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Thurston Moore

Moore at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival.
Background information
Birth name Thurston Joseph Moore
Also known as Mirror
Born July 25, 1958 (1958-07-25) (age 51)
Coral Gables, Florida, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock, Noise rock, No Wave, Experimental music Noise music
Occupations Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Consultant, Record producer
Instruments Vocals, Prepared guitar, Guitar, Screwdriver, Drum stick, Piano, Amplifier
Years active 1978 - Present
Labels Geffen
Ecstatic Peace!
Father Yod
Lo Recordings
Destructive Industries
Associated acts Sonic Youth
Ciccone Youth
The Coachmen
Even Worse
Dream/Aktion Unit
Bark Haze
Dim Stars
Northampton Wools
Notable instruments
Fender Jazzmaster
Fender Jaguar
Fender Telecaster Deluxe

Thurston Joseph Moore (born July 25, 1958 in Coral Gables, Florida)[1] is an American musician best known as a singer, songwriter and guitarist of Sonic Youth. He has participated in many solo and group collaborations outside of Sonic Youth, as well as running Ecstatic Peace! records.


Early years

Moore was born in Coral Gables, Florida, but was raised in[2] Bethel, Connecticut. Although he enrolled at Western Connecticut State University, he opted to move to New York City instead to join the burgeoning post-punk/no wave music scenes.[3 ]

Once there, Moore was briefly in the hardcore punk band Even Worse, featuring future The Big Takeover editor (and future Springhouse drummer) Jack Rabid. After exiting the band, Moore and Lee Ranaldo learned experimental guitar techniques in Glenn Branca's "guitar orchestras."[3 ] He also spent much time at the University of Massachusetts and in the Amherst/Northampton area.

Sonic Youth

Moore and Ranaldo soon formed Sonic Youth, serving as the band's guitarists, with Moore on lead vocals. The band signed to Neutral Records, then to Homestead Records, and then to SST Records.

Live in the Netherlands (with Sonic Youth), 1991

In 1984, Moore married Sonic Youth bassist/vocalist Kim Gordon; the pair have a daughter, Coco Hayley Gordon Moore (born 1 July 1994). They currently reside in Northampton, Massachusetts.

He and Ranaldo make extensive use of unusual guitar tunings, often heavily modifying their instruments to provide unusual timbres and drones, They are known for bringing upwards of fifty guitars to every live gig, using some guitars for one song only.[3 ] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Moore and Ranaldo the 33rd and 34th Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Work outside of Sonic Youth

In addition to his work with Sonic Youth, Moore has also released albums as a solo artist. He and Gordon released a few songs as Mirror/Dash, a reference to their respective nicknames. ("Mirror" being an alliterative pun on "Moore," and "Dash" being a pun on Flash Gordon.) The two also established Protest records together but the project has since lapsed.

Moore has collaborated with scores of musicians, including Maryanne Amacher, Lydia Lunch, DJ Spooky, William Hooker, Daniel Carter, Christian Marclay, Mike Watt, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Tom Surgal, William Winant, Nels Cline, Cock E.S.P., Daniel Castro, Glenn Branca, Yamantaka Eye, Chris Corsano and My Cat is an Alien. Most of his solo/duo collaborations have been instrumental, and are generally improvised and/or noise based.

In the early 1990s, Moore formed the side band Dim Stars, featuring punk legend Richard Hell of the Voidoids. Moore performed solo on the side stage of the 1993 Lollapalooza tour. Additionally, Moore also contributed guitar work and backing vocals on "Crush With Eyeliner," which appeared on R.E.M.'s Monster LP.

Since 2004, Moore has recorded and performed with the all-star noise collective To Live and Shave in L.A., the lineup of which also features Andrew W.K.. He recorded with the band at Sonic Youth's former studio in Manhattan, and later performed with them at the George W. Bush "anti-inaugural" Noise Against Fascism concert in Washington, D.C., named in reference to Sonic Youth's 1992 song "Youth Against Fascism." Moore curated the "Nightmare Before Christmas" weekend of the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival, in December 2006.

Moore directed the music video for Pavement's song "Here," from Slanted and Enchanted. Foot is a collaboration between Don Fleming, Jim Dunbar and Thurston Moore.

On June 21, 2007, Moore revealed to Spin Magazine that he would be releasing a solo album titled Trees Outside The Academy. The album was recorded at J Mascis' studio in Amherst, Massachusetts. The album is made up of mostly acoustic material and features Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and violinist Samara Lubelski. The album also features collaborations between Mascis and Charalambides' Christina Carter, who performs a duet with Moore on the track, "Honest James." The album was released on September 18, 2007, on Moore's label Ecstatic Peace.

