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Bassist of the Month: Kim Gordon

Is there a single Sonic Youth fan who dislikes Kim Gordon? Finding one who does is certainly a challenge. Gordon, whether it be because of her bass-playing, singing, songwriting, or sex appeal, seems to be universally beloved.

Where would the riot grrl movement be without Kim Gordon? Not much of anywhere, according to those who call her the “Godmother of Riot Grrl.” While she denied ties with the movement because Sonic Youth sounded dissimilar to groups like Bikini Kill, many young girls still saw her as a role model; indeed, girls would go up to her after concerts and ask, “Will you be our mother?” (Gaar 370).

What exactly did Gordon do that was so important? She played bass well while embracing her femininity, wearing dresses as she rocked out onstage. Any guy who thinks girly girls can’t rock will shut up after seeing Kim Gordon play. She wrote songs about women’s issues years before the riot grrl movement surfaced, covering sexual harassment in “Swimsuit Issue,” manipulation by the media in “Kissability,” and notions of female helplessness in “Protect Me You.” She adopted a calm, detached stage persona in a society where women are expected to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Perhaps most importantly, she helped to form one of the most influential alternative rock bands of all time, inspiring guys and girls alike and changing alternative music for good.

Thank you, Kim Gordon.

“Hey, Kool Thing, come here, sit down beside me.
There’s something I gotta ask you.
I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me?
I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls
From male white corporate oppression?”

Pretty cool bass.

Sources used for this article:

Gaar, Gillian. She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll 2nd ed. New York: Seal Press, 2002. Print.