I finished reading Kim Gordon’s memoir Girl in a Band in five hours over the course of one day.
It’s a brilliant book, evocative of a time and place I was accidentally a part of. Kim Gordon and I have certain things in common:
Our sun sign is Taurus (I was delighted to see her wearing a Taurus tee shirt on the book cover.)
I played Sonic Youth on the radio when I was a disc jockey in the 1980s. Kim Gordon recorded this radio station promo: “Listen to WSIA, 88.9 FM because WSIA pushes Sonic Youth.”
I accompanied a fellow DJ to the apartment at 84 Eldridge Street to interview Julie Cafritz who was in the band Pussy Galore for an article in a fanzine my friend was starting. We were disc jockeys together at the college radio station.
Like Kim Gordon, I was a middle-class white chick who leaned to the left of the dial and wanted to escape her ordinary upbringing. Years later I lived the artist’s life in the City that had always enchanted me. Like Kim I’m an artist as well as a writer.
I loved Girl in a Band.
Since this is a review of the book, I want to quote one sentence that’s the selling point for buying the memoir or installing it as an e-book on your device.
Kim is quoted:
“Still, I’ve always believed–still do–that the radical is more interesting when it looks benign and ordinary on the outside.”
In my own memoir, Left of the Dial, I talk about riding the subway and wondering what the woman seated across from you in a Calvin Klein suit is like on the inside.
I ran with a counterculture crowd in college yet it was the music that connected me to them not the drugs. I loved life too much to want to spiral out of control.
My other connection to Kim Gordon is unusual. Her brother Keller was diagnosed with schizophrenia long after his parents reluctantly got him help after years of doing nothing as his personality continued to unravel. My mother got me help within 24 hours and I’ve been in remission 23 years now. With a change of circumstance, I could’ve been Keller and he could’ve been me. Keller now lives in a residence and Kim flies out a couple times a year to visit him.
I played the Sonic Youth song “Schizophrenia” on the radio. I played their anthem “Cotton Crown” on the radio. I was able to do what the lyrics to “Cotton Crown” suggested: I took control of the chemistry, and I manifested the mystery.
Girl in a Band is a brave book. Kim Gordon is in her sixties now. I own a number of Sonic Youth CDs and every so often I play one of them when the mood strikes me.
Grazie Kim for telling your story with honesty and courage. Cheers to the next chapter in the story of your life.