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Nirvana No More [Sun Apr 15 2007|11:21pm]

I'd intended to post this one week ago today, on the thirteenth anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death, but was vacationing and high-speed Internet-deprived in Florida. I wrote this piece for The Event, a now defunct Salt Lake City, Utah, alternative newspaper, where it was published on May 16, 1994. Read more...Collapse )
Comments: 2 BURN Burn all the liars.

Under the Pink [Mon Sep 18 2006|10:20am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Listening to a recent interview with Tori Amos on Studio 360, I was reminded of (a) what a good interview she makes, (b) this 1994 album, and (c) how many of her songs pose musical questions:

Why do we crucify ourselves?

Don't you want more than my sex?

God, sometimes You just don't come through
Do You need a woman to look after You?

For Amos, who was 31 years old when Under the Pink was released, the creative process represented as much an act of confession as it did an act of discovery. "Without the songs I wouldn't know that I feel what I feel," she told me in a telephone interview. "Let me tell you," she confided in a wispy voice, "sometimes I can go, 'I hate that motherfucker,' and I'll rip up his picture. Right? Then I'll start writing this song, this most beautiful--" Catching herself, she laughed and said to herself, "Oh god, you're just a sap."

And a successful one, at that. Her 1992 debut solo album for Atlantic Records, Little Earthquakes, revealed a bent for idiosyncratic lyrics, loopy melodies, and neoclassical keyboard work. It went gold in the US and sold more than a million copies worldwide. The follow-up album, Under the Pink, made its maiden landing at number twelve on the Billboard charts.

Born Myra Ellen Amos in North Carolina, her life from that point onward was atypical at best. A child prodigy who won a piano scholarship to Baltimore's prestigious Peabody Conservatory when she was five, she grew up listening to the music of Nat King Cole and Fats Waller and Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. She was expelled when she was eleven. Her father, a strict Methodist preacher who believed you either support or lose your child, didn't stand in her way when, at the age of thirteen, she hit the piano bar circuit. At the Marriott, they made her play "Send in the Clowns" seven times a night. At Mr. Henry's, a popular gay bar in Washington, DC, the waiters used a cucumber to teach her how to give head.

All these daffily disparate ingredients -- combined with the sad truth that somewhere along the way she was raped and lived to sing about it on her own fruitcaky terms without reducing herself to martyrdom ("Yes, I wore a slinky red thing/Does that mean I should spread/for you, your friends, your father, Mr. Ed?") -- converge to create songs that are not about blame, but about taking responsibility.

Amos refused to take responsibility, however, for Womanhood or the feminist movement at large, an agenda that many critics (music and social) famously tried to foist upon her.

"I guess I'm kind of boring because I just go about my biz trying to work on myself. When I'm working and listening to my real feelings about things, and trusting them, then I just have to allow that to be enough. Whether I say something that offends somebody or gives somebody a giggle--" She paused. "You have to let go of the responsibility of people's responses. Sometimes I'll say things that I might not have said if I would have had more sleep. But, at the same time, that's real, too."

Between her first two solo albums, she released a hushed and breathtaking cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." When I asked if she felt any sort of psychic connection with Kurt Cobain (who had just committed suicide a few months earlier), she replied, "Totally." In the silence that followed, she whispered the word twice more.

“I think it could’ve gone either way for a while,” she commented on another singer/songwriter’s theory that, if left alone to deal with his demons away from the limelight, Cobain might still be alive. “If he would’ve been on medication for the depression. Put all the emotional stuff aside -- it’s hard enough waking up every morning -- it’s just that you’re a depressive and you have a chemical imbalance.”

Aware of life’s little imbalances, Amos found it difficult to take her fame too seriously. She knew from experience that there were worse alternatives. “Like, we have no idea what it’s like to live in Belfast with those people killing each other,” she said. When she had toured there recently, she'd done so with the reality of bomb scares and a guard at her dressing room door. Because of her name, in the demented minds of some of the more radical Irish there existed a connection between her and the Tories and their principles. “And my whole religious position," she said wearily, "blah, blah, blah. In Ireland, I always get a bit of a stink because I tell them that the Virgin Mary swallowed, and they don't like that shit."

She stopped reading reviews of her work. "It didn't make me feel good. You read the great ones, you've got to read the shitty ones. If you're going to walk into the 'opinion world,' then you have to listen to them from all sides. And I'm just not in the mood. I know when I suck and I know when I'm great. Grade me that all the elements came together, and it didn't overcook and it didn't undercook. You know, I got the baby out of the oven just in time."

Speaking of bad reviews, I mentioned the heavy-metal band that Amos fronted when she came to Hollywood in the late Eighties, called Y Kant Tori Read? While she could no longer worm her way into the plastic snakeskin pants that, along with thigh-high boots and big hair, that had contributed to her mode of dress at the time -- and contrary to most of what had been written about this period in her career (most likely because it wasn't something her more ardent feminist fans wanted to hear) -- she giggled and admitted, "Hey, I enjoyed some of it. I had great hair spray. Looking back, I was coming out of my skin as a person." Before the band, "I was so miserable. My jaw was in a constant clinch mode."

