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Music / Excuse 17

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"'Stake a claim, lose a friend'
(You can’t be anything unless we say you are)
It’s time to fess up and make this end
(You can’t be anything unless we say you are)"
"We're The Seniors And We Rule The School"
Kill Rock Stars promo photo, 1995

Excuse 17 was a Punk Rock band from Olympia, Washington.

The band was formed in Summer 1993 by vocalist Becca Albee and guitarist Carrie Brownstein. Brownstein and Albee both attended Evergreen State College in Olympia. They met drummer Curtis 'CJ' James at a show in Seattle that very same year and recruited him as their drummer. The band's name originated from Albee's habit of arranging her ideas and thoughts into numerical order.

After formation, the band recorded a demo tape before contributing songs to various compilations on independent record labels. Their first full-length recording, Excuse Seventeen, was released jointly on Atlas Records and Queer Core label Chainsaw Records. They would later release their second and final album Such Friends Are Dangerous on the Indie Pop label Kill Rock Stars in 1995. They often played shows with Heavens To Betsy and even toured with the band. Both bands were an integral part of the Riot Grrrl scene and it was at a Heavens To Betsy show that Carrie Brownstein met Corin Tucker. Becca Albee also recorded an EP with Tucker (pre-Sleater-Kinney) as Heartless Martin in the Summer of 1993.


Brownstein formed Sleater-Kinney while a member of Excuse 17 in 1994, originally as a side project that soon evolved into her main focus as both Brownstein's and Tucker's respective groups ended. Becca Albee became a visual artist after graduating from college with a B.A and currently works as a photography professor at the City College of New York. CJ still lives in Olympia and is currently the drummer with Hard Rock band, Nudity.



  • "Youth On Fire" (1993)


  • Excuse 17 Demo Tape (1993)
  • Excuse Seventeen (1994)
  • Such Friends Are Dangerous (1995)


  • "Sevenwhateverteen" on Periscope - Another Yoyo Compilation (1994)
  • "Forever Fired" on Free To Fight (1995)
  • "I'd Rather Eat Glass" on A Slice Of Lemon (1995)
  • "Carson" on Yoyo A Go Go (1996)

Excuse 17 provide examples of:

  • Bi the Way: Carrie
  • Feedback Rule: Almost all tracks on their debut album Excuse Seventeen open with feedback noise. This is also prominent on “Watchmaker” and “Special Guest, Me” from Such Friends Are Dangerous.
  • Harsh Vocals: Carrie's vocals on songs including “Vanishing Act”, “Despise” and “This Is Not Your Wedding Song”.
  • Lead Drummer: CJ sang lead on "Decatur H.S". In a role reversal, Carrie played drums on this song.
  • Long Title: “We're The Seniors (And We Rule The School)”.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The first album packs 11 songs into barely 30 minutes.
  • The '90s
  • Non-Appearing Title: “Response”, “Vanishing Act”, “Two Faced”, “Despise”, “Carson”, “Code Red”, “Decatur H.S.”, “This Is Not Your Wedding Song”, “Special Guest, Me” and “Sevenwhateverteen”.
  • The One Guy: CJ, the drummer.
  • Power Trio: Two guitarists/vocalists and one drummer. No bassist.
  • Riot Grrrl: The band were an active part of the scene and often shared the same bill as Heavens To Betsy and Bikini Kill.
  • Rock Trio
  • Self-Titled Album: Excuse Seventeen (1994).
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Carrie didn't sing lead vocals until Excuse 17's second album.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: A Summary.
  • Title by Number: “5 Acres” and “She Wants 3-D”. The band's name also counts.
  • Two Girls and a Guy
  • Vocal Tag Team: Although Becca was the main vocalist, Carrie also sang. In the same style as in Sleater-Kinney, she would often sing different verses against the main lyrics sung by Becca. Carrie sings the chorus on “We're The Seniors And We Rule The School” and sings lead on “Watchmaker”, “I'd Rather Eat Glass”, “This Is Not Your Wedding Song”, “The Drop Dead Look” and “Nervousness Never Fades”.
  • Would Rather Suffer: "I'd Rather Eat Glass" on Such Friends Are Dangerous.


Example of: