The world is lost without Kurt Cobain

Notoriously aloof

Kim Gordon does not lean against it. She sits bolt upright in the semicircular seating area of ​​a New York hotel lobby and takes a sip of her cold-pressed detox drink. The French fries-colored hair play around her clear features as if the last 30 years had not happened. Almost at least. Gordon is undoubtedly one of the most influential musicians of her generation. For three decades her band Sonic Youth explored the intersection between pop, punk and avant-garde by combining noise and conceptual art with rebellious charm and irresistible melodies. The bassist was a role model for legions of young women, whether they were supposed to make music themselves or otherwise defend themselves against lame role stereotypes. Her autobiography "Girl in A Band" will appear in German at the beginning of April. In the United States, the book made it to number two on the "New York Times" bestseller list.

“I've always written. Writing helps me think. I can't have a reasonable thought if I don't write it down beforehand, ”she says. Her eyes look small and dark in the subdued light. The eyelids, as if narrowed to loopholes, only let in as much light as is absolutely necessary. There must be two very small spy cameras hidden behind it, which watch the other person, who in turn watch Kim Gordon as she is being watched. She spies, and this perspective shaped her position as a "girl" in the band Sonic Youth.

One would like to stick a Post-it over this observation loop, like everyone has been doing with the camera on their laptop since they saw “Citizenfour”. Kim Gordon has everything under control. This is exactly how she formulated her biography: distant, vigilant. “I wanted to start a new chapter. When something traumatic happens to you, you naturally wonder how all this could happen and how you ended up exactly where you are. "

The trauma is the separation of bandmate and husband Thurston Moore, with whom she was married for 27 years. The two were a showcase couple of a particularly progressive form of rock'n'roll. They dragged guitars across the floor, rammed nails between the strings, and mistreated the amplifiers until the frequencies sounded like the primal screams of an undiscovered species. Sonic Youth threw timbres around with the same energy as Jackson Pollock Lack catapulted onto his canvases. Action painting for the ears.

The book begins with Sonic Youth's last concert at a festival near São Paulo and underpins Gordon's dual role as an insider and an outsider in a world dominated by men and their rituals. Still-husband Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo march onto the stage, armed with guitars and rock star gestures, Steve Shelley takes a seat behind the drums on the high seat. Kim Gordon is the last to appear, Xanax in the bloodstream, her bass hanging like a yoke from her neck. A month earlier, she and Moore announced their split.

It wasn't "deliberate disengagement," as Gwyneth Paltrow called the breakup with rock star Chris Martin in her soft-washed jargon, as if the pain of a divorce could be treated with the right scented candle. To avoid any misunderstandings: Kim Gordon hates the new one. Still. Anyone who is receptive to catharsis literature will still only get their money's worth to a limited extent in “Girl in A Band”. “Thurston and I didn't even look at each other that night, and when a song ended, I turned away from the audience so no one could see my face. But that was of little use, because everything I did was shown on the twelve meter high video screen. ”Suddenly she herself is under the microscope:“ I think I've never felt so lonely in my life. ”Kim Gordon will Human.

The title of her autobiography is programmatic: The opposite sex is a central theme in Gordon's life, and as the only woman in the band, she considers Sonic Youth the perfect object for long-term study. For her, male friendships only work in a triangle: “When two men are alone with each other, they often have little to say to each other. They find some closeness by focusing on a third thing: music, video games, golf, women. ”Gordon wants to be part of that dynamic. Neither Riot Grrrl nor the Barbie doll, she is still pretty much alone as an equal woman who makes successful, but only partially lucrative rock music with her husband.

Her notorious aloofness is neither a pose nor an artistic calculation. She started looking after the facade early on. She owes this to her older brother Keller: "He's still brilliant, manipulative, sadistic, arrogant and almost unbearably eloquent." Because there is only room for a crazy child in every family, Kim withdraws and seeks support in normality . The brother's constant terror digs deep into her soul. Once he threatens: "I'll tell all your friends that you cried." Words she never forgets. Keller's paranoid schizophrenia is only diagnosed after he has long since moved away from home.

The Gordons live in a canyon near Los Angeles, an "academic family, not a showbiz family". Despite the nasty brother, Gordon's childhood seems rather placid. On the parents' record player are John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday. Her father, a sociologist, moves the family to Hong Kong for a year and later to Hawaii because of his teaching assignments. She describes sunny California of the 1960s and 1970s as a dark place with artificial palm trees and a Disney sky; L.A. as a city without a conscience that annuls time and space to a plastic nowhere. Ideal living space for film moguls, doomsday gurus, hippies, drug addicts and mass murderers. In 1969, 16-year-old Kim Gordon's canyons were overshadowed by Charles Manson and his bloodthirsty mischpoke. “Many were in search of freedom and religious utopias - the more the further one flees towards the setting sun, which is also a symbol of death. Nobody here likes old things, there are no visible signs of death, but you can find phenomena like the manson. This darkness. "