Kim Gordon on Her New Memoir 'Girl in a Band'
By Greg Kot
Kim Gordon is a founding member of Sonic Youth, visual artist, feminist icon, mother and fashion trendsetter. Now she can now add "memoirist" to her list of accomplishments. Her new "Girl in a Band," not only offers insight into music, art, the shifting tides of underground culture and the dynamics that made Sonic Youth tick, it's also more transparent about her personal life than she has ever been.
Gordon and her husband of 29 years, Thurston Moore, finalized their divorce in 2013, effectively ending Sonic Youth, the band they co-founded in New York City in the early '80s, when the couple separated in 2011. Since the breakup, Gordon has formed a new avant-rock band, Body/Head, and been the subject of numerous exhibitions of her visual art around the country.
In a phone interview from her home in Massachusetts, Gordon said the dissolution of her marriage prompted her to try to "make something constructive out of it."
"Life steps in front of you, you have to take it on," she says. "When something traumatic happens in your life, like a breakup, it sets you off thinking about your life. How did I get here? Who am I? I started thinking a lot about my childhood, and it was helpful in making sense of where I am now."
[Here’s an excerpt from the transcript.]
Q: Your first rock band, Below the Belt, you describe as "pure mayhem and caterwauling." You were stepping into music for the first time after being in the art world. How did it feel?
A: It was super exciting, because I'd never done anything like that before. We started a band for a college art class project, so it was within that context. I don't think it mattered how it sounded. The art context can be very forgiving (laughs). When I was at Otis (College of Art and Design in Los Angeles), people were doing experimental music, and that piqued my interest. When I moved to New York, I was super influenced by Warhol, the Factory, and art that had music attached, like the Velvet Underground. Music was a new thing, but I didn't really think about pursuing it further. I moved to New York to pursue visual art. Read more here.