"My traveling companion Emma (who is English) was so excited about the grasslands that we just had to stop to take in the vast view," says vocalist and founding member of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon)
It was time to go. “The memories I have, and the house I still own are both filled with stuff adorning a life I no longer live, feelings that I no longer have,” Kim Gordon wrote in her powerful and poetic memoir, “Girl in a Band,” of Northampton, Mass., where she and her Sonic Youth band mate-slash-husband, Thurston Moore, moved in 1999. The marriage collapsed, (in her words) “a cliche of middle-aged relationship failure,” the band died with it and daughter Coco headed off to college. So on a Sunday morning this summer, Gordon hopped into her overstuffed Subaru and headed west.
Over six days, Gordon and a friend, Emma Reeves, traversed the country for their final destination: L.A. And she was kind enough to provide a running commentary, via her iPhone, in pictures and words. Don’t pretend this is just any move. As indie rock’s uber-cool first family, Gordon and Moore collaborated with local musicians, held secret gigs and just lived. “The end of an era,” said Byron Coley, the writer, music historian and owner of Feeding Tube Records, near Northampton. Playfully called Portland East, the region has been home for a slew of musicians over the years, everyone from the Pixies’ Charles (Black Francis) Thompson, Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis to alterna-mopester Ray LaMontagne and NRBQ’s Terry Adams. “I’m really going to miss having her around,” said Coley, “but I think it’s going to be good for her to be gone.”
The boxes. "I never thought I’d see everything packed up and organized all stored in my studio," says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Last days. "I love this kitchen that held so many people coming thru and hanging out, eating good food and listening to records," says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Empty room."I never thought this house could be completely empty… so full of stuff , now it looks so empty it doesn’t belong to me anymore,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) A Chicago skyscraper. "I love how impossible it is to take a pic of such a tall building." says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Byron Coley at Feeding Tube Records in Florence, MA. "Byron Coley, co-owner at the worlds best record store!" says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Coco’s Feeding Tube drawing. Coco and Byron Coley's daughter Addie would work at Feeding Tube Records in Florence, MA. Kim Gordon says "Byron taught them how to price esoteric records and build record shelves." (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) The Corn Palace in Mitchells, SD. "Amazing outsider art. Understated and monumental blazing in the sun." says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Native mannequin. "I wondered whether this was incredibly un PC of me then when I posted it someone wrote that they grew up sitting next to it, art of their childhood,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Sioux Falls, S.D. "Who doesn’t want to see an otter sculpture after morning coffee in the middle of the country,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) “The million or is it Billion dollar cowboy bar, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming was our big night out on the trip. The saddle seats made us giggle endlessly, so comfy!" says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Mount Rushmore. "On the trip since Chicago we saw bikers on their way to Sturgis for the big anniversary biker convention. The closer we got, the more we saw. Every small town we went through was wall-to-wall bikes up and down the street, Deadwood, Buffalo Wyoming, Jackson and Mt Rushmore. This guy with the headdress was a standout figure against the Mt Rushmore heads,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Yellowstone chairs. "I’d never been to Yellowstone, it was as beautiful as imagined, the giftstore inside was a montage of consumerism," says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Wyoming buffalo. "[My travel companion] Emma was so excited to finally see a buffalo, as soon as we left Yellowstone. She was shrieking with joy," says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Wyoming out the window. "We saw so many amazing skies, a blur of sunset and distant rainstorm over the unfolding prairie,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Las Vegas, Nevada through the windshield. "It's always funny to see the big golden casinos in daylight. They’re so made for the nighttime, needing the dark sky to show off their brilliance. Been there done that. We only had lunch with Emma’s cousin at EAT, great food,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Kim Gordon poses for a photo near the Spiral Jetty. "It was much smaller in scale than I imagined for the pics, I love the human scale of it. It’s totally dry. We rode down the dirt gravel road seeing only a couple cars. The sky was threatening rain which added to the overall drama. I’ll always remember this special moment,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon) Raptor truck. "Reading mobile home brand names across the country, I was trying to pretend that the names meant something,” says Gordon. (Courtesy of Kim Gordon)