Rape me again
I'm not the only one
Do it and do it again.
Taste me, my friend"
Kurt Cobain will
always have a special place in my heart. right next to the Inferior
I HATED "Smells
Like Teen Spirit." I thought (and still do) that it is the height
of rock-star pretension to intentionally obscure the lyrics to your
own song. It just screams "I'm a self-important assh**e who is too
good to lower myself to acknowledging the existence of my fans."
This turned me off to Nirvana for a while, until small town American
corporate rock radio discovered other songs on the album. I did
not see the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" until three years
after it first hit heavy rotation on MTV. It's more of a challenge
then I care to engage in to get MTV if you have no television (the
first smarty-pants who sends me diagrams and detailed explanations
how to get cable through my molars gets 50 lashes with a wet poodle).
Yes, Virginia, you can survive for long periods of time without
a television. No, it doesn't entitle you for hardship pay. Once
I finally did enter the 20th century and spent some time damaging
brain cells by watching MTV, I saw the video. It was far from what
I expected. I was struck by how.sweet and vulnerable Kurt Cobain
looked. During part of the video he had this sweet, shy half-smile
that really tugged on my cynical, hardened heart. He looked like
a little boy. I was immediately hooked. The song "Lithium" also
moved me firmly into the pro-Nirvana camp. Any band that writes
an ode to heavy antipsychotics is a band I can enjoy listening to.
For those readers
who cut your rock teeth on Kid Rock and Garbage, a bit of background
is necessary here. Before Nirvana ushered in the Age of Grunge,
Hair Rock was king. You know the ones I refer to, if only from your
parents album collection: Poison, Warrant, Motley Crue, Winger (whose
orthodontist won the Lifetime Achievement Award - Kip Winger has
the most perfect teeth in the history of rock and roll). I hold
these bands personally responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.
If these boys had been able to control their inhalant addiction
and kept their hairspray use down to one can every OTHER
day, we wouldn't be in the shape we're in. The required uniform
for these bands (they were all issued uniforms from central casting)
was eyeliner, lipstick, hair teased out to here (the higher the
hair, the closer to SATAN), skin tight clothing, and a half-naked
stripper on each arm. Marrying them is not required, unless you
are in Motley Crue. Into this choking cloud of Aqua-Net, cocaine
and pheromones walked Nirvana, with their jeans-and-flannel-shirt
concert costume and their decidedly low-tech stage show. Video killed
the radio star, and Nirvana killed the hair bands. For this, we
all owe Kurt Cobain our eternal gratitude.
and every individual has one "where I was" moment. It's that moment
when you got the news, and you will always remember where you were,
what you were doing. For my grandparents, that was Pearl Harbor.
For my parents, it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For
me, it was Kurt Cobain's suicide. (That may sound like the height
of Gen.X pretentiousness, but bear with me for a minute.) I will
always remember where I was when I heard about his death. I was
driving home from my bookstore job in Cincinnati, Ohio. It hit me
a lot harder than I had expected. It took me a long time and a lot
of thought before I could crystallize why I was so upset about the
suicide of a rock star. Kurt's songs, Nirvana songs, were bleak,
cynical, violent, and often disturbed. But they sold a LOT of albums.
Kurt Cobain was a very rich man. From my vantage point, he was thumbing
his nose at our society, at our superficial, trend-driven culture.
It was as if he were saying "I made fun of you, insulted you to
your face, picked on your sacred cows, and not only did you listen
to me, you bought my records in droves." He hated this society as
much as the rest of us did. He was one of us freaks, doing what
we always wanted to do, and getting rich doing it. And if he could
do it, so could we. He gave me hope that maybe we could win in this
David Vs. Goliath fight against conformity and the pink world.
And then he swallowed
I have gone back
and forth on my feelings about Kurt's death. (I won't even go into
the paranoid theory that Courtney hired someone to kill him.) Some
days, I wonder what the point is in even trying. Kurt was rich,
he was successful, and none of it helped. His money and fame didn't
insulate him from the hopelessness of trying to change this mandatory
conformity society we live in. If he can't, what kind of pretentious
idiot would I be if I kept beating my head into that wall?
Other days, I
watch his videos and I get angry, for very personal reasons. Kurt
Cobain was a rock star, but he was also a husband and a father.
He CHOSE heroin and a shotgun over his wife and newborn child. He
made a conscious decision to abandon his family in the cruelest
way possible. Kurt, if you didn't want to be a rock star anymore,
fine. If you wanted to go live in a hut in Montana and never pick
up the guitar again, that would be OK too. But you have a responsibility
to your wife and child that supercedes your desire for opiates.
Your family comes before your addiction, your ego, and your vanity.
I'm sorry that you had such a rough time with your heroin addiction
that you felt the only way out was to end it all. However, what
you did to your wife and daughter was just plain WRONG. I had hoped
you were a better man than that.
lives in the midwest. Overeducated and unemployed, she now works
as a glorified secretary at the state Deaf School while she decides
which career path to send her life careening down next.
Comments? Questions? Gripes, groans or moans?
Send them to Devora. Devorajuno@hotmail.com