The 30 Best Kim Gordon Quotes

The 70-year-old Rochester, New York-born punk rock artist and bass player Kim Gordon was raised in Los Angeles and eventually rose to popularity in her groundbreaking band Sonic Youth. Gordon formed the group in New York City in 1981 with compatriot Thurston Moore. Since then, she has become an icon of rebellion.

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Along with her time in Sonic Youth, Gordon is known for many things, including producing the debut album for the Courtney Love-led band, Hole, and writing a popular memoir, Girl in a Band, which was released to acclaim in 2015.

Indeed, Gordon, like all great artists, contains multitudes. Here we wanted to dive into what Gordon has to say about the world around her, life and love, her band, her artistic style, and much more. These are the 30 best Kim Gordon quotes.

1. “I don’t see myself as a rock star. I don’t see myself in that way. I’m interested in work that offers some sort of critical dialogue.”

2. “I’m kind of a sloppy feminist. Any ideology makes me a little nervous because there’s some point where it doesn’t allow for the complexity of things.”

3. “After you’ve graduated, you’re supposed to be an adult and go out into the world, and you’re still not formed. It’s an interesting… horrible, horrible time.”

4. “I am basically a shy person, so performing sometimes helps me focus—having all those people concentrate their attention on you. I don’t see it so much as becoming another person onstage; it’s more exploring a different side of your personality.”

5. “In the early eighties, there were a lot of artists involved with the music scene. All those young artists, before their careers took off, were into music. Robert Longo used to play some guitar. He had a band for a while. Basquiat had a band. I mean, people were always trying to mix music and art—in fact, I’m guilty of it myself.”

6. “I went to art school, and I wanted to be an artist since I was 5. I basically moved to New York to do art, and I just sort of fell into doing music at an early age.”

7. “No one talks about woman’s power. The Spice Girls—they’re masquerading as little girls. It’s repulsive.”

8. “I picked up the bass kind of postpunk-style. There’s a real art to not learning how to play an instrument and being able to still play it.”

9. “I was kind of freaked out by the art world in the 1980s. Just the money thing. All the competition over artists.”

10. “I never felt like I had anything really figured out. When I was a teenager, it was all about teenagers having an ‘identity crisis.’ That was the phrase that was used. But in my early 20s, I was still like, ‘When am I going to be over that?'”

11. “A friend of mine introduced me to Thurston Moore because she thought I would like him. He was playing with the tallest band in the world, the Coachmen. They were sort of like Talking Heads, jangly guitar, and Feelies guitar. Anyway, it was love at first sight. His band broke up that night. And we started playing.”

12. “It’s amazing how many things you can do when you’re just pretending.”

13. “It’s hard to get hot over a painting; there’s no equivalent for teenage obsessiveness. Art obsession is ideology. Ideology can be made sexy, but it’s easier in music.”

14. “I wasn’t very confident about clothes; I was always hunting through racks, never sure what looked right. It can be like that again when you’re older.”

15. “I’m a mom, but I don’t always want to look just like that.”

16. “It is fun to smash guitars.”

17. “Everyone’s so interior now, they’re not really looking around them. They’re on their phones.”

18. “I was very aware of performers who have a persona, whether it’s Siouxsie Sioux or Patti Smith or Lydia Lunch, and I’m just this middle-class girl coming from a more conventional upbringing, this California person. But in a way, I felt like it’s important to represent the normal.”

19. “I have a really hard time writing my own lyrics for this record because one, I had to write so many and also I was kind of perplexed by the idea of how I was going to sing and play… because at that time, we hadn’t really thought about asking someone else.”

20. I would be too self-conscious if I just thought of writing lyrics for a song. I have to trick myself into doing it.”

21. “Anyone becomes mannered if you think too much about what other people think.”

22. “You’re always going to feel like you’re catching up, and part of that is just balancing work and motherhood and the whole feeling of needing to please, which I do think girls and women feel more than men.”

23. “I never really thought of myself as a musician. I’m not saying Sonic Youth was a conceptual-art project for me, but in a way, it was an extension of Warhol. Instead of making criticism about popular culture, as a lot of artists do, I worked within it to do something.”

24. “Basketball and ping-pong are my two forms of exercise.”

25. “Sonic Youth, for better or worse, is/was a machine that carried me along through pregnancy, motherhood, and creative opportunities I never would have achieved on my own. I’m grateful and surprised that we were listened to, loved, ignored, and overrated.”

26. “Women make natural anarchists and revolutionaries because they’ve always been second-class citizens, kinda having had to claw their way up. I mean, who made up all the rules in the culture? Men—white male corporate society. So why wouldn’t a woman want to rebel against that?”

27. “I’m a relatively shy person, but I love being challenged and putting myself in positions that are scary.”

28. “I just think that playing bass, like punk rock bass with a pick, wasn’t meant to be done for 25 years.”

29. “Rap music is really good when you’re traumatized.”

30. “Working on art, as opposed to being in a constant collaborative state, as in a band, is something that I’ve always done—to a smaller degree, but it always remained a part of my integral self.”

Photo by Linnea Stephan / Grandstand PR

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