Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Calling All Aging Nirvana Fans

Hey, Gramps, after you take your Crestor with a glass of prune juice, read The New Republic's generally good review of "With the Lights Out".

The Nirvana boxed set is "either a Nirvana fan's answered prayer or corporate rock necrophilia. Geffen has assumed that music fans would want to plunk down their $60 for Cobain's demos, outtakes, inchoate song fragments, and other ephemera, complete with a DVD featuring jagged hand-held footage of the band rehearsing, playing, and goofing off. Geffen is right." That's good to know. I think the Wraith Wife is getting me this for Christmas.

I'm a Nirvana fan. I even made some note for a book about their lyrics the year before he shot himself. But I blame Cobain for two tragedies. First I blame him for killing himself. I realize that he felt trapped by fame and the competing pressures of being "authentic" and a cog in a corporate machine. Hey, too fucking bad. Get in line asshole. I feel the same thing but without the millions of dollars and the groupies (blog-star groupies are a phenomenon of the future). He could have easily vanished abroad with his family and played Garbo for 40 years. I don't have the funds for that. He chose the easy way out and abandoned his child, Frances Bean. Next I blame Cobain for inflicting Courtney Love on America. She is his revenge, a monster coughed up by his wounded psyche stalking America, a combination of "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" and a bad episode of "The Twilight Zone". In this regard he went out in classic rock-star fashion and left his horrible wife to linger on for decades after him, a constant reminder that the wrong spouse died.

Back to the music. The set traces Nirvana's and Cobain's path from unwashed, dropout cover band to the incarnation of early 90s grunge rock celebrities. Cobain saw what was happening and where it was leading. His haunted personality revolted in a sad moment of self-destruction. "On With the Lights Out, you hear Nirvana as neither mainstream entertainment nor campus avatar; rather, you get to eavesdrop on Cobain unloading his emotional wreckage for himself." While it may not be the feel good gift of the season, it somehow seems appropriate for the sold-out, washed-up, broken-down, Nirvana fans, now embracing the compromises and uncertainties of a middle aged life that Cobain never lived to see.


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