Wow, so first REM breaks up and now this news item, “Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore Announce Split.”
Now, obviously the reasons for their split-up is their business and their business alone. To the rest of us, it’s about them as an abstraction – what they represent to us through their music and their public personae – and that is all I can speak to in writing this.
The first thing is that the future of Sonic Youth doesn’t sound too bright. If they call it quits after their scheduled tour dates in Brazil or perhaps after one last farewell tour, I wouldn’t be surprised. Much like REM in a previous post, I also kind of stopped paying attention to SY. The last album that really blew me away was Daydream Nation. At the time that was a perfect indie rock companion to Metallica’s …And Justice for All - a long spiraling album that was equal parts unfocused and brilliant. But starting with Goo, I began to lose interest. Goo sounded like a band that was trying to be commercial but trying to be arty at the same time resulting in an album that was kind of goofy and at times fun but ultimately forgettable. From then on the albums just seemed to be a band retreading similar ideas. Not that there weren’t good albums but they just never had the kind of impact that the triumvirate of Bad Moon Rising, Evol, and Sister had on me. Still it was good to see them still out there keeping their music going and never quite becoming irrelevant even in their old age.
The thing is that for those of us who followed them back in the 80′s and 90′s, especially with REM’s recent demise, it’s just a nother reminder of the dying of an era of music. It’s like watching old blues dudes die off and oh yeah, dudes, we’re getting old!
But on another level, the thing about Kim and Thurston breaking up also has another side in that they were kind of the Mom and Dad of the US Indie rock scene. Perhaps because they heralded in Nirvana and indie rock as a commercial product with the tour documentary 1991 – The Year That Punk Broke, they kind of took that elder statesman position in my mind. So them breaking up has this kind of weird “Wow, together for all those years and they break up?” kind of feel that, not knowing them, is admittedly kind of odd. But you look at two well respected, good looking, commercially and artistically successful people and they can’t make it as a couple? That’s kind of disheartening. Not that I’m epically crushed by this but just a small part of me kind of sighed a little “awww” when I heard it for that reason.
So, good luck Thurston and Kim,
All I can say is don’t be dicks to each other in divorce court and thanks for some great music.