Art-rock icon and former Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon is dishing some dirt ahead of the October 11 release of her debut solo album, No Home Record. Her profile in The Guardian begins with a harrowing anecdote about a 17-year-old Gordon getting busted for smoking weed at Disneyland when she was growing up in Los Angeles in the early ’70s.
According to Gordon, she and a friend got nabbed by theme park security as the duo tried to smoke a joint in a cave on the Tom Sawyer’s Island attraction. From the interview:
“They took us underground,” Gordon recalls – to a netherworld where she saw “Mickey Mouse with a walkie-talkie” and endured creepy comments from the officers: “Does your mother know you’re not wearing a bra?”
If getting sexually harassed by a Disney guard wasn’t traumatizing enough, Gordon was locked up in the theme park’s underground jail overnight as well. She said she spent the evening reconciling her situation through the prism of the political science class she was taking at the time. “I was writing this paper in my head about Disneyland and how fascist it was,” Gordon said. “It confirmed my beliefs about American consumerism.”
Although the experience sounds terrifying, it also sounds like a fitting chapter in the origin story of an artist who has spent her career making art that deconstructs and challenges institutional power. It’s the kind of formative experience you’d expect from someone who ensconced themselves in the ’80s downtown New York art scene and worked with transgressive artists such as Richard Kern, and co-wrote songs with titles like “Youth Against Fascism.” The punk pioneer is apparently bringing that same energy to her endeavor as a solo artist.
“Consumerism is killing us,” Gordon, who really should be getting a nod from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, told The Guardian.
You don’t need to spend a night locked away in an underground Disney gulag to realize that, but it helps.