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A fight for Cobain's final song
June 29, 2001 3:54 AM   Subscribe

A fight for Cobain's final song An unreleased gem, thought to be the last song Kurt Cobain recorded before his death. Now the two surviving members of the band and Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, admit in court records that it does exist. But fans may never get to hear it.
posted by matteo (69 comments total)

 
Yeah...great job Cobain..we don't have to hear one more of your teen-angst songs...you killed yourself at the right time...I hope you and Morrison are having great times,asshole....

(this is sarcastic, if you haven't guessed.)

It's a damn shame that Kurt Cobain is an icon. If only every pretentious, self-absorbed asshole would commit suicide the world would be a much better place.
posted by ttrendel at 5:06 AM on June 29, 2001


Rheaume said Grohl and Novoselic feel it should be done through releasing the band's best songs for
fans to hear; Love's lawyer said she simply wants to be involved in decisions about the band and that she
was left out of the making of the box set.


This is a pretty clear case of Grohl and Novoselic wanting to do what's right for the fans and Love wanting to do what's right for Love.
posted by brucec at 5:09 AM on June 29, 2001


I thought Courtney Love already released all of Kurt's unreleased songs as her own...

Hole songwriting has taken a major downturn since hubby took a shell to the head.
posted by dogmatic at 6:00 AM on June 29, 2001


''Probably one of the most important pieces of music to be released in years.''

But they can't decide on a title. Does that mean it's the three most important pieces of music to be released in years?

I think I'll wait for Alice in Chain's next album.

Or Soundgarden's

Or the Smashing Pumpkins (or for Billy C. to write Hole's next album)

*not holding my breath for any of this*
posted by melissa at 6:16 AM on June 29, 2001


most important pieces of music to be released

Nrivana was wildly overrated. Cobain the Guitarist was mediocre at best; Cobain the Songwriter better, but he certainly wasn't the poet everyone made him out to be - his lyrics, by and large, were juvenile and fairly content-free. Cobain the Suicide outshined them both with drama alone.

Looking at Nirvana, and then looking at Foo Fighters (a band that has really grown in both style and substance) makes me wonder in Cobain was the talent hub of Nirvana, since Grohl IMO is showing far more depth and substance.

This is all personal opinion, o'course. Grains of salt provided upon request.
posted by UncleFes at 6:49 AM on June 29, 2001


"Love is now trying to dissolve the corporation and get control of most of Nirvana's assets"

Hmm, that would be Courtney Love, the wife of a member, trying to get control away from actual band members.

Between this and the lawsuits she keeps on at, you know, the ones where she is also disputing the record contract she signed, it seems to me that she needs some serious legal counsel.

What an asshole she is.
posted by a3matrix at 6:56 AM on June 29, 2001


Dave Grohl just always struck me as a bit of weenie. I wonder if he and Ray Manzerick ever get together for drinks and a good cry?
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 6:58 AM on June 29, 2001


C'mon, guys. It's good, original punk. But thanks for letting us all know that you have very refined musical tastes. That's a load off my mind.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:11 AM on June 29, 2001


Documents filed for Love downplay Novoselic's and Grohl's contributions to the band, saying, ''Nirvana could never be a partnership because it was the living manifestation of the creative vision, personal will, and life force of a single unique individual.''

It's been a while since I perused the liner notes for Nevermind, but weren't writing credits listed as "music by Nirvana"?
posted by topolino at 7:15 AM on June 29, 2001


Can we all agree that this song will come out whether Love wants it to or not? It might not be on an shiny disk in a fancy box set, but we will be hearing this song 20 minutes after it is leaked.
posted by machaus at 7:15 AM on June 29, 2001


If only every pretentious, self-absorbed asshole would commit suicide the world would be a much better place.

Don't be so hard on yourself.
posted by rcade at 7:23 AM on June 29, 2001


d'oh!
posted by machaus at 7:24 AM on June 29, 2001


*yawn*
posted by tolkhan at 7:25 AM on June 29, 2001


Here's a 45 second clip of the tune in question. (requires realplayer. sorry.)

It's a shame that some of you are overlooking the gist of the article. a3matrix was right on. It's about the wife of a bandmember making decisions about the band's musical output. That's just not right.

