Show Hide image

Kim Gordon: The way I see it

The musician on Yves Klein, equal pay for women and censoring junk TV

Does art make a difference?
It makes a difference to the quality of life we live. Art’s main strength is its ability to reflect what’s going on. It didn’t start the French Revolution, but it was a witness.

Should politics and art mix?
I think that art should be disruptive and make people think about their lives. Are Sonic Youth [my band] political? Well, they are, in that they offer an alternative to mainstream music.

Is your work for the many or for the few?
I don’t think it is for everybody but I don’t think art or music should be – that’s why TV was invented.

Which artist do you most admire?
I really admire Yves Klein, because he wasn’t simply an artist. He was an experimenter, he had kooky ideas and he forced Parisian society to change. I particularly like the fact that he referred to himself as “the sacred trickster”.

Which artist do you least admire?
Damien Hirst. His work is almost like Las Vegas entertainment. It also makes fun of his audience in a grotesque way; in this sense he’s mean-spirited. He doesn’t add anything to the dialogue of art or the community.

Which product, if any, would you advertise?
I really can’t think of one.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
A film-maker or a dancer. I could have been a cook, a thief, or even a candlestick-maker.

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
My first law would be to give women equal pay. I’d essentially try to let women do whatever they wanted to do.

Who would be your top advisers?
Barack and Michelle Obama. I wholly support Obama. I mean, it’s been a pretty fucking hot first 100 days in house. He inherited such a mess yet he seems like he’s having a lot of fun. He’s already opened dialogue with Iran and Cuba. It’s all pretty obvious stuff, in a way, but it takes guts to stick to the liberal agenda.

What would you censor?
First, I’d ask other people what they think should be censored. Though, if I could personally censor things, then I’d target things that caused violence to other people. But it’s hard to draw the line. I’d also censor junk TV.

Who would you banish?
I’d banish Karl Rove, Bush’s strategist, for his part in engineering Bush’s election campaign.

What are the rules that you live by?
My main rule is that I try not to make people wait for me; I don’t like to be late, I really hate that. Also, I don’t like to do anything that I don’t feel good about doing.

What would you like your legacy to be?
I guess I’d like to be remembered as a sacred trickster! I certainly don’t want to be known as the bass player of Sonic Youth.

Do you love your country?
Yes, of course, it’s the only country I have. But I’m not a big flag flyer.

Are we all doomed?
No. Doomed is such a negative word.

Sonic Youth’s 16th album, “The Eternal”, is released on 8 June by Matador Records

This article first appeared in the 04 May 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Flu: Everything you need to know