- Sonic Youth
You don't need to hear Sonic Youth to like them. In fact, the less you hear, the more likable they probably are. Since the band's inception in 1981, its New York City, post-punk-rock story has been an inspirational tale: a group of young misfits who defied convention to make "experimental music" on their own terms and at their own frantic pace.
They've inspired other bands with their raw ethos and ability to maintain an aura of disenfranchised youth, even though they've all pushed past 40. That the band has managed to do all this without the benefit of substantial radio play or huge record sales is even more inspiring.
"A lot more people have heard of us than have heard us -- and that's been true for a long time. We're a band that attracts critical attention and gets a lot of stuff written about us, so people can't help but read about us, but they may never buy an album," explains Lee Ranaldo, guitarist-vocalist and one of three founding members, along with husband-and-wife team Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. "And part of the reason that people remember us is because of the ways in which we do things that are really atypical -- the way we write songs, the way we do our business dealings, the way we do our groupthink thing to make our decisions, the way we run our studio -- I still think a lot of that stuff is pretty unique to us."