The Info List - Kim Gordon

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Kim Althea Gordon (born April 28, 1953)[1] is an American musician, songwriter, and visual artist. Born in Rochester, New York, Gordon was raised in Los Angeles, California, and studied art at the Otis Art Institute.[2] She later rose to prominence as the bassist, guitarist, and vocalist of the New York City-based alternative rock band Sonic Youth. Gordon also formed the musical project Free Kitten
Free Kitten
with Julia Cafritz (of Pussy Galore) in the 1990s,[3] and debuted as a producer on Hole's debut album Pretty on the Inside
Pretty on the Inside
(1991). Gordon also worked on a fashion line called X-Girl in 1993,[4] and continued to write and release material with Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
throughout the 1990s and on into the late 2000s. Gordon has collaborated with Ikue Mori, DJ Olive, William Winant, Lydia Lunch, Yoko Ono, Raymond Pettibon, Kathleen Hanna, and Chris Corsano.[5][6][7][8][9] In 2012, after the breakup of Sonic Youth, Gordon formed Body/Head
with friend Bill Nace, releasing their debut album Coming Apart in September 2013.[10] Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band, was published in February 2015, by HarperCollins
imprint Dey Street Books.[11]


1 Early life 2 Musical career

2.1 Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
(1981–2011) 2.2 Other projects (1989–present)

3 Other projects 4 Personal life 5 Legacy and influence 6 Discography 7 Bibliography 8 See also 9 References

Early life[edit] Gordon was born in Rochester, New York, where her father, Wayne Gordon, was a professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Rochester.[12][13][14] At age five, her family relocated to Los Angeles, California when her father was offered a professorship in the sociology department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[15][16] Gordon described her mother as "a homemaker with creative tendencies." She attended a progressive elementary school that was attached to UCLA, which she described as: "It was learn by doing. So we were always making African spears and going down to the river and making mud huts, or skinning a cowhide and drying it and throwing it off the cliff at Dana Point."[17] In her memoir, Gordon recounts spending summers with her family in Klamath, California, near the Oregon
border.[18] In Los Angeles, Gordon attended University High School, and after graduating, attended the Otis Art Institute
Otis Art Institute
of Los Angeles County. She was also briefly a student at York University
York University
in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she played in her first band.[19] She briefly worked for art dealer Larry Gagosian during her study as a side-job.[20] Several female musicians influenced her. She stated: "Initially I was really inspired by the Slits and the Raincoats, and Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith. Then there was the Runaways, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner
Tina Turner
- who is the ultimate performer - and Billie Holiday."[21] Musical career[edit] Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
(1981–2011)[edit] Main article: Sonic Youth

Gordon live with Sonic Youth, 2007

After graduating from art school, Gordon moved to New York City
New York City
and became interested in "no-wave" bands:

When I came to New York, I’d go and see bands downtown playing no-wave music. It was expressionistic and it was also nihilistic. Punk rock was tongue-in-cheek, saying, ‘Yeah, we’re destroying rock.’ No-wave music is more like, ‘NO, we’re really destroying rock.’ It was very dissonant. I just felt like, Wow, this is really free. I could do that.[17]

In New York City, she joined the short-lived band CKM, with Christine Hahn and Stanton Miranda, and met her future Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
bandmates Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore
Thurston Moore
through Miranda. Gordon began dating Moore and, together with Ranaldo, the couple then formed Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
in 1981.[17] Originally the band released their first two albums, Confusion is Sex
Confusion is Sex
(1983) and Bad Moon Rising (1985) on Neutral and Homestead Records, respectively, before signing with SST to release EVOL (1986) and Sister (1987). In October 1988, the band released Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation
album through Enigma Records. In 1989, the band signed onto DGC Records, a subsidiary of Geffen, and released Goo (1990), which became the group's first commercial hit.[22] The band toured extensively for the album between 1990 and 1991, and a documentary titled 1991: The Year Punk Broke documented the band's tour with Nirvana, Babes in Toyland, Dinosaur Jr., Gumball and Mudhoney.[23] Gordon is known for a fascination with Karen Carpenter and Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
wrote the song "Tunic" about the musician.[24] Gordon provided insight into the song in a 2010 interview:

I was trying to put myself into Karen's body. It was like she had so little control over her life, like a teenager—they have so little control over what’s happening to them that one way they can get it is through what they eat or don’t. Also I think she lost her identity, it got smaller and smaller. And there have been times when I feel I’ve lost mine. When people come and ask me about being famous or whatever and I don’t feel that, it’s not me. But it makes me think about it. The music is definitely about the darker side. But I also wanted to liberate Karen into heaven. ... You know there’s all these families out there trying so hard to do everything right and be perfect.[25]

The band popularly covered the song "Superstar", which had been covered by The Carpenters
The Carpenters
in 1971.[26] Between 1983 and 2009, Gordon, with Sonic Youth, released a total of sixteen studio albums, their last release being The Eternal (2009)[27] before their official disbandment in 2011.[28] Other projects (1989–present)[edit]

Gordon live with Body/Head
at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's TBA Festival, Portland, Oregon, 2013

In 1989, Gordon, Sadie May, and Lydia Lunch
Lydia Lunch
formed Harry Crews and released the album Naked in Garden Hills. In 1991, Courtney Love, who had been influenced by Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
and the no wave scene, sent Gordon a letter asking her to produce her band Hole's debut record, Pretty on the Inside. Gordon, along with assistance from Don Fleming, produced the album in March 1991, which later received critical acclaim and cult status.[17] Gordon collaborated with Cafritz to form the band Free Kitten
Free Kitten
that also recorded with Mark Ibold and Yoshimi P-We. Free Kitten
Free Kitten
released three albums on the Kill Rock Stars
Kill Rock Stars
record label and a fourth album on Moore's Ecstatic Peace label. The Supreme Indifference was a musical collaboration that involved Gordon, Jim O'Rourke and Alan Licht. The band appeared on the 2002 compilation Fields and Streams.[29] Following the announcement of Sonic Youth's hiatus, Gordon commenced touring with Ikue Mori, Tokyo-born drummer of late-1970s band DNA—Gordon had performed with Mori previously at events such as the NoFunFest in 2004.[30][31][32] The duo completed a European tour in mid-2012 and Gordon explained during a corresponding interview, "You sorta want to get lost and you hope that the audience gets lost with you ... You can feel if they’re listening, you can feel if there’s some connection.”[33] Together with Bill Nace, Gordon and Mori were selected for the June 2013 All Tomorrow's Parties event that was curated by the band Deerhunter.[34] Gordon also formed a noise guitar project with Nace, entitled Body/Head, and a single called "The Eyes, The Mouth" was released in 2012 on Belgian label Ultra Eczema.[35] The band's debut album Coming Apart was released on September 10, 2013, on the Matador Records
Matador Records
label and the band completed a US tour during September/October 2013.[36] On September 12, 2016, Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
released her first solo single, "Murdered Out".[37] Other projects[edit] Gordon is an established visual artist and curator, and her work has been exhibited across the U.S., Japan, and Europe. She graduated from the Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. In the early 1980s, Gordon wrote for Artforum
and worked for several Soho
art galleries. She curated an exhibition at White Columns
White Columns
gallery in 1982 that involved contributions from Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler, among others. In 1996, Gordon was involved in an exhibition entitled Baby Generation at Parco gallery in Tokyo. Gordon's exhibition Kim's Bedroom was shown at MU in the Netherlands, and included drawing and paintings alongside live music and special guests.[38] A limited-edition book and CD of the exhibition were published by Purple Books. In 2003, Gordon was featured in the Gothenburg
Biennale and exhibited Club In The Shadow, a collaboration with artist Jutta Koether, at Kenny Schachter's Contemporary Gallery in New York City, U.S. In 2005, she submitted another collaboration with Koether for the Her Noise exhibition in London, United Kingdom.[39] In the same year, an artist's book Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
Chronicles Vol. 1 was published and featured photos of Gordon throughout her life.[40] The following year, Kim Gordon Chronicles Vol. 2 was released and featured her drawings, collages, and paintings.[41] In 2013, Gordon explained the significance of her art in relation to the conclusion of Sonic Youth: "When you’re in a group, you’re always sharing everything. It’s protected. Your own ego is not there for criticism, but you also never quite feel the full power of its glory, either. A few years ago I started to feel like I owed it to myself to really focus on doing art.” Recent exhibitions include “The Show Is Over,” at Gagosian Gallery in London (2013) and the major survey “Design Office with Kim Gordon–Since 1980,” at White Columns, New York in 2013.[17] In 2014, she presented newly created Wreath Paintings throughout Rudolf Schindler's iconic Fitzpatrick-Leland House under the byname of Design Office.[42] In the early 1990s, Gordon co-directed The Breeders' "Cannonball" music video with Spike Jonze. Over a decade later, Gordon appeared in Gus Van Sant's Last Days.[43] She also has a small part as a textile exporter in the 2007 film Boarding Gate
