Drummer extraordinaire Janet Weiss has carried out a series of impressive drum spectacles, capturing an essence that stemmed from the surrounding areas. Her drum prowess stemmed from a place of tremendous choreography, utilising a hefty combination of pedals, sticks and back drums. The Rolling Stone readers adored her, and Weiss has been a critical darling, frequently making it into the greatest drummer lists, partially due to prowess, and partially out of a commitment to her craft.
She performed beside Sleater-Kinney, producing drum patterns that barrelled from the back of the stage, and heading into the studio. The band were known for their feministic politics, as well as their strength of character. The trio spearheaded a series of left-leaning policies, advocating for the better treatment of humanity in the world at large. Their anthems were a series of sprawling, emotionally coiled tunes that were destined to create a guttural response from the audiences in question.
Weiss still has a lot of fight left in her, which likely explains why she is better focused on her work, rather than worry about the afterlife. But when she was asked what song she would like played at her funeral, the drummer didn’t hesitate for a second.
“I’ve thought about this question before,” Weiss responded. “It might be a bit morbid to imagine one’s own funeral, but it certainly seems natural. I have always thought my loved ones should play ‘Funk 49’ by the James Gang. I can’t imagine anyone being sad while this song is playing. It just doesn’t seem possible.”
‘Funk 49’ is one James Gang’s more applaudable efforts, the single featured a jaunty hook created by Joe Walsh– best known for his work with Ringo Starr and The All Starr Band – that centred the song. Walsh came up with the lick, but he says he was never blown away by the lyrics, feeling that they suited the melody in question.
Walsh returned to the sentiment in an effort to record ‘Funk #50’, which he included on his 2012 solo album Analog Man. But the song ‘Funk 49’ clearly made an impression on Weiss, perhaps because it has such an enjoyable backbeat and funk-driven rhythm.
Weiss later admitted that she found the breakup with Sleater-Kinny painful, but felt it was a move she needed to make in an effort to become a more complete person. “I mean, I will never play with two people like that again,” she admitted. “They are totally unique, incredible, intuitive players. It’s a lot to walk away from. It’s my sisters, my family. But I couldn’t be in that band and have it not be equal, especially with what it represents to me. It represents equality.… How can we be fighting for equality and not have it in our band? It just became a disconnect.”
Weiss has a wilful nature that stems from her character as a person and an artist, which is why the drums are brimming with energy and potential, posing as a musical backbone for every band she plays with. If Ringo Starr has his antenna tuned on properly, he could hire Weiss to tour as part of the All Starr Band, which would give her the opportunity to play with a former Beatle and a fomer member of Eagles.
Better still, it would give her the chance to drum along to ‘Funk 49’, which would make her decision to play it at her funeral all the more poetic. But as we said in the article, she still has a lot of fight and drum left in her.
Stream James Gang’ s propulsive ‘Funk 49’ below.