Firsties and Faves: Girl Talking with Kim Gordon at the Burger-a-go-go
We talked to the art-rock legend about astrology, Plath, and period cramps.
Photo by Alice Baxley
Kim Gordon is wearing a Rodarte jersey and no pants. It's the second annual Burger-a-go-go and the long-time Sonic Youth bassist has just performed a mesmerizing art-punk set as Glitterbust, her new guitars-only two-piece with Alex Knost of Tomorrows Tulips. Named after a song by the experimental noise band Royal Trux, Glitterbust is a scholarly throwback to the pioneering avant-rock scene in which Gordon played a crucial role, from its beginnings in the early 80s to Sonic Youth's mainstream acclaim later on in the 90s. With that icy blue stare, husky voice, and impenetrable stage presence, Kim Gordon became the wayward era's unconventional It Girl. While sipping a drink backstage this weekend in Santa Ana, one leg up against the wall, she's obviously still the Koolest Thing.
Given last year's tell-all memoir Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon has been through her fair share of tough shit. But of course, she wears it well. In glitter sneakers, she looks like she's kicked the living shit out of a diamond. For years after the break-up of Sonic Youth and her divorce from Thurston Moore, the 80s novelty of being the girl in a male-dominated band like Sonic Youth seemed to follow Gordon into adulthood, despite multiple side projects and a career in visual art. Interestingly enough, embracing her role as "the girl in a band" is what's allowed her to step out of it. She's always be the girl in a band, but it's her band now. I watch her onstage, playing the amp with her guitar like a wand controlling the feedback. The fact is, Kim Gordon has always been an artist first and a musician second. Her searing reverance for music as conceptual art was a huge part of what made Sonic Youth into the post-punk touchstone it is today. As she screams into the mic from inside a cloud of smoke, I can't help but think Thurston who?
We spoke with the no-wave rocker and perennial badass as she packed away her gear after the show. Check out our interview with Kim Gordon about bell bottoms, girl crushes, and the zodiac for this special grrrl power edition of Firsties and Faves.
Glitterbust at the Burger-a-go-go. Photo by Alice Baxley.
First song you learned to play?
Kim Gordon: I think probably some song I made up with Sonic Youth.
First fashion statement?
When I was 12, I was living in Hong Kong. It was an English colony then so there was this one really cool mod store on the island, so I got these red corduroy bell bottoms and these other ones in pink that laced up.
Bell Hooks or Beyoncé?
I actually don't know much Bell Hooks, so...
Waitressing at the House of Pies in West LA.
Favorite girl in a band?
Favorite chick flick?
Courtney Love or Kat Bjelland?
I won't go near that one, but I would say Kathleen Hanna.
Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton?
Oh, Sylvia Plath.
Favorite period remedy?
Advil and magnesium.
Zodiac or Tarot?
First girl crush?
Hayley Mills from The Parent Trap.
LA or NY?
I have to say LA because I just moved here.
First time you realized boys suck?
Sometime in junior high.
I don't have a tattoo.
Favorite riot grrrl band?