By Thomas Coles
Author: Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon is best known as the bass player in Sonic Youth. This is her story. Don’t expect a deep look at Sonic Youth, however, Gordon doesn’t even really touch on the band until more than halfway through the book, and when she does it’s not all that in depth. Rather, Girl in a Band is a personal account her life and experiences as an artist.
One of the better parts of the book is the perspective she offers on different times and places: Gordon was a teenager in L.A. during the ‘60s; a starving, young artist in New York during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; and part of one of the major acts of the ‘90s’ festival era — three times and places that a lot of people obsess over today. All this, along with brief periods of her life spent in Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Toronto, gives Gordon’s memoir a certain wisdom that isn’t easy to achieve. Plus, isn’t it always neat to hear from someone who knew Kurt Cobain personally?!
On the subject of being a girl in a band, Kim Gordon seems mostly just annoyed that it has always mattered so much to people. It was the only question a lot of interviewers asked over the years: “What’s it like being the girl/mother in the band?” They would then move on to ask the boys the real questions. She recounts some of the major points of an ongoing article she used to write called Boys are Smelly, good stuff for further reading if this book piques your interest.
If you want some juicy gossip about Gordon’s marriage and divorce to Thurston Moore, you’ll need to find some alt-rock tabloid blog, busy-body! Gordon tells the facts tastefully and keeps the story of their breakup relevant to the breakup of Sonic Youth.
Girl in a Band: A Memoir is available now.AB, Alberta, Girl in a Band: A Memoir, Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth