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'Girl In A Band': Kim Gordon On Going Solo

Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon’s memoir “Girl in a Band” starts with the end. A concert in Brazil that would mark the end of her 30-year career as the bassist and singer for the experimental rock band Sonic Youth. And the end of her 27-year marriage to band mate Thurston Moore.

“Maybe that was the part (of the story) that was most in people’s mind so it was kind of good to get it over with,” said Gordon, 64, from her home in Los Angeles. “I guess I usually plunge into things that make me nervous, you know, kind of without thinking. It’s just easier if you just do it. And in the same way, when I’m on stage sometimes I feel most relaxed. I don’t know, it’s a weird thing.”

Gordon started out her career as a visual artist in New York and Los Angeles, but found herself drawn into music. However, she said she always felt like a “lowercase rockstar.”

“When we started playing music it was kind of in the post-punk era which was sort of anti-rockstar,” she said. “I mean, I would have to say Sonic Youth is a big cult band. We weren’t a mainstream band and that’s -- mainstream bands -- to me, implies rockstar. Capital R.”

Credit Courtesy of Fort Collins Book Fest
Kim Gordon's memoir, "Girl In A Band," came out in 2015.

But being a rockstar -- capital R or not -- allowed Gordon the opportunity to do other things. Over the years, she’s added “actor” and “fashion designer” to her list of creative outlets -- none of which came from any kind of plan.

“Yeah, I guess I do kind of wait for inspiration to strike,” she said. “If I’m not feeling it in music then I’ll go to my studio. But I try to kind of just move to another medium -- maybe that will inspire me. But I’m not a 9-to-5, in-my-studio kind of person. I’m much more of a restless worker.”

Her most recent musical effort was born out of that same spirit.

While working with producer Justin Raisen on another project, Gordon and he started sending tracks back and forth. The result was the song “Murdered Out,” inspired by the L.A. trend of blacking out identifying markers on a car.

Gordon said the process was unlike anything she’d done before and it inspired her to do something else she’s never done: A solo record.

When asked if she’d begun writing for that record though, Gordon said she hasn’t. Instead, she’s waiting for that aforementioned inspiration. Meanwhile she’s also working with guitarist Bill Nace on their experimental duo Body/Head, and on a fashion line for & Other Stories. The solo project will happen when the time is right.

“I kind of like to approach things sort of sideways... so I don’t feel hemmed in,” she said.

Kim Gordon will speaking about her memoir “Girl in a Band”  on Oct. 21, 2017 at the Fort Collins Book Festival.

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