Kim Gordon Writes About Divorce, Sonic Youth’s Last Show + Nirvana in Memoir
Based on excerpts sharing her thoughts on ex-husband Thurston Moore, Courtney Love and Billy Corgan, we already knew Kim Gordon’s upcoming memoir, ‘Girl in a Band,’ was going to be revealing and candid. That remains to be the case, as the Guardian has released a longer excerpt that splices various portions of Gordon’s memoir together. In it, she discusses the first time she saw Nirvana, the demise of her relationship with Moore and Sonic Youth’s final show.
The book’s title appears to be inspired by a question Gordon often received from U.K. journalists:
In Britain, journalists took to asking me a single question over and over: ‘What’s it like to be a girl in a band?’ I’d never really thought about that. The mostly male music press in the U.K. was cowardly and nonconfrontational in person. They would then go home and write cruel, ageist, sexist things. I assumed it was because they were terrified of women; the whole country had a queen complex, after all. I refused to play the game. I didn’t want to dress like Siouxsie Sioux, or act out the role of imaginary female, someone who had more to do with them than with me.
Gordon also goes into detail about the first time she and Moore saw Nirvana live in 1989, later describing Kurt Cobain as being "both incredibly charismatic and extremely conflicted."
“Bruce Pavitt, who founded the label Sub Pop, told me that if I liked Mudhoney, which I did, then, I’d 'love Nirvana,’" she recounts. "He added, ‘You have to see them live. Kurt Cobain is like Jesus. People love him. He practically walks on the audience.’”
While seeing Nirvana a second time, Gordon ran into Iggy Pop, who wasn't all that fond of the Seattle grunge rockers.
“I guess [Iggy Pop] wanted to see what all the hype was about too,” she writes. “Kurt ended up trashing the drums and almost knocked an amp down the spiral stairs on the stage leading to the dressing room below. Thurston and I agreed it was an amazing show. Iggy wasn’t quite as impressed.”
Later, when Sonic Youth and Nirvana toured together, Gordon says she developed a “sisterly, almost maternal” relationship with Cobain, adding that he “was funny and fun to be around.”
Gordon also opens up about Moore's infidelity, which spurred the dissolution of their marriage. She writes that “it all started, in slow motion, a pattern of lies, ultimatums, and phoney promises, followed by emails and texts that almost felt designed to be stumbled on, so as to force me to make a decision that he was too much of a coward to face.”
Consequently, Sonic Youth would play their final show in 2011 after Gordon asked Moore to move out.
“It was a strange place for things to come to an end,” Gordon explains. “Thurston and I weren’t speaking to each other. We had exchanged maybe 15 words all week. After 27 years of marriage, things had fallen apart.”
“The couple everyone believed was golden and normal and eternally intact, who gave younger musicians hope they could outlast a crazy rock’n’roll world, was now just another cliché of relationship failure,” she continues. “A male midlife crisis, another woman, a double life.”
‘Girl in a Band’ will arrive in stores on Feb. 24.