The only thing worse than that is if you die and your MOM takes over your legacy.
posted by liquidgnome at 7:33 AM on June 29, 2001


I have to say that I'm a little surprised by the anti-Love sentiment expressed in this thread. Courtney Love is among the very few popular musicians to have publicly supported file sharing during the recent RIAA suit against Napster.

Holes official site offers a wide selection of free downloads.

I have little doubt that she can be an arrogant controlling bitch, but I can certainly understand her desire to protect her husbands legacy.

I wonder what is in the fans interest, to have the music controlled by someone willing to share with fans or by a LLC. formed to profit from a sick mans suicide?
posted by cedar at 7:38 AM on June 29, 2001


oh please. now you're going to tell us that it's horrible how we joke about dubya because he is, after all, a baseball fan. and that's just plain awesome.
posted by moz at 7:49 AM on June 29, 2001


To those of you criticising Love's proclivity towards lawsuits: the Nirvana disagreement may or may not be valid, I don't know. But her action against Universal does have some merit, which is why a court has continued to entertain the case. Although she's unlikely to win a substantial victory, any ground that she gains will have a positive knock-on effect for all recording artists.

And the point she makes is worth hearing: the principles behind most record contracts are remarkably unjust, especially in comparison with similar agreements in other industries. Though big stars - like Love - may profit, there are many thousands of smaller musicians signed to record labels who only just eke out a living. Love is putting her reputation on the line with the aim of changing legal precedent to the advantage of *all* recording artists, not just the famous ones. If that makes her an asshole, fine.
posted by tobyslater at 7:51 AM on June 29, 2001


Maybe I'm too much of a Nirvana fanboy to judge, but Cobain was hardly pretentious. If anything, he was affected in the opposition direction, downplaying his achievements before anyone else could. He used to call Nirvana "the Cheap Trick of the '90s."

Nevermind and Nirvana Unplugged are top-10-all-time for me. The guy could wail, and his musical tastes were amazing. His cover of "In the Pines," and performance of the song to close out the Unplugged session, is an incredible demonstration of both.
posted by rcade at 7:53 AM on June 29, 2001


liquidgnome
"...the wife of a bandmember making decisions about the band's musical output. That's just not right".
I agree -- that's the reason why I posted the link.
BUT: people still listen to Lennon's music despite Yoko taking charge after his death, so I think it's safe to say that mrs. Love cannot harm Nirvana's legacy that much.
(and besides, even if many of us aren't crazy about ms. Ono and her supposed influence on her husband and her behavior after his death, we still think "Oh Yoko" is a timeless song).
posted by matteo at 8:01 AM on June 29, 2001


I wish I had some samples of radio playlists before and after Nirvana. Before Nirvana, the "metal kids" fought with the "alternative kids", ignoring the fact that their music shared a large amount of DNA. Before Nirvana, there was a place for everything, and everything in it's place. Music was pigeonholed and boring.

I'm not saying that Nirvana were great musicians, or even musically influential, but they definitely were catalysts for great change within the music business. Borders between genres blurred, and the public ended up showing that they would accept a much more varied musical palette than the music industry would have previously expected.

I think Nirvana were the Sex Pistols of their time. They didn't hang around for long, but they blazed a trail for many new bands that otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to survive.
posted by websavvy at 8:14 AM on June 29, 2001


*yawn*
posted by tolkhan at 7:25 AM PST on June 29


No, really? My, that's an interesting take on the subject. I look forward to more of these trenchant comments.

This remains my least favorite MetaFilter posting strategy. But what it lacks in originality it makes up for in uselessness.

More to the point, you don't have to like Cobain or Nirvana, but I think it's pretty hard to deny that they were the most influential band of the last decade. It gets complicated by the fact that Courtney Love is, well, complicated herself. My opinion of her changes on a weekly basis. I just can't figure that woman out (something I'm sure she'd be happy to hear). You can hate her, but she certainly can't be simply dismissed.
posted by Skot at 8:19 AM on June 29, 2001


If they've said themselves that the box set will sell way more with the song in question on it, why can't they just release it that way, split the money three ways (or four if you count Frances Bean) and leave it at that.

There's something funny going on here. But there's been something funny going on since Kurt & Courtney married.
posted by melissa at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2001


Here's an mp3 of the live version of the song (It's the "Autopilot" one.)
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:47 AM on June 29, 2001


I agree, Skot, that is the most worthless, stupid post I've seen in a while, or since the last nimrod who HAD to see his/her name on the CRT posted the same thing.

