Kim Gordon, formerly a key member of Sonic Youth and now half of Body/Head, will have her memoir, “Girl in a Band,” published on February 24, 2015.
From the press release:
Often described as aloof, Kim Gordon truly opens up in Girl in a Band. Telling the story of her childhood, her life in art, her move to New York City, her love affairs, her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, and her band, this is a rich and beautifully written memoir. At the heart of the book is the examination of what partnership means—and what happens when it dissolves. An atmospheric look at the New York of the 80s and 90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, as well as the Alternative revolution in popular music that Sonic Youth helped usher in, paving the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and many other acts. One of the most revered people in modern rock and roll, Kim Gordon is also a highly regarded fashion icon, visual artist, and the source of much fascination.
Cool interview with Thurston Moore over at Vulture magazine.
Jennifer Vineyard interviewed Moore. Here’s an excerpt:
I was born in 1958, and the Velvet Underground disbanded in the early ’70s, so I was aware of the Velvet Underground as a young kid. I remember finding the banana LP at Sears, because you’d buy records in places like department stores. It wasn’t until later I found a record store in New Haven, Connecticut, called Cutler’s, where we’d find records that were more obscure. You would see them written about every once in a while, either in Rolling Stone or CREEM or the magazines of the time, like Circus, Hit Parader, and Rock Scene. Rock Scene was the most important one because it was primarily events that were happening in New York City. They would have all the heavyweights in there, like Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, but they were also covering what was going on in the margins. That was really exciting, wondering what was going on in these little clubs in New York City, because the people just looked fabulous, and the music sounded more intriguing than what was going on at the time with youth culture, which was sort of a fallout from hippie and post-Vietnam kind of vibe. At that time, the hip thing was going back to the country, escaping the city and smoking pot with Joni Mitchell and David Crosby on the porch with the dogs. And there was all this music from Europe and England that had more pomp to it, like prog rock—Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. So to me, seeing images of Patti Smith standing on the subway platform—all of a sudden it was like this new idea that it was kind of cool to be urban. And that was like our new definition of identity. I wanted to investigate that. The reality of it was the city was destitute, and it became this kind of postapocalyptic landscape for artists, and there’s something very enchanting in that. I ran to it. I wanted to see Patti Smith.
Connecticut was a great place to be, because the bands would come to you. But I was very curious about going to New York City, to Max’s Kansas City. So as soon as I could figure it out, I drove to New York City and sought out Max’s Kansas City. I knew it was on Park Avenue—which is a very long avenue, by the way! So I drove along Park Avenue, and I yelled out the window, “Where’s Max’s?” [Laughs.] I eventually found it at the very bottom of the avenue, right near Union Square.
Kim Gordon’s collection of essays, “Is It My Body?: Selected Texts,” will be published by Sternberg Press later this month.
The book collects essays Gordon wrote for various publications including Artforum in the 1980s and early 1990s.
From the Sternberg Press website:
Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, Kim Gordon—widely known as a founding member of the influential band Sonic Youth—produced a series of writings on art and music. Ranging from neo-Conceptual artworks to broader forms of cultural criticism, these rare texts are brought together in this volume for the first time, placing Gordon’s writing within the context of the artist-critics of her generation, including Mike Kelley, John Miller, and Dan Graham. In addressing key stakes within contemporary art, architecture, music, and the performance of male and female gender roles, Gordon provides a prescient analysis of such figures as Kelley, Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Tony Oursler, and Raymond Pettibon, in addition to reflecting on her own position as a woman on stage. The result—Is It My Body?—is a collection that feels as timely now as when it was written. This volume additionally features a conversation between Gordon and Jutta Koether, in which they discuss their collaborations in art, music, and performance.
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
Thurston Moore has formed a new band, Thurston Moore UK, which will open for Lee Renaldo and the Dust at London’s Garage on Nov. 21, 2013.
Moore continues to perform with his other band, Chelsea Light Moving; he currently lives in London.
He recently spoke about the influence of Lou Reed.
“Lou Reed is the all-time rock ‘n’ roll hero for people like me, who work on the margins of rock ‘n’ roll culture,” Moore told writer Keith Spera of The Times-Picayune. “He’s Elvis, Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dylan, all together. He’s No. 1.”
Moore didn’t talk about his new band, but he gave a hint as to the point of name the band after himself.
