce me as the new Q&A guest very soon, but i`d feel bad if you missed out on this wonderful opportunity.

btw, you wanna get Billy to pass on some of the spam from the site. Most of us are all rich now from the wonderful pyramid schemes on offer. Don`t hold back any longer or you may miss out.



K replies...

Favorite-snack, movie, song, weather, punctuation mark, blind date fantasy, take out, book, weekend get away, zoo animal, TV network, hors d'oeuvre, newspaper columnist, color, outfit, soul singer, cuss word, scientific discovery, pet, sport, car, sports car, party game, alcoholic beverage (girl drink), cuisine, 70's sitcom and North eastern city.

I need to know all this by 7 p.m.


Julie K. writes...

Billy and Kristin-

Congratulations on the newest addition to your family. I wish you all the best. I hope this pregnancy will be easier than the last one and I am also hoping for a girl for you all.

This board has been a source of comfort and support for me. I want to thank everyone here for that. I can't sign on as much as I'd like but when I do, I feel like I'm part of some wonderful community. Keep it up. Love Julie


and K replies...

Thank you.


Scott from Turlock says...

I am happy for your family. I'm sure you don't remember me but I am the one who asked you for one of your guitar picks hwne you played at Borders in SF. Anyway, like so many other people on this list, your music has been very inspiring for me. My wife and I just had a baby girl. We named her Rebecca. We also have a four year old boy, Ethan. A while back I remember you donating money to La Leche League from a single. So here comes my question, have you read any books about attachment parenting. You seem like a very attached family. Your baby is truly a miracle. I remember Billy posting a message that the doctors told you that you wouldn't be able to have another. Congrats! Are you going to use a midwife? We did for Rebecca. A much better experience even though it was a very complicated birth. Best wishes for your family!

Take Care,

P.S. Are you going to make the bootleg CDs available on your website? I don't think I'm going to make it to the Palms this week. We are unpacking. We just moved! Ugh!


K responds...

Conratulations to you both! We've used a midwife for all the babies. Last time, we decided that we didn't need to buy any baby stuff other than a king size bed (no bassinett, no changing table, no crib, no baby tub, no bottles, no seat, no swing, no stroller; Wyatt wouldn't have worn anything other than a blanket if it hadn't been for my sister!). It was the best thing we ever did. The band used to call him "Quiet Wyatt" because he never cried. I nursed him and held him for years. He slept with us at night (you get more sex AND more sleep, I promise). The three of us are very attached; he's our four year baby.

You got me babbling.


the familycat has a contest! ...

Kristin: Answer correctly and win! Win!! WIN!!!...... a chance to perform in Portugal for a crowd (at least) five times the size of Barcelona’s Apolo Theatre:    Which one would you leave out if you had four CD case and which would you join if you had a six CD case

STEVE REICH – Music for 18 musicians
HUSKER DU – Warehouse: songs and stories
LAIKA – Silver Apples On The Moon

PS.: Congratulations!! Howzzabout Sandy... (Denny) for a girl? :o)


K replies...

I should probably leave out Husker Du; I've heard it so many times.

I would add Pond's first record to round out the collection.

Did I win?


MartyJ wants to know...

has there been a song where you wondered why it didn't go big?

For me it would be "Shark". I always wondered why it wasn't a top 10 single. Is there one in your catalogue that you thought "wow, this is really good. when this is released on the album, everyone is going to love it."

I ask because it seems my fav songs by most bands never get airplay.

Thanks for your craft.



K replies...

The fatal flaw in your logic is thinking that good songs do well. We wrote a lot of songs I wanted people to love, but nobody ever bought us enough radio to reach those who weren't already looking, you know?


Joshua Goodman writes...

Question for Kristin-I'm always away durning the "Q+As" but she's worth it...
Once again, sorry for not paying any attention and asking a "late question" but seriously: Once you have a foot in the door, as an "artist," to the music biz, and have also worked at a record company, what the hell do you do? And also, how does one justify themselves as an "artist" to themselves, when everyone says your an artist, but you're really a broke college grad.?


K replies...

Damned if I know.


Tim Klassen says...

Wow, it is so cool to find my way to this site, and find that Kirsten is actually getting on and talking with her fans... I just bought 'Hips and Makers' and 'The Real Ramona' today... hearing them for the first time as I write... I am looking forward to months of discovery, and imagine there are fans who feel a little envy... the discovery is akin to new love, there's nothing like it... 'In a Doghouse' and 'University' are probably next.
Having alot of fun... thanks K!


K replies...



ratzzz has gotta know...

Will you let the kids have pets?-and at what age?-or do ya'll have pets already?)-sounds like Wyatt would like something that lays eggs.
Do you listen to/have you listened to any Phillip Glass--if so what?



K replies...

We have three dogs and a kitten-to-be (I think Wyatt's eggs ARE his pets). Billy and I would like a snake, but the kids can't relate.

Our house was dirty with Philip Glass when I was a kid.


K.C. drops by to say...

Okay - so I'm a Johnny-come-lately with a question at the end, but anyways...

Do you ever parody your own songs doing day-to-day activities? I ask that because I do it with everyone else's songs so I can only imagine that if I wrote my own songs I would do it with them too...

For instance - One rainy night I was driving back from North Carolina in my car - which leaks when it rains - and I was singing along to Shimmer, except I changed one line to "It don't rain under the water but it rains inside my car"

Anyhow, now I'm babbling...

Thanks for all the awesome music! I'm bringing some friends and co-workers to the show at the Echo Lounge to discover you. :-)

- K.C. in Atlanta


K replies...

All the time, but it's embarrassing when we do it. We make fun of ourselves for making fun of ourselves. The band had a long running TM puns contest ("Very witty, Wilde...").

See you in Atlanta.


BillyX writes...

Hi Kristin,
Congrats on the new baby. Do you have any plans to record a new record in the new year? Have you recorded any of the previous records while you were pregnant, and if so, how are they different? Can't wait to see you in Davis,


K replies...

I made the first album while I was pregnant with my first son (they were both released on the same day!). That's really the only PG record, although I made five videos and did about 150 tours while pregnant.

So I don't really know how they might differ. I remember I was afraid to scream because I thought it would hurt the baby, but I screamed anyway and he turned out okay. In fact, he's pretty cool.


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