Thurston Moore is one cool cat. He was there -- in NYC circa the mid- to late '70s -- for punk and was one of the tantrum-throwing No Wavers who didn't think the Ramones et al. took their rock reinvention far enough. Thus, he and the rest of Sonic Youth and other noise-rock visionaries (like Lydia Lunch and James Chance) dragged experimental music down from the exalted pedestal of academia and into the piss-stained floors of dives across the country.
But at the same time, Moore and company have also contributed a great deal to the indie-rock blueprint, and their twinkly, twin-guitar shoegazing cements them in America's pop canon alongside luminaries such as Pavement and Guided by Voices.
It's with this widespread appeal in mind that County Grind presents five notable moments from the career of Thurston Moore in honor of his 53rd birthday.
Thurston, Mike D., and Beck... Jam?
In 1994, you could turn on MTV to see a not-yet-overserious Mike D. from the Beastie Boys crashing an interview with Beck conducted by Thurston Moore. And hey, at around 2:11, the trio team up for a totally twisted noise/rap collabo that would come at Snookie's spray tan like a pressure hose.
Thurston Jams With Young Beardo
Thurston can jam with multiplatinum artists and underground rockers alike. This sesh with Tall Firs drummer Ryan Sawyer showcases Moore's proclivity to not only squelch like the best of 'em but, additionally, the grace of elderstatesman who knows when to take the back seat to his partner-in-improv.
'90s Thurston Bullies Nardwuar
These days, Nardwuar the Human Serviette is a music journalism institution with tons of interviews archived on YouTube and his own show on WFMU. But in 1991, an unknown Nardwuar tried to interview Sonic Youth and was at the snarky mercy of the biggest indie-rock band in the land.
Thurston's "Ono Soul" Single (and Video) Is Pretty Deece
Solo Thurston can often sound like Diet Sonic Youth, but his 1995 single (and accompanying video), "Ono Soul," is pretty righteous.
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Thurston Waxes Indie Rock Philosophy
"The Pixies reunion was a real success, and Dinosaur Jr. seems like a big success, and both those bands play as good as they ever did. Mission of Burma blew my mind when they came back. But a band like us never did break up. Which was to our own detriment. What would have happened if we did break up after Daydream Nation -- or even after Dirty -- and had gotten back together two years ago? You'd be interviewing me at the Chateau Marmont as I'm waiting for my limousine. We probably would have made so much money. This was our biggest career faux pas -- not breaking up."