WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD NIRVANA? Nevermind 20th

In which the Blurt
staff and contributors cast their minds backwards and attempt to channel their
inner teen spirit.

 

BY FRED MILLS

 

There’s a semi-famous quote from some semi-famous ‘80s
hair-metal musician that semi-goes, “When Nirvana and all the Seattle grunge bands hit, they essentially
made us superfluous overnight.” I know I’m not getting the quote right; it’s
pretty unlikely that some spandex-attired, Aqua Net-sprayed goober would even
know how to pronounce “superfluous,” much less use it in a sentence. But the
sentiment expressed remains apt, both as a description of how an unexpected
changing of the guard abruptly altered the contemporary musical dynamic, and in
the way it so perfectly – though no doubt unintentionally – underscores how
rock ‘n’ roll has always been about reinvention at the hands of youth.

 

With the reissue of Nevermind this week we are reminded of how a line was drawn so firmly in the sand 20
years ago that it might as well have been someone setting a blowtorch to steel,
etching a deep imprint destined to be viewable long into the future. And while
that tool wasn’t wielded solely by Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic
– scores of other musicians and scenesters played key roles, including the
folks at Sub Pop and the members of Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam –
there’s usually just one name that springs immediately to mind when discussions
turn to “grunge” or “Seattle” or even “1991,” and that name is Nirvana.

 

Two decades after the fact, it’s probably irrelevant which
side of the dividing line you fell on, just like it’s irrelevant whether or not
you “got” punk during its Ground Zero years circa 1975-77 or only belatedly/begrudgingly
came to the table some time later. Inspiration works on dual levels: there’s
the first seismic rumble, sometimes even an explosion (think the Beatles on Ed Sullivan
show, or the Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy show), then come the aftershocks
which can reverberate and repeat over and over again in ways both small and huge.
Your response depends on where you are and what you’re into at the time of the
initial disturbance, of course,  as well
as the events that subsequently unfold over the following months, years and
decades. But I would propose that ultimately it doesn’t matter if you first
heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the radio in ’91 or if you were still in
kindergarten then and didn’t get turned on to Nirvana until you were a teenager:
it’s what you felt that matters, not
when you felt.

 

It’s interesting how after all this time, many hard rock
outfits whose shelf-life expired after the ‘80s now claim to have gradually
embraced grunge, some of them even going so far as to say, somewhat
disingenuously, they were big Nirvana fans from the get-go. It’s likely,
however, that in private a lot of them are closer to that line in The Wrestler where Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are talking and Rourke gripes about how
“that Cobain pussy” came along and wiped out all the good music from
the ’80s. The irony, of course, is that by the time Kurt Cobain died the
corporate alternative rock scene was already in full spawn: Nevermind had momentarily opened a
window, but only a precious few genuine innovators slipped inside before it
slammed cruelly shut, leaving the rest of us drowning in a sea of schlock every
bit as ghastly as the one Nirvana originally rescued us from, groups like Bush,
Live, Blind Melon, Candlebox, Stone Temple Pilots – not to mention the incoming
legions of rap-metal mooks (Limp Bizkit, Korn, Slipknot et al) and their effete, post-grunge alterna-brethren (e.g., Creed,
Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind) that would dominate the second half of the ‘90s.

 

It’s also worth noting that the Nevermind expanded reissue out this week
comes in multiple formats, including a super-duper collector’s edition
containing four CDs and a DVD, priced at $170 and available exclusively at Best Buy until late
October. That’s right: hardcore fans who would normally support their local
independent record store have to traipse over to one of the biggest mega-chains
in America
to get their complete Nirvana fix. That’s something Cobain may or may not have
signed off on if he were stil alive; it’s known that he craved stardom and
success but was still conflicted about it all (this was a guy willing to appear
on the cover of Rolling Stone but
felt compelled to wear an anti-corporate rock tee shirt to the photo shoot).
But the point is moot; he’s not here today to tell us how he feels about it.

 

Whatever, nevermind. We’re here to
tip our collective hat at one of the great bands, not fret over the lousy ones,
or to complain excessively over modern-day marketing decisions.

 

Allow us, then, to present a
selection of “where-were-you-when-you-heard-Nirvana?” type testimonials from
the BLURT staffers and contributors. It’s a pretty diverse range of responses,
some of them deeply emotional, some of them more analytical, and some of them
intentionally circumspect. But as best as I can tell, they’re all honest
self-assessments which, though no doubt colored to a degree by the passage of
time, ring absolutely true.