Boarding Gate
starring Asia Argento
Asia Argento
and in I'm Not There.[44] In the season six finale of Gilmore Girls, she played a street troubadour along with her husband, Thurston Moore
Thurston Moore
and their daughter Coco, performing the song "What a Waste" from the album Rather Ripped.[45] Gordon, along with the rest of Sonic Youth, made an appearance in the television series Gossip Girl and performed an acoustic version of the song "Starpower". In 2013, Gordon appeared in the season 3 premiere of Girls as Mindy, a recovering drug addict in a rehab support group. Gordon co-owned, with Daisy Von Furth, a short-lived clothing company in Los Angeles, U.S., called X-Girl. The company also opened retail outlets and the first X-Girl store was opened in Los Angeles in 1994.[46] In September 2008, Gordon launched a limited edition fashion line called "Mirror/Dash" (also the name of a musical side project that was created with Moore), inspired by Françoise Hardy
Françoise Hardy
and based on the idea that "there's a need for clothes for cool moms."[47] In October 2014, it was announced that Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band, would be published on February 24, 2015, by HarperCollins imprint Dey Street Books. The autobiography explores her childhood, life in art and Sonic Youth, and marriage to and divorce from Thurston Moore. Its title, Girl in a Band, stems from a lyric in "Sacred Trickster" from Sonic Youth's final album, The Eternal (2009). The lyric goes, "What's it like to be a girl in a band?/ I don't quite understand," a sentiment also depicted in a piece at Gordon's 2013 retrospective art show at New York's White Columns.[11] The book "Kim Gordon: Noise Name Paintings and Sculptures of Rock Bands That Are Broken Up", published in 2016 by the Deste Foundation, documents Gordon's exhibition of the same name at the Benaki Museum
Benaki Museum
in the summer of 2015. The volume includes a vinyl record of the performance of Body/Head, which took place on the museum's rooftop during the opening of the exhibition. The book also includes essays by artists Paul Chan, Frank Guan and John Miller.[48] Personal life[edit] Gordon married Moore, singer and guitarist of Sonic Youth, on June 9, 1984. Gordon gave birth to their daughter Coco Hayley Gordon Moore on July 1, 1994. Gordon and Coco lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, where Coco attended the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
played a benefit concert with Cat Power
Cat Power
for the Greenfield Center School
Greenfield Center School
in 2005. The band played a second benefit for the school in 2007.[49] An announcement in October 2011 confirmed that Gordon and Moore had separated.[50] Gordon revealed details about the decision in April 2013, after a divorce was finalized: she first confronted Moore about a text message that she discovered from an unnamed woman; this was followed by counseling sessions, and the separation then occurred as a result of Moore's not ceasing his extra-marital relationship. Gordon explained that her ex-husband was "like a lost soul."[17] Gordon also revealed that she had been diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer during her divorce, which was successfully treated with surgery.[17] In 2015, Gordon relocated from Massachusetts to Los Angeles, where she was raised, purchasing a home in the Franklin Hills neighborhood.[51] Legacy and influence[edit] Film director Sofia Coppola,[52] musician Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna
and Irish singer Róisín Murphy[53] have praised Gordon for the influence that she has exerted on their own art. Hanna explained in 2013:

She was a forerunner, musically. Just knowing a woman was in a band trading lead vocals, playing bass, and being a visual artist at the same time made me feel less alone. As a radical feminist singer, I wasn’t particularly well liked. I was in a punk underground scene dominated by hardcore dudes who yelled mean shit at me every night, and journalists routinely called my voice shrill, unlistenable. Kim made me feel accepted in a way I hadn’t before. Fucking Kim Gordon thought I was on the right track, haters be damned. It made the bullshit easier to take, knowing she was in my corner.[17]


Albums with Sonic Youth

See Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth

Albums with Free Kitten

Unboxed (1994) Nice Ass (1995) Sentimental Education (1997) Inherit (2008)

Albums with Body/Head

Coming Apart (2013)

Albums with Glitterbust

Glitterbust (2016)


Gordon, Kim (2015). Girl in a Band: A Memoir. Dey Street Books. ISBN 978-0-062-29590-3. 