On September 24, 2008, Pitchfork Media reported that Thurston was working on a song with former Be Your Own Pet vocalist Jemina Pearl. They did a cover of the Ramones song Sheena Is a Punk Rocker. The song was recorded for the teenage drama Gossip Girl and was featured in the episode "There Might Be Blood".

Work on film soundtracks

Thurston Moore performing with Sonic Youth at the 2005 Roskilde Festival.

In 1994, Moore teamed up with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs, Don Fleming of Gumball, Mike Mills of R.E.M., and Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters, to form the Backbeat Band, which recorded the soundtrack album to the movie Backbeat.

In 1998 Moore played on the soundtrack of the film Velvet Goldmine as a member of Wylde Ratttz, along with The Stooges' Ron Asheton, his Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelley, Minutemen's Mike Watt, Gumball's Don Fleming, Mark Arm of Mudhoney and Jim Dunbar.

Moore also composed original music for the films:

  • Heavy (1995)
  • Bully (2001)
  • Manic (2001)
  • Extra Action and Extra Hardcore (2008)

In 2007, Moore also appeared with noise/impro constellation "Original Silence" featuring Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (The thing, Atomic, Scorch Trio), guitarist Terrie Ex (The Ex), Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Wilco, Illusion of Safety), saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and bassist Massimo Pupillo (Zu). The group released the live-recorded album "The First Original Silence" in 2007, on Oslo (Norway) lable SmallTown Superjazz, and a second album "The Second Original Silence" in 2008.

Record label and writings

Moore and other S.Y. members published the irreverent music zine Sonic Life. Moore runs the record label Ecstatic Peace!. Beginning in 1993, this label jointly released records with rock critic Byron Coley's label, Father Yod, as Ecstatic Yod Records.

Moore reviews new music in Arthur Magazine in a column written jointly with Byron Coley. He manages the website Protest Records, named for its protest against United States' invasions in the middle east. Moore was the editor/overseer of the 2005 book Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture. He published a highly influential list of collectible free jazz records in Grand Royal magazine.[4]


Moore is known for using a large selection of Fender guitars during gigs. Most of the time he plays a Jazzmaster through many different types of amps among which Vox AC30, Peaveys and Fenders are present. He also plays a Jaguar and a heavily modified Mustang with three single-coil pickups, but less often.

Since Ranaldo and Moore, together with Elvis Costello, J. Mascis and Kevin Shields are known for being key figures in the popularization and resurrection of the Fender Jazzmaster, Fender introduced in 2009 a special Lee Ranaldo signature edition of a Sapphire Blue Transparent version featuring two Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups together with a Forest Green Transparent one for Moore (equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Jazzmaster single-coil pickups)[5].

Solo discography & Collaborations

Solo Albums


  • "Sputnik" 7" (1997) Thurston Moore and Don Fleming on one side, Pete Kember aka Sonic Boom on the other. Gilltery vinyl.
  • "Wonderful Witches" single (2007)

As Male Slut

  • 1995 - The Church Should Be For The Outcasts, Not A Church That Casts People Out (7")

Noise, Experimental, extended guitar drone projects

  • 2006 - Flipped Out Bride (2006, Blossoming Noise)
  • 2007 - Black Weeds - White Death [Cass, C40]
  • 2008 - Sensitive-Lethal
  • 2008 - Blindfold (Destructive Industries), Ltd. 200, Cassette only


  • 1988 - Barefoot In The Head [with Jim Sauter & Don Dietrich]
  • 1993 - Shamballa [With William Hooker & Elliott Sharp]
  • 1995 - Klangfarbenmelodie & the Colorist Strikes Primitive [with T Surgal]
  • 1996 - Pillow Wand [with Nels Cline]
  • 1996 - Piece For Yvonne Rainer [with Yoshimi & Mark Ibold (Sunship)]
  • 1996 - Piece for Jetsun Dolma [a live improvisation with Tom Surgal and William Winant at Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (Les Disques VICTO)]
  • 1997 - MMMR [with Loren Mazzacane Connors, Jean-Marc Montera & Lee Ranaldo (Numero Zero Audio)
  • 1998 - Foot [with Don Fleming & Jim Dunbar]
  • 1999 - The Promise [With Evan Parker & Walter Prati]
  • 2001 - New Life After Fire (for Tom Thomson) [With Dave Dyment]

