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March 16, 2006 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Hello, hello, hello, HOW LOW.
posted by keswick (126 comments total)

 
"Every once in a while something comes along and changes the musical world away from its conventions."

Oh dear.
posted by S.C. at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2006


Now with extra moping action!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:10 AM on March 16, 2006


Exactly the legacy Cobain deserves.
posted by interrobang at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2006


Actually, this will probably be a good investment.

99% produced will end up destroyed and placed in bloody dioramas constructed by bored slackers.

At least that's what I would do with mine.

Flickr set coming soon!
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2006


So...do you only get the shotgun accessory when you buy the deluxe set?
posted by Pontius Pilate at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2006


Hello, hello, hello, AL LOWE.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:14 AM on March 16, 2006


Does it have that removable scar damage like those Jurassic Park toys from the 90's? Those were awesome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:17 AM on March 16, 2006


it's better to burn out than end up as an action figure
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 AM on March 16, 2006


Kurt Cobain is way too indie to deserve an action figure. He's like the hipster Mohammed: all depictions of his image are sacrilege! Burn the internet to the ground!

You people sure are touchy when it comes to the sacredness of depressed rock stars.
posted by billysumday at 10:20 AM on March 16, 2006


get this along with the "skanky junkie wife" barbie, and "shotgun fun play-action set"

Collect all three!
posted by stenseng at 10:22 AM on March 16, 2006


You people sure are touchy when it comes to the sacredness of depressed rock stars.

Is that so? Who in this thread has acted touchy about St. Kurt?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2006


I guess the Hello, Hello, How Low sort of tipped me off.
posted by billysumday at 10:25 AM on March 16, 2006


And of course the nothingissacred tag.
posted by billysumday at 10:26 AM on March 16, 2006


My child was in the same presschool as Cobain's cheerful, friendly, loving little girl. I can't help but think the poor girl has enough to deal with in life with the baggage of not one but two messed up parents. How sad that a child who lost her father to suicide and her mother, though still breathing, to addiction, has to deal now with all the freaky things people do after famous people die, and the instant availability of that freakishness via the net. Sad, sad.
posted by onegreeneye at 10:27 AM on March 16, 2006


It's more like, "How low can the keepers of Nirvana's rights go in their efforts to milk money out of a defunct band?"

I predict someone will find some pottery that was made in a room where Kurt was playing guitar. The extracted audio will be released as a bonus track on a 20th anniversary album.
posted by mikeh at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2006


Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

posted by keswick at 10:30 AM on March 16, 2006


I was just thinking I could use a little action figure of a reprehensible coward.

The only way Nirvana should exist is as records. That way we can divorce ourselves from the reality of what a weak little man Cobain was to abandon his daughter like that, and just enjoy the music. What the hell are we supposed to do with a Cobain action figure?

"See, this is where he put the shotgun when he started believing all the crap the magazines were printing about him. Oh, and this is the guitar that made him so famous, which, as well know, was directly responsible for killing him."

"Didn't he kill himself?"

"No, his fame killed him. See?"

Bottom line: music yes, musician no.
posted by jon_kill at 10:33 AM on March 16, 2006


Action figures of bad rock stars are just as low as action figures of good rock stars. Maybe even lower. I'd laugh way harder at little plastic Creed dolls than I would at this.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:34 AM on March 16, 2006


Yes, but does it come in a heart-shaped box?
posted by dhartung at 10:34 AM on March 16, 2006


This is why he killed himself. This, and Courtney Love.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:35 AM on March 16, 2006


Yes, but does it come in a heart-shaped box?

That's actually a pretty good idea.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:35 AM on March 16, 2006


what a weak little man Cobain was

I don't remember him claiming to be anything else.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2006


Preganant male seahorse not included.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2006


.
posted by fletchmuy at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2006


I bought one, but Courtney Love came in and shot it in the head.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2006


"With exactly Zero points of articulation, this collector's item is just as fun and posable as a real heroin addict!"

I'm still waiting for my G.G. Allin figure ("Poo Goo™ Sold Seperately!").
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:47 AM on March 16, 2006


Yes, but does it come in a heart-shaped box?

That's actually a pretty good idea.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:35 PM EST on March 16 [!]


Yeah, we could lock it inside for weeks!

what a weak little man Cobain was

I don't remember him claiming to be anything else.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 1:44 PM EST on March 16 [!]


When you have a child to take care of, and you know that if you die said child will be raised by Courtney Love, you have an obligation not to be that weak.
posted by unreason at 10:57 AM on March 16, 2006


I don't remember him claiming to be anything else.

I don't remember claiming that he claimed to be anything else.
posted by jon_kill at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2006


I sued him about exactly this in small claims court.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2006


unreason ... people who die of pneumonia are not weak
people who die of depression are not weak

you don't have his x-rays ... for all you know, his strength made him last years longer than he should have

there's a reason they call depression a mental illness ... it's not a choice
posted by pyramid termite at 11:04 AM on March 16, 2006


Bottom line: music yes, musician no.

Wait, he wasn't a musician because he killed himself and you disapprove?
posted by iamck at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2006


No, he's saying the music warrants appreciation, but Cobain himself does not.
posted by jenovus at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2006


smells like... well, not so good, actually.

Anytime you have a Cobain thread, there's always at least one or two assholes that need to comment on what a coward he was for killing himself. Get a clue. Suicide is the eventual result of unchecked depression, a mental illness as pyramid termite correctly puts.

Go fucking stand on someone else's grave to make yourself feel important.
posted by psmealey at 11:26 AM on March 16, 2006


unreason ... people who die of pneumonia are not weak

He didn't die of pneumonia. Unreason said that weak. That meaning, obviously, suicide. Not pneumonia. I don't even know what category of logical fallacy that falls into.
posted by jon_kill at 11:27 AM on March 16, 2006


I've got a question. Everytime I disagree and have rational arguments someone resorts to name-calling. NASA thread, I was an idiot. Here, I'm an asshole.

What gives?
posted by jon_kill at 11:28 AM on March 16, 2006


Feh.
I'm still waiting for my Nick Cave doll.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2006


At least it's not Ian Curtis.
posted by jdfan at 11:35 AM on March 16, 2006


And in every Cobain thread there are also those who claim to know what constitutes a degradation of his legacy. Dude wanted to be famous and make money. Which more destructively ruins the image of the pauper musician king: a) a stupid action figure or b) endless magazine covers, videos on MTV, complete media saturation and endless wealth? If he was the anti-corporate messenger and prideful indie musician, would he have . . .

You know what? I'm posting about what I think about Kurt Cobain in a thread on the internet. It's time to go do some work, methinks.
posted by billysumday at 11:35 AM on March 16, 2006


"I've got a question. Everytime I disagree and have rational arguments someone resorts to name-calling. NASA thread, I was an idiot. Here, I'm an asshole.

What gives?"


You're an idiot, asshole.

/obvious
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:36 AM on March 16, 2006


The "courtneyneedsmoney" tag is sure to be used time and time again. A real useful addition.
posted by raedyn at 11:36 AM on March 16, 2006


I don't know what kind of logical fallacy continuing to live is. Go read your Camus like good existentialists and don't come back till then!
posted by iamck at 11:37 AM on March 16, 2006


jon_kill, your starting position was far from rational basis for argument. Your opener was that he was a "reprehensible coward", completely betraying an ignorance as to the nature and effects of depression, that it can overwhelm capacity for what many of us consider to be rational thought.

The reasoning process shifts to the point that it becomes a value proposition of telling one's self that that fact that one is in such incredible pain and causing misery to everyone around him or herself, that this trumps any benefit to staying around to raise a child or any other life function. Life becomes worthless and the patient feels as though he is dragging everyone and everything else down with him to the point that suicide starts looking like the best possible option.

Celebrity issues aside, your comments can be construed (as I did) as callous and insulting to anyone who has ever been affected by a suicide. So, as to whether you're an idiot, I cannot speak to that, but you definitely sounded like an asshole.
posted by psmealey at 11:40 AM on March 16, 2006


Action figures should only be made of laudable historical characters.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2006


That meaning, obviously, suicide. Not pneumonia. I don't even know what category of logical fallacy that falls into.

At the risk of derailing this thread further, I think pyramid's point was that dying of suicide is no more reprehensible. He wasn't claiming that Cobain actually died of pneumonia, merely that his depression was also a treatable medical illness and that it's unfair to call him weak.

Clinical depression is a lot worse than just "feeling sad" or something...
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:46 AM on March 16, 2006


< obligatory>

"I need a Kurt Cobain action figure like I need a hole in the head..."

< /obligatory>
posted by stenseng at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2006


But isn't it possible that he actually was just a drugged out, reprehensible coward? Just asking...
posted by Shfishp at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2006


Careful, shfishp.

1) A conversation stemming from the original topic is a derail.
2) An opinion backed up by arguments is not an argument itself, even though it doesn't need to be.
3) You're an asshole.
4) If you think poorly of suicide, no one you know could have ever killed themselves.

You clear? Now get the fuck out of here.
posted by jon_kill at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2006


Action figures should only be made of laudable historical characters.

I think you forgot one.

As to the action figure, this is exactly what the world deserves. IMHO, he was a truly mediocre songwriter with an admittedly tragic end who did the world of music no end of harm. His imitators and adulators are legion, but the poor guy was just a fuckup who got picked up by mtv. Now you can idolize him in the comfort of your own home with this quality-made idol. I'm actually suprized this didn't didn't happen earlier.

(Mind you, I had the Gordie Howe action figure for a while, so I'm one to talk)
posted by lumpenprole at 12:15 PM on March 16, 2006





It's all... strange... So this is what happens when that Spawn dude got tired of drawing skulls?
posted by cavalier at 12:17 PM on March 16, 2006


Never trust (the action figure of) a junkie.
posted by dgaicun at 12:18 PM on March 16, 2006


That Nixon action figure's a complete rip-off.
I pulled the string in his back, and it erased everything he said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2006


I have Jay and Silent Bob action figures. They came with their own weed, smokes and beer. It's like having my slacker college friends around, only, ya know, without having to smell them.

But a Kurt action figure? That's just weird. I blame Courtney. But then, I always did.
posted by dejah420 at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2006


Careful, shfishp.

Yeah, I think that there are way too many people out there that "really knew Kurt and his pain, man".

Having a differing opinion than those 'experts'...yeah, I guess that does make you an asshole and an idiot, jon_kill.
posted by Shfishp at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2006


Jon_kill, I feel that we're both stupid. And contagious. :)
posted by unreason at 12:41 PM on March 16, 2006


Ernest Hemmingway
Michael Hutchence
Ian Curtis
Lenny Bruce
Del Shannon
Tony Hancock
Hunter S. Thompson
Donny Hathaway

Scum.
posted by Kiwi at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2006


Nobody's mentioned the very real possibility that it wasn't suicide at all.

*dons tinfoil hat*
posted by S.C. at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2006


I thought he was an annoying, whiny baby man long before he killed himself and left his daughter with a junkie for a mom. I don't hate him for succumbing to depression and killing himself, but it's sad to see him revered as some kind of hero, or a spokesman for a generation or whatever.
Nirvana made a couple of damn good rock albums in the early 90's and should be little more than a footnote in music history. The irony is that I think Cobain was painfully aware of that.
posted by 2sheets at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2006


At least it's not Ian Curtis. posted by jdfan

No. Ian gets a movie. (kurt got a weird sort of Gus Van Sant thing)
posted by shoepal at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2006


did anyone ever think he was actually indie?
posted by MonkNoiz at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2006


there's a reason they call depression a mental illness ... it's not a choice

This is true.

But isn't it possible that he actually was just a drugged out, reprehensible coward? Just asking...

This is also true...

Wait...
Nuances... perceived.... cognitive dissonace... setting in... losing... will to argue pointlessly... urggghhh...
posted by poweredbybeard at 1:31 PM on March 16, 2006


Gaaaaawwwwwwd, y'know, for all the "it's a discussion site!" bullshit, I'd just like one comment that I didn't hear, like, ten years ago on a Nirvana bulletin board. And the board was even on AOL! You hear me, Metafilter? You're repeating quips and boring-ass arguments from an AOL message board ten years ago!

(There was, however, a good post on ILM about Nirvana's legacy and whether everything really did change in '91, which came out of an absolutely crappy Ultragrrl blog post).
posted by klangklangston at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2006


From everything I've read and heard, Kurt just wanted to be in a band and make a living doing it. Initially, at least, his model for success was more Calvin Johnson than it was John Lennon. One thing led to another, the SubPop guys got involved, and then the DGC guys got involved and it turned into the whole rock star icon thing. So much for just being in a band making a living. So, whether he wanted it or not, he's got a legacy. As to whether this little figurine trashes that legacy or reinforces it, is left to debate as only one can on MeFi (or Fark, or on the usenet or on AOL).

Secondly, I don't claim to know his pain (, man) better or worse than anyone else, it's just clear from the record that (a) he had at least two close relatives commit suicide and (b) his behavior followed a familiar pattern of unchecked depression, i.e.: previous suicide attempts, on again off again addictions to drugs, and so on. So based on that, I do believe it was clinical depression that led to the his eventual suicide.

My point in writing all this, and why I reacted as I did above, was that I was ticked off at the people shooting their mouths off and mindlessly perpetuating ignorant stereotypes ("weak", "cowardly", etc.) about suicide. Or, at the very least, I should have asked that if you are going to spew that callous bullshit, then please, at least have the courtesy not to whine about it when someone calls you an asshole.
posted by psmealey at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2006


Metafilter: quips and boring-ass arguments from an AOL message board ten years ago
posted by Smedleyman at 2:18 PM on March 16, 2006


Is it a doll or an action figure, though?
posted by Sparx at 2:20 PM on March 16, 2006


Hey at least it's a good figure, they even remembered that he was left-handed.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:21 PM on March 16, 2006


Kurt Cobain action figure: meh.

d. boon action figure: RAWK!

And let's toss in a Pig Champion action figure, just to crush all opposition.

I'd buy the gg allin one, too. Just because my wife got perversely fascinated with the man and tracked down his brother Merle's phone number and called him up and had a nice chat. He was very polite and flattered that she had called, and he sent us all sorts of unreleased gg stuff, all of which, of course, is utter crap. But that's kind of the point.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:22 PM on March 16, 2006


I vote for "He was an awesome songwriter and i'm sorry he's dead." I think the action figure is in bad taste, but whatever.
posted by slackdog at 2:31 PM on March 16, 2006


From SC's link: It appears this was not the first attempt on Cobain's life by Courtney Love. It was, however, the first to succeed.

Heh.
posted by oncogenesis at 2:34 PM on March 16, 2006


Corporate action figures STILL suck.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 2:58 PM on March 16, 2006


your favorite action figure sucks
posted by matteo at 3:00 PM on March 16, 2006


(There was, however, a good post on ILM about Nirvana's legacy and whether everything really did change in '91, which came out of an absolutely crappy Ultragrrl blog post).

ewww. That thing certainly did propogate, didn't it?