That being said, Courtney's talent has demonstrably been shown in many arenas. That doesn't include music. Her RIAA campaign is the best job I've seen yet explaining why the record companies are evil, and why artist *might* deserve a little sympathy on these standard contracts they write. I always feel uncomfortable, however, when living people have authority over dead artists' catalogs. Publish everything. Even the crappy stuff. Let posterity decide.
posted by norm at 8:51 AM on June 29, 2001


but they definitely were catalysts for great change within the music business.

Nah, a simple case of right place, right time. Punk and Hairmetal were both dying at the same time. The nation was looking for something different, and tada! Nirvana, Love Bone, Peppers, Urge, etc. Like magic :)

How has the music business changed? If anything, it's less inclusive, with more border between genres. A thousand niche markets.

but I think it's pretty hard to deny that they were the most influential band of the last decade.

I can deny it. What about The Verve? or Primus? or Radiohead?? All have claims as good as Nirvana.
posted by UncleFes at 8:56 AM on June 29, 2001


What about The Verve? or Primus? or Radiohead?? All have claims as good as Nirvana.

This is probably silly to try and even get into--personal opinion and all that--but these are actually pretty anemic comparisons.

The Verve? Without arguing their merits (I think they were pretty good), they are still destined to go down as One-Hit Wonders. Remember I was arguing influence, and at their best they still were only very able Beatlesque Brit-pops.

Primus influenced about a hundred thousand stoned college guys and perhaps Mr. Bungle.

Radiohead is the best argument here, but I would say that they're building a reputation as a seriously influential artist of this decade, the release date of OK Computer notwithstanding. Millenial angst and creeping technology is their gambit.
posted by Skot at 9:12 AM on June 29, 2001


but I think it's pretty hard to deny that they were the most influential band of the last decade

Heard any of that hiphop stuff? It's been way more influential than any of the grungies, but it seems to get a lot less press.
posted by owillis at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2001


Okay, Radiohead I'll give you - personally, I like them much more than Nirvana. And Primus is pretty cool in their own niche. But what distinguishes The Verve from any of their mid-to-late-nineties post-Seattle whine-grunge contemporaries? (Maybe I'm missing out; I kind of missed that period in alterna-pop).


Anyway, what distinguishes Nirvana from the rest of these is timing: the national release of Nevermind was the American musical boundary between the 1980s and the 1990s, much as the 1960s started with the British Invasion. It's that influence, the mass popularization of alternative music and the influence on most every band of the 1990s, that is Nirvana's legacy.
posted by Vetinari at 9:18 AM on June 29, 2001


*yawn*

Zippity BOP!

There is no cabal.™
posted by daveadams at 9:24 AM on June 29, 2001


BUT: people still listen to Lennon's music despite Yoko taking charge after his death, so I think it's safe to say that mrs. Love cannot harm Nirvana's legacy that much.

I don't think the Yoko analogy is a valid one. Forgive my ignorance if I am wrong, but Yoko Ono didn't try to wrest control of the Beatles' songs away from the surviving band members, did she?

I would say that Love trying to usurp the existing band members' rights to the music they helped write and perform is pretty damaging to the legacy of Nirvana.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2001


"a little group, that always been and always will until the end"
posted by clavdivs at 9:28 AM on June 29, 2001


After reading the lyrics to the song I get the feeling that Love doesn't want it released because Kurt wrote it about their relationship.

"This time no one else
I don't bear to follow you
I don't ever promise you
Sometimes I don't love you
Think I'm tired of loving her
I don't really want love

posted by howa2396 at 9:32 AM on June 29, 2001


Who, exactly, are the powerhouses of music who are pointing to Nirvana as their inspiration. The whole "Most influential band" of the 90s and the "most powerful voice of a generation" thing always seemed to be quite a bit of post-suicide media contrivance to me. As Uncle Fes mentioned, I see far more sustainable, approachable talent in Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters than in anything Nirvana ever had to offer.
posted by Dreama at 9:44 AM on June 29, 2001


I'm surprised no one has brought up the suicide conspiracy, that he was actually murdered by Love...probably made up by those that do not like her, but there is an "investigation" as well. Whether it's true or not, or even if it matters at this point, I agree that he wasn't a truely spectacular musician or guitarist to today's standards. But when I was in high school, Nirvana was the best thing I could find...

