Thursday, April 08, 2004

When I first heard Nirvana I was a music major in college, working at a record store during the day. I remember the sales of Nevermind being mind-blowing. Kids of all types would come in and buy the record. My cynical boss, who was in his early thirties, often made snide remarks about how 'those hippies aren't allowed to buy punk!', whenever someone came in looking for it wearing a Phish shirt. The '90s in general will probably go down as the decade where barriers between different musical genres broke down and Nevermind seems to be one of those records that people of all stripes bought. I loved it too.

'92-'93 was my favorite musical era, with some of my favorite records being born. The Posies, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, the Breeders, Jellyfish and Nirvana all made my ears a very happy pair. '92 was also the year Philip and I started Tulip, which became Iris, which became the Maggies. We didn't think we sounded like Nirvana, but I listened to some old tapes the other day and it's obvious there was some influence in Philip's songwriting. I remember driving around with Philip, listening to Heart Shaped Box and marvelling at the guitar solo, which has that weird cutoff at the end, as though Kurt turned off the distortion and they decided to leave it unedited. What? A mistake left intentionally on the record?? That's great! There should be more mistakes on recordings today. I intentionally try to leave a flub on each record I make. Thanks, Kurt.

When Kurt Cobain took his life I was pretty dejected. I remember reading magazine reports leading up to it, where he was obviously having some trouble on tour. It seemed obvious that he should go home for a while and take some time off. I guess he did, or not? I don't remember the details, just a steady flow of people coming into the record store that day to buy Nirvana cds, shirts, and posters, many of which went up in a makeshift shrine on the town common. I haven't listened to Nevermind since then. I think if Kurt had lived he would be living in Northampton, divorced from Courtney and spending lots of time recording local bands and fishing. If there is another world for ghosts of musicians, I imagine him getting in fist fights with Elvis, becoming good friends with Mark Sandman, and having the hots for Janis Joplin.

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