Read Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon Online

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Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.Often described as aloof, Kim Gordon opens up as never beKim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.Often described as aloof, Kim Gordon opens up as never before in Girl in a Band. Telling the story of her family, growing up in California in the '60s and '70s, her life in visual art, her move to New York City, the men in her life, her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, her music, and her band, Girl in a Band is a rich and beautifully written memoir.Gordon takes us back to the lost New York of the 1980s and '90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, and the Alternative revolution in popular music. The band helped build a vocabulary of music—paving the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and many other acts. But at its core, Girl in a Band examines the route from girl to woman in uncharted territory, music, art career, what partnership means—and what happens when that identity dissolves.Evocative and edgy, filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a transformative life, Girl in a Band is the fascinating chronicle of a remarkable journey and an extraordinary artist....

Title : Girl in a Band
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062295897
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Girl in a Band Reviews

  • Lauren
    2019-05-01 11:54

    Interesting and at times even moving, but mostly, there is a distance there and whether or not it's because there are places she doesn't want to go or doesn't care to take you, I'm not sure. There is something very unresolved about it as a memoir but again, that's ok - she's in the middle of a major life change and you can feel it. Not that different from how I feel about Sonic Youth, a band I liked and even admired, but never felt a heart connection to. All that said, I still enjoyed reading it and rooting for her - a woman at the midpoint of her life, thinking about the choices she was going to make. I loved her descriptions too - of what it was like to be on stage and play music. I guess everyone has a New York that they love reading about and this had mine: Canal Jeans, Pearl Paint, Unique, Veselka's,the Mudd Club.

  • Sgossard
    2019-05-05 08:53

    I finally understand why they say you should never meet your heroes. I thought (just like you) that Kim was the coolest ever in the hippest band ever. If you want to keep thinking that, don't ever read this book. Read this one instead. If you're already set on reading it anyway or got it as a gift or pre-ordered it just like me, at least let me help you a bit. Out of the 288 pages in this book, around 150 are about how growing up was for her, how her brother emotionally abused and traumatised her, who she was dating at the moment and lots and lots of name dropping. Her musings on music and art are nice, I enjoyed them, wish there had been more of those, chapter 51 was great. Then you get just a little bit of what was going on with Sonic Youth at the moment (about 60 pages). If you already have the book, these are the chapters with names of their records or songs, those are cool, read those. Then stop.If anything, I think at least she's being honest. That makes me feel sorry for her. That's why I just didn't drop this book, some of her integrity does come through in what she's writing.Kim: So Thurston cheated on you with Eva Prinz. That sucks. Writing a book just for the sake of calling him a coward publicly sucks too. This could have been a long blog post or an article on a magazine or some such, but it certainly wasn't worth a book. Honestly, we didn't need to know the dirty, painful details. It's not just really really ordinary, it's also embarrassing to read. You could have saved us all the trouble of reading that part by just linking to this http://www.printmag.com/interviews/ec.... Maybe you wrote this book following your therapist's suggestions, I don't know, maybe you were looking for closure. And yeah, you are a feminist. That's great. Do you need to remind us about it on every. Single. Page? Lana del Rey should "off herself"? Really? She still hasn't written an entire book on how bitter she is. I hope and trust you will eventually find peace and happiness in the people and things you still have close to you.A big SY fan.

  • Jane Settles cigarran
    2019-04-25 10:02

    A very fast read and quite illuminating though not for the reasons one might expect. I was pretty dismayed at how Kim's elitism and namedropping goes hand in hand with her playing punk rock contests and speaking really harshly about other women. It's one thing to say Courtney Love is crazy but quite another to complain just chapters before, how sexist it was to call a brash woman "crazy". It's one thing to admit to dating older, influential, stifling men as a young women but quite another to say in the next breath that people like Lana Del Ray don't know what feminisim is and should stop dating old gross men? Don't even get me started on how she talks about the other woman (i'm sure just one of many she knows of) that Thurston left her for. That's when it stopped being entertaining and just became plain sad. I feel for her...I hope she finds a new, less co-dependent direction in her golden years. She could be a great asset to the rock/female world but she's not taken that title on with very much intelligence or class thus far.It's truly fascinating to me how unaware she is of how hypocritical she is...and how inadvertently anti-woman she is. She mentions in jest that she might be a sociopath. She might be on to something....That said, fun read, I recommend reading it while playing a drinking game where you take a shot each time she contradicts her own philosophies.-jane

  • Lynx
    2019-05-18 09:12

    Kim Gordon's life has certainly taken her to fascinating places. Growing up in the sixties, traveling, infiltrating the NYC art scene, Sonic Youth's formation and success, starting her own fashion line, producing others music and films, becoming an artist in her own right and all while being female and a mother, something ignorant journalists never fail to ask her about. Theres certainly never a dull moment in this book. Kim opens up about all these things as well as her personal relationships, growing up with a schizophrenic older brother and her 30 year relationship with Thurston Moore. Kim is very articulate and honest while discussing her personal life, including the painful details of Thurston's infidelities which led to their divorce. At times I could sense the pain and anger in her words, clearly not completely over the betrayal just yet. However there were other moments in the book that had me cringing, the attitude in her words while writing about her place in the scene, or certain people made her come off as snobbish and very self-important. I expected some (deservedly) negative comments about Courtney Love thrown in, she did after all work in studio and tour with her but for instance writing comments about how scarred Love's nose was and how she's clearly had more then one nose job as well as throwing in an "ewww" at the idea of her liking Billy Corgan (he's "in no way punk rock"), made her come off as a high school mean girl as opposed to a 61 year old adult. While slightly disappointed in what read at times as though Kim has come to believe her own hype I still did very much enjoy the book and recommend it to Sonic Youth/feminists/90's nostalgics like myself!Thank for Edelweiss for this review copy.

  • Jim
    2019-05-12 16:15

    I think its telling that after spending 270 pages with the author I don't really have a sense of her as an artist, musician, or a person. I know a lot more about her projects and things that happened to her, but at the end of the book she remains a cipher. For someone who has accomplished so much the book feels thin, understandably disjointed, yet lacking in depth. It's also oddly humorless, but as many have remarked, the memoir begins and ends with her break-up with Thurston Moore and it colors the project in its sad tones. While Gordon is generous in her praise of Moore's artistry, musicianship and abilities as a father, one can't help but wonder what this book would be like if she'd let a bit more water flow under the bridge. The meat of the book describes her relationships with various artists and the circumstances under which Sonic Youth's records were produced. I loved learning about her friendship with the L.A. artist Mike Kelley and how she wrote an article for Artforum about him and Raymond Pettibon. She was also inspired by Black Flag house show in Hermosa Beach. This is really engaging stuff, I just wish there was more of it.