 

Oh, and that hair metal dude’s
quote about Nirvana and grunge? One of my more archivally-minded writers
informs me that it was Kip Winger who unwittingly authored his scene’s epitaph:
“When the grunge thing hit,” said Winger, “it was like all the
1980s bands were gone. Overnight.”

 

Of course, that is exactly how it was supposed to happen.

 

***

 

 

Ron Hart

I’ll
never forget September 24, 1991: the Tuesday that Nirvana’s Nevermind came out. I was a senior
in high school at the time, and it came out on the same day as the Red Hot
Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik as well as the same night a group of friends and I had tickets to see Anthrax
with Public Enemy, Primus and the Young Black Teenagers at the Mid-Hudson Civic
Center in Poughkeepsie. With a whole day to myself on account of skipping
school in anticipation for the concert, I headed over to Rhino Records in New
Paltz to pick up Blood Sugar after
anxiously waiting weeks for its arrival in stores. As soon as I walked in the
door, that iconic black, white, red and silver cover hit me like a ton of
bricks and I quickly grabbed one of the last cassette copies from the “New
Arrivals” shelf and made my way over to the counter to pony up the
cash. 

        “You’re not picking up Nevermind, too?” the clerk
inquired, as he handed me my bag. 

        “What’s that?” I asked,
obviously oblivious to its existence, as my 18-year-old mind was focused on
ripping open that cellophane and popping that Chili Peppers tape into the car
radio of my 1984 Ford Escort Wagon before getting my face torn off later by the
twin axe attack of Scott Ian and Dan Spitz. 

        “The new Nirvana album,” he proclaimed,
as he gestured over to the iconic cover image of the naked baby chasing the
dollar bill on a fish hook. “You should get it today, because you are only
going to come back and pick it up in two weeks.”

        “I’m cool for now, thanks,” I
scoffed. “But hey, this new Cult album looks good. Ceremony?”

        “Are you fucking kidding me,”
the clerk laughed. “You are going to buy that piece of shit over Nevermind? Just run along, little
boy.”

        With that, I left my favorite record
store with both Blood Sugar and Ceremony, a bit perplexed, but
nevertheless unfazed. That is, of course, until I put on that God-awful Cult
album and immediately experienced buyer’s regret – a feeling that was
compounded a few days later when I got my first taste of Nirvana after coming
across the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on MTV one random day
after school. The sound of the song hit my senses like a ton of bricks, like
everything I loved about the Beatles, heavy metal and punk rock rolled up into
one trio of scraggly dudes from Seattle. 

        Needless to say, the premonition handed
down by the clerk at Rhino indeed came to fruition as I walked back into the
shop, hat in hand, and purchased that cassette of Nevermind I so ignorantly passed up that September 24th.

        The “I told you so” look on
that dude’s face still haunts me to this day.

 

 

Michael Toland

In September 1991, I was 24 years old, living with three
other guys in an apartment in Austin,
Texas. I’d ostensibly moved there
from Houston in order to attend the University of Texas and finish my education. In
reality, I was lured by the same things that attracted other directionless
young people to the River
City: the much-vaunted
music scene and a cheap standard of living. I was, in short, a standard
slacker.

        The whole
slacker thing was, in truth, driven as much by laziness as anything else. (At
least it was for me.) But the lack of direction on the part of a media-friendly
chunk of my generation wasn’t just a desire not to have to work too hard. There
was a genuine sense of dissatisfaction, of not wanting to follow the
greed-driven guidelines of the ‘80s, and a need for something in life more
meaningful than the pursuit of rent money. But it was unclear to many of us
what that something might be.

        When I first
heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” it hooked me for the same reason it hooked
everyone else – it was powerful, insanely catchy and sounded different than
anything else on the radio. Nirvana’s mixture of classic and alternative rock
was like Bob Mould collaborating with AC/DC (with a side of Boston, whose “More Than a Feeling” riff was
twisted into a far more volatile shape). For those of us who grew up in small Texas towns with nothing
but classic rock and Top 40 radio but had made the leap into underground rock,
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” seemed as fresh as milk straight from the cow.