If you want people to read your crap, just pick on them for being old and out of touch, is the moral I suppose.

Wow, a lot of people really still think Kurdt killed himself.
posted by First Post at 3:04 PM on March 16, 2006


A lot of people think man walked on the moon.
posted by meech at 3:36 PM on March 16, 2006


"(a) he had at least two close relatives commit suicide and (b) his behavior followed a familiar pattern of unchecked depression, i.e.: previous suicide attempts, on again off again addictions to drugs, and so on. So based on that, I do believe it was clinical depression that led to the his eventual suicide."

Well, clinical depression combined with a stomach condition that basically required him to take massive amounts of pain killers to be functional (which certainly played into his addiction).

But, as I should have said on ILM, Weezer's had more influence on modern music and deserves more blame.
posted by klangklangston at 3:54 PM on March 16, 2006


He was depressed, but not too depressed. Very Very depressed people can't get the motivation to kill themselves!!

I learned that from the argument for a suicide barrier on the golden Gate bridge to make it harder for depressed people to kill themselves. Make it difficult enough and many won't have the energy or drive to overcome the obstacles you put in their way.

Not a lot of energetic Can Do suicides outside WW2 Japan and the Dar al-Islam
posted by Megafly at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2006


Corporate action figures STILL suck.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 2:58 PM PST on March 16 [!]


Ha! Cool reference!

Stupid Courtney, this is el suck. I would have shot myself too having to be with that horrid bitch.

And where's the rest of the band? It's no fun playing air guitar jam-out dolls all by your self!
posted by snsranch at 5:20 PM on March 16, 2006


I'm against it. And I bet Courtney sanctioned this? Bitch.
posted by sjvilla79 at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2006


I was ticked off at the people shooting their mouths off and mindlessly perpetuating ignorant stereotypes ("weak", "cowardly", etc.) about suicide.

Because obviously they are strong and brave...
posted by c13 at 6:38 PM on March 16, 2006


"Shooting their mouths off" is an unusually apt phrase here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:29 PM on March 16, 2006


Because obviously they are strong and brave...

And the trite little verbal dance is repeated.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:06 PM on March 16, 2006


I think he really did love his daughter. Really really depressed mentally ill people can convince themselves that their loved ones' lives would be better off if they were dead.

Or maybe he was murdered.
posted by visual mechanic at 8:12 PM on March 16, 2006


He didn't die of pneumonia. Unreason said that weak. That meaning, obviously, suicide. Not pneumonia. I don't even know what category of logical fallacy that falls into.

there's no fallacy worse than misunderstanding the heart ...

the fact is that pneumonia and depression are both diseases ... go ask a doctor if you don't believe me ... certain chemicals gain power in your brain and start controlling what you do ... see, that's why doctors treat depression with chemicals

there's a logical fallacy behind both you and unreason's view ... it's called making false assumptions

in this case the false assumption is that kurt cobain was in control of himself ... and i dare say you've also made the dubious assumption that YOU'RE in control of yourself

no ... it may well be your brain just tricks you into thinking so ... just as kurt cobain's brain tricked him into thinking that it was better off with a shotgun shell through it

perhaps you should start questioning what you know ... because, as far as i'm concerned ... you don't know what you think you do

don't argue with me ... be ruthless and rational about your feelings of self-control and actually try to PROVE it to yourself

you're not an asshole ... just deluded by what your brain is programmed to tell you ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:19 PM on March 16, 2006


I thought the official story was he killed himself because his stomach hurt?

And for all of you who bought into the whole Nirvana bullshit and bought their albums, it's your fault (non R&B/Rap) music today sounds like it does. More than a decade now of looking for another skinny junkie who doesn't bathe and makes teenage boys cry in their room.

I don't wanna be a rock star! I'm miserable! Somebody please help me! I hate being famous!

Then quit making records, asshole.

Jesus.

I didn't want him to shoot himself in the face, I just wanted him to shut the fuck up. I'm pretty sure I've heard 10x more about him because he did kill himself.

Martyrs are in all cultures.

And if you say anything even slightly unflattering about Cobain you immediately draw the blood-oath hatred of a certain segment that still deify him.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:23 PM on March 16, 2006


And for all of you who bought into the whole Nirvana bullshit and bought their albums, it's your fault (non R&B/Rap) music today sounds like it does.

no, that's the way it always happens ... someone comes out with an appealing sound and the rest of the industry drives it right into the ground

i thought that nirvana's music was half brilliant and half crap ... that's better than most bands do

ps dave grohl was a great, great drummer ... period ... part of the problem with all the imitators is they forget to imitate the drummer
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on March 16, 2006


Kiwi: You forgot Sylvia Plath.
posted by onegreeneye at 9:51 PM on March 16, 2006


At least it's not Ian Curtis.

Ummmm.... I'd actually dig an Ian Curtis doll.

This worries me.
posted by pompomtom at 10:04 PM on March 16, 2006


Celebrity issues aside, your comments can be construed (as I did) as callous and insulting to anyone who has ever been affected by a suicide. So, as to whether you're an idiot, I cannot speak to that, but you definitely sounded like an asshole.
posted by psmealey at 11:40 AM PST on March 16 [!]


Bravo. The knee jerk reaction of some to attack those who've killed themselves reminds me of cowardly drunks outside a bar who kick the unconscious guy after the fight is over, when they themselves were not present for the fight. Suicides are branded cowards and lowlifes by folks who themselves are so very brave that they sling mud at the defenseless dead and piss on their graves in front of their suffering loved ones. Gosh, that's not lowlife behavior at all and it's ever so brave.
posted by onegreeneye at 10:04 PM on March 16, 2006


"Because obviously they are strong and brave..."

Congratulations, you win the False Dichotomy Fallacy Award. We'll send along a gallon of your favorite gas for huffing.

"I don't wanna be a rock star! I'm miserable! Somebody please help me! I hate being famous!

Then quit making records, asshole."

He hasn't recorded any new material after his suicide to my knowledge.

"And for all of you who bought into the whole Nirvana bullshit and bought their albums, it's your fault (non R&B/Rap) music today sounds like it does."

You mean... pretty good overall, with a lot of mainstream stuff being kinda boring and safe versions of exciting music that's everywhere else? What a stinging indictment. And clearly traceable directly to Nevermind.

Hey, why is it that when people who obviously have no fucking clue shoot their mouths off around here about, say, the law or domestic politics, they get shouted down, but when someone who obviously has no fucking clue about music shoots their mouth off it seems to go unchallenged?

Please to be enjoying your frosty mug now.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on March 16, 2006


"Ummmm.... I'd actually dig an Ian Curtis doll."

I'd make it as an air freshener, letting it swing from the rearview mirror.
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 PM on March 16, 2006


And if you say anything even slightly unflattering about Cobain you immediately draw the blood-oath hatred of a certain segment that still deify him.

1) I don't deify Cobain one bit and yet I'd still classify your above comments as fairly ignorant and insensitive. One does not need to be a suicide apologist to find the facile "tough guy" rhetoric unhelpful.

And for all of you who bought into the whole Nirvana bullshit and bought their albums, it's your fault (non R&B/Rap) music today sounds like it does.

