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Thurston Moore carries on, now under his own name


Sonic Youth was the musical gift that kept on giving, hanging around long enough to more or less define the 1980s-era independently released rock album with “Daydream Nation” in 1988. The band then spent two decades redefining how far out a major label was willing to go into the realm of noisy art-rock, while funneling its most experimental music into a series of independent releases. That all blew up in 2011 with the news that central couple Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon were breaking up both their marriage and the band.

Moore and Gordon have each released new solo work since then, most recently Moore’s 2014 album, “The Best Day,” recorded with guitarist James Sedwards, former My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe, and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. The band plays the Sinclair on Sunday. Moore, 57, spoke with the Globe from Boulder, Colo., where he was a faculty member at Naropa University’s summer writing program.


Q. It seems like you’ve gotten more heavily involved with poetry in the past several years.

A. I like the more experimental aspects of it, like concrete poetry and language poetry, the idea of taking the confessional out of it and just looking at it purely linguistically, and what you can do with it visually — all of those things. It certainly is something I was into even as a teenager in the ’70s, but I probably didn’t know exactly what I liked about it. I just knew that it had the same energy that I like in certain aspects of music. Patti Smith was coming out of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, and as well as being rock-music industry people, they were valid as standalone poets. To me, the great writers of that time were the kind of rebel journalists like Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer.


Q. Your first rock album after Sonic Youth was billed to a newly formed entity called Chelsea Light Moving. Why is this newer project officially known as the Thurston Moore Band?

A. When I was touring around with Chelsea Light Moving, I wanted it to be like a project; I didn’t want it to be a solo band. There was no big idea behind it. I was telling people not to put my name in the ads. I really wanted it to be this band that just came out of nowhere. But I got a little tired of it, because we were playing really small little places and basements and stuff where there’s no boundaries, and with the fact that I do have some kind of profile from all those years in Sonic Youth, it meant that every crazy person could just come up to me and be crazy.

Q. Where your other solo albums seemed like complements to your work with Sonic Youth, “The Best Day” sounds more like a continuation of it.

A. The songwriting process and the way that I’m working with the other musicians definitely is more relative to how I work in Sonic Youth than, say, Chelsea Light Moving, and certainly “Demolished Thoughts,” when I worked with Beck and made an acoustic album. I’m not trying to regain anything that Sonic Youth was, but it’ll always sound a certain way because that’s how I work. That’s my sound, it’s my songwriting, it’s my vocabulary. It’s going to be Sonic-y and Youth-y. We just recorded another album with this band. It’ll come out, like, next spring sometime. Nobody knows about that yet. Now you know.


Q. A couple years removed from Sonic Youth, do you have a sense of the full arc of that band’s career in a way you didn’t when you were in the middle of it?

A. Actually, no. I feel nothing but pride about it, but I don’t think I’ll really get into more of a sort of philosophical perspective on it until maybe later on in my life. I certainly don’t feel it was unfinished. There can always be more, but I don’t feel like the plug was pulled on Sonic Youth. I don’t feel like, Oh, there’s something we forgot to do! We didn’t do that piano album we always wanted to do. In a way, I think “The Eternal” is as good a last statement [as] there can be. And there’s all kinds of stuff that’s not been released. There’s so much live recording stuff that can be compiled into some really interesting things. But it’s not a functioning band, for obvious reasons. I’m OK with that, because I really feel satisfied. And I’m really, really happy doing what I’m doing right now as a songwriter, with the musicians I’m playing with.

I’ve been doing this since 1980, you know. It has its ups and downs, and you go through different periods, but I never fooled myself into thinking that what I do is for everybody. It’s not the most popular form of music. It can be a little challenging.


Thurston Moore Band

With Chain and the Gang

At: The Sinclair, Cambridge, Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets: $18, advance $16. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com

Interview was condensed and edited. Jeremy D. Goodwin can be reached at jeremy@jeremydgoodwin.com.