        That said, it
took me a while to warm up to the whole album. I waited until more songs hit
the radio before I took the plunge; a legendary Austin show at Liberty Lunch that I will
forever regret not attending had come and gone by the time I bought Nevermind. But once I did I spun it
endlessly, and its songs ended up on many a mixtape. Sure, I was jumping around
my bedroom playing air guitar, but it was more than just the musical rush that
I craved whenever I put needle to vinyl. I genuinely identified with Kurt
Cobain’s perfectly inchoate bluster. He had no more idea what he wanted than I
did – indeed, he was particularly inarticulate in that regard. But he wailed
his confusion, anger and disengagement from mainstream culture with the kind of
blazing musical torrent that I’d been waiting for all my life, apparently.
Never before had I heard the kind of aimless drift in which I was engaged expressed
with, paradoxically, so much lust for life, even if it was unclear what shape
that life might take.

        Of course, it
wasn’t to last. The combination of personal maturity – I may still be looking
for purpose, but at least I’ve found that elusive sense of direction –  and cultural oversaturation has lessened Nevermind‘s impact over the years. Hell,
I was already burning out on Nirvana when Cobain died. That didn’t stop me from
mourning the loss, of course, and Nevermind remained a cornerstone of my record collection for at least another decade. It
and the rest of Nirvana’s catalog are gone from the N’s now, though. While I
can still appreciate Nevermind for
its musical qualities, its place in rock history and for what it meant in the
life of many former slackers, that appreciation is more academic at this point.
When I want to hear its songs I’m perfectly content to turn on the radio; in
Austin it’s still common for either the classic rock or the commercial
alternative stations to spin “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are” or
“In Bloom” once an hour. But at one time in my life, Nevermind meant a great deal to me. It may be a cliché now, but
when I was 24 – not coincidentally the same age as Kurt Cobain when Nevermind came out – Nirvana’s biggest
success sounded like the proverbial soundtrack to my then-useless, aimless
life. 

 

 

Zach Bloom

The first time I heard Nirvana was in the fucking Hamptons. I must have
been ten. We were staying with cousins in one of those summer houses with its
garage converted into a game room – a pool table, and appropriated neon beer
signs adorning the walls next to posters of race cars.

       I had MTV to
thank for the introduction. The clearest image I can still recall is of Cobain
studying the business end of the camera, cockeyed, head back slightly,
appearing thick-necked and menacing. (I don’t know how true that image actually
is; I suppose I could check, but my memory seems more real than whatever’s
actually in the video.)

        I was
intimidated, sitting there in this carpeted sun room, half expecting/mostly
wanting to see Jesus Jones. My first impression owes as much credit to Samuel
Bayer, helmer of the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, as anyone else. It was
his murky images, crusty browns and mustard yellows, that attacked my hitherto
glammed-out sense of what music videos looked like. Which was, to say,
“Unskinny Bop.”

        Nirvana was
style to me before it was music. The color palette of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
became my ’90s, and it too became cliché. It was Michael Stipe in a knit cap
with a short sleeve t-shirt over a long sleeve t-shirt (one of them striped;
the other waffle?). It was symbols that stood for the end of Reagan’s era, like
creepy old men, long past their utility. It was music videos in general. All
committed to the past now, leaving nothing but the music.

 

 

Hal Bienstock

I was in my sophomore year of college when Nevermind came out. For most people, Nevermind is the album that knocked
Michael Jackson from the top of the pop charts. For me, it was the album that
made me realize that, as the old DJ cliché goes, music doesn’t have to be old
to be classic.

        Like many
music lovers, I couldn’t stand what I was hearing on the radio and seeing on
MTV in the late ‘80s and very early ‘90s. Some of us looked to the underground
as an alternative – and while I did that a bit, and became a fan of bands like
The Replacements and Husker Du – I mostly looked back to what I considered the
golden age of music. Like most kids, I worshipped Led Zeppelin by junior high
school. That led me to the Stones, Dylan, Neil Young, Creedence and so on,
until a few years later I was crate digging for albums by artists like Captain
Beefheart, the Modern Lovers and Johnny Thunders. With so many interesting bands
from the past to learn about, I largely stopped focusing on new acts.

        Perhaps that’s
why I remember discovering Nirvana’s imagery before I knew much about their
music. When I returned to school in the fall of 1991, I started to see posters
on the walls and t-shirts on the backs of some of my more indie-minded friends.
It actually took me a few weeks to connect that the band I was hearing so much
about was performing the song I’d begun to hear increasingly often, first
through the dorm walls, then on the radio. Soon, it would be inescapable, and
would lead me to learn about a lot of other great bands, like Uncle Tupelo,
Dinosaur Jr, the Meat Puppets and Liz Phair.