  • Ettore Pasquini
    2019-04-22 16:59

    This book gave me a different view not just on Kim Gordon herself, but also on women's rights and the role of visual arts post-1960s.I listened to the audio book, main reason being that she is reading it herself. It was my first audiobook, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I have to say that her "performance" adds something to this memoir. Even if a few times her reading stutters, in my opinion this makes the experience all the more intimate. The level of intimacy here is pretty unique, in fact: warm, sometimes heartbreaking, but never obnoxious or confessional. When the book ended I felt a void, a sadness. “Oh right, I can’t listen to Kim Gordon anymore! I finished the book…”Her break-up with Thurston Moore is discussed quite a bit: after 25+ years together, how can it not be. I found her account disarmingly honest. You can feel the pain in her words, in her voice. It’s intense. I kept asking myself, why is she telling me all these details about her relationship? But that's exactly the point: why is she telling me. The kind of intimacy that I was talking about earlier makes all the difference in the world. I think few women can be this open and honest, and certainly no man can ever even dreamto be this open and honest.Women’s rights are also at the forefront. So much that it challenged me: do I treat women differently, without even realizing it? Am I inconsiderate, or power-hungry, especially toward women? I certainly hope not, but still, that's the kind of questions this book made me think at. It made me reconsider some old assumptions."The swirl of Sonic Youth music makes me forget about being a girl.”The stories. Oh, I don't even know where to start. They’re just great: (view spoiler)[from assisting to a Black Flag performance in the kitchen of a Hermosa Beach house (how’s that for punk rock?) with Henry Rollins "in full force” (haha! man...) to the memories of sharing the van with the early Swans and a pissed off Mike Gira, to rehearsing Daydream Nation in Gira's windowless space, to touring with Neil Young, who was so into Expressway to Your Skull to state that it was the best guitar song ever written. (hide spoiler)] [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-E7R... ](view spoiler)[A surprising amount of words are dedicated to Kurt Cobain. I didn’t know they were so close. Her voice is almost broken by sadness as she remembers the year he died.“It’s funny how often i think about Kurt. He was always so susceptible to kindness with his vulnerable, passive side. I’ll always remember too, his smallness, his thinness, the frail appearance, like an old man, with those illuminated, innocent, childish, saucer-sized eyes, like ringed planets. On stage though he was fearless, as well as something even scarier. There’s a point where fearlessness turns into self-annihilation, and he was too familiar with that space. Most people that saw Nirvana live had never before witnessed that degree of self-harm in someone."On stage I was reminded that Kurt was the most intense performer I had ever seen. During the [Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame 2014 induction] show all I could think of was that I wanted to get the same kind of fearlessness across to the audience. I sang Aneurysm with its chorus "Beat me out of me" bringing in all my own rage [...] from the last few years […]. (hide spoiler)] I can’t separate the intensity and closeness of that performance, that i had already seen, from the validation of reading about it, confirming something unspoken that however I already knew.The parts where she spoke about confidence almost brought me to tears. "I also had no confidence, really. [...] and without confidence it doesn't matter what you're wearing" [ch. 24] I don’t want to go into that, though.Perhaps the most surprising part of this book is her involvement in visual arts. I didn’t know she was a visual artist first before being a musician. For example, fashion details emerge throughout the book and at first that surprised me. Mainly because of the narrow way I was thinking about her. But then it all made sense. Of course that’s interesting to a visual artist! I think her attention to visual details — in record covers, films, clothing — added layers of meaning to her work as a musician and helped define a style that’s still influential today. The way she talks about art, her own and others, (re)opened my eyes about performance, confidence and significance. It’s so easy to forget the importance of language and semiotics, but every symbol and sign is something at your disposal, and an artist knows how to utilize them. Kim Gordon certainly does.I could go on but I’ll stop. I’ll say that Kim Gordon's voice is something that makes life worth living. It elevates you. Or at least it elevated me.

  • Anhelo
    2019-05-01 13:21

    I was disappointed by this book for several reasons. Call them personal if you may. I didn't think it was healthy to vent so much about Thurston Moore's affairs; Kim actually sounded desperate for validation, and a book was not the place to do it, in my personal opinion. I agree with some other reviewers who suggested that telling a story of a couple falling in and out of love seemed to make more sense, rather than labeling as a "middle age male crisis" to center the traitor as the main character (or villain). Like it's been reviewed before, there is an absurd amount of name dropping, but guess what? it's mostly men. I was surprised by how many male names appear in this book, versus mentions of female artists. Then, there is a feeling of harshness towards those women who seemed sexually promiscuous and didn't exactly behave as comrades to Gordon. In a few instances where the author gave her opinion (shit talked) about other artists, the author seemed to project herself a bit. For example, when she mentions that the Smashing Pumpkins were "too pretentious, too image-conscious", I couldn't help but to think of how much effort she put into being different, and how self conscious she was with her own image, but somehow that doesn't make her image-conscious herself. Details I was somewhat turned off by: the use of the word "trannies", and the statement that "dripping breast milk during a video shot is not very rock", both seemed to be told in a pejorative light. Rock = cool. Motherhood = not. Call me sensitive.As a fan, I suppose I never realized how privileged she must have been growing up, if she never thought as herself as different for being female in a male dominated scene. Expect a big load of white feminism from this book.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-05-19 16:21

    Maskenfreiheit: The Freedom Conferred by Masks"In general, though women aren't really allowed to be kick-ass. It's like the famous distinction between art and craft: Art and wilderness, and pushing against the edges, is a male thing. Craft and control, and polish, is for women. Culturally we don't allow women to be as free as they would like, because that is frightening. We either shun those women or deem them crazy. Female singers who push too much, and too hard, don't tend to last very long. They're jags, bolts, comets: Janis Joplin, Billie Holliday. But being that woman who pushes the boundaries means you also bring in less desirable aspects of yourself. At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it." -- Kim Gordon, 'Girl in a Band'I normally don't read artist, musician, or author memoirs. Just not something I have done much. No real biblioideology behind it, just not my thing. Recently, however, I picked up Patti Smith's Just Kids and loved it, so I thought I should read another rock memoir written by a woman I loved growing up. Different kick ass singer, different kick ass period. In some ways Patti Smith and Kim Deal are very different, but in other ways both women's memoirs are similar and work for similar reasons. They are both raw, emotional, authentic (as much as a memoir is ever really authentic), and interesting. Boring these women were not. So, here is my take, the good, bad, and ugly -- First the Good: Kim Gordon has a narrative talent. Her prose reaches moments of beauty and poignance that are both delicate and strong. While I have always loved Sonic Youth, and known about them in a peripheral way, I never focused too long or too hard on the rock opera that is modern rock. I knew where their music fit in, but didn't care too much about where they fit in. it was nice to be able to place people and places around some of these rock heroes. Danny Elfman, Kurt Cobain, J. Mascis, Henry Rollins, Kim Deal, Beck, etc. I knew each of these musicians and their music, but didn't know how they all intersected with Kim and Thurston. Kim (like Patti Smith) also beautifully describes not just the NY music scene (CBGB, Noise Fest, Hurrah, the Mudd Club), but also the art scene too. I love how absolutely integrated rock was with the art scene (again think Patti Smith, David Byrne, etc) in NY in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Next, the Bad: not much. Sometimes when Kim switches from a traditional beginning, middle, end narrative and inserts about 1/2 into the book a set of chapters that are just additional pieces on albums and songs and her thoughts from the time with Sonic Youth, it all seems a bit neat and experimental; all messing with the format. However, by the end I just thought it was a way to help get past the middle hump. It seemed a bit out of place and get like the publisher asked for the book to be 270+ pages and not 200 pages, so Kim found an expedient way to fill up 70+ additional pages. And yes too, the Ugly: The divorce of course. Ugh. There is nothing sadder than seeing your idols fall, your heroes transgress, and marriages fail apart. It is personal and vicious and you can tell by Kim's details that it all still stings. Perhaps, getting it all out there for her was a form of therapy. But ouch! I don't feel bad for Thurston, but ugh.

