Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Stinks on Ice, Rocks on Fire... on Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain

In our house, we have a phrase that the kids have really latched on to. "That stinks on ice." I'm sure you've heard it and you understand the connotation of something that stinks, smells, reeks, even though it is deep frozen. It's THAT bad. A lot of times they'll hear or see something and say "Man, that song stinks on ice!" Jessica started using it on a regular basis last year, and it cracks me up.
Geoff, being the king of contrary, decided that he'd argue with her by simply changing the negativity of the statement to a positive.
Mom: Hey Jessie, listen to this song by the Dixie Chicks. It's pretty cool.
No way. Change it now. They suck.
Hey, that's not fair! And don't say that things suck. That's not nice
Jessie: Whatevah.
Mom: No seriously, give them a listen. They're pretty good. They play their own instruments which is more than I can say about most alleged female artists these days who get by on their exposed belly buttons and ability to warp notes and writhe around like a genie in a bottle getting rubbed the right way. The Dixie Chicks get my respect.
No way man. They play their own instruments and suck at the same time.
: I like Aaron Carter. He's awesome.
Jessie: Aaron Carter Stinks On Ice.
Geoff: No way, Aaron Carter Rocks On Fire!
Mom: Uh, heck no little man, I agree with Jessie. Aaron Carter does indeed Stink On Ice. He does not Rock On Fire.
Geoff: No way. Aaron Carter Rocks on Fire. Barenaked Ladies Stinks On Ice!
Mom: Get out of my damn car! Blasphemer!
Geoff: Aaron Carter Rocks on Fire. Barenaked Ladies Stinks On Ice! Aaron Carter Rocks on Fire. Barenaked Ladies Stinks On Ice! Aaron Carter Rocks on Fire. Barenaked Ladies Stinks On Ice!
[car screeches to halt. small child thrown into snowbank. car speeds away].
We have these exchanges on a daily basis. 

Which leads me to this entry.  Today, I'm thinking about Dave Grohl. A man who rocks on fire. 

Yup. That Dave Grohl, former drummer of Nirvana, and current front man of Foo Fighters. The Mentos, erm, Footos poppin', Big-hand slappin', crazy blind date havin', great video makin', many instrument playin' crazy ole Dave Grohl.
This morning as I was coming home from depositing my son at school, I was listening to a New Hampshire based rock station.

The on air morning "personalities," who all normally bore me to tears, were discussing Dave Grohl's career and how amazed they are that he is so incredibly successful after so many years, being a seminal part of three "bands that don't suck." I agree almost wholeheartedly. And then I decided to come here to the masses and pose some thoughts on him.

The on air radio talking heads were saying they believe Nirvana is the most influential band of the last 20 years. I don't know if I'd go that far. 

Before I talk about Dave Grohl, I'll preface with some thoughts on Nirvana. 

I really liked Nirvana.

I thought they were great. I remember the very first time I saw the cover to "Nevermind." It was a poster in a record store in Decatur, GA in 1991, when Doug and I were living there while he went to grad school. I remember being kind of shocked initially by the baby's penis dangling down between his legs as he swam towards the dollar bill on a fish hook, and then I instantly thought it was a genius concept and wanted to hear the album. Not many album covers impress me enough to want to hear what the "artists" had to offer. I went into the record store, easily the exact same age as the clerk but a demographic or four apart from him, and asked to hear it. He played some cuts off of it for me and I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I loved it.

I never bought the album. I didn't need to. Almost immediately I began to hear them EVERYwhere on the radio dial. Alternative rock. Rock rock. Adult Pretending to Still Be Young At Heart rock. Top 40. They were the first band that I realized was crossing all platforms except for country. They were ubiquitous. And I loved hearing them.

But I didn't think they were great enough for me to become rabidly obsessed over them (ie: the way I am with BNL). I never went to see them in concert. I already felt too old, even though Kurt Cobain was very slightly older than I was... 

I felt that I was on the very oldest fringe of this so-called "Generation X" and that a grungy mosh pit was not the place for me.

But I still listened to them and loved them. I also listened to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam... and many others. I felt a deep joy. Rock music was back. It had been re-awoken from the slumbering torpor of the hair band days.

I wore flannel on a regular basis through the 80s and realized that now everyone was dressing like ME. It felt good.
Until Kurt did what he did. 

When I bought the Rolling Stone Magazine with his black and white portrait on the cover, I cried, not because I would miss him... but because he pissed me off. And broke my heart. And there is so much sadness about him, who he was, who he is. And nothing now will ever be the same.

I can still feel myself standing in the livingroom of our apartment in Marblehead as I looked down at his face, my daughter playing on the floor, the exact same age as his daughter. I was so angry. I will never understand why, and maybe it isn't my place to understand why. But to me, I felt that something could have, should have been done to help him and save him. I didn't want to feel such anger about someone I didn't know personally. But I was angry at him for leaving his daughter, this world, and his life. 

And by the way, please note that little "TO ME" up there. TO ME means just that, to me. Not to you. If you find this page and go apeshit that I have insulted Kurt, or you, whatever. Get over it. But please -- let me have my opinion. I liked the guy. 

I liked the guy. I really did. I loved that band. I was sad to see that end.

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