It was also a learning experience. "I have no illusions about this business. Not one. That's why I think I'm doing so well. When I say 'doing well,' I mean I don't cancel shows, I'm not jumping out of windows. That doesn't mean that it doesn't sometimes wear on me and I want to crawl into the corner with a friend."

Though she had no trouble getting down to brass tacks when it came to the business side of her music, the act of songwriting remained something of a magical mystery to her. Despite her professionalism, it wasn't something she could force to happen. "If the songs don't show up knocking on my door, bringing a bottle of chardonnay or a box of shoes, I can't even think about it. It's like they already exist, and I get a whiff of their perfume and I get inside of their essence and what they're trying to tell me. They show up, showing me who they are, and then I'm trying to translate their feelings. Sometimes I don't do a very good job, and they come back and harass me until I do."

Comments: Burn all the liars.

Nirvana's From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah [Mon May 08 2006|2:35pm]

I reviewed this album this morning over at my blog Mere Words. Enjoy.
Comments: Burn all the liars.

[Fri Apr 28 2006|6:19pm]

Hey, was just wondering if anyone knows the name of the Aberdeen scupltor who made the statue of Kurt Cobain.


Comments: 2 BURN Burn all the liars.

[Sun Jan 01 2006|9:33pm]


Join the community that supports Krist a bit more than any other member. The band wasn't just Cobain, it was others too.
Comments: Burn all the liars.

i, uh, hate this world. =| [Thu Dec 08 2005|2:12pm]

ROCK widow Courtney Love will net £70million by selling her late husband Kurt Cobain's songs.

The actress and rock singer is selling a quarter of the Nirvana frontman's back catalogue to disgraced US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.

Released from jail this year after five months for insider trading, Stewart wants the songs as an investment.

A friend said: "It's an astonishing deal. It sorts out Courtney financially."

Cobain and Courtney, 41, wed in 1992. They had a daughter Frances Bean, now 11, before he killed himself with a gun in April 1994, aged 27.

Cobain rose to fame with songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are. The album Nevermind sold over 10 million copies.

Comments: 9 BURN Burn all the liars.

Kurt Cobain himself narrates a new documentary film [Thu Nov 17 2005|6:26pm]

Kurt Cobain himself narrates a new documentary film
By David Wilkins - Daily World Writer
Thursday, November 17, 2005 11:25 AM PST

A crew of documentary filmmakers from Los Angeles has been in Aberdeen this week, shooting a documentary on the life of the late Kurt Cobain one that will be narrated by Cobain himself.

The producers are drawing on taped interviews the Nirvana frontman did with Michael Azerrad, author of the Nirvana biography Come As You Are.

Using Cobain’s own voice to tell the story and focusing on the place where he grew up, director AJ Schnack said, is the filmmakers’ way of making the Grunge rock star human again instead of the untouchable icon his meteoric rise and tragic fall made him.

I have a nephew and a cousin who have become big Nirvana fans, said Schnack, 37. To them, Kurt has become this huge, larger-than-life figure. You’re completely unable to relate to him because he is such an icon. That’s not how I felt about him when he was alive, and I feel like that’s been lost. Especially because of the circumstances of his later life, and his death, I think now it’s not really about the music or the fact that he really was just a human being. And so I really wanted to deconstruct that a little bit, and what better way than to just let him talk?

Schnack met Azerrad a couple of years ago doing another documentary, and learned he had the tapes.

I knew Azerrad had written ‘Come As You Are,’ but I didn’t realize he had all this material. He told me he had 25 hours of interviews with Kurt, and he wanted to do something interesting and good with it, but he didn’t know what that would be. So I proposed this (film) idea, and that’s how we got started, Schnack said between shots at the Aberdeen Timberland Library Wednesday afternoon.

The film, budgeted at about $1 million, likely will be sent to film festivals some time next fall, according to Shirley Moyers, the film’s producer and Schnack’s wife. The couple previously collaborated on a documentary called Gigantic, about the New York rock band They Might Be Giants. As with their previous film, Moyers said, they hope to be able to show the movie in Aberdeen, Cobain’s home town, before it goes to general release.

I think we’ll have a rough cut ready likely in February, and we might make it for the summer festivals,Moyers said. More likely it will be ready in the fall. On ‘Gigantic,’ we did a screening for friends and family of They Might Be Giants, but we paid for that ourselves. On this film, we have investors, and sometimes they’re a little leery of who they show the film to before it goes to theaters. But it seems only reasonable that we could do a showing here for the community first.