I also feel that the best work the band has ever done was on MTV's Unplugged, just MHO
posted by samsara at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2001


I have to say that I'm a little surprised by the anti-Love sentiment expressed in this thread. Courtney Love is among the very few popular musicians to have publicly
supported file sharing during the recent RIAA suit against Napster.


Yeah, well, of course Love's in favor of file sharing. The whole concept of taking someone else's good songs for personal use was the essence of Hole

Love should ditch music and make the switch to acting. I thought she was quite good in "The People Vs. Larry Flynt", despite all the jibes that she was "just playing herself". And, more importantly, that was something she did on her own (although, to be sure, her notoriety got her the role). Everytime she gets herself it one of these Nirvana-related imbroglios she just reinforces the image that she is "just Kurt Cobain widow."
posted by Shadowkeeper at 10:00 AM on June 29, 2001


But sustainable, approachable talent is what moves fans, not artists. While you might not be hearing "the powerhouses of music" pointing to Nirvana, it's apparent in their sound... those that admit it and those that don't, they all owe a debt to Nirvana, which in turns owes a debt to a good half-dozen other bands that inspired them.
posted by FPN at 10:02 AM on June 29, 2001


The whole "Most influential band" of the 90s and the "most powerful voice of a generation" thing always seemed to be quite a bit of post-suicide media contrivance to me.

Oh, come on. So why wasn't Michael Hutchence deified? INXS in its day rivaled Nirvana's popularity figures. Could it possibly be that it was because music fans and critics alike recognized the loss of a rather major--influential--figure as opposed to the sad death of a minor figure?

And if you genuinely don't know how many people were influenced by Cobain, you're not looking very hard. Do a Google search of "influenced by Nirvana," and I see everything from Ben Folds Five to Incubus to about a million punk bands. I don't know about "powerhouses," but arguing that he wasn't influential (and I agree that you can take issue with my "most influential" position) just really is very silly.
posted by Skot at 10:51 AM on June 29, 2001


Even Al Gore has moved to Seattle and tried to live the Cobain lifestyle.
posted by brucec at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2001


I thought she was quite good in "The People Vs. Larry Flynt",

She was VERY good in that, and she was surrounded by both veteran lead actors (Woody, Ed Norton) and good character actors (Crispin Glover, James Cromwell) who by rights should have outshined her.

Why she continues to bother with Hole, I don't know. Tradition?
posted by UncleFes at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2001


the words and music of Nirvana affected me and my life more than any other band out there.

i could go off on a rant here about how in poor taste it is to trivialize his suicide, how seeing commentary like that brings me back to high school were all i could look forward to is getting spit in the face by jocks for daring to not be one of them.

when life was dark and i didn't think i was going to make it, what saved me was their music. when he sang about his pain, i knew it was real. i could feel it. and i realized i wasn't alone. and call me sentimental if you want, but i honestly believe that if a band like nirvana still existed today, maybe a few less frightened geeks and freaks wouldn't have decided that gunpowder and high speed lead solves everything.

kurt cobain was a hero, an icon, an idol. he helped a lot of people in my generation forget for a moment how bad everything was. he made us realize that you didn't need money, or looks, or a fancy gimmick. all you needed was some space in the basement or garage, an amp, and a gut full of emotion.

is there any other band out there right now that's doing the same thing? i can't think of any.

the day kurt cobain died i had no reaction. no emotions. maybe it was shock. maybe i just didn't care.

and then the next day a local radio station played every single song they ever did. side 1 track 1 of their very first demo, to the last track on their last cd.

then i realized that we would never "hear one more of [his] teen-angst songs..." that's when i got hit in the gut. that's when i got paralyzed, that's when i sat on the floor staring up at the speaker.

so when i hear people make light of his death, i don't feel anger. i don't feel rage.

i feel sorry. i'm sorry you never felt strongly about something in your life, only to have to taken from you.

i'm sorry you never lost a hero.
posted by jcterminal at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2001


This thread is probably not very active anymore, but a different aspect of this fight over the Cobain song struck me as odd...the box set is scheduled for release Oct. 23, 2001, but the "trial to resolve the issue is scheduled for Dec. 31, 2002". Why wait so damn long? Or, why release the box set before this is resolved? Not that I'm going to buy the box set either way. I think owning "Nevermind" is enough Nirvana for me.

