20 Questions: Thurston Moore
As part of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore made history.
The iconic New York band spearheaded a new 80s punk movement – one that prioritised musical experimentation but stayed true to its anti-establishment roots. A source of inspiration for what feels like every single guitar band that came after them, their grip on the zeitgeist has never loosened. As a solo artist, Moore’s work continues to straddle the lines between punk and avant-garde, seeing him release volumes of solo albums, film scores and books. Here, we get to know a living legend a little better.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I wish I went to art school.
What would you have studied?
Painting. I didn’t know that you could do such a thing. I could’ve gone to art school and been an artist? Why didn’t anybody tell me about this?
What did you do instead?
I went to university and studied literature, which was fine.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not being multilingual. You know, I’m 61 years old now and to learn another language is extremely difficult. When I hear people speak fluently in different languages, I’m so envious.
Is there a particular movement inspiring you right now?
I’m completely and utterly enthralled with Greta Thunberg’s climate action movement. I think she’s a gift. I have these days of just losing hope, and all of a sudden, in the amount of time it takes to bring a baby to term, I saw this very organic activism spring up. It’s so inspiring.
How do you feel about Extinction Rebellion?
Their kind of theatre activism is historically really strong – it gets attention and then there’s dialogue.
How do you feel about the world right now?
I think everybody is on alert right now and we all want to overthrow these demagogues.
What’s the best decision you’ve made of late?
Becoming a vegetarian.
What makes you laugh really hard?
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen lately?
The other day I saw a little kid walking around a thrift store in Connecticut and he was really young, maybe two, and he found a huge water gun. Then I heard him say as he was walking by, “Let’s do this.”
How did you react?
Extremely unnerved. I was like, “OK, I’m done here. Take me to New Zealand please.”
Speaking of death, what would you want written on your tombstone?
Never wake me when I’m smiling.
What’s the furthest you’d go for love?
I went pretty far for the woman I fell in love with 10 years ago. I followed my heart to her and I moved to London.
Do you think you’ll stay in London forever?
No, I’d like to go somewhere rural. I love cities and the fact that I can just go and see art and music that’s contemporary and vibrant, but I’ve done that for most of my adult life and I can sort of not do that anymore.
What’s the biggest realisation that you’ve had in the past year?
My partner, Eva, has been really motivational for me. There is nothing as strong as a loving relationship.
What is your worst habit?
Using toothpicks in public. I don’t really talk about this so much.
What makes you immediately nervous?
I get anxious when I’m in the US – an anxiety I don’t feel in any other country.
What’s been the happiest day of your life so far?
1 July 1994, the day my daughter Coco was born.
What makes you feel nostalgic?
Reading oral histories of periods I experienced. I read a book called Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art that talked about this time that I was living through in late 70s New York City. I was hungry and miserable, but young and full of life.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
Never consider doing anything just for money.
This feature appears in Crack Issue 105. Purchase an annual subscription and get the next 12 issues of Crack Magazine delivered straight to your door. Spirit Counsel is out now via Daydream Library Series.