|Sonic Youth's founders Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Is This Really The End of Sonic Youth?
Word came last week that punk rock's power couple Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth were breaking up. After a 30 year relationship, a 27 year marriage, and a daughter together, the rock 'n' roll relationship that defined the US underground was coming to an end.
In a brief statement from the band's record label, it was announced that, in addition to the break up of the relationship, the future of the band is in limbo. There are some South American tour dates in November which will feature both Thurston and Kim, but, "Plans beyond that (November) tour are uncertain. The couple has requested respect for their personal privacy and does not wish to issue further comment."
I can't tell you how sad this makes me. I don't know either Kim or Thurston and have no idea who they really are as people. I know nothing about their relationship or about any troubles they were having. Yet, I am still very disappointed that their marriage didn't make it.
Despite not knowing them personally, I still feel very connected to them through their music. It was so inspiring to see this band, after 30 years, making music as good as they ever had. The band's 2009 album, The Eternal, is among its best ever. Onstage, the band was awe inspiring. I caught them last year in Las Vegas at Matador Records 21st birthday festival. They rocked harder - in their fifties - than any of the bands 20-30 years younger.
Sonic Youth is one of my all-time favorite bands. I like them so much, and feel that they exemplify so much of what I like about rock music, that I have ended every single one of my radio shows with a Sonic Youth song. Six and a half years in, and I still do it.
Bands like Superchunk, No Doubt, and Fleetwood Mac (to name but three) all survived breakups of band members. But none of those relationships were a 27 year marriage. This is a whole new level of break-up. I honestly do not see how Sonic Youth could continue without either Kim or Thurston. It would so alter the chemistry of the band as to make it almost unrecognizable. And I can only guess how difficult it would be to write, tour, and record with an ex-spouse and have to see them every single day. I hope that this does not mean the band is over, but I fear it will.
If a break up is imminent, at least the band will have left behind some stellar work, and some of the most influential rock music of all time. And its 30 year career has not been one of some great work early on, and the rest is crap. This band started good, got great, and became mind blowing.
There is not much more I can say. I am sorry to hear this news, but glad they left so much behind. Here is a 1994 video for "Bull in the Heather," featuring a pregnant Kim Gordon on bass. Enjoy.
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