Kurt Cobain was a game changer. It’s something many think they are, but aren’t. Only a few have been able to shift a whole landscape and he is one. The Beatles did it in ’64. If you listen to stuff pre-Beatles, the fabric of the times…the look, the vibe and the sound was quite different than it was after the Beatles hit. The same thing happened on that monstrous scale with Nirvana. Before Nirvana, it was all about partying, hair band leaning hard rock and metal and once Nirvana came along, there was a massive gasp of “oh fuck” from the Sunset Strip. Everyone knew something really special is happening.
I’ve always been someone (and still am) someone that searches and seeks out great art, whether it’s movies and especially music. I’m not one just to accept what we are served or what is pitched to us collectively as the next big thing. I like different, unique etc. Many enjoy what they’re familiar with, which is why we usually get the same shit over and over just repackaged with another act.
I was an early admirer of the Seattle scene long before it became the nationwide and worldwide phenom. I love Mudhoney, The Melvins, Green River. I was a huge fan of Mother Love Bone with the late Andrew Wood and the members of that band that went on to become Pearl Jam. I knew when Alice in Chains started out and looking really glam….yeah, hard to believe. I really liked early Soundgarden. I followed indie label SubPop and that’s where I first knew that this band Nirvana was going to be something and Bleach was and is a fine record. I dig it to this day.
While still a teenager and fresh from high school, I’m hosting middays on a Fort Wayne CHR/Top 40 radio station called B-106, The Killer Bee. This was such a different, personality driven Top 40 and we did things in a very aggressive way. For radio folks, a nice comparison would be Tampa’s Power Pig back in the day. Anyway, along with middays, I hosted a weekend show, which I produced called On The Edge, an alternative/modern rock/indie type of show. Very different at that time and before alternative became such a buzzword and so mainstream. I’ve always enjoyed rock and all genres of rock, so I liked doing this program a lot. We played old stuff and tons of new stuff, which was all probably too hip for the room for Fort Wayne, Indiana, but it was fun. I played Nirvana on On The Edge. It was a moment for me.
When the single for Nirvana’s major label debut, Nevermind, arrived called Smells Like Teen Spirit…as soon as I heard it, I thought, this is going to change everything and it did. It gave the 90’s a serious kick in the nuts, which is needed sometimes. In one simple swing, Nirvana quickly made many look like fools, just by being themselves…raw. Real. Authentic. Genuine.
I remember immediately after Kurt passed away, my Geffen rep and friend, Karen Fernandez, arrived at the station to do her regular record rep visit. This time I was at a competing station, WMEE, and at the time, I was music director. I wasn’t sure…do I bring it up or not? I only said, I’m sorry about Kurt. Geffen was devastated. That time period just gave me the creeps and I get chills when I think about it, because it was right at that time that Hole (Courtney’s band) was being pushed.
Nirvana was and is a gem. A historic foundation shaker.
I miss Kurt Cobain.