Thursday, January 14, 2016

BLEACH by Nirvana
   Sitting in the office and just listening to some of the last interviews and film footage of Kurt Cobain today. I have a weird relationship with Nirvana's music. When Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video first dropped, I digged it for breaking alot of barriers as far as the visual feel of it. The music was so harsh and dangerous at that time that I really respected it. It reminded me of the same feeling I had about Gun's and Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" video. Sadly, I didn't explore Nirvana any further than that. Sure the crazy interviews they did with Kurt Loder on MTV were much talked about ballyhoo. You could hardly ignore the band or the stories surrounding Kurt specifically. I didn't really take any of it too seriously. Not until that fateful day sitting in my car waiting to pick my mom up from her job at a factory and the news broke over the radio that Kurt was found dead of an apparent suicide. My heart crumbled a bit. It was like mourning a friend you hadn't seen in many years but knew that they were having a hard time of it. I literally had no real connection to the icon status of Kurt up to that point but I felt the world shift. Like suddenly the ocean had tilted just a bit too far to the left to correct itself. That weekend after the announcement of his death, the unplugged show featuring Nirvana played constantly on MTV. I was fixated by every expression and movement the band made during that show. I probably watched it several times that day. It seemed like I never stopped digging further into who Cobain was as an artist and a man.
BLEACH ERA - Channing, Novoselic, Cobain
   For many years now I've immersed myself in all things Nirvana. My sister picked me up a great book I cherish based on interviews with Cobain, his family members, friends and fans. The book includes reproductions of fliers, artwork Cobain created and the various oddities he collected throughout his life. I've drawn portraits of Kurt and his eyes continue to reach out from the pages all these years. As I've dealt with my own bouts of depression over the years I've come to identify a sort of kindred spirit in the real person behind the myth that is Cobain. As crazy as it sounds, he's almost claimed godfather status with me. Not someone I would necessarily pattern my behaviors after or even want to be like but someone I can learn from. So today, I go back to my favorite NIRVANA album, BLEACH. I recall picking this up at a used record store. It was calling to me from the shelf and I loved it so much for not being the overproduced and much admired classic "Nevermind". The raw heart and soul of Nirvana lies within the skin of Bleach. It's the music that they created during their most primal and desperate moments. Before the glitz and glamor. Before Dave, Courtney, magazines and tv cameras. Just listen to it again and again.

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