jc terminal, great comment. Cobain was not a hero to me, but Jerry Garcia was. I can relate to your feelings of loss, and I am sorry for you that Cobain is gone.
posted by msacheson at 12:43 PM on June 29, 2001


touching post jcterminal... could say i felt very much the same way with another popular either-like-him-or-hate-him music figure, tupac shakur.
posted by lotsofno at 12:46 PM on June 29, 2001


Okay, I'm the oddball who doesn't understand making idols out of musicians you never meet. All of my heroes have been people I actually know.
posted by Dreama at 12:49 PM on June 29, 2001


Well, then Dreama, are there no authors, poets, scientists, or orators who have touched you in any deep and lasting way?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:59 PM on June 29, 2001


Touching you in a deep way and being your 'hero' are not the same things.
posted by justgary at 1:20 PM on June 29, 2001


Nirvana happened at a time in my life which shaped my musical tastes. They weren't as much a breath of fresh air in the UK, because we'd had baggy and shoegazing and lots of other stuff happening from '89 onwards, but I remember reading about the first Nirvana gigs in Britain, and hearing the Peel session they recorded, and knowing they were a special band.

(It was nice to have another left-handed guitarist on the scene, too. He's the reason I still want a Fender Jaguar.)

I'd rather have Kurt around than Courtney. (Or Britney, for that matter.) I was in Amsterdam about a year and a half ago, and they spent a day on MTV remembering that Unplugged set, and I was spellbound, thinking one thing: he looked so damn young.

The Verve? Without arguing their merits (I think they were pretty good), they are still destined to go down as One-Hit Wonders.

Well, some people think Nirvana were one-hit wonders. As for the Verve, download "All In The Mind" from your nearest MP3 repository, and imagine hearing it as a college student in the spring of 1992. Or "History", which gives Noel Gallagher a songwriting lesson.
posted by holgate at 1:24 PM on June 29, 2001


"Touching you in a deep way and being your 'hero' are not the same things."

says you.
posted by jcterminal at 1:26 PM on June 29, 2001


some people just make things that zoom into other people's hearts.

sometimes those people then feel a very strong connection to the artist, no mystery there.

I'm sort of torn on this one. courtney *is* kurt's widow, and generally widows take on the management of their husband's legacy. who better? who better understood his goals and his wishes? so it seems natural.

on the other hand, these are his bandmates, and I will point out that they knew him *longer* than she did. without more information than this article provides I tend to side with the band (and yet I wonder if I'd be doing the same thing in her position.)

I can't figure out what she thinks she stands to gain by opposing the inclusion of the song; surely she'll get his share of royalties. is she just being difficult to get them back because they don't want to include her in their "band decisions"? - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:26 PM on June 29, 2001


JC: I appreciate your sentiment, but Cobain, however deeply he touched you, is not a hero. David Buckwell, a college kid who after hearing cries dove into a frozen pond to save an eight-year-old from drowning? A hero. Bill Bennet, who retrieved Buckwell from the pond and revived him using CPR? A hero. James Patmor, an 11-year-old who suffered a crushed pelvis and hip after pushing his 6-year-old brother out of the way of a falling tree which ended up hitting him? A hero. Hugh Thompson and Lawrence Colburn, who landed their chopper between fleeing civilians and firing soldiers outside My Lai? Heroes. Manual Trobley, who twice entered a burning building to save his neighbors? A hero. David Surillo, who jumped back onto a burning bus to save a passenger in a wheelchair? A hero. Dr. Bill Magee, a plastic surgeon who does free reconstructive surgery on 4000 disfigured kids a year around the world? A hero.

Cobain was a guitar player. A good one, and one who spoke to a great many people. But not a hero.
posted by UncleFes at 1:30 PM on June 29, 2001


"Touching you in a deep way and being your 'hero' are not the same things."

says you.


Yes, says me. I thought that went without saying.
posted by justgary at 1:41 PM on June 29, 2001


fes: those people are indeed heroes.

I have some heroes who have never dived into a burning building to save anyone's life, but who live their lives in ways that I so admire, I call them heroes. perhaps "role-model" is a better term, but that doesn't cover it. I think it's hard to live with integrity, and I have great admiration for those who do so. they inspire me. they show me what my better self might be.

