* You will find this post utterly irrelevant with the title. If you are looking to read about Nirvana, there’s nothing much about the post punk-rock group, this is more than just Nirvana*
Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) & Chris Cornnel (Soundgarden/Audioslave)
This is a crime towards humanity! Somebody should have told them that it was a sin to look this good and sing the way they did or still do – oh my apocalyptic desires. But brace yourselves coz I’m not here to drool over the beauty’s of these Greek-God lookalikes (not that I know how Greek-God looks like – it’s just an appropriate term to be used) coz I’m here to tell you why music is not lost. (Coming from a misanthrope who once hated rock for a very good reason – you might wanna stay and see what this idiot -me has to say)
Musically I am more inclined to the electronic dance music pandemonium, which is like the new wave for the generation Z and mainly because it leaves behind a good trip. I have come to love music without lyrics because it seems to be like an unbolted boulevard; you can easily stop anywhere you like and make an unexpected turn anytime you want without having rules to tie you down. It’s just the plain flow of thubp-thubp-thubp- (tectonically) and that’s it. No hangovers over how sad the lyrics were or how dark it was because it’s simple and there’s no need to freight over the unparalleled promises of trying to break the whole ‘Da Vinci’s’ code in the lyrics.
Once in awhile, should the need arise, then Korn, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, Disturbed, Jim Gordon, David Draimen and stuff like that does it for me. The dark undertone of the musical base is far easier to comprehend and the amount of screaming blurbs out the whole lyrical density. It’s plain and straight to the point, they tell you ‘Dead Bodies Lying Everywhere’, and you get dead bodies everywhere and take that straight up your mind and don’t expect prince charming coming to dig their graves because he has such a good heart. No, it does not happen here because it’s outwardly rebellious type of music and I like it. And yes I dig Manson as well due the sheer power of his vocal tones and not the overall package. Even darkness needs effort and can’t be forced on an individual if they don’t want to. Giving where credit is due, I don’t care if he wants to be the angel or demon of this inferior world. In a democratic sense of thoughts, it’s his wish and I don’t give a flying pink pig about that. Man is grown up he knows what is right and what is wrong and I’m not gonna face God on behalf of him. What I know is that there’s a certain power in his voice and an intense gravity that would even chase the wolves back into the woods. So there is that much-deserved praises for the vocal ability he possess.
My deteriorating interest in rock music was due to the fact that it kept a touchstone of poignant melancholy and the tragic tales of a superior past that sometimes tend to break your heart all over again and this is why it’s just so hard to go back and listen to certain notable groups such as Nirvana. Here I am, someone who was all alone growing up, constantly described as a dark child with dark mind and a package that would not live pass 25. I was rotting in the solid chambers of my own peculiar dreams for having such a distorted providence, no friends, just the whole fucking imaginary existence where the devil drops by to have a cup of evening tea. As the story goes, when that happens, you tend to always resort to drugs to find that momentary peace but I found Nirvana.
Remember Our Band, We So Wanted To Be Nirvana But We Had To Many Rhythm Guitars – Andy Esoteric (*sad face*)
This is what my dead vocalist said before we found him lifeless in the bath tub of some opulent mansion we rented for the week for surfing purposes and if we could find some inspiration while watching the sun set and enjoying the zephyr of the late evening.
Cold in the final phase of his withering propensity of a life, which by the way was brutally ended by heroin addiction; took away my childhood friend who once understood the whole life in the dark enigma of my existence; so much bullshit for quitting, such a beautiful love story in the making. We were a bunch of outcast, sad delinquents who supposedly found some kind of hope and life in music. Dear dead vocalist uncle was our prime time hero since he was from the dungeons of Seattle, growing up in that scene; he knew everything, even all the dealers in Aurora. That was the lifestyle. Dude’s uncle introduced us to Nirvana and Bleach was the very first record I had the pleasure of owning. I never knew how Kurt Cobain looked like, how Krist and Dave looked like, hell I didn’t even know how Vedder and Cornnel looked like or else I would have died a very long time ago and went to heaven. Such innocent and beautiful faces but then I am glad coz I’m not someone who listened to their craft because I admired their faces. Na-ah, that’s not how you appreciate music.
Bleach was on heavy rotation when we were together, high on multiple substance, never once thinking how we are going to die in this place, all alone till our rotting flesh attracts the flies that would call a good Samaritans attention so our dead bodies could be discovered. Dark, isn’t it? Oh please, Macbeth is even darker; don’t hear you complaining about that.