  • El
    2019-04-26 17:11

    Last night I came across a journal I kept in late 1997 and early 1998, a journal I completely had forgotten about, but it seemed fitting to come across it now since reading this book has taken me back to around that period when I was listening to a lot of Sonic Youth. It was like being 19, 20 again and feeling like music was actually accomplishing something. (All that really meant was I was listening to music that affected me in some way, regardless of what it was doing to the rest of the listeners.)I have long been a fan of Kim Gordon's especially. I'm not going to be all Team Kim or Team Thurston because that's ridiculous - they created music together and it's pretty awesome to listen to still, but she was more than just a "girl in a band", duh, which is what this memoir is really about.Before we get anywhere near the Sonic Youth years, Gordon talks about growing up on the west coast and her troubled relationship with her older brother. Their relationship caused Gordon to control her reactions and behaviors which, in later years, has often been viewed as her being aloof or cold or indifferent. This is something I can relate to quite a bit, actually. Not the schizophrenic brother part, I mean, but being judged for my exterior because of the expectations of others. My reasons for it may have been different from Gordon's, but the end result is familiar to me.Gordon also talks about living in New York in the 80s and 90s, and this, I think, is where a lot of readers have difficulty with the book. Gordon talks a lot about the artists and musicians she encountered during this time, and it can come across as being really name-droppy. But I also think that was the environment. She was in New York during a very specific time in music history, so she encountered a lot of different people, many of whom were just as important to that history as Sonic Youth was. She worked with many of them in a variety of ways, collaborated with them, learned from them, and grew with them. She was older than a lot of women in the scene and, from what I've read elsewhere, sort of been a mentor to many of them, though it's evident from reading this book that those relationships were equally important to Gordon like Chloe Sevigny, Kathleen Hanna, Sofia Coppola, Kim Deal.Some of the reviews I've read about this book are interesting in that many readers are commenting on and attacking Gordon for her distaste for Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love specifically, as though Gordon sharing her thoughts on them or her experiences with Love make Gordon less of a feminist than she claims to be. I find that hard to agree with. In any case, I haven't seen one review yet where anyone has shown any dissatisfaction for the comments Gordon made about Billy Corgan. She is also not a fan of Corgan on a personal level, but that seems to be okay for readers which I find surprising and interesting. It also makes me wonder if these same readers have read a lot of these sorts of musical memoirs - a lot of artists are pretty catty in the memoirs. I saw the same thing in Dean Wareham's Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance with his numerous complaints about radio play in general, or the Pixies, or other groups that Galaxie 500 was getting lumped in with at the time.It's a catty world, people.But with all the cattiness, there were some good moments with her peers as well. I got to see a different perspective on Kurt Cobain based on Gordon's friendship to him, for example. Baby Frances Bean and baby Coco got together for a while and did whatever it is babies do, which is not a side of these musicians I've really gotten to hear about. And while there isn't much detail about it, it's there, period.There is a distance in Gordon's writing that I have also seen other reviewers complain about. I don't disagree with them that it exists, but I think I also understand it. I do wish it had been a more exciting read, but I enjoyed revisiting specifically the 90s with her.Above all, what's especially interesting is the way Gordon talks about but doesn't necessarily dwell on how the media would talk to women in music. At one point journalists were asking Gordon what it was like to be a "girl in a band", while they were unlikely asking Thurston, Ranaldo, or any other band member what it was like to be a "boy in a band". Later, after she had had Coco, journalists started to ask her what it was like to be a mother while on tour. In both instances journalists were using her gender against her, focusing on her femininity rather than her artistic ability. I think she would have wanted to discuss that in more detail, or maybe she just threw those anecdotes out there for her readers to make of it what they will. I just wonder how many readers really picked up on that. The thing is that sort of sexism still happens - I saw an interview a while back with Jennifer Garner. She had just had like two movies come out that year, and all the person interviewing her wanted to talk about was her husband, Ben Affleck's, success in the movie Gone Girl. Garner handled it all very graciously, because that's the sort of lady she is, but the point was pretty obvious - you are the wife, and the mother, and while you may be doing the same thing your husband is doing, let's actually just talk about your husband and your thoughts on his success.My point is that very little has changed in this regard in the past 20+ years, obviously.While I appreciate Gordon as a musician and an artist, I have to admit that her writing itself leaves a bit to be desired. I found her book interesting, but can understand how someone who is not into her or Sonic Youth might find it tedious and cold. If you're interested in understanding their music and lyrics a bit more, then there's some of that here for you as well.I agree with my friend Christopher's review where he said he felt the whole Thurston Moore divorce thing read as being a bit forced, like it was something maybe Gordon herself didn't want to talk about it but either felt pressure from her publisher, editor, or the public. Other reviews, again, have it completely wrong and just want to call Gordon a bitter and scorned woman which is pretty common anytime a woman voices her pain in a relationship. The point is no one knows all of what happened between them - this is merely her own story, and if she is hurt and it comes across as bitter, so be it. Your opinion on her feelings as she presented them says more about you than it does about her.That all being said, now let's all go back to a happier time before Mommy and Daddy broke up. Stars Hollow makes everything better.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-12 11:01

    Didn't like this quite as much as I thought I would. Some weird tone problems, too much name-dropping (as opposed to more in-depth reflection), some randomly dropped-in feminist sloganeering that felt artificial, and holy moly, some really questionable decisions about the framing of the breakup of her marriage and band. I'm still totally Team Kim, but dang, some of it was really, really cringe-inducing.

