In "Random Rules," we ask our favorite rockers, writers, comedians, or whatevers to set their MP3 players to "shuffle" and comment on the first few tracks that come up—no cheating or skipping allowed.
Shuffler: Janet Weiss, drummer for indie icon Sleater-Kinney and for Quasi, which just released a new album, When The Going Gets Dark. Weiss spoke to The A.V. Club just before jetting to Australia with Sleater-Kinney.
Led Zeppelin, "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp"
Janet Weiss: I think Led Zeppelin would be considered a staple on my iPod. I probably have the first six records. They're probably one of the more frequently listened-to bands on my iPod. What drummer doesn't like Led Zeppelin? True, there are some, but we're not going to pay attention to them.
Run DMC, "King Of Rock"
JW: Nice, that's a true shuffle experience. I guess I'm sort of an old-school hip-hop lover—I'm not as knowledgeable about anything that came out after 1996, but early-'90s hip-hop I totally adore, and this kind of started it all. They're just cool pop songs, really.
The Pharcyde, "If I Were President"
JW: I loved that Bizarre Ride record. Every single day I worked in a clothes store, that got a lot of play.
Neil Young, "Lookin' For A Love"
JW: I'm a big Neil Young fan. I think I probably listened to On The Beach more than any of the other records, probably just because it was so hard to find for so long. And it added emphasis on how great it was to me when I finally got it. So I'm pretty attached to that one. He's a true genius, and he's still got it, especially his guitar-playing from the gut.
Operation Ivy, "Smiling"
JW: I was a latecomer to Op Ivy, and I'm not a huge power-pop fan. It wasn't something that I died over at the time. I think I got this record at Amoeba later on, and there are some great songs for sure, it's pretty hilarious and has really funny, funny lyrics. There are those serious, kind of confused songs, but it's hard because the music is so upbeat and positive, even when he's kind of ranting on something. It's like, "How mad can you really be?"
Shirley And Dolly Collins, "Plains Of Waterloo"
JW: I have a thing for British folk music. I got really into Bert Jansch for a while. I think I've always loved Richard and Linda Thompson, but I got heavily into Bert Jansch and listened to it every day and kind of freaked out. Then I got a record by Bill Fay, which was reissued, that I totally loved. I heard a record at a friend's house, and I was like, "Where can I get this record?" He's like, "Oh, it's out of print. I got it on eBay for like $76." I burned his copy, and I waited and waited for it to get reissued, which it finally was. So that was pretty influential in my life. Shirley Collins has got the greatest voice—even if you didn't know the words she was singing, you would have that sort of feeling that she was talking about something really heavy. I think a lot of '70s rockers were probably influenced by the folkies that came before them, and how weighty the lyrics were. And I'm sure Robert Plant listened to plenty of that stuff.
David Bowie, "Running Gun Blues"
JW: I'm getting pretty lucky here. There's all my crap songs, and I'm surprised that none of my guilty pleasures have come up.
The A.V. Club: What were some of your guilty pleasures?
JW: I'm not going to tell you! Do I have to? Let's just say no Justin Timberlake or poppy stuff. I won't totally blow my cover. That's a great song too, "Running Gun Blues." I remember in fifth grade having arguments with my best friend about who was better, The Rolling Stones or David Bowie. And at that point, I thought David Bowie was better. Now I'm not so sure. David Bowie was my first concert in fifth grade, like a huge stadium concert. I think it was the one after Diamond Dogs. I remember when Diamond Dogs came to town, I was really little and not allowed to go. I went with my friend, and my two older sisters went too, but they didn't sit with us.