2) If you're saying that the commercial success of "Nevermind" (not Nirvana's best album, imo) ushered in an era where record companies were hot to sign plaintive (whiny) excessively emotive, young white boy power chord rock, most of which was horribly boring, (i.e. The rock music in which young male singers make a fist when they sing, to show you how emotional they are--I call it "Wait-Listed at Penn State blues") then I'd agree with you. But this is not Nirvana's fault, or the fault of Nirvana fans. If you think all of today's rock sucks, maybe you're not looking deep enough beyond the popular commercial crap. (the crap we can't avoid--the stuff that tends to "find us"--not the other way around.) Turning on most commercial radio stations and/or wandering through a Coconuts retail store in the mall, yes, I'd agree with you, today's rock uniformly sucks! But there is so much great stuff out there if you dig a bit to find it. And there always has been.
posted by applemeat at 5:34 AM on March 17, 2006


there is so much great stuff out there if you dig a bit to find it. And there always has been.

And there will continue to be. One way I find it is by attending my local folk music festival. Despite the name, it's a great mixture of many genres of indie-label music and I invariably discover something new and wonderful - most often, I discover a couple.
posted by raedyn at 5:41 AM on March 17, 2006


"why is it that when people who obviously have no fucking clue shoot their mouths off around here about, say, the law or domestic politics, they get shouted down, but when someone who obviously has no fucking clue about music shoots their mouth off it seems to go unchallenged?"

I'd guess because musical taste is subjective?

Just a hunch.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:43 AM on March 17, 2006


The knee jerk reaction of some to attack those who've killed themselves reminds me of ...

A statement of fact is not an attack. I, for one, could not care less for him, his music or what part of his body he shot off. So I really have no reason to attack him or anyone else who kills himself. But it does not change the fact that he was a weak and cowardly person. He was not strong enough to deal with his life, didn't care enough about his wife and his daughter, so he crawled in a hole and left a big mess for others to clean up.
Please grow up and don't make a martyr out of him. A martyr dies FOR something, not because of. If anything, such comparison is an insult martyrs.
Suicides are branded cowards and lowlifes by folks who themselves are so very brave that they sling mud at the defenseless dead and piss on their graves in front of their suffering loved ones.
Well, they are brave enough to live. As for pissing on the grave or suffering loved ones -- they (the loved ones) MADE A FUCKING ACTION FIGURE out of him, for god's sake!
posted by c13 at 7:16 AM on March 17, 2006


"But it does not change the fact that he was a weak and cowardly person. He was not strong enough to deal with his life, didn't care enough about his wife and his daughter, so he crawled in a hole and left a big mess for others to clean up."

Bullshit. A combination of mental illness, severe pain and chronic recurrent addiction (which was spurred on by medicine that he was legitimately prescribed) was why he killed himself. Your own value judgements are a) totally off-base, and b) deliberately framed to be inflamatory. I no more blame him for his suicide than I do schizophrenics for their hallucinations or OCD people for their self-destructive habits, or even alcoholics for not understanding the extent of their addiction until they hit rock bottom.

As for the martyr thing, you'd better find a different straw man, since you're the only one using the word here.
posted by klangklangston at 7:31 AM on March 17, 2006


He hasn't recorded any new material after his suicide to my knowledge.

Well genius, I was probably referring to his incessant whining and bitching while he was alive. You know, how every interview he complained about being famous, how he never wanted to be a rock star, how he just wanted to make music but somehow he accidentally took a bunch of money from a record label and had to make records? But of course even you're not that stupid, just a chance to throw in a zinger, eh?

If you have even a passing familiarity with him and his anti-rockstar routine (which you should, if you're a fanboi) then this "I'm famous but it doesn't matter because all I want is credibility, really!" schtick shouldn't be new to you.

You've already displayed that I know more than you about popular music, since even the basics of Cobain's attitude and message you didn't get. I got it, I just didn't give a shit.

I'm glad you enjoyed his music, and glad you got to thrash around your room crying and stabbing your arm with a pencil because noone understood you and Cobain let you have a cathartic release. Good for you.

But that doesn't mean you know shit, about shit.

Cobain wanted to be rich and famous, and he took the FIRST OPPORTUNITY he had to do so. Nirvana was every-bit as much of a product of the pop machine as the Backstreet Boys. Their image was carefully crafted and managed by guys in suits talking on cell phones, just like everything else on the Top 40. Their Unplugged performance was a stroke of genius by their marketing people, and I do give them enough props as musicians to be able to pull it off.

But it's cute watching fanbois get into a lather because he was an artiste and above any criticism.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:34 AM on March 17, 2006


i'm amazed that these many years later, there's still awe-struck fanbois that get all lathered up about Cobain being beyond reproach because we was... like... so deep... man.

But I haven't seen any of that here. (Maybe I'm not paying attention?)

I have seen people challenging the notion that suicide is weak, and reminding everyone that suicide normally comes out of depression which is a sickness. It's a sickness that can be treatable, but treatable, but a sickness nonetheless.
posted by raedyn at 7:46 AM on March 17, 2006


Nirvana was every-bit as much of a product of the pop machine as the Backstreet Boys.

Big overstatement. Unless you tuned in about the time "Smells Like.." hit the airwaves. Nirvana was definitely groomed and handled by the corporate suits by the time they landed the major label deal, but this was also a band that played together since high school (Cobain and Novaselic) and who put out their (pretty frickin' rocking, imo) first 1989 album themselves for like $660. They were hardly hand-picked cardboard, pretty boys, as much as you may want to dismiss Nirvana, please find a more accurate way.
posted by applemeat at 7:54 AM on March 17, 2006


it's funny how none of the people who think cobain was weak and cowardly are expressing that opinion in the suicide thread ... it leads me to believe that your real problem isn't his suicide, but that he offended your knee-jerk hipster tendencies

god forbid that a musician should be seen as a human being instead of symbol of what you don't like about music
posted by pyramid termite at 7:54 AM on March 17, 2006


"You've already displayed that I know more than you about popular music, since even the basics of Cobain's attitude and message you didn't get. I got it, I just didn't give a shit."

Ha. I'll throw down on that if you want to, but I can't imagine that you'll be willing to concede once it's clear that you've lost.

"Well genius, I was probably referring to his incessant whining and bitching while he was alive. You know, how every interview he complained about being famous, how he never wanted to be a rock star, how he just wanted to make music but somehow he accidentally took a bunch of money from a record label and had to make records? But of course even you're not that stupid, just a chance to throw in a zinger, eh?"

Well, except that his talk about how he never wanted to be a rockstar was about how he never anticipated the level of success that he had. He thought he'd be putting out Sub Pop records and touring in a van for the rest of his life. And while he was an icon, when he died Hole was bigger than Nirvana in terms of record sales. (More than anything, his suicide can be blamed for ruining Hole's chances of being a great rock band).
But hey, you've already demonstrated a sub-moron's ability to grasp the distinction in levels of success, so I don't suppose my reiterating it will help you have the lightbulb go off.

"which you should, if you're a fanboi"
Which, despite your carefully constructed strawman against which you rage, I'm not. But keep going chief, you may finally defeat the spirit of '94 if you just keep tossing bon mots like "you don't know shit, about shit" with all the insight and punctuation of a wayward high school freshman.

"Cobain wanted to be rich and famous, and he took the FIRST OPPORTUNITY he had to do so. Nirvana was every-bit as much of a product of the pop machine as the Backstreet Boys. Their image was carefully crafted and managed by guys in suits talking on cell phones, just like everything else on the Top 40. Their Unplugged performance was a stroke of genius by their marketing people, and I do give them enough props as musicians to be able to pull it off."

