Life lessons learned from Kim Gordon's badass memoir, 'Girl in a Band'
When it comes to being a world renowned badass, musician Kim Gordon is second to none. Sure, being the legendary frontwoman of Sonic Youth helped build her reputation as one of the greatest trailblazing women in music history, but she didn’t let that singular bonkers-amazing tidbit define her. In fact, she never gave much attention to being the only girl in a band.
In her latest memoir, ironically titled Girl in a Band, Gordon details every stage of her incredible life. From reliving those magical days in New York City’s music scene of the ’80s, to her relationship with fellow band member [and now, former husband] Thurston Moore, Gordon leaves little to the imagination. And while Sonic Youth was and still is a reigning influence on her life, Gordon fancies Girl in a Band to be “the anti-rock memoir.”
Speaking as a person who has gotten lost reading (more than) a few excerpts, I can tell you that Girl in a Band is exactly what you hoped it would be: a testament to her bold, independent spirit and a reminder of just how badass and inspiring she really is. You may even find yourself scribbling down a few life lessons to keep in your journal. Needless to say, Kim’s left quite a few impressions on us. We’d be selfish not to share a few with you!
Don’t let being “the girl” define you
Of course, being the only girl in the band (and being the frontwoman, at that) is awesome, but it wasn’t something that defined Kim. Her intention was not to be this woman-in-music spectacle, but to simply survive and thrive in the music biz. She says in the memoir, “The need to be a woman out in front never entered my mind at all in the beginning, I was just trying to make it through.”
Improvise your life
Improvising your life is a scary thought, but “going with the flow” is a principle Kim followed beautifully. Before becoming entranced by the “No Wave” rock movement in New York City, Kim was studying to be a visual artist at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Believe it or not, singing wasn’t even something she thought to pursue. She reveals in her memoir,
But by letting life guide her, Kim found herself entrenched in the “No Wave” rock movement in all of its unconventional, nihilistic glory. Soon after, she was approached to create and all-girl band by her friend, Dan Graham. The band, named Introjection, would wet Gordon’s feet for her legendary endeavor with Sonic Youth.
Stay true to yourself, even if it’s against the grain
Even in the subculture of punk rock, there were expectations for a girl. Kim admits that she “refused to play the game,” claiming, “I didn’t want to dress like Siouxsie Sioux, or act out the role of an imaginary female, someone who had more to do with them than with me. There was a popular look at the time — the vintage dress, the makeup — that just wasn’t me.” She made it work for her, and no lesson could be more important.
To bask in more of Kim Gordon’s wisdom (of which there is tons), get your paws on a copy of Girl in a Band (here).