April 9th, 2009


Touching, Clichéd Nirvana Lyric Here

My God, man! My God.

I hate anniversaries, so I probably shouldn't write this. But shit, it was the singular event of my generation that really woke me up to the attrocity that is Life and the world.

Here I am, 13. I don't even remember who I hear it from; most likely from some adult who's only heard of Nirvana because they've seen some teenagers wearing some t-shirts. Nobody wants to hear that kind of news from some Lame who never gave two shits about the music or the man. Knowing me, I probably don't say anything. I probably just stare blankly at the nearest TV screen showing some snippet of a news report. I probably lock myself in my bedroom, which is nothing new because I always lock myself in my bedroom. I do remember watching hours upon hours of coverage on MTV. You can't go to CNN or through local news for this kind of thing. Not when you're 13 and one of your top 5 musical idols falls victim to the trappings people like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton have multiple-orgasms over. There's only one trusted news outlet for the 13 year old. Really, there's only one man, and his name is Kurt Loder.

I remember full days of coverage. It falls right on a fucking Friday. So, there is no escaping it. All weekend. That Saturday especially. I remember huge blocks of hours dedicated to biographies and interviews with acquaintances and friends and well-wishers and celebrities with no affiliation whatsoever. I remember Henry Rollins talking about how kids are coming up to him talking about suicide, asking him what they should do and his response being, "I'm not an expert; I don't know what to tell you. Don't." At a time like this, that's pretty much all you're willing to hear. You don't want to be condescended to. Patronized. You don't want to hear about how heartbreaking it all is. You don't want a 20 minute lecture about why suicide isn't the way to go. You don't want to hear about religion. Loder and Rollins - telling it like it is - are all you need.

I remember thinking that I should be recording all this coverage, not having a blank VHS tape, and not wanting to go to the trouble of requesting from one of my parents to buy one. So I continue watching, so intently, indivisibly, as if putting that much effort into paying attention would be an equal substitute for video recording. And then I remember sitting cross-legged on my floor, in front of my massive collection of cassette tapes, weeping quietly and controllably, wondering why. Asking aloud. Questioning why him. Questioning him. I am 13 and not very good at much of anything, not very interested in anything but music. If this is three years later, I would be writing about this endlessly in my journal.

That whole weekend is a definite low-point in my life. I remember dreading going to school on Monday. I don't want to talk to anybody about this. I don't want it brought up by friends or teachers or anybody else. 13, in that month, puts me in 7th Grade. Middle school. The cool kids, especially the cool girls (not to be confused with the asinine cheerleader types, but the actually smart, artistic girls) are utterly despondant, often leaving class to cry in the bathroom. Even though I'm 13, I still get it. I may not have the perspective of a college student, whose mind is opening to the prospect that not only is everything their parents told them wrong, but that there are clear, distinct reasons WHY they're wrong (as opposed to high schoolers who know their parents are wrong, but CAN'T express why). But, I get it just the same. I know what he means to music, to society. I know what he stands for and how it's so antithetical to all the bogus crap that's out there. Not just musically (though, that certainly can't be ignored), but in the way a person lives his life as someone hugely famous. Not up his own ass with self-importance; a kind, loving aura, no less filled with hurt and rage and not the kind slickly packaged in so many copycats who follow.

I've only really known of him for three years or so. Whenever Nirvana started blowing up on MTV, that's pretty much when I caught on, because I am 13 and that's where I discover new music.

And now it's been 15 years since he died.

People are alive who are 15 years old and have no idea what it's like to live in a world inhabited by Kurt Cobain. That doesn't make me feel old so much as sorry for them. I may have not known the man or ever seen him in person, but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt to see him go. To date, the only famous person whose death ever drew a tear from me. Because when you've been burned so, it's difficult to get as attached. Of course, it's hard to blame the guy. If it wasn't him, it would've been someone else. I was 13 and naive; I'd rather it be him and not Brad Nowell or something.