Monday, April 05, 2004

"I miss the comfort in being sad"

Ten years.

I can still remember seeing the reports of Kurt Cobain's death on the MTV news. It was the first time I'd ever seen Kurt Loder choke up. It didn't seem real, but at the same time, it wasn't too terribly surprising. Sad, but not surprising.

I remember when "Nevermind" hit it big. I was still listening to the last screams, howls & breaths of the 80's hair metal era: Guns n' Roses, LA Guns, Great White, etc. I remember hearing about Nirvana. A friend of mine in the dorm I lived in told me to get their album - not to bother waiting to hear the next single (my "Two Song" rule: before I'd buy a new album, I had to hear & like at least two songs), but to just go out & get it.

I didn't take his advice.

My loss.

I remember thinking that they were going to be another flash in the pan (after having been burned by so many one hit wonder metal bands, I was just a wee bit cynical of the music industry). I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" about eleventy-billion times & was pretty tired of it. A great song, but, as per usual, MTV played it into the ground. Even worse, Pearl Jam came out about the same time & all I would hear from these bands was how much they hated all of the fame & fortune they'd achieved. I kept thinking "You've reached a position in the music world that so many other bands dream about but never see & you're whining about it?" Every time I saw them on TV, I'd flip the channel. It was so bleak & dark. My little sister had a few of Nirvana's singles. I'd look at the song titles & just think about how depressing it all sounded.

In 1992, some friends (including the guy who told me to get "Nevermind") & I decided to try to start a band. The drummer was officially the only person who knew what he was doing. I had had a bass & a couple six-string electric guitars for awhile, but didn't know how to play much beyond "Iron Man." Since we were musically handicapped, we learned songs that didn't involve more than three chords. That pretty much narrowed our pool of bands to cover to The Ramones & Nirvana. Dave, the guitarist in the band, showed me how to play "Blitzkrieg Bop" from The Ramones on the bass, but Nirvana's "Territorial P*ssings" was the first song that the band really got down tight. The power of the song was incredible. It was raw (especially in our inexperienced hands) & blistering. After learning that song, I finally bought "Nevermind."

And I found out what I'd been missing.

It was loud. It was hard. It was fast. I was finally a devoted fan of Nirvana.

I still couldn't stand hearing Cobain & Eddie Vedder cry about being famous. I had heard all the stories about Cobain's problems & addictions & all that. I kept thinking "Why don't you just quit? I'd have more respect for you if you dropped out of the scene, either completely or if you just took a lower profile." It was sad to see him, at times happy (such as after the birth of his daughter), like he finally had some sense of peace about him &other times, you could see the chaos...the pain...the sadness in his eyes. You could see that he was searching, that he wanted something to fill the void he had inside. Unfortunately, he had chosen what so many people who are searching choose - drugs. Combine that with a serious case of depression &...well...

We know where that finally led him.

On that April day ten years ago, a voice was forever silenced.

A little girl lost her father.

A woman lost her husband.

Two men lost a friend.

And the world lost a brilliant & talented artist.