Really? So... Thurston Moore was their Lou Perlman? When, exactly, did Cobain and Novaselic audition for him? I do admit that it was a stroke of genius to include Grohl, formerly of a little-known DC hardcore band. I mean, we are blaming Sonic Youth here, right, since their DGC contract was why Nirvana got signed, after touring with them. Under your theory, has there ever been an act in the top 40 that hasn't been The Backstreet Boys? And for an argument of a 'pop machine' crafting Nirvana's image, you really haven't read all thos interviews that you rail against upthread, have you? Guys with cellphones told Cobain to be petulant and to promote Shonen Knife and The Pixies? Does Superman ever visit your Bizarroworld, or are you just left to ferment your own theories?
Nirvana was popular because Cobain wrote great songs that were recorded pretty well, and DGC put the muscle behind them that 4AD couldn't put behind The Pixies (and that The Raincoats never had). People who were already clued into bands like Sonic Youth (who, again, was also on DGC) picked up Nevermind and started a buzz. Nirvana first moved alongside art metal, then, because of their popular couple of singles, broke out in a way that caught a lot of execs looking. They went triple-platinum within three months, something that people who had bought Bleach (and Cobain himself) never would have predicted. This sparked a feeding frenzy, where bands like Soundgarden (again, from art metal), Alice in Chains and The Melvins suddenly got signed and promoted (along with also-rans like Dig and Seven Mary Three). MTV knows to promote an album that's selling about a million copies per month, and moved "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to prime slots from the alternative programming slots they had it in. The odds-and-sods Incesticide sold well, and In Utero is a really good album that still holds up today. Despite your indier-than-thou posturing, it's OK to have a good album chart. By then though, the band was starting to break up, and Cobain was dealing with more stomach pain, more addiction, more money, Courtney Love, internal strife about songwriting credits. They recorded a show with The Meat Puppets (who, I suppose were N'Sync to your Backstreet Boys construction) for MTV Unplugged. It's a pretty fine album, though the "fanbois" (and I'm not sure why you go for the queer spelling. Perhaps that was the way you wrote it on your high school Trapper Keeper) were accusing them of "selling out." Then Cobain killed himself.
Since then, a lot of music was influenced by Nirvana, though more by Pearl Jam and Weezer. Any argument to the contrary has to stop Nirvana's influence at Nevermind, since there's certainly very little on the radio that sounds like "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter," and a lot more that sounds like "Say It Ain't So," "No Other One," or "Even Flow." You can hear it in the way that the guitars are spaced, the way that the stop-start power chords are used, and the style of vocalization that Fallout Boy or My Chemical Romance uses. Aside from the pop-emo contingent (and remember that Weezer was called emo at the time, due to songs like "The Sweater Song"), you'll find bands like The Killers, who owe very little to Nirvana and much more to, say, Duran Duran. There are even more popular bands today that sound like Possum Dixon than there are that sound like Nirvana.

So, now only do you evidence an extremely simplistic view of what Cobain said and how that relates to where he actually was (along with an incredibly simplistic vision of a pretty complicated person), your thesis that he's somehow responsible for the rock charts today is ignorant on its face and laughable if examined.

But please, give us another rant about the "fanbois" that so rile you, so that I can give you another trouser press.
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 AM on March 17, 2006


Man, I think klangy does know shit about shit.
posted by applemeat at 8:33 AM on March 17, 2006


As for the martyr thing, you'd better find a different straw man, since you're the only one using the word here.

Martyrs are in all cultures.
.....
posted by Ynoxas at 12:23 AM EST on March 17 [!]


Read the thread, dude.

A combination of mental illness, severe pain and chronic recurrent addiction (which was spurred on by medicine that he was legitimately prescribed) was why he killed himself.

That's just details. Of course no one kills himself just for the hell of it, without any reason. My point is that stronger people live through/with severe pain, and mental illness and recurrent addiction and all the rest of the shit that happens to them.
And if I haven't made it clear before, I don't blame him for anything. I'm just stating a fact. He was a musician, he was a human being. All I'm saying is that he was weak. He was not the only one, like PT said, there is a whole thread about them. And I don't like or hate him anymore than if he was still alive, or if he was a different person altogether.
Why he was weak is a whole different topic.
And there is no reason to project your feelings on me.
posted by c13 at 8:41 AM on March 17, 2006


c13, I see your points, and it's a valid (and common) opinion you have about "stronger v. weaker" people, but my hesitation with this conventional wisdom is simply how do you know how another person feels? How can any of us quantify "pain" or presume to know the severity of someone elses? To me it seems futile (and also arrogant) to try and assign such judgments onto other people. Onto total strangers.

Also, and I do not mean to sound flippant here, but don't you think it takes some balls to kill yourself? (...Putting aside how cruel/irresponsible suicide often is to those left behind, etc., I am isolating my comment here to the actual ACT of pulling a trigger, or stepping off of that ladder, etc.) I feel mostly grateful with my life, and I am lucky to enjoy mental health. But were I not so fortunate, I don't know if I would be strong enough to commit suicide. ...Geez, I can't even make myself throw-up.
posted by applemeat at 9:08 AM on March 17, 2006


applemeat:Of course. I am not referring to K&K when they were in high school. But, after they were signed, I absolutely maintain they were as fake and as manufactured as any other Top 40 act. The clothes, video, songs, performances, interviews, etc were all completely staged and planned like they were for all their contemporaries. To say otherwise is being profoundly naive.

Also, just to be clear, I don't think he was weak and cowardly because he killed himself. I consider EVERYONE who commits suicide to have some sort of mental problem/deficiency. He was also a junkie, which must have played a none-too-small part.

I think Cobain was an above average songwriter and a below average guitarist. That's all.

klangston: Look, you just spouted a long winded diatribe about how I was right, just "different" than the way you want to be right.

"Oooh, oooh, Nirvana had far reaching and permanent influence on the music we hear today... but other people influenced it too!" So basically I'm wrong because there were other influences besides Nirvana, or that other bands who have had time to list Nirvana as influences have had time to influence music themselves. Pretty weak argument.

Yes, I see how you are right and I am wrong with you saying that they finally achieved success because of a larger label's strong support, beneficial positioning during touring, and the recruitment of a designated drummer. What a stinging rebutment to what I said. Funny how the Channing stuff doesn't sound like what most people who aren't obsessives think of when they think of "Nirvana". I bet you, and everyone you know, bought "Bleach" after "Nevermind" too.

So yes, you're absolutely right. They became massively popular and successful based solely on their phenomenal artistic ability and Cobain's otherworldly writing ability. It had nothing to do with money, promotion, and careful image crafting, just like every other (commercially) successful band in the last 30 years. They were truly a homegrown, indie success story who never needed the mainstream or MTV. They were pure, innocent, above reproach, and the only good thing that has ever happened to music since Lennon. Right.

And you're the one who's out of touch if you don't even know what a "fanboi" is. That is something I hardly crafted myself.

Whatever. Cobain worship is a barometer for people and their musical tastes. It makes things easier when deciding how to classify someone.

And for the record, I'm not indier-than-thou. Far from it. But I hate it when people refuse to recognize the corporate and mainstream influence on their favorite band that just "happened" to have mainstream success.

Mainstream success does not happen by accident. The system is PURPOSEFULLY designed to not allow that to happen. The record labels spend as much money keeping good bands down as they do letting mediocre bands rise to the top. It's because today, and for the last 30 years at least, maybe longer, music is not about music, it is about image. It is about promotion and about packaging.

