In the world of contemporary rock few artists have had the career longevity, or exerted as much influence, as Kim Gordon. Although she mightn’t be a household-name, or be considered a superstar in the vein of Madonna or Beyoncé, there is no doubt that the music scene would look and sound drastically different had Gordon not been in it. An artist, first and foremost, Gordon attended the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t until a brief stint studying at Toronto’s York University that she played in her first band. After graduating art from school, Gordon moved to New York where she developed a fascination with the city’s No-Wave scene.
Despite being best known for her role in Sonic Youth – a group who would become an institution with their experimental-noise-rock, releasing 17 studio albums over their 30 year career, and would play a role ushering grunge into the mainstream – Gordon remained active with other projects, musical and otherwise – including the X-Girl clothing company. Gordon produced Hole’s 1991, critically acclaimed, debut Pretty on the Inside after receiving a letter requesting her involvement from Courtney Love. Film and acting is also something Gordon has been involved with, co-directing – with Spike Jonze – The Breeder’s Cannonball music video, and appearing in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days – a film loosely based on Kurt Cobain’s final days.
Throughout her involvement within the music industry, Gordon has never considered herself a musician per se, remaining active in the broader arts scene. In the 1980s she wrote for Artforum – and worked in several galleries – and throughout the ’90s and the 2000s she had her art was exhibited internationally. Since Sonic Youth’s disbandment in 2011 – and despite her varied endeavours in the arts – Gordon has continued making music, currently being involved with Body/Head and Glitterbust, which continue to generate challenging music for fans to sink their teeth into. My few paragraphs here cannot fully express the reasons for Kim Gordon’s inclusion in Women-Who-Rocktober – her career being so expansive, and her influence so great – but we can only hope for more artists to come along who exhibit Gordon’s sense of artistic identity, adherence to feminist ideals, and willingness to experiment and push boundaries.