        While I wasn’t
– and still am not – a fan of most grunge, the power of Nirvana was impossible
to deny. Even better was the feeling that quality music had toppled the old
order, much as it had during the British Invasion of the ‘60s and to a lesser
extent the punk era of the ‘70s. The biggest lesson for me is that you never
know where or when the next great band is coming, so it’s wise to always keep
your ears open.

 

 

Selena Fragassi

I remember making a peanut butter sandwich the day Kurt
Cobain died. It was a weekday and I had just come home from school and Kurt
Loder was on MTV. This was before the days of instantaneous news via Facebook
and Twitter and still the days of my parents getting on my ass for their
engorged phone bill. But like they said, this was an emergency and required me to call up my friend Megan who had just
introduced me to Nevermind not a few
days before – late but better than never. She was what some might call “the bad
seed” at school; she hiked her school uniform skirt up so high that Sr. Marie
had to cut her hem and often found herself in detention for smuggling
cigarettes. But what my folks and the nuns didn’t understand was the Megan was
a cultural inspiration, like Cleopatra. We were twelve and not old enough yet
to drive ourselves to record stores, yet she had all the imports and soon had a
self-conscious seventh grader trading her Boyz II Men tapes for Nirvana CDs.

        In the
posthumous world of Cobain, in the spirit of living life to burn baby, burn and
not fade away, in watching news footage of revelers holding candlelight vigils
and smearing their heavy black eyeliner, Cobain became legend to impressionable
pre-teens and beyond. Nevermind quickly
became the cornerstone of my youth and provided revelations for myself as a
writer and creator – even if my mother despised me for loving “that dead guy.”
I soon planned trips to my grandparents’ house in Madison on the guise of
spending time with my elders but really it was to see the studio where Nirvana
recorded the album with Butch Vig and get dropped off on State Street to rifle
through stacks of used CDs at the record stores where the university kids hung
out.

        Looking back
at Nevermind now, as a journalist and
as a 29 year old, there’s nothing so incredibly enigmatic or satiating about
the album, but I can understand that what it did was provide the hunger. It may
have just been a lot of noise, but no music since has been so romantic.

 

 

Fred Mills, Blurt Editor

As BLURT’s official Old Man Of The Sea, I’m theoretically a
good deal more jaded than most of the writers and my fellow editors. Indeed, by
the time of Nevermind‘s release in
the fall of ’91 I had already lived through more than my fair share of music
world milestones, proverbial shots-heard-‘round-the-world, and even that most
dubious of distinctions, utterances from Voices Of A Generation. That’s not to
take away from Nirvana’s unquestionable impact and subsequent influence, and I
certainly don’t intend to undercut any of my younger peers’ enthusiasm or
appreciation; but having grown up on Dylan, the Beatles, Stones and Who,
followed in the next decade by Springsteen, Patti Smith, the Ramones and the
Clash, and then again not long after that by such musical giants-in-the-making as U2, Public Enemy, Sonic Youth and
R.E.M., my admiration for Nirvana is levied, to a degree, in retrospect, not by
immediacy.

        In fact, when
Nirvana first bolted out of the gate with a Sub Pop 45 followed by the Bleach mini-album, my musical tastes,
relative to the nascent grunge explosion, were decidedly tilted in the more
garagey direction of labelmates Mudhoney, and it’s long been a badge of shame
of mine to admit that when Nirvana came to punk venue The Milestone Club, May
of 1990 in Charlotte, NC (where I lived at the time), I passed on the show. A
year and a half later, when Nevermind was released, I didn’t purchase it right away; point of fact, I didn’t even own
a CD unit yet, although I eventually rectified both situations, buying a player
(irony alert: I used funds accrued from selling promotional CDs) and, upon
hearing that this blockbuster Nirvana album contained a hidden CD-only bonus
track called “Endless, Nameless,” finally purchasing Nevermind, along with a copy of the Stooges’ Funhouse owing to my being on a huge Iggy Pop kick at the time.

        Iggy still
trumps Kurt in my book, and I remain somewhat circumspect when discussing Nevermind and its creators. To be
perfectly honest, I have a hard time elevating to “hero” – or Voice Of A
Generation – status anyone who takes the coward’s way out, in the process
betraying the idealism of millions of fans (not to mention leaving a young
child behind to grow up without a father). Cobain’s suicide didn’t
automatically negate Nirvana’s achievement, but it definitely left a permanent
asterisk beside the group’s name. I have precious little patience with the
legions of misguided Cobain apologists who try to deploy the “martyr” label,
too. Jesus – Presley, Lennon, Cobain, Jackson, whoever – may have died for
somebody’s sins, but not mine.

