Even though I’ve listened to a lot of Sonic Youth over the years, Kim Gordon has remained very cool, aloof and mysterious to me. I was excited to read her recent memoir to find out how this alt-rock icon, well…rolls.
Her book opens at ‘The End’ with Sonic Youth playing their last ever gig at a music festival in Sao Paolo. It also marks the symbolic end to Gordon’s marriage to Thurston Moore, her Sonic Youth co-founder and guitarist.
Throughout her memoir, even though the pain from the recent dissolution of their 27 year partnership is still palpable - she writes about it with dignity and class - just sticking to the facts (Moore had an affair with a much younger woman). Even so, Moore comes across as a bit of a cad having a mid-life crisis. So yeah, I’m with Team Gordon (which is also a reason I didn’t go and see him play at the Powerstation last November).
Gordon’s level-headed perception also changed my view of Courtney Love, whom I have also long been fascinated by. Gordon relates her experience producing Hole’s first album ‘Pretty on the Inside’, saying she believes a personality disorder lies beneath Love’s “tarantula L.A. glamour” (sociopathy, narcissism?)…”I have a low tolerance for manipulative, egomaniacal behaviour.”
We also get a more tender insight into Kurt Cobain’s personality through his friendship with Gordon, whom he used to turn to for parenting and relationship advice: “Courtney thinks Frances likes me more than her”, which she describes as telling because “Kurt had no one else he could ask for advice” and “that Courtney was utterly self-absorbed and finding that he actually did spend more time with Frances Bean”.
Overall, the thing I enjoyed most about Gordon’s memoir – was finally getting a glimpse of what hides behind her cool and mysterious demeanour. Which she explains as arising from being mercilessly and sadistically teased by her mentally ill older brother “for every feeling I ever expressed”. So I can highly recommend this book if you, like I did, would one day like to crack the ‘Kim Gordon Enigma Code’.
Title: Girl in a band
Author: Kim Gordon
Recommended by Karen I, Devonport Library
Karen I likes reading memoirs and biographies about people with interesting and unusual lives, because she spends a lot of time reading and doesn't get out much.