Gordon (left) with Schappel.

Gordon (left) with Schappell.

Kim Gordon managed to avoid talk of the whole Lana Del Rey fiasco when she appeared at BAM earlier this week, but during a talk at Strand last night, moderator Elissa Schappell wasn’t about to let her off easy. Their conversation started with some softballs (Kim has an astrologist and she wrote Girl in a Band because she has “a fear of having to get a 9-to-5 job,” heh). But eventually Schappell cut to the chase and asked her about the passage removed from the memoir, in which Gordon opines that Ms. Summertime Sadness “doesn’t even know what feminism is” and says that if she’s serious about the beauty of self-destruction, “why doesn’t she just off herself?”

The Twitter firestorm that ensued has clearly gotten to Gordon, who said, “I think people shouldn’t be on Twitter so much. Twitter is dumb. It’s dumb.”

Okay, fine, but what about Laaaaaana? “People like to see a good female catfight, I think,” Gordon said. “What’s up with that? I don’t know. I wish I was Amy Schumer.”

Speaking of comics, Gordon, who has lately made some delightful cameos on SNL and Portlandia, answered a question about future acting gigs by saying, “Well, I’m open. I’m into more improvisational situations. But I wouldn’t mind being on Louis CK.” (Meaning, of course, his show Louie.)

Soon after, a woman in the very back of the packed room yelled that she had a question. As a mic made its way to her, she just went ahead and hollered, “Is Sonic Youth ever going to reunite?”

A Strand employee passed the question along: “Are you ever going to reunite?”

“Oh, Free Kitten?” Gordon deadpanned, referring to her ’90s side project. When that prompted the biggest laugh of the evening, Gordon kept it going: “I think there’s a huge audience and a lot of young men who are really influenced and regard Free Kitten as icons.”

And no, Sonic Youth won’t be reuniting, from the sound of Gordon’s gut-wrenching account of their final show. But we at least have this to look forward to: her next art show will be at Chelsea’s 303 gallery in early June.

Here are some more notable quotes from the evening, starting with one that harkens back to her writing about Del Rey.



On the definition of feminism: “It changes gradually or slightly every five years but the bottom line is, it really is about equal rights around the world, and women shouldn’t be abused and they should be fuckin free. So all the other subtleties and everything else, to me, doesn’t really matter. Each person individually, whether you’re a man or a woman, you know, you have to just like morally answer to yourself… feminism doesn’t mean, ‘Oh, I can do whatever I want.’ You can’t go stab somebody.”

On the role of the “girl in a band”: “I think the girl’s job in a band is to add an element of chaos, mystery, unknown energy and like, ‘what are you going to do next?’ It makes it slightly less predictable, in some way, what could happen.”

On her impetus for writing the book: “Like when something really traumatic happens in your life that is this, not just an intervention but it just sort of splits your life open and then you start thinking about how you got to where you are and what part of it, what did I play, where was I remiss? Or, who am I? like when you lose your identity because your identity is involved with your work and your relationship. So, you know, it sets you off on this course of sort of rediscovering who you are and owning up to it in some way. For me writing is a way of really just thinking and I almost can’t even think without writing and trying to think about how I feel about things.”

On whether a marriage between two artists is feasible: “I think artists need a lot of space in their life for what they do, and I think you are lucky if you have a partner who is also that and understands that, and then you need someone who can be, like, your wife, basically, in terms of dealing with all the banal things like scheduling and… “my so-called wife,” no, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s possible. Do I have to have a yes or no? I think it’s really hard, I think that there are a lot of women artists who don’t have children, and I think there’s a reason for that, basically. I mean, you know, there are certain writers, who are married to husbands who are writers, who have children and made it work but what was the quality of the marriage or the relationship? I mean people stay married because they’re committed to being married and to working things out. It’s similar to why bands last or don’t last — you have to be committed to making it work because you love the music or something.”

On whether she misses playing with Sonic Youth: “I don’t miss playing with SY now because I did it for so long and I feel like now I have a situation where I play music with Bill Nace which feels closer to me and more of a natural [thing], where my interests are. And it allows me to be able to focus more on visual art, which is more who I am.”

On the inspiration for “Swimsuit Issue”: “I guess shortly after — I forgot what record that was on, was that on Goo or was that on Dirty? — anyway, shortly after we signed there was a scandal at Geffen where some executive was accused of sexually harassing his secretary so I decided to write a song about it. It kind of used the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated as like a metaphor: that could be on his wall or something.”

On LL Cool J: “I really loved his first record, Radio, and Rick Rubin produced it and I interviewed him for Spin once and I had to go to his rehearsal and watch him and I was really just curious how much did [LL] know about rock or what did he impart to the production and how much was Rick Rubin. And I was sort of disappointed because he said Bon Jovi was his favorite rock band.”

On Chuck D’s cameo in “Kool Thing”: “We were recording at the same studio and we thought we would ask him and then he kind of did the most cliché thing, like, ‘Yeah, word up.’ Well of course we’re just these dumb white… he said, ‘Yo tell it like it is.’ It was kind of clichéd in a way that we deserved, basically. It actually worked perfectly for the song.”

On whether people hate strong, confident women: “I think when you put yourself out in the public and you do a lot and you say a lot of things there’s bound to be people who find something wrong with it or take it out of context or something. I mean, I don’t get a sense that people hate Lena Dunham, I don’t know. I mean, there’s such a thing as being in the public eye a lot — like, I have that fear that people are going to be sick of me and want me to go away [because of] too much promo [laughs].”

Advice for a young woman: “Be true to yourself and don’t modify for some dude.”