Sunday, July 17, 2005

Do You Remember?


Kurt Cobain, (1967-1994)

Do you remember when you first heard Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit?

For me, it was 1992 and I was a freshman in high school. I had stayed the night a friend's house over the weekend. We spent the night like most 14-year olds: playing video games, eating pizza, drinking Pepsi and watching movies.

The next morning I woke up to the radio playing. We must have left the radio on all night. As I was lying there waking up, I heard the DJ introduce the next song. He talked about how this new song was climbing the charts fast.

At this point in my life, I was not really into music. I had a few cassettes, like Gun and Roses, AC/DC and Def Leopard, but what I was about to hear was going to change my life and my music collection.

The DJ played Smells Like Teen Spirit. I just laid on the floor and listened. It was SO odd. It was SO raw, SO loud, and SO angry. I had never heard anything like that. And I SO liked it.

After seeing the video a couple of times on MTV I was a fan. I remember where I was specifically when I saw new videos of theirs. I learned to play every song on the guitar, I grew my hair long just like Kurt. I learned their lyrics and cranked their CDs.

The year Kurt killed himself, I was planing to go to Sacramento to see Nirvana in concert on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, my father put a stop to that, saying it was too dangerous to be out of town on New Years. Too many drunk drivers, he said. For what it's worth, I have seen the Foo Fights and Chris Novoselic's band in concert.

Nirvana has impacted me greatly. Because of Nirvana, I learned to play the guitar. Because of Nirvana I was introduced to other bands like Sound Garden, Pixies, Alice and Chains, Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction, They Might Be Giants, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth.

Because of Nirvana, I now had an outlet for my anger. Nirvana gave me someone/something to idealize, they gave me words to scream, and songs to play.

Thank you Nirvana.

1 comment:

flatlander said...

I know that Don McLean's famous song, "American Pie" is about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, but for me, the last line of the corus "...the day the music died" might as well refer to Kurt Cobain's sad suicide.

I was too young to care when Elvis died, and Sid Viscious too, was just outside my still developing cultural radar, but Kurt Cobain's death did seem like a loss to me. I wasn't a huge Nirvana fan, but I liked their sound, and I could relate to the forlorne misfit poet image that Kurt draped himself in.

In a way, I felt that his death was the conclusion of all the times in high school that I wanted to end it all, but didn't. If there's a hell, I hope to catch a Nirvana concert there someday, even if it's just on a Dantesque visitor's pass.