Wow. It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since Kurt Cobain committed suicide. (Okay, the link is there if anyone who isn't of my generation happens upon this.) It's also so weird to see so many blogs – of very differing content – taking a minute this month to remember the man and the band.
I've always thought that Kurt Cobain was a genius – fucked up, strung out and oh-so-vulnerable, but still a genius. I can still remember hearing the opening strains of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and having it… well, speak to me. How cliched, I know. But honestly, that album turned me from teeny-bopper to grunge girl in record time. One day I was wearing cute outfits that were super-girly and then I started with the flannel shirts, black t's and tights, ripped jeans or babydoll dresses, and my ever-present Docs. I listened obsessively to Nirvana – like most girls do when discovering a new love – and found the lyrics (while majorly fucked up) heartbreakingly honest. Kurt himself often reminded me of a puppy that had been kicked over and over again, still looking for love and approval from someone – anyone, which triggered my nurturing nature… I just wanted to wrap him up in a big hug and tell him everything would be okay.
For my parents' generation the question always is: "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" For mine, it seems to be: "Where were you found out about Kurt Cobain's suicide?" So… where were you? I was at home – it was a Friday, I believe – and happened to be watching MTV when Kurt Loder broke in with the news that Kurt Cobain's body had been rumored to be found dead by self-inflicted gunshot wound. I remember MTV changing their programming to a vigil – an all night tribute to Nirvana – and I stayed up until 3 that morning, just hoping and wishing that it wasn't true. Yes, I definitely cried too. I had class that next day, bowling – I needed a Phys Ed in college, and the entire class, it seemed, just couldn't function. It didn't matter what genre of music everyone listened to, we all banded together in grief, grieving for a life taken so young. Our instructor didn't really understand what was going on, but he cancelled class so we could all just be.
Part of me is sad that for the generations following me, Dave Grohl will only be known to them as the lead singer of the Foo Fighters (a great group) and not part of the brilliant trio of Cobain, Grohl and Krist Novoselic – Nirvana. That same part is glad that while kids may not know of it, the music does still survive (though if I ever hear Nirvana on an oldies station, I'll cry) and that it brought focus to a scene that not many people outside of Seattle knew about – grunge/the Seattle Sound. Nirvana pointed me in the direction of Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth. Kurt, if you're out there somewhere, thank you for that education in music – and I hope that you have finally found the peace you searched for here on Earth. You are missed.
One of my favorite songs – an outtake from their rehearsal for MTV Unplugged. And of course I had to find the video of the song that started it for me. Enjoy.