Months ago I told my friend Courtney I’d write
her some words about that ’90s band. I’ve yet
to tackle the subject in detail, so here
goes nothing. Want to know what makes Nirvana
more rock and roll to me than most of their peers?
It’s three things, really: first, check out the clip of
Kurt strumming the Teen Spirit melody as the
guitar lead before a few hundred moshing
metal heads while he stands there hating their guts –
near blasphemy if you play the guitar and
expect to be taken seriously. It
smells like the ultimate pop song and sounds like
More Than a Feeling by Boston. Was that by
choice? Who cares? Kurt’s not telling. Doesn’t matter
anyway. Whatever. Nevermind. Let’s move
on to reason number two why Nirvana’s
something to listen to that’s more than just angst
rock on crack with the distortion maxed out. In
the song Serve the Servants, he clears his throat at
the end of his lead. It’s a little thing, sure,
but it lets you know he doesn’t care if the
song’s perfect, he’s just playing his Fender. So?
Music critics and Hipster bores will tell you
that Nirvana sounded awful live and you
can read all about how Heroin played a
major role in Kurt’s life. He had problems. Yes.
So fucking what? Forget about that nonsense.
We’re all flawed. We all have vices and issues.
Kurt’s are right there out in the open for all
of us to see and hear. We can feel his pain
when we listen to him scream or shred like mad
on his Stratocaster. Whether or not you
like the sound it makes, you have to respect that
kind of honesty, don’t you? He doesn’t play
a role, because who chooses to be depressed
all the time? I know. I’m rambling. I’m sorry.
The third reason I dig that damned band is this:
They were the white rabbit during my trip down the
rabbit hole. I was 14 or 15, on
the school bus listening to The Man Who Sold
the World. At the end, Kurt says, “That’s a David
Bowie song.” I looked it up … sounded just like…