Sonic Youth Nardwuar

June 12, 2024  By Jukebox 

3 Interesting Things About The Infamous Sonic Youth Nardwuar Interview

At Jukebox Saturday Night, we love examining memorable moments in the music industry, including the Sonic Youth Nardwuar interview in 1991 outside the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. Read on as we learn more about the band and the music journalist and unpack why this is one of the Nardwuar celebrity interviews that music fans still discuss to this day.


#1: It was a look into the early days.

The Sonic Youth Nardwuar interview is a fascinating relic of music history to look back on for many reasons, and one of them is that it gives a glimpse into the earlier days of both parties’ careers.

Sonic Youth’s rise 

The act had been around for a decade by the time the interview took place and had many Sonic Youth albums beloved by their cult following to show for it. However, it was exactly around this time that the rock band was starting to boom in popularity. Starting out as an underground band in New York, Sonic Youth was just beginning to catch the attention of the mainstream music world. 

When Nardwuar conducted the Sonic Youth interview, it was shortly after the band released Goo. This album was their first release under the Geffen record label and became the band’s best-selling record at the time it was released. 

Plus, at the time of the interview, they were also on tour with music icon Neil Young, one of the many signifiers that Sonic Youth were on their way up the ladder of rock stardom. Shortly after, the legendary Canadian singer would even go on to say that EVOL, the third album in the Sonic Youth discography, was ‘a classic. Superb melody, and even better live.’

The start of Nardwuar 

If you love keeping up to date with your favourite artists, you must have come across Nardwuar’s interviews. He’s known for his ability to disarm and confound artists with his eccentric demeanour and extremely well-researched, deep-cut questions.

Nardwuar has become a huge name in music journalism and pop culture for his interviews. So, it’s interesting to see him during this interview, just a year after he graduated from university. You can catch the beginnings of his trademark interview style developing while also seeing how much his interviewing skills have grown since then.


#2: It turned into a controversial encounter. 

While many are often left stunned or amused by Nardwuar’s strange interviewing approach, his style can sometimes cause clashes in personality. This is what happened during the Sonic Youth Nardwuar interview. 

Nardwuar’s playfully confrontational tone and disarming non-sequitur questions didn’t quite match the frank and straightforward personalities of the Sonic Youth members. This resulted in a disjointed conversation flow that eventually turned tense. It even ended with some light roughhousing and the rare seven-inch record, a gift Nardwuar bought for the ban, being broken. 

The tension of this Sonic Youth Nardwuar interview has become controversial, both among fans of the band and among music journalists. This is why it’s one of the interviewers’ more memorable artist encounters to this day.  


#3: There was a Sonic Youth Nardwuar reunion interview. 

What’s most fascinating about the 1991 interview is that we get to see more insight about it from the band over a decade later and see, in comparison, the evolved dynamic between them and Nardwuar. 

The second Sonic Youth Nardwuar interview took place in 2002 in Vancouver, and the time that had passed since the last encounter definitely showed in the interaction. Sonic Youth guitarist, singer, and songwriter Thurston Moore was laid-back and answered all of Nardwuar’s queries, while Nardwuar showed more restraint and subdued interviewing. 

Moore even expressed appreciation for the interviewer’s ‘genius’ and the new record he had given the band. The two were able to look back and discuss the incident in a lighthearted, joking manner. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many times has Nardwuar interviewed Sonic Youth?

There are only two Sonic Youth Nardwuar interviews in the band’s history. The first interview was conducted in 1991 and the second interview was done in 2002, 11 years later.


What happened to Sonic Youth?

While the Sonic Youth Nardwuar interviews were divisive, they didn’t affect Sonic’s longevity in the world of alternative rock. It comes as no surprise; after all, they had risen to icon status throughout their career. 

This was because they were able to inspire, mesmerise, and innovate with their avant-garde elements and sounds, all while keeping their music accessible with the tried and tested foundations of rock. Their formula led to them being one of the biggest names in alternative and indie rock history. They continued their exceptional run with regular new releases until their latest studio album, The eternal, in 2009. 

In 2011, the group decided to disband after three decades together. This decision came after Moore divorced band member and vocalist, Kim Gordon. 


What are some of Nardwuar’s most memorable interviews?

There are tons of great interviews with various music royalty in the Nardwuar archive. However, one of the instances that truly stand out from the rest is his interview with Nirvana.  

The interview took place at the PNE Forum in 1994, and it was mostly frontman Kurt Cobain who conversed with him. What made it so special was how casual and real the interview was, with Nardwuar interviewing Cobain as the late legend was hanging out backstage and eating pizza with Courtney Love. It was also one of the last interviews Cobain gave before passing away a few months later.

Nardwuar’s encyclopaedic knowledge was even more impressive back then, when you couldn’t just find information about artists around the web. The band was visibly impressed with the research he had done and Love even ended up exclaiming, ‘How do you know that?!’ in the background.

Others that have become favourites among fans are the Tyler the Creator and Lil Uzi Vert interviews. Their hilarious reactions to those classic, deep-cut Nardwuar questions instantly became iconic. The interviews with the rappers quickly became the two most viewed videos on the Nardwuar YouTube account.

A trip down music memory lane

At Jukebox Saturday Night, we’re more than a program, we’re a community created by and for music lovers. We pay tribute to timeless tracks from the retro years, from sixties and seventies jukebox staples like Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs songs to Golden Earring hits.

Catch us on Foxtel, Aurora Channel 173 from 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. weekly on Saturday nights. We even have encores on Sunday nights at 9.00 p.m. and Tuesday nights at 9.30 p.m., so you have more chances to rock out to Sonic Youth music or artists like Mike Smith (Dave Clark Five) or Poison Ivy Rorschach (The Cramps).

Discover more about the golden years of music with Juke Saturday Night!

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive for accuracy, music history is often based on available documentation and interpretation.

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