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kim Gordon.

Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
discography Experimental music Alternative rock


^ a b Holly George-Warren and Patricia Romanowski, ed. (2005). "Sonic Youth". The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York City: Fireside. p. 912. ISBN 978-0-7432-9201-6.  ^ Gaar, Gillian (2002). She's a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock and Roll. New York, NY: Seal Press. p. 370.  ^ Jeremy Krinsley (2008). "New: Free Kitten
Free Kitten
tracks". Impose Magazine. Impose Magazine. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ Brownstone, Sydney (February 12, 2012). "Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon Has A New Clothing Line". The L Magazine. Retrieved September 19, 2013.  ^ Lily Lunch (July 27, 2012). "A gig to remember: Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
and Ikue Mori live in Belgrade". B turn. B turn. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "Harry Crews (Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon, Sadie Mae)". Artists For Literacy. artistsforliteracy.org. 2013. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "YOKOKIMTHURSTON". allmusic. Rovi Corp. 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "The Whole World is Watching – Weatherman '69". Electronic Arts Intermix. Electronic Arts Intermix. 1997–2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ DeathMirror365 (April 24, 2011). " Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
and Yoko Ono" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ Hyman, Dan (September 12, 2013). "QA: Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
on Life After Sonic Youth". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2013.  ^ a b Pelly, Jenn (October 8, 2014). "Kim Gordon's Memoir Girl in a Band to Be Published in February, Cover Art Revealed". Pitchfork Media Inc. Pitchfork. Retrieved October 9, 2014.  ^ Gordon 2015, p. 15. ^ [1] ^ [2] ^ "Wayne C. Gordon". University of California. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.  ^ Gordon 2015, p. 14. ^ a b c d e f g h Lizzy Goodman (April 22, 2013). " Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
Sounds Off". Elle.com. Hearst Communications, Inc. Retrieved September 20, 2013.  ^ Gordon 2015, p. 25–26. ^ Michael Barclay (July 2002). " Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Time Takes Its Crazy Toll". Exclaim.ca. Ontario Media Development Corporations. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
works with Larry Gagosian, Huffington Post, September 3, 2013. ^ woodward, Daisy (13 April 2015). " Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
on Kurt Cobain and Female Icons". Anothermag.com. Retrieved 11 October 2017.  ^ Robins, Wayne (2008). A Brief History of Rock, Off The Record. New York City: Routeledge.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Nirvana. PediaPress.  ^ Hirshey, Gerri (2002). We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock. Grove Press.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Mary Gaitskill (July 31, 2010). "AN INTERVIEW WITH KIM GORDON". The Incongruous Quarterly. The Incongruous Quarterly. Archived from the original on July 26, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ Martin, Popoff (2010). Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948–1991. Iola, WI: Krause. p. 208.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Weglarz, Kristine (2016). Political Rock. Abington, Oxfordshire: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. p. 158.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Perpetua, Matthew (November 28, 2011). Lee Ranaldo
Lee Ranaldo
on the Future of Sonic Youth. San Francisco, CA: Rolling Stone.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "Search Results We have the following release for The Supreme Indifference:". Band to Band.com. Band to Band. Retrieved September 20, 2013.  ^ Dave Heaton (1999–2013). " Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
/ Ikue Mori
Ikue Mori
/ DJ Olive: self-titled". PopMatters. Spin Music, a division of SpinMedia. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "SYR4: GOODBYE 20th CENTURY". Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth. 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ HolgerXregloH (July 4, 2010). " Ikue Mori
Ikue Mori
& Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
w/ The Sweet Ride (NoFunFest 2004)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2013.  ^ Lily Lunch (July 27, 2012). "A gig to remember: Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
and Ikue Mori live in Belgrade". B turn. B turn. Retrieved September 9, 2013.  ^ "ATP curated by Deerhunter". ATP. ATPFestivals. June 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.  ^ Jenn Pelly (August 23, 2012). "Kim Gordon's Body/Head
Announce European Tour". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2013.  ^ Pitchfork Advance (September 2, 2013). " Body/Head
Via Pitchfork Advance". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 9, 2013.  ^ "Listen to Kim Gordon's New Song "Murdered Out" Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-09-23.  ^ "MU past exhibitions: Kim's Bedroom". Archived from the original on June 25, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2007.  ^ "Reverse Karaoke". Electra. Electra. November–December 2005. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "Kim Gordon: Chronicles Vol.1". Artbook. Artbook LLC. August 15, 2005. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "Chronicles Vol.2 Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
(Northampton, USA)". Nieves. Nieves. 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ Kim Gordon: Design Office "Coming Soon", April 5 - 26, 2014 Archived April 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles. ^ Dalton, Stephen. "Suicide Blond". Uncut Magazine, August 2005. From Beautifully Scarred. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.  ^ King, Geoff (2017). A companion to American indie film. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley et Sons Inc. p. 115.  ^ Terich, Jeff. "Gilmore Youth". Treblezine.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2007.  ^ Elizabeth Thompson; Alexia Swerdloff (August 20, 2012). "An Oral History of X-Girl". Papermag. PAPER PUBLISHING COMPANY. Archived from the original on May 19, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
launches clothing line". NME. IPC Media Entertainment Network. September 22, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2013.  ^ "Names and their Noise: Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
in Athens". Minus Plato. 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2017-03-03.  ^ Charron, Corey. " Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
to play benefit for Greenfield Center School". The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2007.  ^ Tartar, Andre (October 15, 2011). "Sonic Youth's Moore and Gordon Separating – Vulture". Nymag.com. Retrieved February 19, 2012.  ^ David, Mark (November 11, 2015). "Alt Rock Queen Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon
Snags L.A. Base". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2017.  ^ Bust, Issues 33-36. University of Michigan: Bust, 2005. July 23, 2009. pp. 33–36.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "Roisin Murphy on making shows dramatic". The Guardian. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 

