Tonight on HBO, it’s the premiere of the much-anticipated Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck. I for one, can only hope it creeps me out and disturbs me less than the last HBO documentary I watched.
It goes without saying that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana being brought back into topics of discussions, topics of think pieces, topics of podcasts and topics of wherever else musings on the band and it’s legacy can live has lit the fires of nostalgia for me. Probably because they were such a big time moment in time band for me, they have faded into the rear view over the past few years. They hover above, but never directly in front of my line of sight when it comes to current listening tastes. If Nirvana comes on the radio, I’ll probably listen. But I rarely choose to listen to them. If anything, they have entered the Comforting Knowing They Are There category- joined by bands like Led Zeppelin, Phish and a few others.
Yet just because I don’t listen to them as much anymore doesn’t mean I’ve in anyway forgotten how much they meant to me back in the day.
I’m not going to front and say that I was in on Nirvana before Nevermind. Like the majority of people, I got into the band with “Smells Like Teen’s Spirit.” I started wearing flannel shirts, made modest attempts at growing my hair out and then feverishly dived into their back catalog- which was small and therefore, easier to digest. I’m not even sure what I was listening to when Nirvana entered my life. I know Pearl Jam came around within that same time frame. After those two bands was a massive deluge of grunge- for better or worse. But before that, I think I had started listening to bands like the Grateful Dead, Zeppelin, the Doors and some other classic rock bands.
We won’t discuss before that.
There would be no other Nirvana; there would be no other Pearl Jam. Stone Temple Pilots tried. There was Silverchair too. They even physically looked like Nirvana. There was Bush, Days of the New and Candlebox. Soundgarden pre-dated both bands and lived on through the post-Nirvana America, but they were a different breed. The only things they had in common with Nirvana was hailing from Soundgarden, loud noises and raw power. Nirvana endured throughout the 90’s, though. For the next handful of years, all roads seemed to lead back to them. Nirvana’s finger prints were everywhere.
Nirvana had a simplicity to them that resonated with me; resonated with a lot of young kids just starting to play music of their own. Nirvana was just three dudes, so all you needed were three dudes (or ladies.) While their songs were simple on paper, there was so much more to them. But that was for later, the gist was what made it appealing- loud>soft>loud>loud. It was easy enough. The basic idea of Nirvana made the basic idea of starting a band just that…a basic idea. They took the complexities out, made it less daunting. If these assholes can do it, then so can we!
Now I think of Nirvana and I think of my buddy Dave. I think of spending time in Dave’s basement listening to Nirvana, I think of spending time in my basement playing Nirvana. I think of playing a random house party years later, playing for only ourselves because no one was listening and Dave sending a random jam in the direction of Nirvana and how much fun that became. This is all because Nirvana is a Band I Grew Up With and it’s a band he grew up with. We all have them- bands that hit us right smack in the middle of our formative years. They might not grow old with us, but they certainly stay with us.
If our music tastes our a house, with each band we latch onto becoming a window or sometimes another room, there will inevitably one or two those bands that form the foundation. Nirvana is one of the bands for me, if the only one.
Front Photo: Deviant Art