Sonic Youth are an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. Their most recent lineup
consisted of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and Mark Ibold.
In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City.
Part of the first wave of American noise rock groups, the band carried out their interpretation of the
hardcore punk ethos throughout the evolving American underground that focused more on the DIY ethic of the genre
rather than its specific sound.
In 2011, Ranaldo announced that the band was "ending for a while" following the separation of Moore and Gordon.
New York City, United States
Alternative rock, post-punk, noise rock, experimental rock, lo-fi, indie rock, no wave
From combining the names of MC5 guitarist, Fred "Sonic" Smith with the word 'Youth'
which was in ubiquitous use among reggae artists at the time.
Kim Gordon -
vocals, bass guitar, guitar (1981-2011)
Thurston Moore -
vocals, guitar (1981-2011)
Lee Ranaldo -
guitar, vocals (1981-2011)
Steve Shelley -
Anne DeMarinis -
Richard Edson -
Bob Bert -
drums (1982, 1983-1985)
Jim Sclavunos -
Jim O'Rourke -
bass, guitars, synthesizer (1999-2005)
Mark Ibold -
bass guitar, guitar (2006-2011)
Sonic Youth Quotes
A lot of people have pointed that out. To us, all of the albums have melody and they have pop songs in them, its just that sometimes, theyre done in a different way. People say, Oh, youre writing songs this time. We consider the material the last couple records in the format of songs and pop music structure, but our definition of what a pop song could be is maybe wider than some peoples. Some people really compare it to DN, which is fine, but we dont really think about that when were making the record. Were just in the moment and doing what were doing.
I think Jim is probably too self-conscious to contribute a vocal. I think we tried to get him on a backing vocal and it was very difficult. Hes very careful not to overstep what he considers his boundaries in the group, so hes very sensitive about that. I think it would be some time before he felt comfortable about contributing a vocal.
The deal with Enigma at that time was a one-off I think, so it wasn't like we left them; we just sort of didn't do another record with them. We started going around and meeting all the labels it's what you do when you're going to sign and they take you out to dinner, and we initially flew out to California because we had some pretty close ties with some people at A&M, and we really thought we were going to sign with A&M. But it while we were out there, this guy from Geffen really wants us to come by. And we really liked Geffen a lot, and at the time it was the last independent major label.
We've always been kind of involved enough in the business of making records and how it all operates; we've always been interested in it, so maybe we know more about that stuff as a group then your average musician does.
I think we've always felt we could do more with the Internet. I mean we've got a pretty intense website, but there are certainly tons more things we could do with that. We have a lot of free mp3's on our site and videos and things like that, but there are definitely artists who've embraced it and are leading the way into that next chapter and what's going to happen to music and the Internet.