I don't know how to describe how I feel about artists who have moved me deeply. they show me a better self, too, and sometimes they've gotten me through hard times. I don't know that they did it at great cost to themselves, or rather, I imagine that they'd rather be doing what they do than anything else they can imagine.

it's not on the same level as risking yoru own life in order to save another, for sure.

but it matters. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 1:45 PM on June 29, 2001


I think Nirvana were the Sex Pistols of their time. They didn't hang around for long, but they blazed a trail for many new bands that otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to survive.

The difference is that the bands that started up because they heard the Sex Pistols (or the Velvet Underground, or ) mostly managed to create unique sounds for themselves, whereas every band that started up becuase of Nirvana sounded like a bad Nirvana clone, eventually running the entire genre into the ground and leaving a big gaping hole to be filled by the tittie/booty music of the late 90s. And that's a capital crime.

The crime wasn't committed by Nirvana, though; that's the fault of the record companies. "Hey, these guys sound like Nirvana! Sign 'em up!" Feh.
posted by aaron at 2:14 PM on June 29, 2001



Hey, I'm pro-tittie/booty music.
posted by owillis at 2:18 PM on June 29, 2001


they show me what my better self might be.

This may be the best definition of "hero" I've seen here. Cobain was not a hero in my book - I think he was a callow, self-involved, self-pitying adolescent - but he showed something to JC. And maybe, that's enough.

But JC feels sorry for me that I haven't lost a hero. I feel sorry, too, that his heroes are so small that they can be lost. I will never lose the people I mentioned, because what they've done to become heroes transcends who they are.

OK; when are we going to forget all this hoohah about Nirvana and start talking about a REAL band? The band I'm referring to, of course, is the groundbreaking JETHRO TULL!!!
posted by UncleFes at 2:22 PM on June 29, 2001


Hey, I'm pro-tittie/booty music.

Well, hey, I'm as pro-titty/booty as the next guy, but god, it's ALL THERE IS these days. If it isn't hiphop or a half-naked lip-synching bimbo, it's not going to be on the air. Yes Internet P2P yadda yadda yadda, but for me one of the best things about music was that it brought disparate groups together. We all knew the songs. Now music is pushing people apart.
posted by aaron at 2:27 PM on June 29, 2001



the groundbreaking JETHRO TULL!!!

Whatever happened to the Blow Monkeys? Truly seminal, that lot.
posted by aaron at 2:28 PM on June 29, 2001



Now music is pushing people apart.

I dunno, remember high school? You partially (perhaps MOSTLY) defined your clique membership by your music. I was a gearhead-burner, and we listened to Black Sabbath, UFO, Van Halen, etc. But if you were a brain, you listened to David Bowie, Yes, Genesis. If you were a punk, you listened to Black Flag, Kennedys.... well, you can see where I'm going here. Music has always been a way to define your self and your worldview in opposition to that of others.

Whatever happened to the Blow Monkeys

Beats me. Plane crash?
posted by UncleFes at 2:36 PM on June 29, 2001


Music has always been a way to define your self and your worldview in opposition to that of others.

Which is a damn fine point. It's easy to be against Britney, but if you like Britney, how do you define yourself against anything?
posted by holgate at 3:20 PM on June 29, 2001


Aaron, I'd have to disagree. While there are hoards of bands that have aped Nirvana's sound, there are planty of others who were inspired by the music and are talented enough that you don't hear the influences, or if you did they are in a context that makes it interesting, not repetitive.

As for the Sex Pistols and the Velvet Underground, there are legions of now-forgotten bands that completely copied their style. Some of them were even successful in their time. However none of them, just like the Nirvana clones, will be remembered-- again it's the bands that are inspired by the music and do not copy it that live on.
posted by FPN at 3:39 PM on June 29, 2001


Before I forget, I want to ask something I've been meaning to for a while: Is there anyone out there still making New Wave music in the late 70s-early 80s style? What about punk? Not "my life sucks because Mom took away my cell phone and won't pay for my 15th tattoo but here let my take my shirt off so you can admire the other 14 on my body while I bounce around the set with my guitar pretending to be angry for 4:30" Blink 182 corporate punk, but the real original shit, Ramones-style, Clash style punk. I mean, they never stopped making classical. There's still real country managing to survive on the country charts in the slots the Dixie Slits of the world aren't hogging. There's still disco. There's still new guys trying to be the next Sinatra putting out standards albums. There's still even guys making new Doo-Wop records. So where's the New Wave? Why did it have the be the one to die, when it was the most fun?
posted by aaron at 3:47 PM on June 29, 2001


generally widows take on the management of their husband's legacy. who better? who better understood his goals and his wishes?