        As a result,
when I listen to Nevermind, I try to
focus on the positives: the adrenalin rush I got the first time I heard “Smells
Like Teen Spirit” (driving in the car, natch – always the best place to hear a
classic song); the sheer brick-in-face smack of pure punk viscosity the first
time I saw that unhinged “Teen Spirit” video for the first time (I suddenly had
an urge to go out and kiss the first cheerleader I saw); and the way the entire
album hangs together from start to finish as a reasonably solid – not flawless,
mind you, but still powerful – collection of rock songs frontloaded with hooks
and imbued with an undeniable visceral energy. (The silly, interminable
“Endless, Nameless” excepted, of course.) You done good, guys – take one last
curtain call.

 

 

Barry St. Vitus

For music nuts, there’s no place better to be than working
at a college radio station, what I’ve always considered to be the source of the
Nile, as it were, for new music.

When I was a programmer at college station KALX, Berkeley,
it was almost like Christmas coming in every week and digging through the new
Feature Play bin to see what came in recently and scope out the reviewer’s
comments scribbled on the front. Sometimes these boiled over into weeks-long
battles on more controversial albums, as everyone with an opinion, had to get
their two cents worth in or snipe at other comments. It wasn’t uncommon for
almost the whole front cover of an album to be covered with stickers in an
ongoing war of words and various assessments of an album’s worth. Even though
comments were supposed to be initialed, some of the more heated and opinioned
anonymous back-and- forth’s might be “This album is ace bunny killer! Play!”
“Actually, you’re deluded and this album sucks!” “No, YOU suck!”

       I remember my
first exposure to the band, their cover single of Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz.”
It totally floated my boat and many others’, so the release of Bleach later had a ready audience at the
station. As I recall, it got moderate attention and a fair amount of play for a
while. I saw them open for Dinosaur Jr and enjoyed their energy and Kurt’s
vocals, but wasn’t blown away by them. At that time, the “grunge” era was upon
us, and a plethora of music descended from the North West. Bands like Mark Arm’s Green River, then Mudhoney, were embraced as the real
deal, as were the Fastbacks, The Melvins, Screaming Trees and others. Many of
the bands are now forgotten, like Steel Wool and Gas Huffer, not to mention
other NW bands like Portland’s
Hazel and Crackerbash. You would see a label like Sub Pop, or smaller regional
imprints like CZ, eMpty, Estrus or K label and pretty much know that you would
like their offerings. Being the jaded elitists that we were, hugely popular
bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam were generally ignored.

        Which brings
me to the subject at hand, Nevermind. I
thought the smart place to start was at the KALX library for a little detective
work. I called and spoke to the office manager to see if she had time to take a
shot of the cover and email it to me. As it turns out, it had recently come to
their notice that somebody had ripped the whole cover off of the album and
started with new stickered comments, so all the glorious history of
pronouncements and judgments were lost to time. The first go-round, it got
stickered over so fast, some folks never got to see the baby. Nevermind was, of course, critically
acclaimed worldwide and the band is credited for bringing the spotlight onto
indie-rock and making it appealing to the mainstream audience. The consensus
among most of our DJ’s was that it was a tad too commercial, so it ultimately
did not receive heavy airplay.

        By then, they
were the darlings of large commercial stations here like Live 105. I can say
absolutely that R.E.M.’s Murmur caused much more excitement when it hit the play bin. As for me, I still don’t
own a Nirvana album after all these years. Kurt’s tragic suicide struck me as a
final statement by a troubled, very artistic man who loved music and his art,
more than being a deified superstar constricted and smothered by his own fame.
Artists utilize the misery of their lives to create great works of literature,
art or music, but implode when the later success becomes too much to deal with.
One can’t help but wonder where his music would have gone next if he hadn’t
pulled the trigger.

 

 

Stephen Judge, Blurt CEO & Second Motion Records
Owner

Its hard to believe that is has been 20 years since Nevermind was released.  I would
not even put the album in my top 50 of all time probably but it is hard to deny
its place in history.  For me personally, I grew up listening to the
post-punk era of music, in the early to mid ‘80s.  Music that inspired me
was bands like U2, Split Enz, The Clash, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, The
Replacements, R.E.M. I was religiously paying attention to labels like SST,
Twin/Tone, Stiff, IRS and saw how there was a very healthy and wonderful
underground of music on indie labels that was a refreshing alternative to what
Lennon (and later Bono quoting Lennon) would call “Glossy wallpaper music.”
        In 1990 I got hired at Schoolkids
Records in Raleigh, NC, where I ended up working for 10 years
and cutting my teeth in this business. The CD format was just starting to
explode, and immediately you could feel something there, a brotherhood for us
employees (that still exists today) and a kinship with our customers. One night
in late 1991 a friend of mine who DJ’d at WKNC (NC State’s college radio
station where I attended college) gave me a call: “Hey man, have you heard that
new Nirvana single yet? Tune in tonight… I am going to debut it on my show.”
I sat in my apartment, heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time and
went “whoa”; I was hooked. But then again they were just another band – this
happened all of the time. But I did like it and thought it was brilliant right
away.
        Three weeks later I was fortunate
enough to see them at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel
Hill, NC (October
4th). And just sat there in awe watching them destroy their instruments after a
blistering 45-50 minute set with no breaks. They hardly said anything to the
crowd, just blew through their set with fierce intensity.
        Two months later? Nevermind was the #1 album in the
country. What was already a healthy time for us, sales started to explode at
the store.  The week I remember more than any other was the week after
Christmas when virtually every kid that got a gift certificate from their
parents came in to buy Nevermind. It
was the classic move: the parents would not buy it for them so they bought it
themselves. I also remember getting tons of trades for boy band records and
they would trade it back for Nirvana and I sat there at the register thinking “this is insane” and “this is good!”
        After that, sales went thru the
roof for just about everything we had at that store. Across the board. When
Pearl Jam’s second album was released we had an $11,000 day at the store,
insane! When you think back and see that most stores today (that are even still
around) are struggling to make $800-$1,000 a day, that’s all you need to know
to see the impact Nirvana had on a culture and an industry.  It was a
culture that was built for years under the surface and just exploded.
 Something you cannot re-create on the internet.
        For me personally, it just
reassured me that people do come around, people can get it. And that there was a legit business in this passion I had;
I already knew that but this just reassured it.  A very important lesson
to learn at 21 years old when you still have mother saying “when are you going
to go down to the law office and get a job”.  It gave me hope and
confidence.  It’s something we all experienced and it may only happen once
in a generation.
        Honestly, if it were not for
Nirvana it’s safe to say that my label Second Motion and even Blurt might not be around. Personally,
U2’s and R.E.M.’s music has had a much more lasting effect on my life and
certainly who I attribute to being the reason I started working in music in the
first place. But there is no denying how important Nevermind was – it was a critical turning point and more than a
mere footnote to history. Recently I found a photo from the Cat’s Cradle show
on the Facebook page of a colleague. I have no idea who took this shot but I
had to have a copy.  What a great memento. I also have a bootleg of the
show that is surprisingly good quality, especially for a tape recorder.
 Two great things to listen to and look at, with the innocence and unknown
of what was about to happen. And I was there watching to all unfold in front of
my eyes.

 

 

Logan K. Young

What’s left to write that hasn’t
been wrote already? Nirvana was an incredible band, Cobain as close as we ever
got to another Lennon. And while I still take In Utero (Albini’s mix,
duh) over Nevermind, it’s clear now that the record with the baby penis cover
will, err, go down as their best. Why the hell else would we be doing this?
True, like everyone else, I, too, have a story. Oh well. Whatever. Nevermind is bigger than some subjective anecdote. In fact, when a record is that
big, eyewitness accounts are like assholes: everyone’s got one, and no one
thinks their’s stinks. Only I give a shit that I wore a dingy “Kurt Was
Murdered” tee to the first day of high school. And only myself need know that I
cried at the end of About A Son.  
        Like
most things, rock ‘n’ roll tends to hear things in waves. Of course, unlike
Shakespeare’s sea, you can’t sense its kind of change as it’s happening. When
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” first came out, it was just another song; the fact
that we’re here blowing Caesar threatens to bury the very spirit of “grunge”
itself. Then again, Cobain was an über-glutton, so maybe he would have wanted this.

        What’s left to say, then? Whatever the
case, here we are waxing on the china anniversary of a record the Library of fucking
Congress added to her stacks more than half-a-decade ago. I mean, Pearl Jam got
their own Cameron Crowe doc for Ten.

 

 

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