Tag Archive: Kurt Cobain


GIRL IN A BAND – A MEMOIR by Kim Gordon (Day Street Books, 2015)

The somewhat reductive title is surely intended to be ironic since Kim Gordon’s autobiography is most certainly far than that of just another  ‘girl in a band’.

This is evidenced by the fact that the postscript defines her as an “artist, musician, producer, fashion designer, writer and actress”. Not only that but she is even a little dismissive of her musical prowess : “I’ve never thought of myself as a singer with a good voice or even as a musician”, she reveals.

Most of the time her desire to be a name in contemporary art world seems more important than being a rock star.

Despite this, Gordon is best known as founder member of post No Wave , pre-Grunge and super cool experimental rockers, Sonic Youth. This is a band who, she writes,“could only have come out of New York’s bohemian downtown art scene and the people in it”.

But anyone seeking a straight bio of the band will be disappointed by her non linear recollections. What dominates the plot is her relationship and marriage to Thurston Moore, the rise and fall of which parallels that of the band they founded together. The first chapter is entitled ‘The End’ and refers both to Sonic Youth’s final concert and the messy marital breakdown. Continue reading

KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK directed by Brett Morgen (USA, 2015)

€12 is a bit steep for the price of a cinema ticket but this was billed as an ‘event’ rather than a straight movie so in the spirit of the theme I thought ‘What the heck!’

The montage of the movie’s title comprises a plethora of mostly unseen home movie footage. This gives the dubious privilege of watching Kurt Cobain grow up in public, starting out as a cute kid and ending as a jaded junky.

Debates will rage about when it all started to go wrong. Was it when his parents divorced?, Was it all down to his addiction to hard drugs? Was it his inability to cope with Nevermind’s overnight success? or Was it mitigated by his relationship with Courtney Love?

You could make a strong case that it was all or none of these.

The reality is that Cobain seemed to be born with a suicidal gene and the images essentially serve as a chronicle of a death foretold. You only have to see the scrawled writings and drawings to see how he lived and died as a tortured soul that those around him witnessed but were incapable of curing. Continue reading

THIS RIDICULOUS WEAKNESS FOR LIFE

After Kurt Cobain killed himself a woman wrote to the Guardian, irritated about how so called  ‘slackers’ were represented in the press.

She wrote : “ours is not a generation that won’t do anything. Ours is a generation that has trouble finding anything to do”.

It is 20 years since the album that summed up this state of mind was released. Nevermind is an album that forced to record industry to do a massive reappraisal of what ‘underground rock’ meant given that its massive success was on a par with the ‘overground'(mainstream).

Its iconic status, like that of Nirvana’s intense MTV Unplugged show was doubly assured by Cobain’s suicide. The nostalgia junkies are all over this of course but when I see photos or footage of Cobain, I wish we still had him around rather than this memorabilia.

I wish that Kurt had taken on board these words of Voltaire from ‘Candide’ : “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our most melancholy propensities; for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away? To loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away”

Related links:
In search of Nirvana – 20 years on (Guardian.Co:Uk)
Why we should let Kurt Cobain rest in peace by Simon Reynolds (Slate.Com)

AMY JOINS THE 27 CLUB

I would never join a club that would have me for a member, Groucho Marx once said.

The club of rock artists who died at the age of 27 is one group no-one would want to belong to.

Members include Janis Joplin. Robert Johnson. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and now, sadly but by no means unexpectedly, Amy Winehouse can be added to the list. Continue reading

Burn or fade away

Blixa Bargeld

While I’m away #6

Neil Young wrote it’s better to burn than fade away. Kurt Cobain took this too literally. Nick Cave’s one time Bad Seed guitarist gave some profound advice on how rock stars can avoid getting burnt out. He said there are three basic options: a) Don’t become a rock star in the first place. b) Find something in life that fulfills you as much as being a rock star does. c) Don’t burn!

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