  • Tosh
    2019-05-06 08:59

    i know I'm in the minority of most readers of Kim Gordon's "Girl in a Band," but I think the book would be a lot more interesting if she focused on her childhood and then the New York years. I liked her descriptions of Manhattan life in the late 70s and early 80's - and also the sections that deals with her ill brother. If I was the editor, I would ask more writing about her family as well as the early stages of being an artist among other artists in the New York world. The marriage part is too recent and raw for this type of book. I can understand why she would want to write it, and I truly can understand from a publisher's point of view as well - but... the marriage is not or shouldn't be the subject matter of this memoir. That could be another book!I would like to read more about her relationship with the other artists, for instance Mike Kelley. I suspect Mike had just as a big influence or presence for Kim as the husband - and also she was (and still is) surrounded by fascinating people. This is a very hard to put down book, due to her writing - but for sure more time and space should have been focused on her early years. Her commentary on the Sonic Youth years are just not that interesting compared to her life before the band. This could have been two books. One before Sonic Youth -and then another book on Sonic Youth and the marriage, etc.

  • susie
    2019-04-27 16:21

    COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.- - -Edit: Ok, now I've read. I savored! This book was everything I hoped for and sometimes more and sometimes less. That it was just a little bit flawed makes it feel more intimate a portrayal.Kim Gordon is an icon of counter-culture. I looked up to her when I was a teen, and she's one of few people I looked up to *then* that I can say I still do *now*. She has a whip smart internal compass that has guided her through decades of style and dozens of interesting experiments, projects, and expressions beyond Sonic Youth.I find it incredibly inspiring the way she -- as a musician, performer, and now author -- finds a balance in the spectator-performer relationship and can write about both sides so eloquently. She's an introvert who gets on stage, designs stuff, does stuff. This is interesting to me.There are brilliant passages throughout this book, passages where I wrote down quotes or re-read and re-read just to ruminate on her often brilliant theories. There is also a *lot* of namedropping. Some of it, totally expected. Ever so occasionally, it seemed self-conscious and gratuitous and distracting.Read it if you love Sonic Youth or love Kim Gordon or even if you loved Patti Smith's Just Kids, but it might be harder to digest if you aren't catching all the references, i.e. if you don't know Free Kitten, Mike Kelly, etc.

  • Jayne Lamb
    2019-05-05 12:20

    I'm hoping that this will turn out to be the biggest literary let-down of 2015, because I can't think what could be worse. You know how Gordon is famous for being icy, opaque, inscrutable? This memoir is.. icy, opaque and inscrutable. Page after page of naming art dealers, a statement at the beginning about her whole reason for writing the book was because of her marriage ending - and you find out *nothing* about her relationship with her former husband, Thurston Moore. She disses several other well known female musicians with a kind of off-hand 'meh'. If you didn't know anything about KG before you read the book, don't worry - you'll know almost less after you read it.All of which would be bearable if her writing was nimble, quirky or interesting. But 99% of it isn't. Really disappointing.

  • Julie Ehlers
    2019-05-02 16:52

    What I found most interesting about Girl in a Band was the way Kim Gordon’s experiences in the Manhattan art world of the 1980s affected her other creative pursuits, including music. There’s a lot of appropriation going on, and Kim speaks quite openly about the ways various songs, album covers, and other projects were influenced by other artists and creative works she admires. This was a new way of looking at creativity for me, and I enjoyed it.Some reviewers have complained that Kim should not have spent as much time as she did focusing on the dissolution of her marriage, but I don’t really agree. While I can understand not liking the way her divorce bookended everything else in the memoir, I don’t think that her husband’s cheating shouldn’t be addressed just because it’s such a common story. It’s not Kim’s fault that her husband behaved in an unethical and, yes, predictable and unoriginal way, but she had it dropped in her lap and it’s a significant part of her own life story. The vulnerability and humanity Kim shows in these scenes helped round out the narrative for me.Ultimately, though, I think Kim is just not a natural writer of longer narratives, and her work suffers in comparison with some of the other big-name music memoirs out there. I’m grateful for the glimpse this book gave me into an interesting woman’s creative and personal life, but I’d have to say Girl in a Band is best for diehard fans.

  • Leah
    2019-05-01 09:18

    I can't believe I'm about to use this as the definitive word for a book by Kim Gordon, but, more than anything, Girl in a Band is... boring.I don't doubt that she wrote this book because she wanted to. I don't doubt that she wanted to tell her story, but Girl in a Band just skirts the surface of her very interesting life, coasting along until we get to what/who broke up Gordon and Moore. It feels like she had a kind of tunnel vision in writing this, giving us enough detail to lead us to this conclusion.And even then, Gordon doesn't let us into her head or heart, she just spends more time giving us objective details about Moore's infidelity than she does anything else in this book. A lot of reviews are citing her incessant name dropping, and there is definitely that, too. Of course there will be big names in this book; Kim Gordon is a big name, but a lot of people mentioned have little to do with her or the subject at hand when mentioned.It didn't feel like Kim really committed to writing the book about her life that she could have. Perhaps she is still guarded about everything, perhaps she did not want to break the image of silent strength that she portrays. I think the reason why people idolize Kim so much is that she is both tough and vulnerable, and I think a memoir would've been the perfect place for her to lend that vulnerability. Alas.

