Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Kim Gordon - Girl In a Band: A Memoir

Let's just get this out of the way: Kim Gordon's memoir deals with her divorce from husband and bandmate Thurston Moore quite extensively. It was a long, drawn out process, with issues dating way back further than any of us would have guessed or assumed. It would be easy to see someone criticizing this as harping on the divorce or bashing Thurston, but, as someone who has been through one of his own, it's nearly impossible to discuss without coming across as bitter and angry even if you have come to the point of understanding and acceptance. Plus, she was with him for the entire run of Sonic Youth, so it's pretty much impossible to not bring up. As someone who has always idolized Sonic Youth, it's a hard thing to accept any of your heroes as flawed, so I'll reserve judgment on the divorce, knowing there are always two sides and assume both were unhappy for a while. However, it is hard to ignore the most damning fact about Thurston: He remained friendly with Courtney Love even after she sucker punched Kathleen Hanna.

I actually owned the book for weeks before I could even try reading it. I felt that I almost shouldn't start it, as if reading it would violate Kim Gordon's privacy. For any Sonic Youth fan, it is beyond a must read. You find out so much about her childhood, growing up with an unstable brother, her past loves (she dated Danny Elfman!), and her involvement in arts, dance, and music. One of the reviews on the cover stated that she writes like she plays, which made me roll my eyes. But it's true. The text is blunt, matter of fact, and somehow poetic at the same time. It doesn't really follow a completely linear path from event to event in perfect order. It is more written almost like a series of essays set up in an almost linear path, but with some bleeding over, repetition, and going back in time. For example, her daughter Coco gets mentioned during Gordon's telling of her X-Girl clothing line. It's brief, so you assume her daughter is almost off limits, until she is brought up in greater detail in a later chapter. 

Girl In a Band is an amazing, intimate look at the life and career or true indie rock royalty. If you think you might want to read it, you'll need to. You can order it on Amazon. Also, she recently did a fantastic episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast. The two work amazingly together. As always, keep on eye on sonicyouth.com to keep up to date on what all former SY members are up to.

No comments:

Post a Comment