You think it is just a cosmic coincidence that true talents get relegated to 2nd/3rd/worse rate labels? You think that Sony just has trouble finding good talent? You think Britney sells out stadiums because she is a breathtaking vocalist, one of the finest of this era?

Put another way, it's no longer Alternative when you go double platinum. Put yet another way, it's no longer Alternative when all your friends have heard about it.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:14 AM on March 17, 2006


It makes things easier when deciding how to classify someone.

Well, then it goes right in the toolbelt with my many other human-classifiers. They make life so much simpler.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2006


How do I know about how much pain another person feels? By comparing him to others. The "dynamic range" of pain, if you will, is not infinite. That is true for physical as well as emotional pain. So you compare one person's actions to those of others, in similar or more dire circumstances. And I think it is fairly valid simply because *humans are not all that different*.
And there is plenty of evidence that the strong ones go on, the weak don't.
As far as the amount of courage needed to pull the trigger--sure, one has to have *some* courage. But a hell of a lot less than it takes not to.
posted by c13 at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2006


This is pretty off-topic I guess, but FWIW there was in fact a GG Allin doll made in small quantities in Toronto in the mid-90s (before GG OD'd). It wasn't an action figure, more like two pieces of cloth sewn together with cotton inside. It had all the tattoos and even some poo poo by the legs. Plus it came in a brown paper (barf) bag. I still have mine, and I've been searching desperately on the web for a picture of this thing, but alas, you'll just have to imagine it...
posted by stinkycheese at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2006


Just want to record my wholehearted agreement and admiration for klang's magnificent trouser-pressing upthread. Well done, sir.
posted by gompa at 9:50 AM on March 17, 2006


"So basically I'm wrong because there were other influences besides Nirvana, or that other bands who have had time to list Nirvana as influences have had time to influence music themselves. Pretty weak argument."

You're wrong because Nirvana is far from the most significant influence. If you want to blame Nirvana for the state of top 40 radio, which you did, you have to actually back that up by making them a proximate cause. Alito did not cause the Iraq war with his '80s advocation of unitary executive theory under Reagan, even though it could be seen as an influence on the presidential use of power that brought us to the war.

"Yes, I see how you are right and I am wrong with you saying that they finally achieved success because of a larger label's strong support, beneficial positioning during touring, and the recruitment of a designated drummer. What a stinging rebutment to what I said. Funny how the Channing stuff doesn't sound like what most people who aren't obsessives think of when they think of "Nirvana". I bet you, and everyone you know, bought "Bleach" after "Nevermind" too."

Grohl wasn't recruited for financial success, he was recruited because he's a pretty fucking solid drummer. And again, you're turning your own bizarro world version of the music business into some sort of evil plot. There was no substantive distinction between the promotion for Nevermind and Dirty. Nirvana achieved success because they had great hooks and solid production. That's the proximate cause. The contributory cause is having a solid record company behind them, in order to fully capitalize on their success. Nirvana wouldn't have been huge if they weren't a solid band on their own.
And yeah, I bought Bleach after Nevermind. Should I be ashamed of that? I bought Zen Arcade and Damaged after Nevermind too. What's your point?

"So yes, you're absolutely right. They became massively popular and successful based solely on their phenomenal artistic ability and Cobain's otherworldly writing ability. It had nothing to do with money, promotion, and careful image crafting, just like every other (commercially) successful band in the last 30 years. They were truly a homegrown, indie success story who never needed the mainstream or MTV. They were pure, innocent, above reproach, and the only good thing that has ever happened to music since Lennon. Right."

Do you get paid by the false dichotomy, or is this all pro bono naivety?

"The record labels spend as much money keeping good bands down as they do letting mediocre bands rise to the top. It's because today, and for the last 30 years at least, maybe longer, music is not about music, it is about image. It is about promotion and about packaging."

Excuse me, I was laughing too hard to really parse this. First off, record labels spend money keeping other bands down? How, exactly, does that work? Second off, image and presentation has always been a part of music, and sometimes it's a subordinate part and sometimes it's a dominant part. That doesn't mean that Nevermind the Bollocks isn't a great album. Further, you really need to get out more. Only a shut-in argues that "it's not about the music anymore," because anyone who goes to shows and buys new albums on any sort of regular basis has to get more than just image out of it. I mean, I have Meters albums for more reasons than just to signify that I am a funky stud who will do a woman right. I feel really sorry for you if you haven't managed to catch great bands and have fun because you're worried about image and not music. Jesus. That's the "indier-than-thou" snobbery. If we were on ILM, I'd drop the rockist bomb.

"You think it is just a cosmic coincidence that true talents get relegated to 2nd/3rd/worse rate labels? You think that Sony just has trouble finding good talent? You think Britney sells out stadiums because she is a breathtaking vocalist, one of the finest of this era?"

You think it's a cosmic coincidence that Radiohead and Wilco are on some of the largest labels on the planet? And hey, Britney sells out arenas because she puts on a hell of a show. "Toxic" had one of the best beats of the last five years, and she really does go all out with light shows, video work and choreography. But I suppose you've already sold off all your Bowie albums.
Please, spare me. There's mountains of crap on independent labels, and plenty of gems on major labels. Further, you don't seem to have any grasp of the economics of mass markets or music. A lot of "true talents" are on smaller labels not because of a lack of major label interest, but rather because they make more money that way.

But pleas,e keep getting sonned in the internet music beef.
posted by klangklangston at 9:56 AM on March 17, 2006


"Put yet another way, it's no longer Alternative when all your friends have heard about it."

(Indier-than-thou).
posted by klangklangston at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2006


A gg action figure! Kewl! I want one, so I can make it have necrophiliac sex with my Layne Staley inaction figure!

/offensive derail

If Nirvana got one person to buy Zen Arcade, then they did good work (although my assumption about this may be post hoc ergo propter hoc). I always thought, gee, all these great bands (Husker Du, Black Flag, Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma, Minutemen, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Volcano Suns, etc) and all we get out of it is Nirvana? What a rip-off! But In Utero still sounds good today, as was mentioned above, and although I don't think Cobain was a genius and a prophet and a martyr I do wish he'd given us a few more years and grown into his potential as a songwriter.

Meh. Enough nattering on about a dead topic. I'm gonna go listen to Slayer.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:18 AM on March 17, 2006


"although my assumption about this may be post hoc ergo propter hoc"

It is a bit. Right around when Nevermind came out, my dad bought me a couple of cassettes for my birthday and they got me pretty hardcore into the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. I went for a lot of '60s stuff like The Seeds and Electric Prunes, and developed a pretty obsessive industrial collection. Nirvana was on the softer side of what I listened to, and I was much more interested in Ministry, KMFDM and Therapy? than grunge. Even on the grunge side, I went with Soundgarden. The first album I ever bought with my own money was Badmotorfinger after hearing Slaves and Bulldozers. (And the first cds I ever got— for junior high graduation— were The Stooges' first album, Pablo Honey, In the Hall of the Crimson King, and Warren Zevon's greatest hits). And since I loved the Grant Hart solo album (where he does a bunch of Husker Du tracks) that my parents played, it was only a matter of time.

"But In Utero still sounds good today, as was mentioned above, and although I don't think Cobain was a genius and a prophet and a martyr I do wish he'd given us a few more years and grown into his potential as a songwriter."

My thoughts exactly.
posted by klangklangston at 10:43 AM on March 17, 2006


(I gotta find my Reign of Blood tape again... I suppose I should buy it on CD, but whenever I do that, I feel like I've lost something...)
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2006


klang: I've read over some of your other posts in music threads, and it does appear that you have a respectable amount of knowledge about music. So for the assertion that you don't, I apologize.