  • Sofia Teixeira
    2019-05-08 16:06

    Acho que estou apaixonada... pela Kim Gordon. Okay, é óbvio que já conheço os Sonic Youth há anos, é claro que sabia que ela e o Thurston tinham uma filha, mas tal como quase tudo na vida me passa ao lado, também as razões pelas quais se tinham separado passaram. E, caramba, que mulher brutal descobri no seu livro - Girl in a Band. Sempre que me desafiam a escrever um livro, debato-me com o tipo de registo que empregaria, caso algum dia o fizesse, porque normalmente sou tão "segue em frente" e tão sem paninhos quentes que acho que o tom não se adequaria a tipo de livro nenhum. Mas foi precisamente esse tipo de colocação que eu idealizava para um livro escrito por mim que encontrei no livro de Kim Gordon. A honestidade brutal, a forma desinibida e ao mesmo tempo tímida de revelar tanto as suas forças como as suas fraquezas, não dão espaço para cinismos ou sequer ambiguidades. E não é qualquer mulher que após ter sido traída consegue falar da sua vida como se apenas fosse mais um facto. E na verdade não foi bem assim que ela falou sobre isso. Nota-se ali uma subtileza e uma raiva adjacente que vê no final da narrativa o seu pequeno grito de independência. Mas o livro está longe de ser sobre a traição do Thurston, mas antes sobre o seu percurso e todo o desenvolvimento da sua psicologia emocional ao longo dos anos. Quando se vem de uma infância em que existe repressão emocional e até algum abuso por parte de quem é próximo, conseguir uma personalidade própria pode ser uma acto de heroísmo. O resto da sua vida fala por si. Hei-de escrever um post só com a opinião do livro, mas enquanto não tenho tempo, aqui fica mais uma marca de 2016, a mostrar que ainda existem referências femininas de uma humanidade brutal e que servem de inspiração. Opinião: Mal acabei de ler este livro, há umas semanas atrás, não resisti em escrever automaticamente um Diário de Bordo em que realçava o quanto esta leitura tinha sido qualquer coisa. Uma coisa é quando conhecemos os artistas de nome e os vemos em fotografias e vídeos ou até espectáculos, outra coisa é quando mergulhamos nas suas vidas e encontramos histórias que nos tocam e comovem, mas também nos inspiram. O discurso de Kim Gordon é simples, directo, pragmático, mas também espelha a sensibilidade que a artista diz sempre ter tido, aproximando-a do leitor e tornando-a real, desmistificando aquele pedestal em que tantas vezes colocamos quem admiramos. O livro está dividido em pequenos capítulos, todos eles ilustrados de alguma maneira por um registo fotográfico relacionado com Kim Gordon, e não seguem propriamente uma estrutura temporal linear. Na verdade, os pequenos saltos que se vão dando de vez em quando ajudam a compreendermos melhor as suas emoções. Vinda de uma família em que na sua infância pouco ou nada à vontade se sentia para se expressar, com um irmão que, veio mais tarde a constatar, desenvolvia uma doença mental, ter alcançado o que alcançou é admirável. Penso, mesmo tendo gostado tanto, que este não será um livro consensual. Existe muito com que nos podemos identificar com Kim, principalmente as mulheres que atravessaram uma adolescência atribulada seja por alguma espécie de repressão familiar ou crise de identidade, mas também é verdade que ter ultrapassado todos esses eventos da sua vida a tornou mais forte, mais dura, e com perspectivas e opiniões que poderão levantar uma ou outra questão. Acima de tudo acho que é uma escrita sincera, pessoal, e que mostra como foi para Kim passar de uma rapariga insegura a uma mulher que ousou assumir o protagonismo em palco e fora dele. Enquanto fã de Sonic Youth, gostei particularmente dos capítulos dedicados a certas músicas de alguns dos discos. Saber como surgiram, as circunstâncias, o que despoletou a que ganhassem vida e como ganharam vida fez-me recuar umas boas décadas e voltar a ouvir em loop alguns dos temas. Existe sempre este aspecto curioso quando nos predispomos a ler sobre a vida de alguém que procura esta intimidade com quem está a partilhar as suas experiências. Feminista assumida, Kim Gordon publicou assim um livro autobiográfico que nos mostra muito da mulher que é por trás da cara que representa parte dos Sonic Youth, revelando todas as suas outras facetas artística mais desconhecidas pelo público. Uma leitura que não me admiro nada se repetir daqui a uns anos.

  • Jenna
    2019-05-21 13:08

    First things first: Having recently read a few memoirs of women in music, I can confirm I'm reliably mystified/enchanted by (Read: a sucker for) some of the reverse-Pygmalion-like conventions of these stories. Specifically, an influential countercultural musician who claims at the outset to:--Have had no actual musical training. I mean, we're talking "has barely held an instrument/what's an instrument?" territory. And then suddenly, is Just Playin' It Up at some point in the not too distant future, problem forgotten. (Maybe this is a possibility for more people out there than I realize; it's certainly befuddling to decidedly non-musical me.)---Have severe stage fright. Like, a keep-my-back-to-the-audience level of fright.--Have (self-professed) no singing ability, but devises some sort of workaround, like screaming passionately (at which the heretofore Unknown Amazing Voice soars out of nowhere), or perhaps chanting or talk-singing in a way that somehow magically transforms to greatness.--Have (again, self-professed) absolutely no fashion sense or personal image, and no idea how to even conceptualize such a thing -- but again, by virtue of simply grabbing and donning whatever random clothing items are strewn about the dark, shabby railroad apartment, accidentally becomes a raging punk style icon.--And professes to be one hundred percent completely naive of sex, drugs, etc. -- but just so happens to wind up nestled at the heart of a roaring, debauched, Warhol's Factory-esque scene (or literally, THE Factory scene). You know, shortly after moving to NYC. Because you just like, somehow fell in with/stumbled across these people....aaand, despite all these obstacles, and largely unaided by anyone, and hindered by many, and with absolutely no precedent -- the person described above morphs in short order, without really trying or caring, into a Punk Rock God(ess)!Well, I suppose such a hyperbolic transformation is possible -- that's exactly what Being authentically Punk Rock, capital P capital R, means, right? And the not-trying/not-caring piece is an essential part of the myth... though I'd argue that even being open to the idea of performing in front of however many or few people would watch you DOES inherently involve some level of both trying and caring. Anyway -- even though I am bemused by some aspects of these stories, I truly appreciate them, and it's not a genre of story that I seem to tire of reading. This book fits this profile to some degree; thus, I generally enjoyed it, read it quickly, and recommend it to those who enjoy stories in this vein.***The book offers some other gems in addition to a peek at this transformative journey. The descriptions of pre-gentrified 1980s Manhattan are just as fascinating as everyone says, as are the descriptions of KG's nostalgic LA (including its darker side). I loved the glimpses of interactions with important musicians working in the 80s and 90s, though there were FAR too few of these in the book. I enjoyed learning about KG's father, a sociologist who was an influence on KG as well as a pioneering researcher in a topic area that's become extremely familiar in mainstream America and pop culture today. (I'll let you discover it.) KG herself comes across as very intelligent, analytical, and observant throughout. I also enjoyed her summaries of the history of underground music's evolution between the 1960s and 1990s. She's able to explain concisely why a particular artist's or movement's work was impactful, or what it upended/protested. Finally, though more photographs would have been useful, the text provides examples to demonstrate the breadth of KG's cultural output and vision: she is an accomplished artist not only in the medium of sound, but in pretty much every other medium including fashion design, film, dance, and visual and conceptual art, and she is also an author and critic. ***BUT - despite these attributes, I enjoyed the book less overall than some others that I'd more wholeheartedly recommend, including Rat Girl, Just Kids, and Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. Why?--A few thoughts:Although in many ways KG's story follows the mythological trajectory outlined above -- KG does not aggrandize herself in this book. Rather, she normalizes herself, almost to a faulty banality at times. At its best, this approach renders her relatable, real, likable, humanized. At its worst, she's a tired and frustrated multitasking college town mom who's feeling vulnerable and wounded after bring cheated on and abandoned by the man she Stood By. Right... but you are also still a ROCK GODDESS and ICONIC ART WORLD FIGURE, and I believe that counts for something!I don't want to take away from KG the right to express the hurt and betrayal she experienced, and I don't want to invalidate or de-normalize her feelings. However, I was really distressed by the fact that her marital breakup is presented in a way that frames or bookends the entire rest-of-her-life story of becoming and being an unquestionably Important Woman in Art, Music, and Fashion. Bad organizational choice! After all, I'm sure Thurston Moore's memoir would probably focus on celebrating himself and omit any excessive focus on romantic drama that might overshadow his personal and artistic achievements.In general, KG spends a decent amount of time talking about her problems with being codependent not only with Thurston, but also with men in romantic relationships throughout her life, despite the strength and feminist beliefs she was able to embody in other areas. She also speculates at length as to where these codependent tendencies came from: she seems traumatized by her relationship with her brother, who has severe mental illness and behaved abusively toward her when she was a child, but whose actions were seemingly unchecked by her parents, for a variety of reasons also speculated upon.I'm not sure why she devotes so much time to all this, unless she wants to show that even the most human among us, of which she is but one, can still accomplish fearsomely awesome things? Unfortunately, the result, as others have observed, is that a romantic breakup is to some extent allowed to overshadow or undermine this amazing individual and her cultural legacy.***By contrast, the bio is more successful, and less conflicted, when its focus is less BEHIND the Music and more Behind the MUSIC. So, I'm one of those people who've understood SY's music as a thing worthy of respect, but I've never really much enjoyed listening to it. (Apologies to fans; I know many intense devotees of the band.) This book reinforced these thoughts and feelings: I "get it" more now as to why I should respect them, but I'm still not about to go 'round digging up their old recordings to give them a re-listen. Focusing on selected songs and albums, KG nicely summarizes what the band was trying to do in their overall project. By her account, the band took it all Very Seriously, and the whole endeavor is characterized as an intensely intellectual project, e.g. "this song was inspired by the work of French feminist philosopher Julia Kristeva, which we were all reading, and then we layered dissonant sounds over these ideas" (not an actual quote from the book, but just to give you an idea of the content). It's pretty interesting -- and yet, because it all seems SO SERIOUS and clinical, often like an outright lab experiment, there is little sense conveyed of playfulness, fun, spontaneity, passion, and especially enjoyment. (Which pretty much describes my feelings about listening to SY: It's often a grind.)Nor is there much of a sense conveyed about the interpersonal dynamics between the band members during their three decades of teaming together to make all these sounds and noises. The band is pretty much described as A Unit: one is reminded of the alphabetized list of coauthors that follows the title of a scientific journal article. With this or any band, I think readers would have been more interested in hearing about all the transactions that occurred between artistic partners to actually create The Unit, and The Music. Overall, the effect achieved by the book is that SY should be thought of as a kind of impersonal or detached artist collective generating output in the medium of sound, that along the way got mistaken for a band, and then just went with it. Which again, may just be a biased opinion based on my experience of the band and how they sound to me.***A major criticism of the book that I'm seeing in these reviews is the accusation of relentless name dropping. Well, yes and no. It seems KG hung out with just about anyone who was anyone in a particular underground/experimental/countercultural art and music scene of late 1970s/1980s NYC. And yes, this results in pages that are peppered with largely unfamiliar names and thus read like an Academy Award Speech, or worse, an index. Now, KG is not bandying these names about in an effort to show off or be pretentious; that much seems clear. But nonetheless, the matter-of-fact listing of all these names with very little contextualization makes for some dull reading. I feel like this information could have been presented better.Another criticism that I think should be debunked outright is that KG calls herself a feminist and yet picks on other women in the book. I didn't really pick up on this. She hardly says anything about Courtney Love, and what she does say is A) probably way more sympathetic than what most of us might say, and B) probably not even news to you, because pretty much the entirety of her Love-related comments have appeared in the excerpts published in advance of the book's release. Many of KG's negative feelings about Love stem from protective concern for Kurt Cobain, with whom KG had a close connection. KG likewise makes some character assessments of the woman Thurston cheats with, but she bases these assessments not so much on the affair the woman has with Thurston (KG holds Thurston responsible for his own actions), but rather on a previous disastrous affair the same woman had with another SY band member, and which KG observed to be a harrowing experience. KG's characterization of this woman does not seem catty, any more than when KG characterizes art dealer Larry Gagosian as a jerk based on some cited examples of jerky behavior. KG also has lots of friendships with strong women, and she describes these throughout the book.There IS the controversial matter of the weird, random, apropos-of-nothing criticism of Lana del Rey, but this is about 1.5 paragraphs that I also think have been misinterpreted to some degree, and are muddily worded, and the as-is inclusion of which probably constitutes editorial error more than anything else.And finally, of course, there is the criticism that KG whines about her marriage breakup and plays the victim. As I've said, I don't think she exactly tries to portray herself as a victim, or to take unnecessary shots at Thurston; she is very factual in her reporting of how it all went down. But again, opening and closing her ENTIRE LIFE STORY with the account of her marriage dissolution was a very bad, and distracting, editorial choice. Certainly there could have been better, non-19th-century-novel-style ways to frame the life story of such an amazing woman.

  • Vanessa
    2019-05-07 13:01

    This was a really entertaining rock memoir - the short chapters, the photographs, and the anecdotes within all built up to educate me on Kim Gordon, one of the founding members of Sonic Youth, providing me with a lot of things I had never known about her before.In under 300 pages, Kim Gordon details her life growing up with a troubled, emotionally-abusive older brother, her coming into her own in New York, her work in the art scene, her musical career with Sonic Youth and other bands, and her family life with husband (now ex-husband) Thurston Moore and their daughter Coco. The memoir starts with a particularly emotional recounting of Sonic Youth's last ever gig, whilst Gordon and Moore were in the throes of their separation, and you can genuinely hear the hurt in Gordon's words. In all fairness, I thought from reading previous reviews that the book would focus a lot more on their separation, but I'm glad it didn't. It would have been a let-down for this memoir depicting Gordon's life to focus so much on something so depressing.This is by no means a perfect book though. I found the near-constant name-dropping to be ultimately quite irritating - Kim Gordon has had an incredibly colourful life, and worked with a lot of very cool artists, actors, directors, and musicians... but sometimes I felt people's names were included for the sake of who they were, rather than their importance to the memoir and Gordon's life. Kurt Cobain's mentions I can understand. Keanu Reeves? Not so much.I also found Gordon to be quite in contempt of certain female musicians. Whether or not she had a right to be or not, I still felt a little uncomfortable reading certain sections of the memoir - her words at times seemed a little bitchy and unnecessary.Overall this was a really entertaining read, and one I'd recommend if you are a fan of Sonic Youth. It was great to hear about the inspiration behind certain songs and albums, and I think I'm going to have to go back and listen to Goo and Dirty practically on repeat.

  • Christopher
    2019-04-24 15:13

    Sonic Youth is great and Kim Gordon was an indispensable part of the band; it wouldn't have been successful without her, and that's something you'd rarely say about a bass player. However, I should have left it at that. I don't usually indulge in artist/author/musician biographies, because they almost always devalue the subject in my mind. I like for the art to do all the necessary speaking for its creator. Another way of saying that is: the art is what's interesting about the person, everything else is tangential and unimportant. But this audiobook was sitting there for free and I didn't have anything else to do, so I listened to Kim Gordon's memoir in her own voice.Sonic Youth is the central concern for this book. Gordon does have chapters devoted to her childhood or her pre-Sonic Youth life, but she knows what people are really here for. We all want to know what it was like to be in one of the seminal bands of the past thirty years. There's a lot of name-dropping, too, and it's fun to see all the different connections between artists and musicians. Kurt Cobain pops up quite often, as do Yoko Ono, Kathleen Hanna, Ian MacKaye, Neil Young, Pavement, Spike Jonze, et cetera. The point is, Gordon is well-connected and has done a lot of good stuff.The book devolves into the problematic quite often, however. I can imagine Gordon's editors prodding her, hissing "but what about Thurston? What about his mistress? The world needs to know all the dirty details!" Whenever Thurston Moore and their failed marriage come up, it's always with an air that she doesn't want to be talking about it and she doesn't find it tasteful to be doing so. It made me feel the same way I do when I get stuck in a slow-moving grocery line and I guiltily ogle the trashy celebrity magazines. All in all, there are some interesting episodes within this book, but there wasn't anything that helped me appreciate Kim Gordon's art anymore than I already did.

  • Minty McBunny
    2019-05-11 15:00

    Having read several lukewarm reviews by fellow Sonic Youth fans, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this book. I was not prepared for how amazing it was and how it's been haunting me since I finished it.I have long admired Kim for her toughness and her talent. Sonic Youth, particularly Kim's singing, made me feel bold and empowered at a time when I was neither and they have a special place in my heart. This memoir is moody and atmospheric, as you'd expect it might be. It's artsy, it's nostalgic, it's completely real. I heard Kim on Fresh Air recently, so her voice and speaking style are fresh in my mind, I could imagine every word of this book being spoken by her, I felt like I was sitting with her hearing the story of her life (and I understand that that is exactly what the audiobook is). It was an intimate and honest look at herself and I wish I could experience it all over again. Which means I may need to get the audiobook eventually....The description of their last show and the pain she was feeling was incredibly raw, I've been hearing "Brave Men Run" in my head for two days, feeling chills, imagining how her heart must have been breaking on that rainy South American stage. The only thing "wrong" with this book is that her hurt is so fresh, it just bleeds off the page, and I wish, if only for her sake, that she'd waited another year or so to write this, until she had some perspective and maybe her emotions had healed a little bit. But hey, bleeding all over your stage is the punk rock thing to do. Thank you, Kim.

  • Susan
    2019-05-12 17:18

    I loved Sonic Youth and saw them many times so I was really looking forward to this book. Then I read it. Once you discard all the pointless and insecure name dropping, there are two main points the author makes:1. All her life she has lived in the shadow of men who have made it impossible for her to figure out who she was and what she was all about. 2. She had the most difficult pregnancy of any woman on earth and found raising one child to be an unbearable burden, the likes of which no other woman has ever faced before. The burning question left unresolved - how does such a self-absorbed, talentless, anti-capitalist hack divide her time between her homes in Los Angeles, New York, and Northampton?

  • Sabs
    2019-04-21 09:21

    I couldn't even make it to the good stuff. I was so utterly bored by one of the most fascinating lives ever lived. Kim needed a better editor. I bet the audio book would be worthwhile. Book is just name droppy boring writing. Really had higher expectations for this.

  • Edmole
    2019-04-23 16:01

    So hard to say what I feel about this book. It's full of a lot of pain, as Kim clearly and heartily states her case and shows her wounds over her split with Thurston Moore. But outside of that, there is an odd blankness, a cool recounting of a sequence of events. It reminded me a little of Viv Albertine's book, of a woman at the heart of various scenes and engaged and creative within them, but simultaneously seeming and being swept along by cultural history. Maybe women are better able to accept and explain the feeling of being part of things without dictating them, or can be more honest with themselves that they're not always the master of their destiny. It's interesting also to read a biog from someone of this generation, young in the eighties and famous in the nineties, a full cultural life just before the internet tsunami but post the establishing of alt culture. It's interesting how much Kim and Thurston believe in objects, solid things, records and art, as having a weight, a value, whereas now what counts is things being shared, represented in digital reproduction and social media affirmation. It also gave me a great yearning for a time where you could rely on your heroes to be morally solid (what you saw of them anyway), and not be swept aside or swept along by the latest #twominuteshate or blabbing discomfiting nonsense in public spaces. Conversely, this was also a time where coolness was important, and could make you viable and saleable and permanent in a way that seems to have faded. Kim talks about coolness, and being punk rock throughout. That alt-canon, the Velvets/Iggy bloodline of smart US punk was clearly as vivid for them as it remained when they were part of it, shaping and sharing it. They were also excited to follow that culture as it progressed and changed, enviably engaged and never worn out of wanting to know small evolution was next to bloom from that ground.On reflection I enjoyed this book for its perspective on a time I have come to realise I miss, was saddened more than excited by the bleak gossip of a woman losing her partner and expected future, and also pleased and relieved to remember that the coolness Kim and Sonic Youth represent is not my cool.

  • Solistas
    2019-04-29 11:00

    Το βιβλίο αφορά αποκλειστικά τους die-hard fans των Sonic Youth.Κι επειδή οι τελευταίοι (myself included) μάλλον έχουν ήδη διαβάσει το βιβλίο, δεν υπάρχει κάτι που μπορεί κανείς να σχολιάσει που να μην είναι ήδη γνωστό. Όπως και να'χει όμως, είναι κάπως σοκαριστικό να διαβάζεις ένα τόσο μέτριο βιβλίο απ'την μέχρι πρότινος "coolest woman in rock and roll", όλο αυτό το δήθεν πράγμα με τις καλλιτεχνικές ανησυχίες της νιότης της και πάνω απ'όλα, αυτό το τόσο προβλέψιμο προφιλ της αδικημένης γυναίκας που ξεκινάει απ΄τον σχιζοφρενή αδελφό της για να καταλήξει στον άπιστο σύζυγο που την παρατάει για μια αρκετά νεώτερη γυναίκα (τι πρωτότυπος κι ο Θέρστονας ε;). Δικαιολογίες φυσικά κι υπάρχουν, μετά από 30 χρόνια σχέσης η Κιμ δεν ξέρει να διαχειριστεί μια τόσο μεγάλη ερωτική απογοήτευση, δεν ξέρει σε ποιον να ρίξει το φταίξιμο κ δεν ξέρει ότι δεν έχει κ πολύ νόημα να γράψει γι'αυτά. Στο μισό σχεδόν βιβλίο η Κιμ αναζητά με αγωνία μια αυτοεπιβεβαίωση , κ μάλλον δεν ξέρει πόσο μάταιο είναι όλο αυτό. Φυσικά κ έχει δίκιο, φυσικά και είναι δύσκολο αλλά δεν είναι αυτό το θέμα.Κι όλα αυτά γραμμένα με ένα παγερά αδιάφορο τρόπο, χωρίς μία βαθύτερη κ κάπως ειλικρινή σκέψη, σε σημείο που άρχισα να σκέφτομαι μήπως για κάποιο λόγο πίστεψε ότι έτσι θα πουλήσει περισσότερα βιβλία που θα φτάσουν να καλύψουν την οικονομική χασούρα μετά τη διάλυση της μπάντας.Το βιβλίο έχει κ τα καλά του ευτυχώς, ειδικά όταν εστιάζει στους δίσκους των Youth (κι ας μην ξεχνάμε ότι πρόκειται για ένα εκ των 2-3 επιδραστικότερων, αμερικανικών συγκροτημάτων των τελευταίων 30 ετών) όπου περιγράφει όμορφα τη δημιουργική διαδικασία κ σε οδηγεί γρήγορα στο youtube για να δεις τη συναυλία τους στην έρημο στις αρχές των 80s, σε κάποια απ'τα video clips των 90s κοκ. Σε γενικές γραμμές είναι απολαυστική όταν μιλάει για μουσική (πως να μην είναι δηλαδή;) κ μαύρο χάλι όταν δοκιμάζει την τύχη της στη φιλοσοφία κ το φεμινισμό.Πολύ με στεναχώρησε αλλά έχω δύο μέρες αγκαλιά τα box set των καλύτερων της δίσκων κ θα μου περάσει.

  • Jessica Silk
    2019-04-23 17:00

    There are a lot of things I really loved about this memoir. I appreciated her starting with her break-up because it felt vulnerable to start from a dark place. I admire that--as a woman--she is speaking her truth about her break-up and isn't trying to play the whole "I'm perfectly fine and things are amicable" thing we are forced to present in public. She's angry and I'm on her side. This book very much reads like documentation of someone processing their relationships and grief, and still being in the middle of the process. To me, it is refreshing to read that instead of the story one tells after figuring it all out. It feels like talking to a friend. There are ways in which her writing is guarded at times, but it still felt open and honest to me. I've read some people say this book is gossipy or name-droppy, but it didn't feel that way to me because I think she genuinely has had a lot of interesting people in her life who've helped shape her story. And why read a book by a famous type person and get mad when they namedrop?! I, for one, was looking for all kinds of behind the scenes stories about musicians in the 80s and 90s. The one thing I wasn't comfortable with regarding her current (or time of writing) stage of grief about Thurston is the narrative she presents. It's the whole "this woman is crazy" and Thurston was weak in response to her manipulative ways. While that narrative is probably rooted in reality, it felt a little like a cliche break-up story people tell. I also recognize that type of simplification is probably a coping mechanism that we are seeing because the feelings are still very raw. You go girl!

  • Lisa
    2019-05-21 16:09

    Good, though not moving... and it felt a little incomplete, somehow. Which I know is the nature of a memoir if one isn't dead yet, but somehow Gordon feels like she's still got a lot more stuff to settle up. It's a panoramic book, not a reflective book. But still interesting, anecdotally and all, and a fun read. Needless to say, I loved all the old 1980s downtown NYC stuff—it sent me off to Google every few pages to see whatever happened to so-and-so. Plus she gets major points for calling Billy Corgan a crybaby.

  • Antonia Crane
    2019-05-10 10:55

    I want to believe Kim Gordon wrote her own book. She is clearly a super smart, intuitive, well read, talented woman with intrinsic style who was born charmed with a nose for timing and unique, refined taste. She also simply hung out with the right people during an extremely exciting time in NY that existed before the Internet branded our souls and sold us down the river of Facehooker. I heard "Girl in a Band" on Audible read by Gordon. It was kinda romantic and heartbreaking heard that way— Gordon's voice thrummed through my head for hours on end like "Daydream Nation" played on repeat while driving through California past the Death Valley turnoff and through the High Sierras, hearing about her influences, her LA childhood in the brutal sunlight, her struggling farmer relatives and her mentally ill brother. The author's phrasing and sentence structure seemed like it came from—I don't know—a writer I know and love or even friends of mine in NY who ghost write and have years of beautiful prose and degrees under their less cool belts. I kept thinking: did Gordon actually write this? As a writer, I care who wrote the words I'm hearing between my ears. For instance, the beginning of the book referred to Elissa Schappell and I wondered about her influence in the book. Frankly, I felt like the phrasing was coming from somewhere else. I want to be careful to not undermine Gordon's talent. That said, I loved the book and there was a lot to chew on. One disappointing aspect was Gordon's sexist attitude regarding other women, like Courtney Love. Although she was honest and accurate, mostly, she was quick to personally critique other women and generally more forgiving towards men. Although Thurston Moore is traditionally hailed as the Jesus of "Sonic Youth" it's obvious Gordon has been the muse cum adult driving their "Screaming Fields of Sonic Love" train the entire time both professionally and emotionally. Most intriguing were Gordon's specific insights into commercialism and feminism and how she worked against the tide in her art. On another note, who doesn't love a little rock and roll art world gossip? "Girl in a Band" tracks our generation's favorite iconic rock and roll couple gone douchebag: Thurston Moore is a dick etc and Kim Gordon, we love you forever. Now, go forth and conquer the art world, you sexy motherfucker.

  • Deb
    2019-05-16 09:09

    Kim Gordon takes an autobiographical look at her personal life and her life as the vocalist/bass player for Sonic Youth. She is very articulate, and able to describe the various issues associated with life in a well-known, touring band over a period of years. She starts the book with the deconstruction of the band, and her marriage to one of its members, Thurston Moore, then backfills the story over the many years of the band's life.Being a woman musician is still difficult, although many women are musicians and successful at it. Women are often held to a higher standard than male musicians, and they are subject to being judged on their looks, not their talent. Kim Gordon talks about these problems candidly and realistically. She is friends with many musicians, whose names will be easily recognized by those familiar with the pop music scene of the 80s and 90s, but she uses these names in context with her life and with Sonic Youth, not as a name-dropper.Kim Gordon is still making music (and art, which has also always been part of her life), despite the demise of Sonic Youth and her marriage. She is a woman with a lot to say, and I think it's worth listening to.

  • Liz
    2019-05-03 17:14

    I will risk losing all punk cred by saying that I've never been a huge Sonic Youth fan, to say that I don't know ANYTHING about the band other than that they exist, and people hold them in very high regard, so I went into this book pretty blind. Not having a frame of reference for the songs she was writing about really changed the impact that reading about them has, but I did find her descriptions of growing up in LA and moving to NYC very interesting. After reading a lot of these goodreads reviews, folks are calling this book out for "name-dropping", which didn't bother me since they were some of the only references I actually knew. I found it entertaining enough; people who actually have a relationship with the band's music will probably appreciate it more.

  • Tuck
    2019-04-30 10:01

    a book of contradictions, but i guess a person has to write the book they have to write. kim gordon talks about her band, sonic youth, and epic run of over 2 decades are serious music, a huge and public (sort of, more public now with this book for sure) breakup of her and band and husband in band. her childhood and family (difficult family too), her being a young woman and artist all that implies, independence, poverty, fame, fishbowl life, success, faking it, and being real. but i think kim gordon should plan on writing a better book, a book about her 'new' life, her transcending herself with her knowledge and hard kicks of life, a new life of less contradiction and more compassion, for herself most of all. has lots of music lines, and pictures.