Kim Gordon is a goddess. I love her. Of all the women in rock, I’ve always been excited to hear Sonic Youth and Gordon’s bass guitar playing on the records. When I heard that she was getting a divorce from long time husband Thurston Moore, I dreamed what it would be like to be older, in the rock scene, and perhaps even have a chance with Kim. I know, it’s a fantasy, but at the time I was dreaming of being with an artist, and well, it didn’t happen obviously. “Girl In A Band” by Kim Gordon is a book that details a career and marriage in rock in autobiographical format. It’s told in first person, and stories come from the years of rock and roll with Sonic Youth and beyond.
Woa! Sorry to stop your flow of reading. I wanted to interject and say that this is an older review. I know, old content isn’t always great. However, if you’re reading this, just know that this is a review that I wrote after reading the book in 2018. I’m working on 2019’s reviews, and will post them as I can, but this is from my archives. Sorry to break up the flow again, just continue reading, and please try the fish! I mean, buy the book.
The first thing that struck me about “Girl In A Band” is that it’s not all about sex like other rock stories. In fact, it’s very timid overall. Either Gordon didn’t get involved with the sexual exploits that other bands were in, or she didn’t write about it. The same can be said about drugs. As far as I can tell, Sonic Youth and lots of people around them weren’t really doing a lot of drugs like others. In fact, they seemed more like artists that were completely driven into creating musical, and physical artwork. I liked that about the story, it’s not stereotypical.
Gordon is a natural storyteller. She talks as though she’s smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee, and just your friend. She discusses things so well, and you can almost hear her talking to you in your home. The way that the writing works, it’s really well done, and you are taken with her through a tour of the formation of her youth, her family, and of course Sonic Youth.
You can’t help but fall in love with Kim Gordon. As you read through “Girl In A Band”, you see her vulnerabilities, her anxieties, and her thoughts on trying to play music in a man’s world. She never puts herself in a distressed arena though. She doesn’t play victim, and doesn’t put anything in place that makes you think that she ever was or felt as though she was a victim. She wasn’t. She was an artist, a beautiful soul, reader, and bass player. She seems honest, she seems sincere, and yet there’s a quietness that juxtaposes the noise that came out of Sonic Youth recordings. There’s an innocence to Gordon’s retelling of stories. Again, I was enthralled with the way she wrote. There’s purity, honesty, and music all in a love letter to a pen pal of sorts. There’s true emotion, she doesn’t stoop to being crass, she’s just flowing through her story like poetry, and I loved it.
For those that are looking for more music talk, Kim Gordon dissects the sounds and favorites from the discography of Sonic Youth. Purists are not going to like that she doesn’t go track by track, album by album. This is not an encyclopedia. Instead, she talks about her favorites, and some memories from some of the works that she liked the best. It’s a very personal way to connect with the audience, and to describe the music that she was creating with Sonic Youth. It’s interesting in how she tells the stories, all of which are more professional than you’d expect from stories of Henry Rollins. Rollins, by the way, makes an appearance, at least in one killer story about seeing Black Flag at a southern California house show.
If you’re a fan of Sonic Youth, you will definitely enjoy the stories that are talked about here. You will have a new appreciation for Gordon’s musical journey, and struggle to be a mom, artist, and wife. There’s a disconnect at one point, but things change in life, and so does the band.
Kim Gordon writes a very interesting book. I loved it. I give it 4 out of 5. The downside that I found here was that there was more to it. There’s so much I feel was left out. But at the same time, Gordon unleashes a lot about herself and especially the end of her marriage. Thurston Moore doesn’t come across as a good guy in the end, and I was a bit mad at how it all worked out. It sounds like they tried, but Moore blew it all away. I’d give my left leg to have a chance to be with such a strong, artistic woman, or rather just Kim Gordon. I guess that’s natural for someone that loves an artist and reads their work. “Girl In A Band” ends with an odd story.
Gordon purposely doesn’t talk about sex, eroticism, and more. She doesn’t open herself up completely in that regards. It’s a breath of fresh air. However, the end of the book, she lets go, she lets you in on a make out session, one that could’ve easily lead to a fast romp in the sack, but instead, she pulls away again. She says she’s changed, she likes the make out session in the car, but pulls back. She leaves you with a last note, she tells you that she’s changed. She’s busy. She has to go. It’s like she kisses you hard, and then tells you she has to go. You never see her again. I loved it.
You can purchase “Girl in A Band” by Kim Gordon by clicking here, and ordering it online.