I would expect someone's bandmates to know far more about his musical goals and wishes than his spouse.
posted by kindall at 3:49 PM on June 29, 2001


aaron: New Wave in the Tom Verlaine/Television mould? How about Morphine? Or if you want some thrashy moshy stuff, there's always Sleater-Kinney, who played a blazer in a tiny venue in Oxford a couple of years back.

And The Strokes (straight outta NYC) are getting ridiculous adulation in Britain right now. (They played the Oxford Zodiac with Kate Moss and most of Radiohead in attendance. Oh so typical that I wasn't there for it.) I'd imagine they'll be back at Arlene's Grocery soon enough.
posted by holgate at 4:15 PM on June 29, 2001


I dunno, remember high school? You partially (perhaps MOSTLY) defined your clique membership by your music. I was a gearhead-burner, and we listened to Black Sabbath, UFO, Van Halen, etc. But if you were a brain, you listened to David Bowie, Yes, Genesis. If you were a punk, you listened to Black Flag, Kennedys.... well, you can see where I'm going here.

Yeah, but I think this depends largely on just when you went to high scool. Judging from the bands you name, I'd guess you went somewhere in the early 80s, possibly very early. But for me it was 1985-88, when New Wave had evolved to a point (meshing with other genres along the way) where it had pretty much taken over the top 40 charts, largely due to MTV. Back then, they did give at least some time over to all the subgenres you mention (insert obligatory "back then they really did play videos 24 hours a day, and thus had time to program blocks of certain genres" note here), so most of us were pretty well versed in currently popular music across-the-board. Most of us may have preferred Duran Duran, but we were very much aqainted with Van Halen,
Genesis, Black Flag, etc, and we did tend to appreciate a lot of it. We just didn't make any of them our sole genre. Which means in the end music still was still mainly all-inclusive.

And earlier it was even worse than that. For people of my dad's age, it was all top 40 and nothing else, unless some of them were still sneaking listens to their parents' Perry Como records behind their backs and not telling anybody. Songs about girls and cars. Until the Beatles came along and screwed all that up, and even they took a few years to really throw a monkey wrench into the whole system.

Music has always been a way to define your self and your worldview in opposition to that of others.

I see your point, but I'm saying that you can choose to define said "self" either as "just me and three of my buddes who know of some truly excellent bands in town and we'll never need anyone else," or "me and every other girl in the country that wants to look like Jersey chicks with big hair and spiked heels, who don't need anything but metal hair bands." Or it could go so far as some 1930s-era guy thinking, "Well, I know our sort of music may not impress the savages in Africa, but by God the white man knows how to appreciate it!" In other words, said "self" can be anything from you and you alone to half the planet. Likewise with the "others." And what I'm claiming is that the "self" in popular music used to be a pretty wide swath of the youth population, at least containing all of the US (and often the UK as well), but now it's been totally split apart into hundreds of micro-selves. And I'm not sure that's a good thing. Worse, I'm not sure we'll ever get to experience a larger self again. It certainly won't happen as long as it's all hiphop and BritneyTits on the radio and TV. Those two genres could not possibly have been able to forever repel larger numbers of people if they'd been specifically designed to do so from the start.

Anecdote: My parents are only in their early 50s now; they had me when they were in their early 20s. As a little kid, I totally absorbed all the rock music they played (as well as the bad 70s top 40 stuff which I will forever have a embarrassing soft spot for, since it was programmed into me). As MTV came on in 1981 and I started edging into adolescence, my parents came right along for the ride, and bought as many albums and CDs and watched as many videos as I did. They were totally into it. But once things started fragmenting in the late 80s, and got progressively worse in the 90s, I was still able to find stuff to like that still had some of the 70s/80sish aspects while adding on newer influences, but my parents found themselves completely disgusted by it, totally ostracized. They made a rather dramatic switchover to country music. (And in the last few years they've started to dislike that as well, as physical looks and loud explosions started taking over that genre just like it is in pop. Now they're sort of toying around with various prog rock stuff, and sampling the latest musical attempts of the old dinosaurs. "New Stevie Nicks album? I'm there!") We've finally reached the point where all inclusion is gone. There is almost literally no new popular music coming out today that can be tolerated by anyone outside a certain age range. It's all focus-grouped and preprogrammed to appeal to a certain demographic, and when those people get tired of it, the next "more mature" album will be already pressed and waiting for them to ingest.
posted by aaron at 4:18 PM on June 29, 2001



