Published Mar 22, 2012Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo has just released Beyond the Times and the Tides, his first solo album of rock songs since the band formed 30 years ago. It's the most notable activity from the Sonic Youth camp since Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore announced they were separating last fall, after 27 years of marriage, leading some fans to wonder if the band's hiatus was actually more of a break-up.
"The first thing I'd say is that 30 years has been a pretty awesome run," Ranaldo tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "We've done so much stuff and had so many amazing things happen to us that's it's been fantastic. Obviously, Thurston and Kim are going through a very sensitive, private time right now, and we all wish them the best. The press has been pretty respectful since the announcement and that's great; we're not really talking about the future of the band to the press or to each other at the moment.
"There are a lot of other things happening that need to be resolved before we can even figure out what would happen to Sonic Youth in the future. 'We're on hiatus' is the best we can honestly say, and I think it'll be a while before we venture to discuss what might happen in the future in one direction or another. Everybody's busy doing other things, surviving and working, but there are obviously some personal issues that need to be resolved before we can figure out what might happen. I understand the question and take it as a note of caring from so many people. It's appreciated and one of the highest compliments we can be paid."
For his part, Ranaldo is gearing up for a North American tour behind his new album -- arguably a must-have for fans of his Sonic Youth contribution -- and is doing so with all the open joy of someone in their first band, looking to explore the world on the road.
"We're starting pretty humbly with our touring band: Steve Shelley on drums, Alan Licht on guitar and Irwin Menken on bass," Ranaldo explains. "We've only played three shows so far; we're going out to Mexico City, Los Angeles and San Francisco soon. About a month later, we're touring up and down the East Coast.
"I definitely have it in mind to come up and do some Canadian shows. I'd love to play Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, Vancouver and Winnipeg, and wherever we could. Looks like we're going to Europe in June. We're taking it as slowly and humbly as befits a new band and just seeing what happens. I'm really excited about the record; I love how it came out and all the people who helped me out with it, and I would just love for people to hear it at this point."
So far, Ranaldo and his band have only announced a string of U.S. dates, which you can see over here, but as he says, stay tuned for more to be announced in the near future.
For now, read more of Exclaim!'s interview with Lee Ranaldo over here.