I woke up this April 5th morning and it hit me just the same as always. I remember posting this article in BlogCritics a few years back and wondered what I could say this time, 11 years after Kurt’s passing. Many people ask me why I would still care about the alleged suicide death of Kurt Cobain 11 years after the fact. I think it is partially about using this time to look back to my high school years and the way music was, rock seemed to be more genuine and have more meaning back then. That’s not to say there isn’t a message in some of the rock music we hear today, but overall the new rock world is plagued by watered down acts trying desperately to sound like Nirvana and Alice In Chains.
I would argue that the first two bands that started the “New Rock” as opposed to the “Alternative” era were Bush and Silverchair. Radio was becomming even more commercial and lables seemingly wanted to sign acts that sounded like what was popular in the “Alternative” rock world at the time. These bands sounded close enough to the popular “grunge” sound of the early 90s (remember at one point that bands that neither sounded all that “grunge” and were not from Seattle began to be called “grunge” anyway i.e. Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead) that the Corporate Suits at record lables were willing to take a chance and invest in them. Don’t ask me where Bush is now, I think Gavin just writes music for his wife Gwen. Horrible solo album. But I digress.
This day should be about Kurt Cobain. It should not be about Nirvana, it should not even be about Layne Staley who passed away around the same day a few years later. We should remember Cobain’s contributions to music, his capturing a generations heart and hopes (or lack thereof) and angst towards the establishment. Nirvana mattered, and Kurt made Nirvana possible. It was his vision, perhaps his destiny. Those who say the music world isn’t missing much due to his death should reconsider.
I would have loved to se Kurt collaborate with Michael Stipe as he once wished. Two of the most soulful rock stars that ever made it in this business. Remebering Kurt still matters to me, not only as an artist but as a human being who possesed much awareness and passion about his generation. Kurts words and music stood for something greater than the sum of its parts and if you grew up during that era, you already know that to be true. By the way, pick up the box set, it’s worth it.
Kurt, you are missed. Rest in peace.