Anyone ever heard the Tori Amos cover version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"? It's astonishing, and I mean that in a good way. And proves, in a way, that Cobain wasn't just a guitar player.
posted by holgate at 5:26 PM on June 29, 2001


it also proves that tori amos isn't totally lame (sorry, I just always think of her as such a kate bush wannabe. :) - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 6:05 PM on June 29, 2001


Yeah, but I think this depends largely on just when you went to high scool. Judging from the bands you name, I'd guess you went somewhere in the early 80s, possibly very early.

Yep, I got out just as you got in (whippersnapper!). It may have to do some with where you went to school, as well. I went to a large suburban school, and your clique was your clan. You represented your worldview in your choice of clothes, dope, hair, ride, music, everything. It was how you showed allegiance, and how you negotiated your place. So when you say that you were exposed to and appreciated other kinds of music, that sort of thing didn't go on where/when I was. If you were a burner, you weren't caught dead listening to or (goodly lord no!) expressing appreciation for, say Duran Duran. To do so was to violate the defines of your clan. I mean, theoretically, you could get your ass kicked :)

Those two genres could not possibly have been able to forever repel larger numbers of people if they'd been specifically designed to do so from the start. ||| There is almost literally no new popular music coming out today that can be tolerated by anyone outside a certain age range. It's all focus-grouped and preprogrammed to appeal to a certain demographic,

Right! I don't think you're seeing increasing divisiveness; I think your interpreting aging out of the primary target demographic as increased divisiveness. We're not the primary demographic for pop music anymore, Aaron; we're not their money. And if we aren't their money, they aren't going to market to us. It's that simple. That's why juvenalia ("Bye, bye, bye!") dominates the market. Now it may be that back in the day this sort of thing had less of an effect on what was released, but it also may be that we were too immature of consumers to recognize it. Either way, we're not catered to in the market because, by and large, our tastes are more diverse (and therefore harder to address), we spend less on music (because we have more obligations) and we're far less likely to purchase the follow-up merch (since being cool and conforming isn't our number one priority anymore). We're difficult to market to, and the RIAA likes low-hanging fruit.
posted by UncleFes at 10:23 PM on June 29, 2001


How in holy hell can you people allow music to define so much? For me, music acts as pretty wallpaper but definition of culture? Movies, tv, and writing are way higher on the food chain I see. Britney, Beatles, Bell Biv Devoe, Begees - it's all music. I just think people read too much into it, and of course there's also the attitude that "what the kids are listening to now could not possibly be as good as what I used to listen to". Ugh!
posted by owillis at 11:21 PM on June 29, 2001


owillis, you remind me of a flatmate who said 'I can understand people being able to have a discussion about music... but paintings? Paintings don't mean anything.' Music is life. It's a physical, emotional experience. It's essential to our being. As soon as we stood upright, we started banging the drum. Our souls want to sing. Our limbs want to shake. Music is a heart beat.
posted by prolific at 1:48 AM on June 30, 2001


I listened to Mariah Carey, Metallica, and Dr. Dre during high school. I'm glad my school wasn't really a click thing otherwise I would have been a busy man.

Jcterminal, I was a "jock" in high school. I'm sorry about how you have been picked on. I was co-captain of my team and a two time all-star. But even though I was a football player, I never fit in. I never got the cheerleaders. I never got respect (my playing ability got respect but afterwards I wasn't invited to a party) I never liked the whole "jock" vs. nirvana listener thing. I felt left out even though I was one of them.

I remember the first time I saw Nirvana on MTV. I had just come home from school. I called my friend soon as it was over. I had no idea at the time who they were, but it was cool. I was gonna gush about how cool it was to my friend. It was busy, turns out he had seen the exact same thing and was gonna tell me. I knew it would be big at that point. Funny how that happened, how 2 friends could see the same thing and think of it that way. Not to mention calling the other literally 5 minutes after we last saw each other about some song.
posted by andryeevna at 12:10 PM on June 30, 2001


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