v t e

Sonic Youth

Kim Gordon Thurston Moore Lee Ranaldo Steve Shelley

Bob Bert Anne DeMarinis Richard Edson Mark Ibold Jim O'Rourke Jim Sclavunos

Studio albums

Confusion Is Sex Bad Moon Rising EVOL Sister Daydream Nation The Whitey Album Goo Dirty Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star Washing Machine A Thousand Leaves NYC Ghosts & Flowers Murray Street Sonic Nurse Rather Ripped The Eternal

Extended plays

Sonic Youth Kill Yr Idols Master=Dik 4 Tunna Brix Whores Moaning TV Shit Silver Session for Jason Knuth

Live albums

Sonic Death Walls Have Ears Hold That Tiger Live at the Continental Club Smart Bar Chicago 1985

Compilation albums

Screaming Fields of Sonic Love The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities Hits Are for Squares

Other albums

Made in USA In the Fishtank 9 Demonlover

SYR series

SYR1: Anagrama SYR2: Slaapkamers met slagroom SYR3: Invito al ĉielo SYR4: Goodbye 20th Century SYR5: ミュージカル パ一スペクティブ SYR6: Koncertas Stan Brakhage prisiminimui SYR7: J'Accuse Ted Hughes SYR8: Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth SYR9: Simon Werner a Disparu


"Death Valley '69" (feat. Lydia Lunch) "Flower"/"Halloween" "Flower"/"Satan Is Boring" "Starpower" "Teen Age Riot" "Silver Rocket" "Touch Me I'm Sick" "Kool Thing" "Dirty Boots" "100%" "Youth Against Fascism" "Sugar Kane" "Drunken Butterfly" "Bull in the Heather" "Superstar" "Sunday"

Video albums

Goo Screaming Fields of Sonic Love Corporate Ghost: The Videos: 1990–2002

Books about Sonic Youth

Goodbye 20th Century Girl in a Band: A Memoir

Side projects

Body/Head Chelsea Light Moving Dim Stars Free Kitten

Related articles

Discography 1991: The Year Punk Broke


Authority control

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