Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

286 printed pages
From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, the book Kim Gordon says “everyone has been waiting for” — a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life—and finding yourself—in music. Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would be cited as “America's best rock band” by legendary music critic Greil Marcus for their defiant, exuberant brand of punk that resisted labels and limitations, and redefined notions of gender in rock.…
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I also purchased the first eponymous Kill Rock Stars compilation that had the Bikini Kill song “Feels Blind.” I remember being deeply struck by the lyrics: “Look what you have taught me / Your world has taught me nothing,” and “As a woman I was taught to always be hungry . . . We could eat just about anything / We might even eat your hate up like love.”
To me, that perfectly summed up being a young girl. It was the first time someone put into words my sense of alienation
Back then, I was still just a fan of music. And to be a fan of music also meant to be a fan of cities, of places. Regionalism—and the creative scenes therein—played an important role in the identification and contextualization of a sound or aesthetic. Music felt married to place, and the notion of “somewhere” predated the Internet’s seeming invention of “everywhere” (which often ends up feeling like “nowhere”).
My story starts with me as a fan. And to be a fan is to know that loving trumps being beloved. All the affection I poured into bands, into films, into actors and musicians, was about me and about my friends. Once, in high school, I went to see the B-52s. I pressed myself against the barrier until bruises darkened my ribs, thrilled to watch Kate Pierson drink from a water bottle, only to have my best friend tell me that to her the concert wasn’t about the band—it was about us, it was about the fact that we were there together, that the music itself was secondary to our world, merely something that colored it, spoke to it. That’s why all those records from high school sound so good. It’s not that the songs were better—it’s that we were listening to them with our friends, drunk for the first time on liqueurs, touching sweaty palms, staring for hours at a poster on the wall, not grossed out by carpet or dirt or crumpled, oily bedsheets. These songs and albums were the best ones because of how huge adolescence felt then, and how nostalgia recasts it now.
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