The epitome of cool is how some describe Kim Gordon, founding member of the legendary Sonic Youth. In Portland, we're down with bands, sure. But in the City of Books, little is cooler than adding "novelist" to your list of artistic accomplishments.
Enter A Girl in a Band, a new memoir from the notably reserved icon of New York's post-punk scene. And who better to draw out the rock star than one of our own literary luminaries: novelist, screenwriter, and editor of Plazm magazine Jon Raymond—who, it turns out, is a huge Sonic Youth fan.
The two convene this Tuesday for a tête-à-tête at Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing, as part of Gordon's multi-city book tour.
We asked Raymond for a preview, and he was happy to chat. Perhaps it was the sunny day, or maybe his good mood had something to do with the fact that he had just that day put the finishing touches on his latest novel, a “multi-generational family saga” tentatively titled The Singers.
Portland Monthly: So, are you a Sonic Youth fan?
Jon Raymond: A profoundly big fan. Hearing Sonic Youth as a teenager in the 80's was a totally formative experience. Massively. It just tuned me into a whole different life and a different level of understanding about what beauty can be.
PM: A massively formative experience—can you expand on that?
JR: I was young when I got into Sonic Youth, maybe 15. Looking back, I find it hilarious to realize how much of my life has been dictated by what a bunch of 25-year-olds were into, but for me, Sonic Youth has always been one of the main prisms for seeing artistic life. It brought so much into view, turned light onto so many artists and so many other bands. Sonic Youth loom gigantically large in my artistic imagination.
PM: With A Girl in a Band, how does Kim figure in the world of celebrity memoir? What should we look for?
JR: Kim has had a really amazing life and has been at the center of American artistic culture from a very early age. As a teenager she knew people who were going to go on and be really major. Her high school boyfriend was Danny Elfman, her pal was [influential art dealer] Larry Gagosian…she’s just had an amazing proximity to so many important people and events.
Kim Gordon and Jon Raymond
Tuesday, March 3 at 7 pm
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing