April 5, 2004

Negative Creep

Gee, I hope that's teen spirit I smell...

Back in ’94, during the heady days of the first Clinton administration, I was bartending at a Ruby Tuesday’s in Towson, Maryland — an okay gig if you didn’t mind wearing black polyester pants (which I did), or making specialty drinks like “The Rubalicious Mudslider!” named by drug-addled corporate marketers soon to find positions in IT. Fact: when an alcoholic beverage recipe calls for a fistful of malt balls and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the people who came up with that recipe were very likely stoned to the bejesus.

But be that as it may. I was behind the bar at Ruby Tuesday’s ten years ago today, the day Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain ate his gun, and the day my friend Greg Koester stood up on his bar stool, toasted Kurt with a 16 oz blueberry wheat draft and an audible sob, and declared in no uncertain terms that John Lennon had just died all over again — that we’d all just witnessed our generation’s “American Pie” moment, the end to an era in music that would be mourned in perpetuity.

Then he climbed down and ordered hot wings.

Well, I was never really a big Nirvana fan, and I, too, thought Cobain quite overrated as a visionary talent, but now that ten years have gone by, I’ve had a chance to reflect a bit, and here’s what I think Cobain’s legacy is: he doesn’t have one.

Well, other than that every time I see Courtney Love I think, okay, I can see how he’d pull the trigger.

Anyway, today being the 10-year anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, I thought I’d honor my friend Greg — who later moved to Seattle to work as an assistant manager in a record store (you can’t make this stuff up) — by paying tribute to Kurt.

Which is why for the rest of the day I’ll be wearing a flannel shirt, moping around the house, and accusing my dogs of selling out. Oh. And I’ll only answer to “angst pirate.”

Here’s to ya’, Greg.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:32pm

Comments (14)

  1. Just don’t go near any handguns or marry a skanky whore.

    Angst pirate. Heh.

  2. “Well, other than that every time I see Courtney Love I think, okay, I can see how he’d pull the trigger.”

    Love that cheek!

  3. Hi, JFK here. I just want you all to know that I’ve always thought that Kirk Cobain really has a handle on the pulse of today’s youth. I mean, think about these lines:

    A mulatto

    An albino

    A mosquito

    My libido

    Well – to be blunt, shit, man, I don’t know about you, but that says something deep and powerful to me.

    Hey, anyway…rock the vote! Power to the people! And if you can spare a few bucks, don’t forget to go to my website and leave a contribution. It’s not like I need it or that I’ll even pay you back, but you’ll feel like you’re helping and I want you to know that it’s all about you.

    Luv ya, Jeff, great website. And by the way, how did you manage to get Janeane and Al and Michael to post here? Way to go!

  4. Ugh, “blueberry wheat draft”, my god.

  5. No legacy?  My wife suggested this evidence to the contrary: the enduring ubiquitousness of American coffee bars.

  6. If I woke up one day from a drug-induced stupor to realize that I’d somehow managed to marry and procreate with Courtney Love, and saddled the child with a name like Frances Bean, I would hope that one of my friends would be kind enough to shoot me. I mean, fergodsake, save me the trouble of doing it myself.

    As for talent, well, let’s just say he was no Mark Lanegan or anything. But that probably goes without saying.

  7. Dude: “angst pirate”? You rock.

  8. I guess I’ll be the lone person who’ll stick up for ol’ Kurt.  No, he wasn’t a genius, but I like many of the songs he wrote and they still hold up well.

    I also like “Celebrity Skin.” Just cuz Courtney is self-destructing doesn’t mean she didn’t write a few good ones at one time.

    I always try to separate the art from the artist, if I can.  Otherwise I would be continuously disappointed by artists and not be able to listen to anything.

    Just to be real evil, I always thought the Beatles were overrated.  And no, I’m not trolling.  Lennon and McCartney were great pop craftsmen, but I just never got why people thought they were gods.  Frankly, no song writer ever has impressed me that much.

    The last real good concert I saw was Jeff Beck with BB King.  BB… now that’s friggen talent.

  9. Yeah, it’s not so much that I thought Kurt bad, I just didn’t hold him in as high regard as my friends did.

    The same friend who I wrote about here was of the John Lennon – genius camp.  Me, I liked McCartney and Wings.  Tells you all you need to know about me.

  10. Well, I’ll throw my weight into the “Hate Kobain and everything he stood for” group. Not that I think he was that bad, mind you. I’ll admit I’ve never been into angst-rock or any other music that substitutes cheap raw emotion for not being able to think of something interesting to do with one’s instrument.

    However, my animus towards Kobain, Nirvana and their compatriots is the fact that, all through highschool (and this was already after he was dead), I had to listen to it on my friends’ car stereos, and to hear their conversations about how deep it was, MAN, and how this music was, like, the new youth revolution DUDE.

    Ugh. And don’t get me started on Radiohead.

  11. Some quotes:

    I was trying to write the ultimate pop song.  It’s such a cliched riff–it’s so close to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” riff or

    “Louie Louie”.  When I came up with the guitar part, Kris [Novoselic, bass] looked at me and said, ‘That’s so ridiculous.’ So I made the

    band play it for an hour and a half.

    — Kurt Cobain, on “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

    I definitely have a responsibility to talk negatively about heroin.  It’s a really evil drug.  I think opiates are directly linked

    to Satan.

    –Kurt Cobain

    There’s something wrong with that boy.  He frowns for no good reason.

    –William S. Burroughs

  12. McCartney and Wings had a lot of great tunes as well, and I heard a lot more of Wings when I was growing up than Beatles.  “Band on the Run” and “Jet” stand out in my memory. 

    I was just responding to a “Kurt sucks” meme that seemed to be floating around the blogs I read, and yours was the last one I hit.  Apparently I’m in the minority camp on this one.  I’m getting old, but Nirvana and Pearl Jam really connected to me when I heard them.  Then again, I never had to put up with anyone claiming depth.  I just know what I like.

  13. Courtney Love, a legacy of Kurt’s? What a Crack Whore she is.

  14. Your getting old?  I saw Paul McCartney and Wings in 1975 at the St. Paul Civic center.  Their “Wings over America Tour” I believe.  General admission tickets only, and I believe it cost me $7.50.  Talk about getting old…