In book form and various forms of documentaries, a lot of people are trying to bring family members and band members together to talk about the band, and put Kurt in some kind of context,the director said. What I wanted to do was to not do that at all, and not have anyone commenting on Kurt. Because I sort of feel that at this place in history, there’s such a mythology. So much controversy has been built up about him and about his life and death, that I really wanted to get back to how I related to him and Nirvana as a younger music fan, and just let Kurt talk.

The filmmakers aren’t using any archival footage, Schnack said, preferring to show what it’s like to live in Aberdeen now. There are also no interviews with talking heads or other so-called experts.

It’s just going to be 90 minutes of Kurt, and occasionally Michael Azerrad, talking about growing up in Aberdeen, living in Olympia, going to Seattle and eventually becoming the biggest rock star in the world, Schnack said.
Comments: 19 BURN Burn all the liars.

mod post [Sun Nov 06 2005|10:07pm]

I edited the members list.

Dead journals and really obvious cobainites are gone.

Don't bitch to me because I don't care.
Comments: 1 BURN Burn all the liars.

Entertainment Weekly Review of Sliver: The Best of the Box [Sat Oct 29 2005|11:08am]

"Considering Kurt Cobain's obsession with credibility and fear of exploitation, the very existance of this redundant, single disc CliffNotes to last year's rarities boxed set is pretty dubious. The main draw is three unreleased tracks, but they disappoint: 1985 demo "Spank Thru" finds the singer's trademark howl under construction, while alternate takes on "Sappy" and "Come As You Are" shed no new light. Chiefly, Sliver reeks of the same milk-it boardroom mindset Cobain vehemently derided."

I just thought it was interesting that they picked up on the fact that *gasp!* Nirvana is getting oldn and worn out from exploitation.
Comments: 5 BURN Burn all the liars.

[Thu Oct 13 2005|3:17am]
I need your opinions. I'm a semi-new Nirvana fan. I've been a fan for about two years now. My boyfriend, who is a huge fan, is who got me into them. I didn't know anything about Nirvana until I met my boyfriend. I wasn't allowed to listen to any of that "Satan music" when I was younger. I was only permitted to listen to Christian music, but sometimes late at night I'd watch MTV, and that's where I first saw Nirvana. I saw the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" over, and over, and over, and over, and over again until I just hated Nirvana. (That's just how I am. If I hear and/or see something too much, sometimes I'll get tired of it and begin to hate it.) That was when I was in high school. I'm 23 now and old enough to decide what music I chose to listen to, and I've come to love Nirvana now that I've heard more than just one song. Oh, and I've also come to like "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Anyway, right before I started getting into Nirvana I saw the book of Kurt Cobain's journal pages at a book store. I scoffed at it. I thought it was very disrespectful to publish a man's personal journal after he had died, and I still do. But now that I'm into Nirvana's music, I've become curious. I'm curious to read these journal entries to learn more about the band and what inspired him as part of the band. So, I was wondering what all of you think. Is it wrong? Have you read it? If so, what did you think?
Comments: 9 BURN Burn all the liars.

silver: the best of the box [Tue Oct 04 2005|1:42am]

[ mood | tired ]

okay, there's been no posts here in forever - it's ridiculous - let's change that.

am i the only one who thinks the choices for sliver: the best of the box are downright terrible? out of the three new tracks, "sappy" should be pretty cool (if not redundant), "spank thru" (from the almighty fecal matter demo) is a treasure, but what the fuck is up with the "come as you are" boombox demo recording? that's just outright fucking ridiculous. how about some more fecal matter material? jesus, we've only been asking for it for a decade now.

& the choices from the actual boxset aren't that great either - not that i'm too crazy about the boxset itself anyways (please don't shoot me). but come on, they left off "if you must," "pen cap chew," "token easter song," "even in his youth," "verse chorus verse," "here she comes now," the "aneurysm" demo, "d-7," "curmudgeon," the butch vig "smells like teen spirit" mix (which i really liked, despite my lukewarm feelings for the actual song), "the other improv," "marigold" (totally under-rated), & the acoustics of "serve the servants," "very ape," & "pennyroyal tea" - all which are deserving - if not, at least just more deserving than what was picked.

i was hoping for a make-up for the boxset, which i was let down by - instead we get half-assed picked songs from an already mediocre set. when are we finally going to meet our high expectations as far as unreleased nirvana material goes?

okay, that's it from me.

by the way, if you don't agree with my opinions on the boxset, whatever, i'm not here to argue about that - just the sliver picks.

Comments: 15 BURN Burn all the liars.

[Mon Aug 01 2005|3:55pm]

Does anyone know where I could find/download audio or video interviews with Kurt? I've never seen a full interview with him. Just clips. any help?
Comments: Burn all the liars.

Oh my.... [Sat Jul 16 2005|9:07pm]
what has he been reduced to?Collapse )
Comments: 16 BURN Burn all the liars.

[Mon Jul 04 2005|12:25am]

thanks for the music Kurt.
Comments: 2 BURN Burn all the liars.

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