Home > Uncategorized > Cobain was the heimlich maneuver

Cobain was the heimlich maneuver

I’ve written about Kurt Cobain before. I had to get somewhere tonight and decided to walk. Maybe 5 miles. So I brought some music along. I wasn’t sight-seeing. I just needed to cover ground and required a soundtrack.

My iPod is ridiculously filled. Something like 40,000 songs. My life in 3 and 4 minute chunks. As in stepped outside a thin rain was falling. The temperature had dropped 20 degrees. The wind was howling. I put on a flannel shirt and an over stretched sweater that my dog likes to attack (when I’m wearing it). I covered this with my old ratty brown jacket that still has a concert ticket stub from the 1990s in the pocket. I protected my feet with a pair of green converse one stars. I looked like a mental patient from Aberdeen.

A friend sent me a note. “Don’t walk. I’ll pick you up.” I said, “no way, that’s cheating. This weather is glorious!”

kurt-cobain-600x450So yea, pretty simple choice to spin the IPod dial to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. I probably hadn’t listened to the entire record in 5 years. I was still adjusting the volume when the Teen Spirit riff kicked in, nearly blowing my right ear towards the left side of my face. It made me dizzy. I didn’t dare turn it down. It was principle now.

“Nevermind” is around 40 minutes, minus the long dark spots at the end. When I reached my destination Cobain was lying on his back in that studio, whispering “Something In the Way”. The faders were all turned up as loud as they could go. On the track you can hear the air conditioner in the studio humming. It’s as bone chilling a performance as you’ll ever hear.

In between these tracks are as close to
a perfect pop record as you’ll ever hear. Punk raw, but with melodies that would make McCartney drool, the most perfect set of guitar hooks I’ve heard in one place since Keith Richards built “Let it Bleed” one riff at a time….yea…it’s all here and being orchestrated by this rail thin kid with the bluest eyes in the world. A kid with nothing to lose. And as it turned out, a kid who couldn’t handle winnings of any sort.

I’m not sure success fucked up Kurt Cobain. Pretty sure he was already fucked up to start with. Maybe it gave him a little push but I doubt the guy was gonna make 30 even if that’s the number of copies “Nevermind” sold. I hear an early song like “Sliver” and think…..well boys….we got a live one here. This kid’s complexes have complexes. Enjoy it while you can.

We can blame the drugs I suppose. Being a heroin junkie is bad for all kinds of business. Cobain was never gonna be strong enough to leave it. If he hadn’t shot himself with a gun, a hot dose would have done him in a week later? A month later? Better to burn out than to fade away and all that gibberish. We agree that his talent prevented the fading away. But it seems irrelevant how you burn out when your choices are shooting your own head off or lighting your insides on fire.

I cried when Cobain died. I mean I really blubbered. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) thought I was batshit. “What’s wrong with you?” she said. “You’re acting like you knew the guy”.

That’s exactly how I was acting. And that’s exactly how I felt. This creepy little blond kid had gotten inside my head like nobody since Peter Townshend. The little fucker had betrayed me. Left me with…..what? After you hear “Teen Spirit” nothing sounds the same anymore.

I survived though. We music fans are resilient bastards. Cobain didn’t invent rock and roll. He didn’t perfect it either. What he did is ram it down an entire generations throat.

For that he is owed thanks. If ever a generation needed a Kurt Cobain, it was ours. We were all sitting fat and drunk and choking on the bones of bad FM radio. Cobain was the heimlich maneuver. He saved ALL of us. Maybe that’s why I was crying.

Anyway…..I got to where I needed to go. But now the walk home. Long. Rainy. Windy. Cold. Dark. All uphill.

Easy. I found “In Utero”.

I made it home.

In a bit…


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    April 24, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Help, I’ve blown my head off and I can’t get up

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