Um, What Happened with Kim Gordon's Interview at the Neptune Last Night?

Comments

1
Who the fuck is Kim fucking Gordon and why should I care?
(Is she a less famous Courtney Love?)
2
You live & die by those audience questions and I think far more often than not, they're worth it. Have heard some real good insights from people that I think were so good at least in part because of their distance from any sort of "fame" or "insider" status. But that riot girl one... Fucking Ugh.
3
Audience response: "omg it was bad because there was a MAN. less MENS."
4
It's not like "cool guy" interviewing a woman and talking over her is anything new. I feel like anyone who knew better organizing this would have just, i don't know, chosen a woman with similar standing to interview her?
5
What if Gordon was the one who wanted Bruce to do it?
6
Didn't this cost $40? I know it included a book, but still.
7
@6 Well, then it would be $40 plus an apparent waste of your evening for a book.

I'm not seeing why "What record was important to you during your break-up?" is a good question. I suppose it could have yielded a good answer if the interviewee was able to say some neat stuff about music, but a good interviewee would be able to do that even for the inanest of questions.
8
You know, sometimes an interview subject just isn't going to cooperate. On the other hand, if she had been individually interviewed by say, Ann Powers, Kelly O, and you, Emily Nokes, I doubt it would have been so disappointing. (Kim's artistic reach stretches across musical aeons, and I would have loved to heard different points of view engaging her on various waves of feminism, iconoclastic thinks that she's inspired and who inspired her, punk, zines, NYC, etc.). When I interviewed Richard Hell at the Rendezvous I wished I had Bill Rieflin or Dawn Anderson along to make it more exciting for everybody. His book was worth it too.
9
Some musicians are introverted and aren't good at the chit chat. Jack White comes to mind. That leaves the interviewer with a lot of space to fill.
10
Boring Gen X Fest Was Boring…next
11
only Seattle could f*%# up something this cool.
12
@7&11, +1. Way to go Paul.
13
I just don't grok the appeal of events like this. I can almost imagine attending an interview/talk about the book after I've read it (and others had), so we might have interesting follow-up questions. But before? Why?
14
@12 Much the same happened in Chicago and Chapel Hill.
15
(Sorry, meant to type 11, not 12.)
16
I heard she namecheced BOSS as her favorite female MC and that's pretty tight to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYjwGXoX…
17
I want to really care about this because she seems cool and she's a woman making it and earning respect in a male dominated genre, etc. But honestly I don't think I've ever heard a Sonic Youth song that was very interesting or excited. Truly the most overrated band in the history of rock.
18
@13:

Who still groks things?
19
Hey Kathy Fennessy, how do you know the other events were similar? Just saw it in Portland, and it was strange how similar it sounds to the Seattle edition
20
@1
Call the question. Who IS Kim Gordon?
21
1. Audience Q/A are terrible; 2. Long onstage conversational interviews are really hard to do well under the best of circumstances; 3. Lots of people express themselves through art/music/books because they don't want to talk directly about the subject of those art/music/books.
22
I wish there was some way of finding out "who is Kim Gordon?". The linked article says she wrote a book called Girl in a Band. Is this an accurate title? If so, which band?
23
The, uh, distinguished author Vladimir Nabokov refused to do live interviews, saying "I think like a genius, write like a distinguished author, and speak like a child". Gordon's no Nabokov, but she has my sympathy; there isn't really any reason to expect a musician to be able to write an interesting book, and certainly not rivet a live audience talking about it. It's silly, really, this expectation we have that rock stars (even that name!) must be adulated on a stage.
24
I hate to say it, but Portland wasn't any better last night, either :( Kim and Sonic Youth have meant so much to so many for the better part of three decades now, but I was amazed how little she seemed willing to talk about ANY of it.

The "in conversation" part with author Jon Raymond was a disaster. I'm sure he's a nice guy who was placed in an awkward position, but he wasn't prepared and didn't do anyone any favors. He didn't use his microphone and looked like he wanted to let someone else finish the evening for him. His questions were random, haphazard, and largely unfocused and irrelevant, and I think most anyone in the audience could have done a better job if given five minutes to prepare (or maybe even the ghost of Chris Farley - "Uhh, so ... remember when you were in Sonic Youth? That was pretty cool.")

I asked a question about "The Year Punk Broke", and for a moment she seemed invested in a reply (talking about how great it was watching Nirvana getting responses from audiences who had no idea who they were), but ... yeah. Nonetheless, I'm glad I was able to meet her on this book tour - she looked and sounded so uncomfortable that I'd be amazed if she did another. (Still love the music, though!)
25
The best music bios contain mostly salacious gossip and stories about being on tour or in a certain scene (Please Kill Me, We Got the Neutron Bomb, I'm With the Band, Wonderland Avenue, etc...), and Kim definitely could have provided those, had anyone actually asked her anything that lead her there. I've read an excerpt from the book, and it was full of interesting details about her bandmates and their South American tour after she and Thurston had separated. Most musicians are good story tellers if not profound thinkers.

Pavitt was a terrible interviewer who seemed more interested in talking about Kim as she related to his Sub Pop bands. When he interrupted her discussing some of her work to say "But, let's be honest, wouldn't you say your daughter was your GREATEST creation?" I can't believe she didn't just walk off the stage. If he had actually gotten her to share any interesting stories (aside from that Courtney & K. Hanna one we've all heard a million times), I think it would have given the audience more to base their own questions on. Also, between asking her about her kids and pitting her against another female musician, Pavitt basically covered all the bullshit high profile women say they hate most about being interviewed.

I don't agree that a woman needed to be the one to interview her. That's stupid and totally patronizing. She's been playing with all men for decades. She even said "Women scare me." I found it aggravating that so many women only wanted to ask her questions about how she "handled" being a female musician. It was so condescending and presumptive and relegated her work as an artist secondary to her gender.
26
I wasn't at this interview, but I was at the one in Austin last week. I've actually run into Kim one time before about 15 years ago, and had read the book on Kindle before the interview. Here's what I've taken from my now two brief meetings with Kim, and actually reading the book: She strikes me as an introvert, folks. Give her a break. She's written what I found to be an excellent, thoughtful memoir and is just trying to promote it. Silly questions from both the interviewer and audience aside, I was grateful to have the opportunity to hear her speak about her life and book. I wasn't expecting anything not in the book to be revealed on a book tour.
27
I am not surprised to read this...first off, most Q&A from audiences are awful. Period. I worked for the Seattle Intl. Film Festival for years and nearly 99% of the time, filmmakers would get the question "how much did it cost you to make your movie?" - ugh. But I digress. Mr. Pavitt, with all of his accomplishments hyping and selling the world Seattle's best. does not sound like he is the best interviewer. Being an insider does not make for good banter...I contemplated going but thought the entire thing reeked of "good ole grunge days" being examined. So glad to have miss this trainwreck.
28
What are these strange and fascinating creatures @1 and @20 who know how to use the internet to leave inane blog comments but are completely unaware of all the other useful functions it can perform? Someone should interview them.
29
Kim Gordon is an introvert and shy, she's never been much of a public speaker. The reports of this whole book tour have been similar. It takes a comedian like Patton Oswalt or a dynamic personality like Legs McNeil to pull off one of these types of interviews, I don't think her publicist did her any favors by going ahead with this book tour, she just doesn't have the type of dynamic personality that's needed for it.
30
I was there. It felt like a Portlandia sketch that went way too long.
31
First off, over dinner after this my husband and I came up with a laundry list of people who could have done a better job than Pavitt. They clearly had no repoire. I mean Carrie Brownstein is doing the interview somewhere in CA! That I would like to see! Second, I laughed when Kim mentioned she was "inspired" by Patti Smith's success to write her book. I get that and think it's cool enough but then I thought about seeing Patti on her book tour at benaroya hall and how great that was. How eloquent and dynamic it was, and how I hadn't even read the memoir but I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. This talk didn't do that, but I think I will still read it. Just without the enthusiasm Patti's book had.
Third, I have to disagree about the best question. They were all pretty dumb and the fact that the unprepared questions took up as much time as the "interview" is pretty darn disappointing.
32
I was at the Portland event last night and left with a very different impression than the other PDX-based commenters above. First, Kim Gordon is an introvert. She is famously reserved-- she is almost the counterpoint to the Kathleen Hanna/Courtney Love archtype from that era. That is a huge part of what adds to her mystique. If you've ever seen ANY interview with her then this shouldn't be a surprise. Couple that with the fact that 1) this is a book tour and she's never done something like this before-- she's not performing music or any sort of artistic piece, and 2) the media has taken excerpts of this book and run with them-- the whole Lana Del Ray thing happened-- then it makes sense that she was reluctant to speak much. I'm sure her publicist or manager came up with the idea to have her do these interviews with other public figures at each stop on the tour to shed some light off of her in the room.

The interviewer in Portland, a writer whose name I forget, did the best he could. He wasn't mansplaining or taking up too much airtime, but he was trying to get her to finish his sentences and pick up immediately when he referenced something and it just didn't flow very well. She also, I believe, thinks in an abstract way so when she says things out loud as she's thinking them (such as last night talking about Portland being "the end of the country") it comes across as strange or out-of-context and she knows this and tries to make sense on the fly or else not talk at all. She's self-aware. She seemed to be most comfortable talking about semi-obscure film and art that she loves, which makes sense-- but I felt like there was an awareness on her part not to droll on about Catherine Breillat too much for fear of losing the crowd.

All that said, Portland got some good soundbites last night about Danny Elfman's recurrence in her life, keeping but not watching Courtney Love's household videos, her crush on Keanu Reeves, the Daydream Nation album cover, and her love of flourless chocolate cake. Yes, there were a lot of "I don't know"-s and shrugs, because she's honest. The good stuff is there if you listen for it.
33
He was a terrible interviewer and I did not like how it seemed to be revolved around selling things, specifically Sub Pop. The salt in the wound was how they were selling Sub Pop mercy along with the book :/... Glad I went to the thing but wow was I left disappointed.
34
It was an awkward and uncomfortable interview in Albuquerque as well. The audience walked out dumbfounded.