The perfect couple are no more?
By NICK TAVARES
STATIC and FEEDBACK Editor
Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, forever the perfect punk couple, are no longer forever.
On Friday night, a representative from Sonic Youth’s label told Spin that the couple, married for 27 years, had separated, and after a string of dates in South America, the future of the band was in doubt.
There’s such a pit-in-the-gut reaction to news like this. Beyond just a group breaking up — the community has also seen the White Stripes and R.E.M. split this year — this felt much deeper.
Since discovering the band in high school, digging into the catalog in college, and then diving into all-out fandom after seeing them live for the first time in 2004, Sonic Youth has been a pillar. Where other bands make missteps or falter, Sonic Youth triumphs. Every new record was a reminder of their creativity, talent and artistic might. Every show was a full exercise, never resting on laurels, always exploring the boundaries of their newest songs and sounds.
At the front of all this were Thurston and Kim, who met in New York City in the late 1970s, married in 1984 and worked together to write most of the songs that graced Sonic Youth’s many albums.
For so long, they seemed the perfect couple. In between intense moments of concentration and noise, they were often playful and affectionate on stage. They seemed to have the perfect combination of mutual admiration, patience and joy, evidenced when they played music or recorded new pieces. Their band has been together for 30 years, blazing a trail for successive generations on how to make a living while maintaining the experimental spirit of their music.
If that wasn’t an authentic display of love, what is?
But, of course it was. The painful part is in realizing heroes are people, too, and people are complex. People change, they move on, they come together, they grow apart.
I won’t get into why I think they might or might not be separating. It’s not my place, and truly, only the two of them know. Maybe even they’re not completely sure why. Breakups are hard at 15, 20 and 25, and they certainly can’t be much easier at 50. Breakups are confusing, frightening and crushing, and sometimes, no matter how perfect the match may seem, inevitable.
This piece is a note on one of my favorite bands, led by the ultimate rock and roll duo. They were together a long time, they made beautiful music, they taught me about music, records, art, and in a roundabout way, relationships. Soon, they’ll part ways.
There's no taking sides here. This is wishing them both the best. Lord knows they’ve given the same to me.
Oct. 17, 2011
E-mail Nick Tavares at firstname.lastname@example.org