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University of Iowa News Release


March 24, 2011

Sonic Youth co-founders Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon to speak at Englert Theatre March 31

Musicians Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, members of the groundbreaking rock band Sonic Youth, will speak at a free panel discussion 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Englert Theatre.

The discussion, presented by the University of Iowa Lecture Committee and the Mission Creek Festival, will be a conversation about the music, art and life of Moore and Gordon and their experiences in Sonic Youth. They will also recall how the band formed 30 years ago amid the cultural mix of New York City punk scene.

Moore and Gordon are appearing in Iowa City as part of the Mission Creek Festival ( and will perform as Mirror/Dash at 9 p.m. March 31 at The Mill.

Sonic Youth began in 1981 in downtown New York City with Moore on guitar and vocals, Gordon playing bass, guitar, and vocals, and Lee Ranaldo on guitar and vocals. In 1984 Steve Shelley joined the band on drums. They started playing during the era of what is termed No Wave -- harsh, challenging, abrasive music informed by rock, noise, jazz and modern composition/experimentation.

Influenced by bands such as the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, Sonic Youth incorporates feedback into their music and uses unusual tunings to create free-form compositions. During the 1990s, many American indie bands and British underground bands were influenced by Sonic Youth, which had become a popular cult band.

According to All Music Guide, Gordon earned a degree in fine arts from Los Angeles' Otis College of Art and Design during the early 1970s. In the 1980s, she went to New York City, established a group called CKM, worked in several Soho art galleries, contributed to Artforum magazine, and participated in the Anover Art Festival before joining Sonic Youth.

Gordon and Moore married in 1984, and a decade later had a child, Coco Hayley Moore. In addition to her work with Sonic Youth, Gordon records as a solo artist, leads the band Free Kitten, and also is part of the band Harry Crews. She has produced records, directed music videos, launched a clothing company called X-Girl and modeled in advertisements for Calvin Klein. VH1 acknowledged her influence by including her in its list of 100 Greatest Women of Rock. Linda Seida of All Music Guide said Gordon's songs "often have decidedly pro-feminist themes when she addresses such issues as sexual harassment, rape, and the casting couch."

Moore and Ranaldo make extensive use of unusual guitar tunings, often heavily modifying their instruments to provide unusual timbres and drones. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Moore and Ranaldo the 33rd and 34th Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

In addition to running Ecstatic Peace! Records, Moore has been involved in numerous side projects, including the Dim Stars with Richard Hell and Even Worse, according to All Music Guide. His first solo album, "Psychic Hearts," was recorded during and immediately after Kim Gordon's pregnancy in 1994. Along with carrying Sonic Youth into the 2000s, Moore collaborated with artists including Lydia Lunch, DJ Spooky, Chris Corsano and Nels Cline, wrote music reviews and other pieces for Arthur magazine, and issued a book, "Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture," in 2005.

On May 24, Matador Records will release a new solo album from Moore, "Demolished Thoughts."

For more information about Sonic Youth, including a complete discography, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Zakir Durumeric, University Lecture Committee, 319-384-3535,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,