But that's all I apologize for. And frankly, it makes the situation even worse.

You of all people should know better than precisely what you are arguing. I think you have gotten too absorbed in your own argument and are trying to justify a contrary initial position with your familiarity of the subject.

Did Nirvana have a profound impact on today's music? Yes or no? If you say no you're lying, if yes then we're arguing semantics of "how much" profound is.

Did Nirvana grow and prosper due to record label promotion and MTV rotation? Yes or no? If no, then you're lying. If yes, then you are agreeing that what brought them to the mainstream, and therefore allowed them to have such a standing impact on today's music and, more importantly, music culture, was the typical machinery of the mainstream music industry. From that moment on, they were, I'll say it again, no different than the Backstreet Boys. Once someone who is signing your checks gets to tell you how to dress and what to say, then you are the same.

One of the strategies by record labels is to find someone with real talent, relegate them to a small (often subsidiary) label, and then find another band to imitate them that they can fully control. You know this. That's how they "spend money" keeping good bands down. Popular music is an industry like any other. The record labels are hesitant to relegate any of their control to the artists. Even blockbuster bands have had trouble making their labels follow even the tiniest suggestions, like removing copy protection mechanisms from their CD's.

Sony doesn't want to find a great band "in the wild" already functioning and producing amazing music. They want to take people who make mediocre music, repackage it, and make them into phenoms with promotion.

And yeah, I actually do consider it a stroke of luck when a band like Radiohead gets signed to a major label. Because when I look around, I don't see it happening very often, but I very often do see great bands being relegated to also-ran labels.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:58 AM on March 17, 2006


BitterOldPunk: It may amuse you to know that the drummer of the band The Tijuana Bibles (who I linked to the other day for you) is in fact the same guy who made the GG Allin doll. He gave a bunch to Merle & I think Merle might still be selling them (?).

On topic: I just find it sad that Dylan Carlson is largely now known as "the guy who found Kurt" or "the guy who gave Kurt the gun", as opposed to his trail-blazing band Earth.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2006


If Nirvana got one person to buy Zen Arcade, then they did good work (although my assumption about this may be post hoc ergo propter hoc). I always thought, gee, all these great bands (Husker Du, Black Flag, Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma, Minutemen, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Volcano Suns, etc) and all we get out of it is Nirvana? What a rip-off! But In Utero still sounds good today, as was mentioned above, and although I don't think Cobain was a genius and a prophet and a martyr I do wish he'd given us a few more years and grown into his potential as a songwriter.

I need to buy BitterOldPunk a shot of Jaegermeister for that. Amen, brother.
posted by psmealey at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2006


"Did Nirvana have a profound impact on today's music? Yes or no? If you say no you're lying, if yes then we're arguing semantics of "how much" profound is."

Did Thomas Edison have a profound impact on today's music? Yes or no? If you say no, you're lying. If you say yes, then Edison is directly responsible for the success of Paula Abdul.

"Did Nirvana grow and prosper due to record label promotion and MTV rotation? Yes or no? If yes, then you are agreeing that what brought them to the mainstream, and therefore allowed them to have such a standing impact on today's music and, more importantly, music culture, was the typical machinery of the mainstream music industry."

Did the Republican majority in the house of representatives grow and prosper due to carefully arranged gerrymandering? If yes, you are agreeing that popular resentment of Clinton-era programs in rural areas was not a cause.

Again and again, you have presented FALSE DICHOTOMIES. Do you know what that means?

As far as people telling Nirvana how to dress, do you have any support for this? I'd buy labels telling bands smaller than Nirvana to be more like Nirvana, but unless you have some support, I'm going to have to dismiss your Backstreet Boys analogy as ungrounded.

"One of the strategies by record labels is to find someone with real talent, relegate them to a small (often subsidiary) label, and then find another band to imitate them that they can fully control. You know this."

I know that's bullshit, frankly. Naive bands often get more image advice than they should listen to, but bands that end up on subsidiary labels are there because they're not seen as having a sound that can be translated into mass releases. Gawd, do you even know anyone who works at a label, major or otherwise? There is no conspiracy. It's about making money. If a label exec thinks that GG Allin reissues will sell, he'll put 'em out in a heartbeat. It's just that a lot of people with decent business sense don't have very good taste, and there's a lot of me-too-ism. The closest thing that happens is when albums get shelved yet the artists are still held under contract. But that's a rarity.

"Sony doesn't want to find a great band "in the wild" already functioning and producing amazing music. They want to take people who make mediocre music, repackage it, and make them into phenoms with promotion."
Wrong. Sony very much wants to find people who already have a good draw, who know how to tour and keep expenses down, who aren't going to blow recording advances, who want to make music. But they also want to distribute albums that people will buy.
This reminds me of talking to a couple of brewers about Budweiser. Budweiser gets all sorts of crap from microsnob drinkers, but in talking to professional brewers (like the ones who run Goose Island in Chicago), there's an enormous amount of respect for the brewers at Budweiser because they make the best mass market beer they can, and are extremely consistent. "Those guys know their shit," is the most common comment.
Now, it is frustrating when Coldplay sells millions of albums of pablum. But that's because Coldplay is what a lot of people want to buy, and even exposing them to, say, Chris Connely won't make them buy Chris Connely albums.
And that's not even a very good analogue, because Nirvana was (especially by the time In Utero came out) a fairly prickly inaccessible band. They succeeded despite the general tendencies of the market, not because of them. And you don't need a conspiracy theory to explain it, either way.
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 AM on March 17, 2006


Ok, I'm terminally unhip. What the heck is a fanbois?

And for those who think mental illness is a choice and the strong of will can choose to overcome it - volunteer at your local psych ward (or jail psych floor as we're closing down medical psych wards left and right) and see people licking urine off the floor and tell me that they choose to be that way. People who spout about the mentally ill have never worked with them. And those who say, as in this thread, that because some people can overcome depression others can too, if only they weren't weak cowards, have again not worked with or been friend or family to anyone who spent decades battling depression only to lose the battle.
posted by onegreeneye at 11:58 AM on March 17, 2006


And for those who think mental illness is a choice and the strong of will can choose to overcome it - volunteer at your local psych ward (or jail psych floor as we're closing down medical psych wards left and right) and see people licking urine off the floor and tell me that they choose to be that way.

Sure. That's exacty what we're saying. I just don't see where exactly, care to point it out in the thread? Or shall we drop all pretense and just admire that wonderful straw man of yours? Likewise, point out those who say, as in this thread, that because some people can overcome depression others can too, .... Because it appears to me that what was said is the strong ones go on, the weak don't., not whether they can or should.
And please cut the tearjerking "if only" crap. You're not the only one that worked or been with.


See, applemeat, that's how we can tell what other people feel -- all depressed people are exactly equivalent to those that lick urine off the floor in a jail psych ward.
posted by c13 at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2006


For onegreeney: Fanboi is some sort of queer version of fanboy.
posted by klangklangston at 12:31 PM on March 17, 2006


stinkycheese, we need to hook up sometime and compare notes. That's eerie. And shots of Jager are welcome, psmeasley!

A fanbois is a French tree with large, spreading foliage.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:33 PM on March 17, 2006


klang: I never said it was a conspiracy, don't put words in my mouth. I said it was business.

