Kim Gordon will soon release her new memoir, Girl in a Band, an excerpt of which she recently released in Vogue‘s February issue. The details within are compelling: In addition to covering her highly publicized split from her ex-husband and Sonic Youth bandmate, Thurston Moore, Gordon recalls meeting Courtney Love in 1990 (she co-produced Hole’s Pretty on the Inside), whom she refers to as “mentally ill.” She also refers to Billy Corgan as a “crybaby” and muses over the challenges of being a female singer. Here are the juciest quotes:
On meeting Moore:
He had a glow about him I liked, and he also seemed extremely sure about what he wanted and how to get it too, though it was more a quiet self-confidence than anything brash.
There was something wild, but not too wild, about Thurston. His guitar-playing may have been free and untamed but we came from similar middle-class academic backgrounds.
On Moore’s temper:
Thurston was not that easy going. Amongst other things he had a temper which flared up whenever he put together an issue of his ‘zine, Killer, and he would become incredibly stressed out. Once, when his stapler wasn’t working, he picked it up and threw it through the window, shattering the glass. It scared me.
On Courtney Love:
No one ever questions the disorder behind her tarantula L.A. glamour – sociopathy, narcissism – because it’s good rock and roll, good entertainment! I have a low tolerance for manipulative, egomaniacal behaviour, and usually have to remind myself that the person might be mentally ill.”
On Billy Corgan:
Courtney asked us for advice about her ‘secret affair’ with Billy Corgan. I thought, Ewwww, at even the mention of Billy Corgan, whom nobody liked because he was such a crybaby, and Smashing Pumpkins took themselves way too seriously and were in no way punk rock.
On the difficulties of being a female musician:
When the band first started, I went for a vocal approach that was rhythmic and spoken, but sometimes unleashed, because of all the different guitar tunings we used. When you listen to old R&B records, the women on them sang in a fierce, kick-ass way. In general, though, women aren’t really allowed to be kick-ass. Female singers who push too much, and too hard, don’t tend to last very long. They’re jags, bolts, comets: Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday. But being that woman who pushes the boundaries means you also bring in less desirable aspects of yourself. At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it.
And, finally, on her separation from Moore:
No one could understand how Thurston, who always had a good nose for the user, the groupie, the nutcase or the hanger-on, had let himself get pulled under by her. I did feel some compassion for Thurston … but that’s a lot different to forgiveness.
Read the entire excerpt here, and look out for Girl in a Band when it hits shelves on February 24.