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Girl in a Band: A Memoir Hardcover – February 24, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Kim Gordon writes the way she plays. Fiercely, honestly, and with the creative abandon of a singular artist.” (AMY POEHLER, actor, producer, writer)

“I’ve always admired Kim Gordon. She is cool, smart, and dignified. Girl in a Band is a fascinating and honest memoir full of raw emotion and insight.” (SOFIA COPPOLA, filmmaker)

“The best thing one of your heroes can do is make you feel heroic yourself. Kim Gordon has done just that in her memoir; it is full of beauty and power, inspiration, kindness, boldness and hope.” (CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, writer, actor, musicianCARRIE BROWNSTEIN, writer, actor, musician)

“Written with the same cool passion she brings to her lyrics, Gordon delivers a generous look at life inside the punk whirlwind.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Everybody loves Kim Gordon. So it’s pretty much my bet that everybody will be hanging on the words of anyone who’s read her forthcoming memoir (which is reportedly phenomenal). [Ed. note: It’s even better than you’re probably expecting.] (Flavorwire)

“From beginning to end, the icon chronicles the evolution of music, art, and herself, set in and out of an ever-changing New York.” (Interview)

Gordon’s career as a musician, artist, critic, performer, producer, and designer spanned the last truly hip era of downtown New York. The names and the nostalgia-for those who remember or who wish they did-are well worth the price of admission. (Booklist)

An intriguing memoir. . . [Gordon’s] unique sensibility never fades. (Publishers Weekly)

“heartbreaking, raw, articulate, and inspiring.” (Bust Magazine)

From the Back Cover

“Unconventional. . . . Not a garden-variety rock memoir . . . [but] a strange and lovely book about  a woman finding and losing herself onstage and off and crafting a complicated creative life when  none of the molds quite fit.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Engaging and surprisingly intimate.”—Vanity Fair

“More than a memoir, though one of the most riveting music biographies ever penned.”—Examiner.com

For many, Kim Gordon, vocalist, bassist, and founding member of Sonic Youth—one of the most influential and successful bands to emerge from the post-punk New York scene—has always represented the epitome of cool. And almost as celebrated as the band’s defiantly dissonant sound was the marriage between Gordon and her then husband, Thurston Moore. When it was announced that the couple was splitting after twenty-seven years of marriage, fans were devastated.

In Girl in a Band, this famously reserved superstar speaks candidly about her past and the future. From her childhood in the sunbaked suburbs of Southern California, growing up with a mentally ill sibling, to New York’s downtown art and music scene in the eighties and nineties and the birth of a band that would pave the way for acts like Nirvana, as well as help inspire the Riot Grrl generation, here is an edgy and evocative portrait of a life in art.

Exploring the artists, musicians, and writers who influenced her, and the relationship that defined her life for so long, Girl in a Band is filled with the sights and sounds of a pre-Internet world and is a deeply personal portrait of a woman who has become an icon.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books; 1St Edition edition (February 24, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062295896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062295897
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I wanted so badly to LOVE "Girl in a Band." A lot had been written on the internet regarding this book; a scathing excerpt here concerning Courtney Love, another about Thurston Moore, etc. By the time the book came out, I bought into the hype. I couldn't wait for equal parts Sonic Youth history from the source, '80s NYC life, behind-the-scenes '90s alternative s*** talking, and scenes from a failed marriage.

In reality, "Girl in a Band" manages to offer all of that, just never fully. We get an interesting background about her upbringing, her childhood, moving around the world at a young age. From there, Kim Gordon focuses on growing up in the '60s, her budding love of the art, and her travels around the country, offering up interesting, albeit brief tidbits and interesting namedropping along the way.

Upon explaining her arrival in New York, Gordon tackles the Sonic Youth sections by focusing on each album. At first, I was excited when she presented the history so concisely. However, Kim Gordon speeds through each album so quickly, it's sometimes disappointing. She tends to focus on certain sections of lyrics rather than the dynamics of the band at the time, or their travels, recording, etc.(for a easily enjoyable book on the history of Sonic Youth, check out "Goodbye 20th Century" by David Browne). While many sections offera fresh perspective, I can't help but wish she would have expanded on certain areas.

The book is a quick read, at times very well constructed, and page turning. However, certain section are written as if it managed to dodge an editor, suddenly taking on a sloppy casual tone following a well crafted previous chapter. All in all, Kim Gordon's memoir is a welcomed addition from a strong female voice and true artist.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This isn't a rock'n'roll memoir, nor is it a play by play on sonic youth through the years. Instead it's a subtle memoir about a thoughtful artist who was in a highly influential band as well as other artistic endevours. There are insights into the band but very little if that's what your specifically after.

I'm only a cursory fan of the band. I respect them completely and to me they have been incredibly important to modern music, especially what's often called 'alternate'. So I thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it is and highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in an artist that has more time for creating art than overthinking it.

The insights into feminism were something I greatly appreciated (as a guy). Her approach to finding a truth to this while also performing in a highly sexualized arena were-like most things she seems to do-subtle, informed, clever and progressively inclusive.

Kim Gordon is a mysterious icon. This memoir offers an insight into the voyage of her life and the love of art that has driven her to create. It lessens the mystery and makes her a greater inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover
Incredible. I don't know much about Sonic Youth, but I have always been aware of Kim Gordon, partly because my daughter who is 17 has always thought Gordon is the coolest person ever, not that i am really sure what that means. My daughter wanted the book so I got it and six hours later I had read it and gotten my socks blown off. Kim Gordon can WRITE with a capital W, and her scenes of growing up in LA and new york in the 1970s and the early 1980s are just incredible and I even found myself looking for Sonic Youth videos on YouTube (not my kind of music but it doesn't matter). Read this one you won't regret it.
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Format: Paperback
GIRL IN A BAND is a complicated book about a supremely creative, intelligent, musician and artist. The author's life has not been a simple one, nor is this book a trivial read. The author comes across as actually a very modest person. For instance, "I've never thought of myself as a singer with a good voice, or even as a musician. I'm able to put myself out there by feeling as though I'm jumping off a cliff." She notes that Neil Young once said that "It's more about having an authentic voice than a good voice."

GIRL IN A BAND is not just about the author's experience as a musician; it's also about her experience as an artist. I did not know, for example, that Kim actually graduated from one of the most well known schools of art in the United States, Otis. It had a huge impact on Kim: "Otis changed my life." Kim recalls that she became very close to John Knight, who became her first artistic mentor. John had been kicked out of Otis because he used the school's hedges to form a sculpture. Apparently the school establishment was not too pleased with his choice of media. John taught a seminar, attended by Kim, which would meet in different houses or apartments. "John Knight taught me that anything - a car, a house, a long- could be seen and talked about in aesthetic terms. He introduced me to conceptual art, showed me how all art derives from an idea."

One interesting early section is her experience at the "UCLA Lab School." The teacher wanted to impress upon the students the significance of Dana Point Harbor. (Named, of course, after Richard Henry Dana, author of the classic, "Two Years before the Mast.
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