Today is Kim Gordon’s birthday - founder member of Sonic Youth and Free Kitten, producer, actress, designer, director, all round one of the coolest people in rock’n'roll. Here’s a few clips in celebration - any excuse to post about Kim or Sonic Youth on DM is worth it.
Kim Gordon reads the Riot Grrrl Manifesto
Kim Gordon talks to Style.com about her label X-Girl, shopping in New York and working with Chloe Sevigny.
More Kim Gordon after the jump…
Here’s some great footage of Sonic Youth being interviewed in the late 80’s - before grunge, before Nirvana, just on the cusp of signing with Geffen and the release of the Goo and Dirty albums. My God, how different things were then. The MTV interview piece makes this abundantly clear, with its declaration of Sonic Youth being “the biggest underground band in the whole country”. This was in 1989, and oh how different things would be just two years later.
Thanks to my older brother having purchased a copy of Goo on cassette when it was released, I was exposed to Sonic Youth at a young age, and before Nirvana became the de facto coolest band in the universe. I also had the utterly mind blowing “Teenage Riot” taped onto the end of one side of a C90 (remember them?) by one of the cool older kids at school.Thanks Simon Doyle!
Although Daydream Nation is generally regarded as their opus (and it is fantastic), Goo has really stood the test of time. Despite the band coming in for a lot of flack for signing to a major and for daring to write *gasp* songs. The sleeve is now one of the most popular t-shirt designs on the planet, even appearing as a tattoo on the arm of an America’s Next Top Model contestant. “Kool Thing”, with its famous Kim Gordon and Chuck D monologue, has become one of the band’s best known singles.
Of course, the musical landscape has changed massively since these clips were filmed, but time captured here was one of massive change itself. The underground punk and hardcore ethics of the 80’s were mutating into something much more corporate and accessible to the mainstream. Punk rock was losing it’s sheen as the coolest, edgiest music with the growing popularity of hip-hop and the advent of acid house. For a while it seemed like Sonic Youth might be left behind by these changes. But the truth is that, despite their bevy of famous friends, tourmates and collaborators, Sonic Youth are a scene all unto themselves. They may not have become the biggest underground band in the world, but they didn’t need to. Their legacy is assured.
Here’s that MTV clip:
More Sonic Youth interviews after the jump…
Attention New Yorkers, don’t miss Return to the Pleasure Dome, a benefit concert event for Anthology Film Archives with a Life Achievement Honor for Kenneth Anger.
Featuring Technicolor Skull (Kenneth Anger and Brian Butler), Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, The Virgins, Moby & other special guests.
Wednesday, May 19, 8:30p.m at the Hiro Ballroom, New York City, $99 via Ticketweb
Video: Kenneth Anger’s 42-second long film, Death. Part of the OneDreamRush project.