I was two years into working for the state and the strings still attached to my youth were wearing thin. I was nursing the hangover from a year-long punk rock weekend and working on becoming a regular at a bar in which newspaper people hung out. Remember, this was 1994, a few years before the Internet became the sea in which we all swim, and I generally got my daily news from these people. This is how I found out Kurt Cobain was dead and how.
I was a college DJ snob already when Nirvana broke, and among my peers they were dismissed as the pop-friendly arm of the loosely organized “grunge” movement. They had a slick video, they were cute and magazine-friendly, seemed damaged but not all that dangerous. It took a couple years for me to realize that this band was a little bigger than all that. Nirvana never wrote any truly genius songs or lyrics, but somehow in the synergy of punk and popularity, they created something of lasting value. Something a little timeless that transcends the moment in which it lasted. I still love a Nirvana song when I hear it, and whether it is because of Cobain’s death or in spite of it is irrelevant.
Now, the average teenager, for which a death like that could bear tremendous shattering meaning, has lived his or her life in that moment’s diminishing wake. That Internet I was lacking in 1994 has now elevated the pressures of fame of which Cobain was opting out to staggering new levels. That same Internet, particularly a Facebook update from someone who used to work for that newspaper and a few years later might have been in that same bar, reminded me that it was 15 years ago this weekend that Kurt Cobain died.
If one can have as grisly a thing as a favorite song involving another singer’s death, mine is “Love Love Love” by the Mountain Goats. Following a blunt retelling of the incidents in the greenhouse in April of 1994 is this passage:
Some moments last forever
And some flare out with love love love
It’s easy to both judge and revere the dead for the things they did and didn’t do while alive, as many have done and will continue to do with Kurt Cobain, but there is something beautiful to be found in the things that persist us. Those are the things worth holding onto.
Thursday, April 9
The Strange Boys and Hollywood Blues at Spanish Moon
Versanova, If I Were A Battleship, and The Hitchhiker at North Gate Tavern
Friday, April 10
The Legendary J.C.’s at Chelsea’s
Michael Foster Project at the Varsity
Norico and We Call This at Click’s
Two if by Land, T. Broussard and the Zydeco Steppers, and Brandon Moreau at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s
Elvin Killerbee at Phil Brady’s
Bring It at Teddy’s Juke Joint
Saturday, April 11
Themselves (featuring Dose One and Jel) at Spanish Moon
The Black Sound Parade at Chelsea’s
Fig Trio, Always The Favorite,and The Class War at North Gate Tavern
Bright City Lights at Click’s
Align at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s
Chris Gray at Phil Brady’s
Muddy Waters Memorial Birthday Party at Teddy’s Juke Joint
Sunday, April 12
Big Red & the Soul Benders at Teddy’s Juke Joint
Wednesday, April 15
Dinosaur Jr. at the Varsity
Dan Deacon, Teeth Mountain & Future Islands at Spanish Moon (early show)