The only music industry people I know are in Nashville, and maybe the country music scene is that much different. But there sure seems to be a lot of image, image, image and very little "find the best talent", except at the small labels, who can't afford image and try to survive on talent alone. But, all indications seem to be that Nashville has become more LA in the last 20 years, not the reverse. But of course, Nashville has always been different (ref. Johnny Cash).

I know whenever I hear about their new up and coming stars, there is endless talk about their image, marketability, radio friendliness, etc. Usually only after a question about musical ability comes the response "Yeah they can sing".

I wanted to try to re-engage you, hence my concession about your knowledge, but I can't seriously do that with your absurdities above.

My question about Nirvana's influence on popular music of today is perfectly legitimate. The fact that you want to answer "yes and no" at the same time is not my fault.

You're not railing against me, you're railing against the cognitive dissonance in your own head.

Whatever. You win. You're #1. You're the king. Sleep well tonight. Take a blanket, it gets cold up there in the firmament.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:34 PM on March 17, 2006


First off, Nashville is really different from the rest of the music industry (it actually has the most in common with rap, believe it or not). Because of the way that the songwriting credits get shopped around, there's a lot more emphasis on turning out songs that other people buy and perform. And some of that has to do with image, sure. But it also means that Steve Earl can write songs for Garth Brooks and get paid, which happens a lot.

But to give you my experience in Nashville, I was part of an internship program that was involved with Big and Rich before they hit it huge. Rich had previously been in Lonestar and had some major label success, though he broke off from them and went solo. He played bar gigs and made his money by selling songs that he'd written. Kenny was in a band called Lovejoi that, well, sucked ass. But they'd also had a major label contract (which aren't as hard to get as people seem to think). So, what happened was that both of them were gigging and got together through mutual friends (a housesitting gig, actually). Then they started playing Tuesday nights, a regular night called Muzik Mafia (sort of the younger version of the songwriting sit-ins at the Bluebird). Cowboy Troy, Gretchen Wilson (who Jon had sold songs to) and several others were there, and they managed to get over a hundred people packed into an upstairs bar week after week after week on a TUESDAY. They did this for a couple of years, and pretty well at that. Through a couple of friends, including a lawyer who works at Belmont, they got hooked up with label folks, who understood that these were people who were a) gigging regularly and had a solid draw no matter where they played, b) had written #1 songs for other people and had solid material on their own, and c) who had a really good stable of support staff (manager, lawyer, publicist) around them. From there, they got a decent contract (having prior experience really helps), and already had solid demos recorded. That turned into a push on local Nashville radio, and their gimmick (hip hop country-fried rock) got them picked up onto national radio. All the time, they were gigging out, doing solid support, and paying their dues. Their "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" is dumb fun, and people liked it. I'm not wild about any of their music, you can put it down to not being my bag or to it being kinda boring, but they worked their asses off to get to where they did and they very much believe in their music. I just saw them on television at the Oscars. Do they deserve success less than, say, Anton Newcome, the frontman for Brian Jonestown Massacre? He's a better musician and his albums are fantastic, but he's also a walking lesson in how to self destruct as an artist. His label dropped him because he was a pain in the ass, and he managed to drive away all of his support staff (and support staff are necessary to make it in music at any high level, since musicians simply cannot handle the volume of administrative work that has to happen). But Big and Rich weren't made into stars by any machine, they used a machine to make themselves stars. That's why your argument is fundamentally flawed—the macine exists to serve artists to people, not to create artists or keep others down. And while their are a few successful exceptions, the vast, vast, vast majority of "manufactured" artists that are signed as bandwagon jumpers don't recoup. And if they don't recoup, the label has lost money. And labels don't like to lose money. So even when musicians are rounded up to serve the whim of what seems to be what the market wants, you've also got to remember that it takes at least two years to get any major label release out, often longer. Which is why the business is always trying to anticipate what people will want, with about a 30% success rate.
This isn't to say that the music industry is ethical or nice, but rather to point out that the assertion that Nirvana was somehow manufactured, or that they were getting told what haircuts to get, is pretty goddamned ludicrous. And the argument that because anything is a business it is morally tainted will leave your musicians starving to death in gutters in order to be pure.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on March 17, 2006


Wow, C13. You sure have become angry to the point of frothing over defending the validity of belittling suicides.
Rage, a bit? Lordy.
posted by onegreeneye at 4:13 PM on March 17, 2006


I agree...I've been surprised by the level of anger here. I hope C13 can go enjoy a green beer tonight, or do something else nice and restorative.
posted by applemeat at 4:27 PM on March 17, 2006


Do you get paid by the false dichotomy, or is this all pro bono naivety?

Genius line. All hail klang!

/"fanboi" cheerleading

For the record, BitterOldPunk, I think I pretty much confirm your hypothesis. Nevermind was the first punk-ish album I ever bought (though I did have a third-generation mix tape with some Dead Kennedys and Forgotten Rebels on it). I'd argue that I started with Nevermind because it was literally the first album of that sort readily available in northern Ontario in 1991.

I subsequently bought several Husker Du albums (including Zen Arcade), the entire back catalogs of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, the Pixies and Fugazi, and all manner of other unconventional and/or small-label stuff besides. I'm slowly amassing most of the Replacements' stuff on vinyl, and one of the prides of my collection is a Sonic Youth/Mudhoney split single. I doubt I'd own any of this without the intergalactic success of Nevermind, and I know I'd be a different person today if Kurt Cobain hadn't produced the music he did during his short life. And I couldn't possibly care less where that places me in the hipness or authenticity hierarchies of Ynoxas et al.
posted by gompa at 6:05 PM on March 17, 2006


*sneaks in quietly, absconds with thread*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:45 PM on March 17, 2006


For what it's worth, for all this Kurdt is God (is gay?) talk, or comparisons of Nirvana to the Backstreet Boys, I saw Nirvana play with some other band we went to see (I think it was Sonic Youth, but I don't really remember) in 1989 or 1990 at the old Knitting Factory on Houston Street. It must have been right about the time Sub Pop had released Sliver/Dive, but honestly, I had no idea who they were. They were definitely rough, and had a noisy take on the old drunken punk rock that I had grown up with, but they had a tunefulness, a pop sensibility that threaded through every song they did. Minor Threat came close at their best, but stopped short of it (likely on purpose). The singer was incredible, angry and emotive, and the tunes were absolutely OUTSTANDING and I never, ever forgot about that show. I went out and bough Bleach the very next day, which I still listen to from time to time, but that album doesn't really capture it for me.

When they made it big with Nevermind, I was shocked, but not surprised. They were so fucking great, that it made sense. With all the Vanilla Ice/Warrant/New Kids shite that was polluting the air back in those days, to hear Nirvana on mainstream radio was a like a clear voice in the wilderness.

Whatever your contention is about them. That they fired Chad Channing to bring in the more professional (and infinitely better) Dave Grohl, that Butch Vig fucked up the production on Nevermind (he did... the songs are great on that record, but the production is God-Fucking-Awful), that they sold out, that they were this or that, that's fine. That's your take. I don't care. I still think In Utero is a great album, and that the unplugged record has some stunningly beautiful moments on it.

Kurt left us too soon, to be sure. He was a flawed, wounded, person, but people still remember him not because he was a manufactured pop idol, but because he was authentic. Think about it. I can think of fifty other rock stars that achieved the same level of commercial fame and stature that Kurt Cobain did, but have been completely forgotten. Like it or not, Kurt is still with us because he was a great voice, a great songwriter and to his core: authentic.
posted by psmealey at 10:48 AM on March 18, 2006


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