Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore: ‘Pussy Riot are one of the most important groups of our time’

He also cites Russian government's treatment of group as a reason 'why punk is necessary'

Former Sonic Youth musician Thurston Moore has spoken in interview with Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina.

Alyokhina was one of three members of the Russian punk protest group jailed in 2012 for a guerrilla gig and anti-Putin protest at a Moscow church.

Joining Moore at a live show with his new outfit, the Thurston Moore Band, recently, the pair sat down with NME after the gig to discuss punk rock and activism.

Advertisement

Explaining how he first encountered Pussy Riot “when they were first on YouTube, years ago”, Moore said: “[I] came through the riot grrl movement in America which was a very new pro-feminist punk rock scene [so] people started sending the videos to Sonic Youth saying ‘Look, have you seen this?’

“Pussy Riot were doing this sensational thing because they were really going straight into the face of oppression. Everyone says it’s about activism, that it’s not about music, but I like the music. I was a fan and I always liked the idea that they never made a record. Just like bootleg CD-Rs.”

Moore added: “For me, Pussy Riot’s probably one of the most important groups of our time. The situation they found themselves in and then, against such a wall, to create such a dialogue, to create such a statement.”

NMEGetty

The guitarist also cited the treatment of the group in Russia as a reason “why punk is necessary”. He continued: “It’s a societal alternative. If you live in a society with issues around free expression punk is really radical. It’s inherently radical. In Russia they put you in jail for being punk.”

Alyokhina echoed Moore’s sentiments. She stated: “[The government] control everything. We have to do what we should do. We are women and with women anything can happen.”

Quizzed on whether Pussy Riot would be open to a collaboration with Thurston Moore, Alyokhina said: “I think we can definitely do it.”

Advertisement

Moore replied: “Oh anytime. They were working with [punk innovator] Richard Hell in New York. He’s an old friend of mine. He said I’ve been up all night recording with Pussy Riot and I was like ‘What? Bastard!’ Some people get all the good work. But he did invent punk rock.”

READ THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: Thurston Moore And Pussy Riot Talk FIFA, Punk and Putin

Meanwhile, Thurston Moore recently became the latest artist to boycott Israel over what he calls the nation’s “brutal human rights violations”.

Moore was booked to perform in Israel’s second largest city, Tel Aviv, earlier this year, but later cancelled the gig without offering an official explanation. The former Sonic Youth frontman has now confirmed that he pulled out of the planned concert to show support for the BDS movement, which describes itself as “a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights”.

“It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values,” Moore explained in a statement to The Quietus. “With the realisation that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.”

Moore added later in his statement: “With apology and thanks to everyone I work with professionally, as this decision incurs difficult rectification, and to every individual with a wish to hear us play live, I’ve made the decision, with certitude, to fully acknowledge the dedication of the boycott until the time comes for it to be unnecessary.”
https://link.brightcove.com/services/player/?bctid=2505040160001

Advertisement
Advertisement

General Election 2019: Conservatives declared winners after disastrous night for Labour

Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson will both stand down as party leaders.

Edward Norton: “If you take your work seriously, it’s all-consuming”

The 'Fight Club' star on working with Thom Yorke, new film 'Motherless Brooklyn' and building a Hollywood legacy
Advertisement