Thurston Moore is living in London these days and spending most of his time on the road with his band Chelsea Light Moving. This hasn’t precluded him from keeping up with what his Sonic Youth bandmates, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, and ex-wife Kim Gordon have been up to.
“My awareness of it is certainly there and I have communication with everybody so I know what people are doing,” he says over the phone, as a passenger in the midst of a 10-hour drive from Chicago to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “There’s not so much daily communication as there used to be, that’s for sure. All of our activities are noted on sonicyouth.com so the enterprise still exists in that respect. It’s all good, everything I’ve heard and seen.”
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust (which includes Steve Shelley) have a new record called Last Night on Earth due out in North America on Matador on October 8. Moore says he hasn’t yet heard it but is looking forward to it. As for Gordon’s work, Moore has checked it out.
“The Body/Head record I like. I put out the very first Body/Head release on my label Ecstatic Peace! as a cassette. I’m very close to Bill Nace; I had a long-running duo with him called Northampton Wools through the years. It’s all very familial."
“Families have their histories of being effed up through the years,” Moore laughs. “That’s just the way it is. That’s who we are but we’re all very connected and I don’t foresee that changing too much. Even though it has changed radically, I don’t see it becoming a situation where I find myself completely shut off and ignorant of what these people who I’ve grown up with and love are doing. That’s always going to be part of my life.”
“We communicate with each other through e-mails and stuff. There’s nothing too weird going on other than what you know. It’s all pretty cool.”
As for Chelsea Light Moving, they’re playing Hamilton’s Supercrawl on Sept. 14, Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 15, and Montreal’s Cabaret Mile End on Sept. 16. Moore says he’s been enjoying the freedom to be numero uno in a band and make all the decisions, however random and weird those might be.
“Any kind of metal or punk moves that I would employ in Sonic Youth, a lot of times they would become diffused by the different musicians in Sonic Youth, which was always ok with me,” he says. “Without that interplay with Lee, Kim, and Steve, I am pretty much calling all the shots here. It’s less a discussion and more ‘first thought, best thought.’ Those moves I make that are really informed by hardcore or black metal, they’re going to maintain that initial intent without becoming somewhat diffused by these other minds.
“Not to say that John [Moloney], Samara [Lubelski], or Keith [Wood] don’t bring in their own personalities,” he adds, referring to his Chelsea Light Moving band. “They do but I am the boss man, as far as this is concerned and I call the shots and am happy about that. That’s not something I was able to do fully with Sonic Youth and I didn’t even have a desire to do that so much but it allows me to and maybe things have more of a pursit’s vibe, for better or for worse.”
Moore reveals that Chelsea Light Moving’s next album will be called "Love Life" and he expects it to be out some time this spring.
“I’m making new songs with these guys and I think the next record’s gonna be even more messed up!” he laughs. “I always like records that don’t sound like they were recorded in one place. I was always really inspired by this Replacements record—either Let it Be or tim—where it sounds like they were bouncing from the basement and the studio.”