Books — May 5, 2023 at 7:52 am

Thurston Moore’s new memoir “Sonic Life” to recount path to Sonic Youth and beyond

Thurston Moore this fall will release a new memoir called, appropriately, “Sonic Life” that will trace his musical awakening, the formation of and decades-long run of Sonic Youth, and the “whirlwind of experiences” that being in that legendary noise-rock band entailed.

The 496-page book will be published by Doubleday and released in both the U.S. and U.K. on Oct. 24. It’s available for pre-order now via and

Moore, a guitarist, singer and songwriter, co-founded Sonic Youth with future and now-former wife Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo in New York City in 1981 (enduring drummer Steve Shelley would join in 1985).

The band established itself in the city’s avant-garde No Wave scene, releasing a series of crucial noise-drenched indie albums before making the jump to a major label for 1990’s Goo and becoming a “120 Minutes” fixture with “Kool Thing.” From there, Sonic Youth helped usher in the alt-rock explosion of the early ’90s before settling into a groove on ongoing experimentation and sonic detours up through 2009’s The Eternal.

Moore’s infidelity ended both his marriage with Gordon and the band in 2011 — a painful subject that Gordon herself already recounted in her own widely acclaimed 2015 memoir “Girl in a Band.” It remains to be seen how Moore will address his decisions that broke up his family and Sonic Youth.

In announcing the publication of “Sonic Life,” Moore wrote on social media:

“Hello friends, I am over-the-moon pleased and excited to announce the release of my memoir, SONIC LIFE, which is being published this October from Doubleday Books in the U.S. and Faber & Faber in the U.K. Sonic Life tells the story of my childhood and teenage years as I fell in love with music (for the most part unbridled rock ’n’ roll) and how it drove me to New York City, where I would co-found Sonic Youth. It’s an adventure that would take me around the globe throughout the 1980s, ’90s and onward, engaging with the magic music of visionaries, artists, and wild angels turning the world on its ear. This book has been ages in the making, the product of intensive research and deep dives into my memories and emotions. I believe I’ve been able to capture the whirlwind of experiences that being in Sonic Youth entailed, as well as the creative communities that we found ourselves a part of, first in New York’s punk and no wave scenes, and later in the world of underground and alternative rock and the universe of music beyond category. In some ways it barely scrapes the surface, but I’m proud of it and anxious to hear what everyone thinks.”

Moore’s most recent musical project is a 10-song instrumental album called Screen Time he released in 2021. That was preceded by a more traditional solo album, By the Fire, in 2020.





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