BrooklynVegan posted this street scene from yesterday’s Brooklyn Book Festival, depicting Sonic Youth’s giant emeritus Thurston Moore flanked by two great accessories: Ian MacKaye, and the Swedish Death Metal book. If I could have been there, I would have given Ian Senior a copy of my Van Halen book (which outs him as a lifelong fan on page 55), so they could be a matched pair of metal-literate independent thinkers. Cheers all around–these two and their pals extolling the DIY mindset made this book possible.

Now I’ll sit back and wait for Sonic Youth to catch the fever and record a Bathory cover.

Photo by David Shankbone


  1. So, is Thurston wearing a Black Metal t-shirt or is it some indie band with a hankerin’ for indie rock aethetics?. I’m gonna be ordering that book soon, too. Already flipped through a friend’s copy and was floored by it.

  2. Ryan — I think it’s true, Thurston released a “Venom live” 7″ many moons ago consisting of nothing but Cronos’ stage banter from a NJ show. I can thank that record for turning me on to Newcastle Brown Ale! But did he do it to mock metal fans? Or was Cronos mocking metal fans? One thing I know — when Reign in Blood came out, Thurston tried to get pals like M. Gira and Glenn Branca interested, but couldn’t find any takers. I think he’s always been vaguely aware of the cream of the crop of the metal movement, but I’ve never seen him wearing a Zimzamzaurinon shirt before.

    Does anybody remember Lydia Lunch’s ALL CAPS RAVE REVIEW OF VOIVOD’S Dimension Hatross in Forced Exposure?

    Funny thing is that the Swedish Death Metal book starts by quoting a stage rap from Thurston in Stockholm in 1991, him talking to the crowd about the Swedish death metal phenomenon.

  3. That’s interesting. Although I distinctly remember a quote from him saying “underground metal kids” were “pretty close to Spinal Tap”. Oh well.

    The Cronos thing is funny because he was aiming for humor, but most of the time that 7″ is mentioned as evidence that metal (or at least Cronos and Venom) is dumb and provides unintentional hilarity. So basically they’re mocking Cronos for achieving what he set out to do?

    Anyway, referencing Spinal Tap and that 7″ are basically the staples of the “easy way for ‘alternative’ media to dismiss metal or set up an ‘ironic’ appreciation session” ritual.

  4. Thurston asked the late Joe Cole to tape Venom’s performance that night, but prankster Joe only taped the banter. The post-punk underground has a tenuous interest in metal, probably most as a cultural phenomenon and somewhat as a sonic novelty. Believe me, these folks laugh at Judas Priest. So do I sometimes, but as I’m bangin’ along with it.

  5. ‘An interest in metal’ means very little unless it’s nuanced with years of active interest and a positive personal commitment. I don’t see why any real metalhead should feel happy when the mainstream – or a river closer to the mainstream than them, in any case – acknowledges the existence of their music or even professes some interest in it.

  6. Hi there,
    Just discovered your blog and I am amazed! Sonic youth played such innovative and respectful music, it is obvious they are open minded people. Entombed have always been innovative as well, because they were open to different genres. You should also post a picture of Cederlund wearing a sonic youth t-shirt.

  7. Yeah, I was gonna say — is there any question that metal has taken more from Sonic Youth than SxYx ever took from metal? Wear the shirts, all of them!

  8. Is it the same in the US as in Sweden, where the indie-pop movement desperately tries to claim Sonic Youth as their own?

    In my book, they were a apocalyptic sonic assault in their prime – just like Napalm Death or Carcass. Fuck the labels – go for the ride!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here