Sonic Youth Say Goodbye 20th Century
A new Sonic Youth biography is out this week, titled Goodbye 20th Century.
I remember going to a Sonic Youth show a long time ago and thinking at the time they were a bunch of pompous asses. I still think that, but I've since developed an appreciation for the pomposity.
Fun facts: Kim Gordon is 55 and Thurston Moore is almost 50.
After nearly 30 years in rock, Sonic Youth are getting some much-deserved biography treatment via Goodbye 20th Century, a book based on the life and times of the influential experimental pioneers.
Author David Browne’s new book, which came out earlier this week on Da Capo, paints a detailed portrait of the iconic N.Y. band through extensive research, interviews with the band and their various collaborators, such as Spike Jonze, Glenn Branca, Lydia Lunch and Sofia Coppola. It also starts from the very beginnings of Sonic Youth’s career to modern day, covering everything from the band’s start with two female vocalists and a keyboard player to impact of Daydream Nation to their years as alterna-rock superstars to the Jim O’Rourke era and becoming rock’n’roll’s elder statesmen.
“The interesting thing about the Sonic Youth story to me, outside of their music and career, is that they’re probably one of the most influential bands in rock history but not in the normal way you measure influence,” Browne recently told Rolling Stone. “Their influence is in that you can make this weird music and make a career and sustain yourself, but also in the way you see the impact of the people they’ve brought along.”
Interestingly enough, Goodbye 20th Century also explores Sonic Youth’s mentoring of other once-obscure artists, mostly notably Nirvana and Beck. “Most of these people were not known to anybody until Sonic Youth ushered them into the mainstream,” Browne says. “Their footprints are just as much in their music as it is in their legacy in bringing this alternative arts world with them.”