I love the fact that people are reading my blog and recently i was asked to write an article for a music website http://www.intune-iow.co.uk about music legends.I kept changing what band to write about but finally I’ve got the right idea.
Growing up i wasn’t particularly bothered about music, i grew up with my dad listening to Rod Stewart, Phil Collins and stuff like that and my mum listening to David Bowie (mainly the Ziggy Stardust years), Human League, Paul Young and stuff like that. I remember in class when i was about 8 telling everyone that Phil Collins was my favouite artist (not cool). I grew up in the late 80’s early 90’s when music wasn’t readily available like it is now there was no youtube, facebook, vevo and the Internet was in it’s infancy. Radio stations all played the same usually Radio 1 or Capital FM and although you had Top Of The Pops and The Chart Show they were basically the same show on different channels. I listened to music in the car but didn’t really take any notice of it UNTIL……..
I was first introduced to alternative music in about 1993 or 1994, by this point i was 13 or 14, my life was solely based on football but i did still listen to music occasionally. The day that changed my musical tastes came about by chance really. We were on a school trip to Chessingtons world of adventures when my mate Grant Pomeroy made me a tape (yes a tape!!) of music that he listened to. I can remember it vividly, it included songs by Pearl Jam, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Lenny Kravitz, Ugly Kid Joe, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Offspring and Green Day as well as a few others however the band that changed me forever was NIRVANA. There was three songs on this compilation. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As Your Are and Lithium and that was all it took, well in honesty it was just the intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit, I’d never heard anything like it, I’d never noticed intro to songs before. Once the guitar kicked it you was immediately hooked. I listened to that song over and over again it was simply amazing. Even today whenever i hear that intro i have to turn the volume up and also repeat the song three or four times. There was something so unique about these songs the bass line and guitars simply hooked you and then when Kurt Cobain began singing you just took notice. The songs didn’t last long but that was a good thing it left you needing more. Those Nirvana fans out there will tell you that i was about 2 years behind the rest of them and i was. I had totally missed out on the buzz of Nirvana and the grunge movement but in all honesty it was really only Nirvana that did it for me. Pearl Jam’s first album was awesome too but nothing compared to Nevermind As soon as i could i bought the album as well as the singles and got into the band. I got into the other bands on the compilation as well and slowly my music tastes had dramatically changed
I don’t know why Nirvana stuck a chord with me, I’m trying to resist the usual cliches of the music speaking to me etc etc, but something about the music really made a difference. I remember watching the music videos and was just completely in awe of Kurt Cobain, the video in particularly that always stands out for me is Lithum when Kurt runs into the drum kit, at the time i had never seen anything like that and it just amazed me. This scruffy man from Seattle who i had absolutely nothing in common with was now the main focus of my music and it was because of him that i began to take notice of lyrics and what they mean, i couldn’t always relate to things as at 14 i had no life experience but i started to read about Kurt Cobain and started to learn what he stood for. In Bloom is an amazing song and his tongue in cheek lyrics poke fun at the fact that the people who made his life hell at school and bullied him were now hero worshipping him.
He’s The One who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Knows not what it means and i say
I had never known songwriting like this existed, it did inspire me to try my hand and songwriting and although wanting to i have never taken guitar lessons (my one regret). Once i had gotten into Nevermind i wanted more and when In Utero came out i got that straight away, again the song writing is immense, Kurt takes swipes at the critics and the songs are all worthy of singles. Heart shaped box and Rape Me being my personal favourites but what i love about Nirvana and Kurt’s songs are that they are equally adept and the power songs and also the softer side, Dumb, All Apologies, Pennyroyal Tea are amazing songs that probably don’t get the credit they deserve. When Kurt Cobain died i didn’t really feel anything, i had only really been a fan for a year or so but it was the first time i had known a music star kill themselves (or be killed depending on what your take on it is). Maybe that is part of his enduring legacy. A famous quote of his being “It’s better to burn out than fade away” and that is a fitting epitaph isn’t it. A reluctant spokesman for the 90’s generation X his lyrics spoke to millions in the world, but if he had still been alive today would he be revered in such a way? Nirvana exploded and disintegrated in such a fashion that perhaps it was only going to go one way. After all had he still be alive would we have had the Foo Fighter’s?. He changed peoples life’s with his song writing and music and who would have thought that on the day nearly twenty years ago Kurt Cobain and Nirvana would still be an integral part of my life. I have various books on Nirvana and Kurt Cobain and when things get to much for me i always whack Nevermind on just chill out to it. I even have a tattoo dedicated to my hero and ok maybe Nirvana aren’t my favourite band anymore (Papa Roach) without Smells Like Teen Spirit i wouldn’t even be listening to bands like that, I’d be stuck with Phil Collins and Rod Stewart.