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Nirvana 's music, 20 years and still enjoying it!
Nirvana's music touched many
I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a song I heard on the radio that had a new and different sound and feel to it and it was very catchy and I could not get enough of it. The song debuted in September 1991 and it got a lot of playtime and seemed like a hit right out of the gate. I just loved the edginess to it and the mix of guitar and vocals. I was not a kid by any means. I was a young man of 30 but it was a song I just felt a deep connection to and I was immediately impressed by its power and its style. I never heard a song similar to it and I enjoyed hearing it every time it played.
The video also played on MTV and it was a perfect representation of the song as it also had an edginess all its own. The combination of the song and the video led to major success for the band, Nirvana who started a movement in the music industry without intending to. They were 3 members and each in their early to mid 20's when they came on to the scene as Nirvana. They were Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl and they hailed from Aberdeen, Washington where they became one of the most highly regarded bands that were credited with launching the grunge movement in music.
The band in its early history played under different names and with only two of the three members, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. Dave Grohl would later join the band as their drummer. Their second album and first commercial as Nirvana, Nevermind was a hugh success and it really made a big impact on the music world and for the band. They were not used to all the exposure and fame they received from their 1991 release of Nevermind. They were simply hard working musicians who had a great collaboration and chemistry together with true talent and a desire to perform and they just wanted to play music with passion and heart.
If you spoke with them you would see it was all about the music and not for the fame and accolades. In fact Kurt was very shy when it came to giving interviews and in promoting the band. The band spoke with their music and they were the real thing. Life was good and the band really was making its way in the industry and they were experiencing great success. Nirvana was setting the standard with the release of Nevermind and playing their hit single Smells like Teen Spirit. The song for many became a sort of anthem and it struck a chord not only for the fans but for musicians who were looking for something fresh that had an appeal and real energy. The wonder of Nevermind was that every song on the album was great and everyone wanted to have it. Obviously Smells like Teen Spirit was the sought out song but each song had appeal and you could listen to each song over and over. I remember having the album and playing the tracks and I never tired of the songs. I loved each one and I remember I would crank the volume up and just enjoy the music. I was a big fan of Nirvana as soon as they came on to the scene and I was caught up in the craze.
I never had the opportunity of seeing them live but I had wanted to as I recall that time in the early 1990's watching their videos and their performances on MTV. I lost my mother in 1990 and it was a very difficult time for me emotionally so when Nirvana came on to the scene with their music it was a great diversion for me and I really got into the band and their music as I never heard anything like that before and it was really cool to hear them play and see their videos.
I thought Kurt Cobain was a musical genius and he was going to really make a big impact in the industry and for the musical style he and his band created and I was a fan from the very beginning when I first learned of them. It seemed the band had everything working in their favor and they were here to stay. The thing that really struck me about Kurt was his simple ways and his desire to make great music with his fellow band mates. He indicated the Pixies as one of his main influences in creating the music and the sound he was trying to formulate for a new generation. He did not like the limelight and preferred his anonymity but he was now becoming a rock star and this was what eventually would lead to his undoing, sadly.
It seemed from the admiring fan's perspective and outsiders that Kurt had it all. He was experiencing the fame and fortune from the music he collaborated on with Krist and Dave. His band Nirvana was making a name for themselves and their music was well received and enjoyed by many including other bands. He was married to a fellow musician Courtney Love and they had a baby girl, Frances Bean. They released their third album In Utero following the commercial success of Nevermind and they were touring and performing on a "rockstar" schedule. Kurt was a simple creative person who never really wanted the fame. He just wanted to make good music and get his message out to his fans. He was a very dedicated and hard working musician and he had tremendous respect for his fellow band mates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.
In interviews Kurt indicated that he was very affected by his parents divorce when he was a young boy and he felt bitter about it and it took him a long time to come to terms with it. He was very creative in his youth and he found his escape from the pain he felt through music which gave him joy and happiness. Kurt had some health issues and he dealt with depression and he did not take well to all the fame the band received. He was not emotionally prepared for the hugh success.
Nirvana was touring in early 1994 and after a performance in Munich, Germany in March, Kurt was treated at a hospital in Rome upon overdosing. His wife was by his side and it took several days for him to recuperate. When he returned home he was still suffering from depression and was convinced through a family intervention to get the help he needed in a detox program at Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles, California. He stayed there for a short while until he escaped the facility and flew back home. It was rather sketchy but it seems he was missing for several days and sadly he committed suicide at his home where he was found by an electrician hired to set up a security system. It is believed that he died on or around April 5th 1994. He was only 27 years old and his death was and is still talked about.
The legacy was and will always be the music. When the band members found out about Kurt's tragic death they were at a loss and sadly they were not surprised. It seems Kurt was a tortured genius and he was headed in that direction and although family and friends tried to help him it seemed it was a tragic destiny that Kurt even mentioned would probably be his outcome.
It is now 20 years since Nevermind was released and it is still widely received as one of the best albums ever released and a hugh money maker. Though Nirvana did not continue after the tragic death of its founder the remaining band members enjoyed musical success. Dave Grohl, the drummer went on to perform with the Foo fighters as both a drummer and their lead vocalist. He talks about the tragic loss of his friend and fellow band member and he reflects fondly on his life and his talent and is grateful for his days with Kurt and Krist as the band Nirvana. Krist Novoselic also performed in other bands and is now studying for a law degree. Kurt's daughter Frances Bean Cobain is now a young lady, 19 years old and is a talented artist and is interested in modeling and music. She is close to her mother, Courtney Love who is still performing as lead vocalist in the band Hole created in 1989.
You know you made it when your songs are imitated, covered and parodied. Nirvana's music has been a tremendous influence for many and is the subject of books, musical performances and interviews. Another talented musician known for music parody is Weird Al Yankovich who parodied Smells Like Teen Spirit and is dead on in his portrayal of Kurt Cobain in the video classic Smells Like Nirvana which is an endearing performance of the band and their major hit.
I am still listening to the album Nevermind and I even watch the dvd that showcases Smells like Teen Spirit and I enjoy it today just as much as I did 20 years ago. I even introduced them to my son who thinks they are the coolest thing. I will always remember the time I first heard them and will always enjoy hearing their music and watching their performances. Rest in Peace Kurt. Nirvana will always be the coolest band!
Edward D. Iannielli III