Ten – Pearl Jam
Not long after that, came ‘Nevermind’, ‘Ten’ and so much more and suddenly the loneliness faded, strange it was because I dint understand how songs that was fuelled with sheer poignancy had the ability to strike a chord in our minds until we raised these 90s lords into God’s of the new punk era. There was this connection that was beyond words, it traveled through universal ‘kalams’ and brought back a certain hope that allowed us to continue living, not die in our teens because maybe just maybe, this is not the wasted life, this is not how it’s suppose to be. Well, Kurt Cobain died. So yah, so much for that.
I remember how upset I was when I first heard the news that I OD’d (I survived) because it was wrong for me to build hope on music. No one cared, no one will, not even music. All alone again, in this space where no sound could change the devastation that has made a settlement in the heart, I threw away all of Nirvana’s records even the ones that I bought after going on a hungers strike because I was just a kid still in school and my parents would not allow me to listen to rock music. Everything had to go and everything went down the bin that day. I totally went Jimmy Page, never picked up the guitar again, never played another record and just went into an isolated state of mind. You think friends would be kind, yah.. I thought as well but there they were not feeling an inch of guilt or sadness and made fun of me day in day out for being extremely upset about something that no human could avoid. Ok, i understand that but what i don’t understand is the concept of committing suicide? (which now, i don’t believe he did but I also don’t believe Love killed him, i don’t think she’s capable of all that. She needs to apply her mascara properly first than only we can talk) Jeez.. Witness the prejudice in me. Truth is we are all suicidal everyday of our lives and truth is stranger than fiction so it’s harder to look at ourselves in that spectrum. The pack with death comes through the usage of illegal substance, speeding on the road, fighting with unknown stranger, alcohol bender, committing felony and endless bla..bla… bla. But it’s ok, we are the clandestine decadents and our lives do not end up on TV, so we can judge.
I came from a household that imposed strict regulations and demanded rigorous adherence so we could render our utmost dedication towards our educations so we could becomes the Prime Ministers of some imaginary country on the outskirts of Africa. So much for that could I ended up eating my homework’s. We only watch TV at certain times, which by the way was cut short to like just an hour a day, strict no music policy in the system plus having to down celery sticks everyday in life as part of a healthy diet. My mind was so full of acid, a thousand celery sticks won’t do it justice. I believe their intentions were good but they were never around and never had time and so the usual happened. The obsessive rules made me a nihilist and pushed me back to a place where I found souls that were similar to me; the friends who I believe didn’t really care but would accept me nonetheless. At least here i was not alone.
I Found them jamming to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Alice In Chains and Temple Of The Dog. It was so funny because it’s quite impossible to sing Jeremy or Alive or Hunger Strike, because the songs took a different tone in one structure. Trying to imitate the singer was like sitting through Macbeth in a totally confused era while desperately hoping that Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck will just appear in time to rescue you before you are eternally consumed by the demons that made the Macbeth’s tragedy. The songs were made in ways that only the virtuosos could bring these songs to life. But we tried anyway, where hope is lost, we need to find something to hold on to and here we found Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. Slowly the devastation took a hiatus as we started rehearsing to these songs as if we had a done-deal record deal happening in 2 days time that would guarantee our own futures as the future rock stars. We were playing tribute to Nirvana since I loved Love Buzz from Bleach. I found Cobain to be at the core of his efforts in Bleach. The voice was there, no doubt, but if you listen carefully you can also hear, that he haven’t yet developed a full grip on his baritone. So the efforts were not forced into him, he had time to established his capabilities in due time. The drums however were extremely annoying but please note it wasn’t Chad Channing‘s on the drums at that specific recording time.
Despite all the vile rumours, I always found ‘In Utero’ as a final effort; like a farewell album. True, the artist always says that the lyrics means nothing and despite his words, there’s always something in between and when the time is right, you would know. You would be able to reach to the principle core of that structure and find that cryptogram in the song. In Utero was a desperate attempt to break the barrier from Nevermind and in just 3 short years, the group has gone through a lot to understand the expectations of the masses. It was to break the tie of teenage angst since all of them were not all that young anymore and that label somehow had to go. He even declared the teenage divorce was such a bore and told his dad that he wasn’t angry with him anymore, so there’s that to comprehend. Let the little cyber Einstein’s break the code, all the best.
Kurt Cobain was the master of his own games, he left a subtle ambience in a theatrical surrounding so he could bait you into digging, deeper than life, deeper than anything else. There was your Hansel in the Gretel story and the hints dropped through music. Regardless, I chose two songs out of that album and All Apologies became our permanent anthem whenever we were jamming and pretending to play at some imaginary concert or just Lollapalooza. However it wasn’t ‘All Apologies’ that hit close to home it was Would? from Alice In Chains. This song brought us places and the whole band felt it. There was a strong connection of life and lost that was closer to our own state of dementia, it was a production of an artist at his highest and lowest crux, laced in melancholy and forewarnings, it was the beautiful mystification of Layne Staley. His ability of reaching out and bear his soul to his audience. It vibrated the nerves that feel into submission and this song became a personal favourite for years and years and years and maybe until the day I’m no more. Layne’s passing hit me hard, so hard that I lost hope in music. I never wanted to go back to rock or punk-rock the way our inception had it. Never again would I look back with a simple smile of ecstasy or utmost delirium at the 90s because all of my hopes were broken and sealed with tragedies.
The thoughts of Layne Staley would bring tears to my eyes, and I felt worst because I wasn’t able to curse him and fuck him to the core for leaving us behind. People would kill to have the rare kind of voice he did, hell people have tried to imitate him without success. To me, Layne Staley was the last one standing.
He left with this and even when Cantrell was the one was writing this with Layne, I guess we all knew Layne’s direction back then, we just didn’t expect that the tragedy would have such an impact that it will leave us with emotional desertion. It was exhausting to carry such heavy burden at that time knowing there won’t be anything to look forward to anymore:
Know me, broken by my master
Teach thee, on child of love hereafter
Into the floods again,
same old trip it was back then,
So I made a big mistake,
Try to see it once my way
(oh hold on, I need to grab some tissues!!)
Now, it feels like a different lifetime, as if I have slept throughout centuries just to be awoken from cascading thoughts in a superior dream. I came back to where I belonged, to a place where I first saw the light of life despite the darkness of overwhelming need to end life once and for all. I returned to music, to the golden era where music held no boundaries as I search for the pick of destiny that I have lost in between. (A year before, I met Scorpion at the immigration and the lead singer gave me a guitar pick, which I so admirably lost coz I’m great at loosing things. Perhaps it awoken my senses, I wouldn’t know)
It was in the year 2000 I finally knew how Cobain looked like, and how the rest looked like in their prime. The stupor and the pristine vibes, they all looked like million dollar babies, all too glamorous without anything that extravagant but plain T’s, ripped denims, shorts, shirtless or jackets while trying hard not to be the rock stars they already were. It was that simplicity that made those times all the more exciting. Wealth was in the heart and not from the clothes they had on.
Music was truly beautiful back then, so much energy and so much youth, there it was ready for the taking, a virgin at the edge of her seat, waiting for the love from her exuberant dreams, pure, honest and unprecedented commitment to the one holy thing; MUSIC.
Punk-rock was not freedom. Punk-rock was honest, when rock stars were not trying to be rock stars, when music build a connection; from the artist voice straight into the fans heart. It was the times when we could relate to them without feeling low in our own little existent and that’s what they gave us; the principle core of chords, sounds, deliverance and performance. Music was at its highest zenith in the 90s, not before and not after. You don’t get to see that anymore. (The only person I wouldn’t dare compare music with is Elvis, he would remain as the genuine art of our recent history)
When I first saw this picture shown by an enthusiastic fan, I almost suffered a cardiac arrest and went into an epileptic speech of ‘fuck, no way, you gotta to be kidding me,fuck no way man, na-ah, fuck’ and another 100 fucks before saying, ‘you mean to tell me that this dude sang Jeremy? That voice came from this dude?’
After this we went on a You Tube bender (MTV, your 1 mil view could have come from me alone, so that’s all) Watching Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains at that time, after about 7 years my love for rock died, I couldn’t believe that I left my first love astray. How did I give up on music so easily when I still had the likes of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell who kept the spirit going since 1991 or before.
When I saw how Cornell looked like in his youth, I had a series of epileptic seizures. I have been listening to them since I was a child and never once knew how these virtuosos looked like coz I never needed to. Their music alone send me to cathartic fury, let alone knowing they looked like this, I would have died a million times and come back just to die again. (I do mention die a lot don’t I? don’t worry I have no interest in dying so soon, and I hope my feeling are mutual with God. Life aint that straight yet, but since I’ve passed 25, I might just repair some open valves as I pay my dues)
Hmm.. really? hmmm… is there a time machine? I would like to have one please, I wanna go back to the 90s and not in my school uniform but as a grown up teenager who could actually go to rock concerts and __________. (fill in the blanks with anything that comes to you mind and I believe that would start with an S..)
So this article was meant to tell you that: EDDIE VEDDER AND CHRIS CORNELL IS THE ONLY HOPE I HAD LEFT IN MUSIC, AND A VESSEL TO THE PRIMITIVE PAST, THE GLORIOUS ERA OF THE 90S WHERE PUNK FIRST TOOK ITS INCEPTION!!
They are here, they are alive and they’re still rocking it in the true spirits of 1991. It’s been a true honour and such a huge privilege to know and see Eddie Vedder together with Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell together with Soundgarden evolve throughout times. They are the testament of true musical ecstasy that keeps reminding you that there is something good left in music. Of course there’s other bands like ‘Foo Fighters’ but I was angry that Dave would start a band so soon in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s death but dude got eat yo! That’s one reason to why I never truly digested FF and the image of Dave Grohl was forever tarnished in my heart. But I don’t feel like that anymore. I came in terms with that too. I guess when we are young it’s easier to blame everyone and even the universe than to take responsibility for our own actions and misguided attentions.
Out of my acid mind, I am a writer for both EDM and rock music, former editor, freelance photographer, former flight attendant, director of one independent movie, a graphic designer, and on my way in publishing my first book through my own misgivings and dyslexic state of existence. Today I have the music of the past to remind me, not all of us die young from our misadventures because God was kind enough to give us another shot at life so we can live to pay our dues. Today I get excited looking at how Eddie Vedder was rock n’ roll’s very own stuntman, this boy back then had no sense of fear as he confronted danger heads on and hit the bulls eye every single fucking time. Thank God the live shows were recorded so at least memories wont be lost in time. All the stage diving and intensity, the whole climbing was the very edge that made rock so fucking exciting. My nerves have erections when I watch all those videos and I’m not even a dude.
I see Cornell on the stage thumping his way around, stretching to the end of the spectrum to deliver his art and here is the testament to the very core of what would never die. Chris is the lyrical poet to me in the shadows of the The Doors late front man, Jim Morrison minus the hanky-panky stuff. (Oh you know, the constant black outs, the fainting on the stage and etc) Jim Morrison was a Titanic of emotions and with only one song, he could deliver up to thousands of bottled emotions that come exploding like comets, unicorns, fireworks into the universe and Chris is the next best thing to that ethos.
Chris Cornnel is one of the greatest songwriters in the world and in the recent century. The stage was like a sonic battleground for him where all his gutsy rampage came out in volumes. He made rock so damn cool with his overbearing swagger. (Sorry Jagger!)
I have avoided naming pure mortals God’s for years now just because sometimes the pressure can be intense and we never know that our expectations could kill them instead of building them. Of course they are icons and embellished with extraordinary gifts but as humans, they are also prone to making mistakes like the rest of us. There must be space and we must allow mistakes to be done just so we could learn, not that I’ve seen any mistakes from them because their personal interest me not at all.
So to not dip below the surface, here are the Mozarts and Beethovens of the new generation who kept music pure and honest. There was no pretentions, no dramatic overvalue, no barriers but just pure fun and good vibes all around. They gave us music during our own adolescent and for that I have come to acknowledge the pure bile and charisma and the very reason rock is still pretty much alive today.
As for my other heroes, Cobain and Staley, who are we to judge if heaven is too heavy for anyone, that’s not our task neither it is within rights. How do we know that heaven is not heavy for us? How do we know the true stories of their minds throughout their own loneliness and isolations and what brought them to where they were. So for the lack of appreciation thrown in the way of the very people who build the holy foundation of post punk-rock, thank you for having the courage to face this world of idiots and imbeciles who were never content, who gave little and expected much, because in between them, there were us, who appreciated you not for the way you looked or because the trend demanded us to uplift you as the god’s of the new generation but we were the ones who appreciated you because of what you brought to the melody that left us with hope so we could arrive ever so fashionably into this century thanking God for the privilege of being the 90s children.
It’s easy to get lost in this world; life is fashioned to work that way. It’s hard to understand it when you are a child, harder when you have no one there but always remind yourself tomorrow might end up better than today and pause for awhile so you can gather your thoughts and just hit play. Run through an extremely generous greatest set that revisits every chapter of their legacy because when the 90s arrived, the hearts were wild, minds were young and music was the only thing high on the agenda.
Andy Woods (Mother Love Bone)
Hillel Slovak (RHCP)
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Doug Hopkins (Gin Blossom)
Kristen Pfaff (Hole)
Kent Montgomrey (D.O.A)
Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)
Bradley Nowell (Sublime)
Jonathan Melvoin (Smashing Pumpkins)
John Baker Saunders (Mad Season)
Layne Staley (Alice in Chains)
… and all that was left unmentioned. Thank you for the music.
Yours truly – Acid Tongue