“I was trying to get away from the ego-tripping thing, and any kind of spotlight on my name,” he said about calling his first post-Sonic Youth band Chelsea Light Moving. “But nobody knows who we are. Unless people are really trolling my Facebook, they don’t know that I’m in town. I think maybe the next record I do, I’ll call it Thurston Moore & Chelsea Light Moving.”
Kim Gordon, now in the duo Body/Head with Bill Nace, provided this Lou Reed tribute to Salon.
Lou was the first real antihero in rock. As a 14-year-old hearing the Velvet Underground for the first time, I acted out the lyrics to a song about heroin when I didn’t even know what it was. But I thought it was cool and I knew it was different than anything I’d heard before. Lou went about self-destruction and creation with the same exploratory innocence of a 14-year-old girl rebelling against a role she doesn’t want … won’t accept … to be a conventional boy, to be a conventional girl … With Lou’s death I feel a certain panic that the same innocence that comes with any urge to make something and get lost in it along the way has left with him, leaving the rest of us feeling way too adult.
Members of Sonic Youth and Arcade FIre play an 11 minute version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties.”
Also, below is a crazy, juvenile film made in 1987 featuring Sonic Youth called “Lou Believers.” It’s terrible, but…
Back in the ’80s Kim Gordon wrote for Artforum and made visual art (as she still does) along with making music in Sonic Youth. Here’s an art film, “Making the Nature Scene,” she shot at Danceteria, a New York club that no longer exists. According to Spin, filmmaker/designer Chris Habib digitized the film for Gordon.
Habib writes on the Vimeo website where the video is posted: “excellent video i found in my sonic youth archive. i digitized it for kim during her CLUB IN THE SHADOWS exhibition at kenny schachter’s old space in the west village.
“shot at DANCETERIA in new york c.1985.
“judith barry, roli mosimann, alexa hill, wharton tiers, and chasler aided kim in the production of the film. tony oursler edited it. the ICA & artists space helped fund it.”
Near the end of the film you can hear Gordon reciting part of an essay she published in Artforum in 1983 titled “I’m Really Scared When I Kill In My Dreams.Here is the part of the essay that she slightly edited for the film. You can read the entire essay here.
The club is the mediator or frame through which the music is communicated. The band literally plugs into the technology of the club in order to magnify the sound, turning a possibility into actually, making what is heard by the musicians themselves accessible to an audience. People pay to see others believe in themselves. Maybe people don’t know whether they can experience the erotic or whether it exists only in commercials; but on stage, in the midst of rock ‘n’ roll, many thing happen and anything can happen, whether people come as voyeurs or come to submit to the moment. As a performer you sacrifice yourself, you go through the motions and emotions of sexuality for all the people who pay to see it, to believe that it exists.
The bright lights shine on Kim Gordon. The New Yorker, which never profiled Sonic Youth during the group’s 30 years as one of New York’s most celebrated and influential bands, kicked things off by devoting six upfront pages to Gordon this past June.
Since then, as the early October release date of Coming Apart, the album she recorded with her current musical collaborator Bill Nace under the name Body/Head, came and went, other major publications devoted space to Gordon. From the New York Times and Rolling Stone to Pitchfork, writers have been more than excited to talk to Gordon about whatever she’s willing to talk about, including her new, challenging noise rock.
“I wasn’t trained as a musician,” Gordon told the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff. “But I did grow up listening to a lot of jazz records, and John Coltrane.”
Coming Apart’s opening song, “Abstract,” Gordon said, has a structure similar to Coltrane’s Meditations: “You have a theme,” she said, “and it falls apart, and then it comes back.”
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust is the Sonic Youth guitarist/singer/songwriter’s new band. In addition to Lee, the combo includes drummer Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Lüntzel. The new album, due Oct. 8, is titled Last Night On Earth and includes nine tracks: “Lecce, Leaving,” “Key-Hole,” “The Rising Tide,” “Last Night On Earth,” “By The Window,” “Late Descent no 2,” “Ambulancer,” and “Blackt Out.” The album is a distinct evolution from Lee’s first post-Sonic Net solo effort, the under-rated Between The Times & The Tides.
In case you haven ‘t yet seen it, here’s the video for “Lecce, Leaving”:
Lee is also a visual artist. This summer he had an exhibit of his “Lost Highway Drawings” at a gallery in Portugal. Here’s one of them: