Cover image for Girl in a band
Girl in a band
Gordon, Kim, 1953- , author.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dey St., an imprint of William Morrow Publishers, [2015]
Physical Description:
vii, 273 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
A 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.
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
ML420.G67 A3 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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For many, Kim Gordon, vocalist, bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth, has always been the epitome of cool.

Sonic Youth is one of the most influential and successful bands to emerge from the post-punk New York scene, and their legacy continues to loom large over the landscape of indie rock and American pop culture. Almost as celebrated as the band's defiantly dissonant sound was the marriage between Gordon and her husband, fellow Sonic Youth founder and lead guitarist Thurston Moore. So when Matador Records released a statement in the fall of 2011 announcing that--after twenty-seven years--the two were splitting, fans were devastated. In the middle of a crazy world, they'd seemed so solid.

What did this mean? What comes next? What came before?

In Girl in a Band , the famously reserved superstar speaks candidly about her past and the future. From her childhood in the sunbaked suburbs of Southern California, growing up with a mentally ill sibling who often sapped her family of emotional capital, to New York's downtown art and music scene in the eighties and nineties and the birth of a band that would pave the way for acts like Nirvana, as well as help inspire the Riot Grrl generation, here is an edgy and evocative portrait of a life in art.

Exploring the artists, musicians, and writers who influenced Gordon, and the relationship that defined her life for so long, Girl in a Band is filled with the sights and sounds of a pre-Internet world and is a deeply personal portrait of a woman who has become an icon.

Author Notes

Kim Althea Gordon was born on April 28, 1953 in Rochester, New York. After high school, she attended the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County and was briefly a student at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she played in her first band. After she graduated from college, she moved to New York City to join a band.

Gordon, who started out as a visual artist, rose to prominence as the bassist, guitarist, and vocalist of alternative rock band Sonic Youth, which she formed with Thurston Moore in 1981 and stayed with until 2011. She is also a producer, fashion designer, writer, and actress. Her book, Girl in a Band, was published in 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The title of this very fine memoir is understated. The girl in question is the guitarist and vocalist of the alt-rock band Sonic Youth, which Gordon and Thurston Moore founded in 1981. Gordon's chronicle of her youth in Los Angeles, with stays in Hawaii and Hong Kong, is infused with melancholy, because underlying the narrative is the fact that Gordon and Moore married, then painfully broke up. Girl in a Band is also an account of places that no longer exist, such as gritty 1980s New York. Gordon is vulnerable, likable, and humble, a shy and introspective outsider; despite playing in a band for 30 years, she never really considered herself a musician. She writes about her first mentor, John Knight, a conceptual artist who taught her that anything could be viewed in aesthetic terms, and friends and colleagues, including Andy Warhol, Kurt Cobain, and Courtney Love, with great sensitivity. A remarkably astute and observant memoir and tale of finding one's place in the world, this is a must for Sonic Youth fans and all outsiders-at-heart.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2015 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this intriguing memoir, Sonic Youth founding member Kim Gordon describes a life in art and music that led her through the undergrounds of Los Angeles and New York City, a journey framed by the dissolution of her 27-year marriage to bandmate Thurston Moore. Raised in L.A. by academic parents, Gordon surfed the last waves of '60s counterculture into art school and the seedy, dynamic New York City of the late-1970s. An article she wrote for Real Life magazine titled "Trash Drugs and Male Bonding" led her to play guitar in a performance art piece; soon afterward she met Moore, five years younger than the 27-year-old Gordon but already a working musician. Gordon writes, "I joined a band, so I could be in that male dynamic, not staring through a closed window.... That essay unlocked the next thirty years of my life." The strength of Gordon's prose lies in her evocation of places-the dappled light of L.A. canyons, the clamor and steaming heat of Hong Kong, the N.Y.C. loft scene. The descent of her older brother, Keller, into schizophrenia shadows the first half of the book; Moore's adultery the second. Although Gordon includes expected list of celebrities she met throughout life, her unique sensibility never fades. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

For 30 years, Kim Gordon was a Girl in a Band: Sonic Youth, the seminal alternative rock, postpunk New York group she formed in 1981 with her then-boyfriend, later husband, Thurston Moore. Until the band-and their marriage-broke up in 2011, the author sang and played bass, made art, and raised a daughter. Gordon's life story, as she tells it here, may not have been nonstop bohemian glamour, but with her deadpan and often very funny running narrative, she doesn't make it sound too shabby either. The book is more panoramic than reflective: while the performer's thoughts on various projects, artistic decisions, balancing motherhood with touring, and the ever-present male gaze are provocative, her strength lies in telling a solid art-world yarn. There's also something of an elegiac tone throughout: for the author's marriage and her band, for a period in art and music that was ripe with possibilities-and perhaps especially for a vanished Manhattan. VERDICT Gordon's career as a musician, artist, critic, performer, producer, and designer spanned the last truly hip era of downtown New York. The names and the nostalgia-for those who remember or who wish they did-are well worth the price of admission.-Lisa Peet, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.