Albums with Diskaholics Anonymous Trio

  • 2001 - Diskaholics Anonymous Trio [with Mats Gustafsson & Jim O'Rourke]
  • 2006 - Weapons Of Ass Destruction (Recorded in 2002)

Albums with Original Silence

  • 2007 - The First Original Silence (Recorded live in concert on sept. 30 2005 at Teatro Ariosto, Reggio Emilia, Italy)
  • 2008 - The Second Original Silence (Recorded Live In Concert on September 28, 2005 at Brancaleone, Rome)

Early work with Glenn Branca

Early work with the Coachmen

  • 1979 -Failure to Thrive

Split LP's

  • From The Earth To The Spheres (2004, split with My Cat Is An Alien)
  • Thrash Sabbatical (2008, Deathbomb Arc, four-way split 12" + 2x7" w/ Men Who Can't Love, Barrabarracuda, Kevin Shields)
  • Mature, Lonely + Out of Control/Alternative Hair Styles (2008, Nihilist Records, split LP with Graham Moore)
  • Built For Lovin (2008, Lost Treasures of the Underworld)

Album Appearances

  • 1992 - Do You Wanna Dance (by Dim Stars)
  • 1994 - Monster (by R.E.M.)
  • 1997 - Legend Of The Blood Yeti (by XIII Ghosts & Derek Bailey)
  • 1998 - Velvet Goldmine - Music From The Original Motion Picture ("T.V. Eye" with the Wylde Ratttz)
  • 2002 - Kapotte Muziek - #12 in Kapotte Muziek series (Korm Plastics)
  • 2007 - Touch The Iceberg (by Owl Xounds Exploding Galaxy)


  1. ^ Holly George-Warren and Patricia Romanowski, ed (2005). "Sonic Youth". The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York, New York: Fireside. p. 912. ISBN 978-0-7432-9201-6.  
  2. ^ Dixon, Ken, "Music Hall of Fame proposed for state ", article in Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, Connecticut, April 26, 2007 ("Thurston Moore, leader of alt-rock legends Sonic Youth, who grew up in Bethel")
  3. ^ a b c Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. New York: Little, Brown, 2001
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Thurston Moore (born July 25, 1958 in Coral Gables, Florida) is the singer and guitarist for noise rock band Sonic Youth.



From "1991: The Year Punk Broke"

  • "Tonight I am going to defecate on stage because I think that is the only way to express the nature of my soul according to rock and roll."
  • "People of the universe... tonight, tonight will be night that the skies will open and spray forth the divine hand with pointed finger and say, "Everybody, you're not just a duck! -- you are human! YOU ARE HUMAN!" Go forth! Go forth and thrash!"
  • "Destroy the record companies. Do you not agree?"
  • "To me... I need this elixir of... skinhead violence" (When asked about his soup)
  • "...and I'm just gonna get a shotgun, and just do it. Just do it, baby." (During interview)
  • "I consider myself more... fucked up than I could ever imagine myself being!"
  • "Can't... take... anymore" (Overwhelmed by talking gorilla robots)
  • "Like an arm holding a baby's apple"
  • "My mind is turning into kind of a fine gelatinous ball of pepper"


  • "Thank you all for coming out tonight.... and if you have any money left, you can buy one of our T-shirts.... but whatever you the right thing!"
  • "This song is called "We're Sonic Youth and You're Steve Albini!" 1-2-3-4!"
  • "It's like growing up on stage.... or like throwing up on stage." -about the soundcheck, Salt Lake City, UT, August 2009


  • "With these reissues, listening to these tapes, it seemed very crude to me. There's no way I'd ever want to play like that again."
  • "We're like old people now playing music. I'm so glad we stuck it out because it's a lot better. I used to feel kind of anxious. Now our apprenticeship is over."
  • "We always try to encourage more songs sung by Kim, because there are always requests for it. I certainly don't want to ball hog all the singing."
  • "Rock 'n' roll saved my soul."
  • "Some of the most wonderful moments for me musically were machine made and plastic."
  • "I certainly don't sit around in the morning making pancakes listening to Whitehouse or anything."
  • "Hits are for squares."
  • "People say Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles. I don't know. I'm glad if she did. She should have broken up the Rolling Stones while she was at it."
  • "I'm hungry! I'm hungry, and I could eat a pig's head!"
  • "I was pissed with puke globbing out of my nose."
  • ""I saw some band who had a poster for a show with the line 'The Sex Pistols weren't enough'.. I told Glenn [Branca] about it and he said, 'The Sex Pistols were MORE than enough!' ..... That's when I knew I had to get away from the old men in the scene."

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